The Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) provides professionals who have a background in education, psychology, and related services with expertise in behavior intervention and intensive educational interventions. Students that complete the program will be eligible for national certification as Board Certified Behavior Analysts.  ABA is a growing service sector with opportunities for employment in schools, universities, and independent clinics.

The certificate program develops students' skills in the behavioral intervention and intensive instruction. The course sequence contributes to eligibility for certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). All courses in the sequence have been verified by the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). In addition to the course sequence offered through the certification program, obtaining the BCBA requires completion of a supervised practicum experience and successful completion of the behavior certification exam offered through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. For additional details regarding certification, visit  https://www.bacb.com/ or contact the program coordinator, Seth King (sakng@uiowa.edu).

Admission Requirements

Certificate applicants must have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited American college or university or an equivalent degree from another country as determined by the Office of Admissions. A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is preferred. Additionally, applicants must have a combined GRE score of at least 300. NOTE: The GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle only. Individuals for whom English is a second language must score at least 100 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Preference will be given to applicants who possess an undergraduate or graduate degree in special education, psychology, or a related field, as well as professional experience. Applicants must submit official transcripts, a personal statement, and three professional references. All applicants will interview with the program coordinator. Certificate students will be advised by faculty within Teaching and Learning.

Degree Seeking Graduate Students

Please note: The courses available through the Certificate in ABA (CABA) are available through other plans of study offered through the College of Education or may be taken as electives. Degree students may take CABA courses without formally seeking a graduate certificate. Students who complete all courses in the CABA sequence will have satisfied the course sequence requirement necessary for national certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst regardless of whether they obtain the CABA. For more information, contact the Program Coordinator at sakng@uiowa.edu.

To complete the Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (CABA):

  1. Discuss the CABA with your advisor.
  2. Complete and submit the PDF iconCABA Enrollment Form. The CABA will be added as a Program of Study in your academic record. The completed form must be signed by your advisor.
  3. Send the completed CABA form as well as unofficial transcripts and GRE scores to the Program Coordinator at sakng@uiowa.edu.
  4. Arrange for a brief phone-or-in person consultation with the program coordinator and await notification of approval.
  5. Complete the required coursework (see below).  Please refer to the note about use of academic credits when pursuing more than one graduate certificate. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.50 in work for the certificate and earn at least a grade of C in each course required for the certificate.
  6. Submit the PDF iconCertificate Completion Form to the Coordinator of the CABA. Your completed form will be reviewed by the Coordinator, by a Graduate College representative, and your transcript will be reviewed to confirm course completion (Note: you may be enrolled in the capstone course while submitting the Certificate Completion Form). Subsequently you will receive the certificate and it will be noted on your transcript.  

Non-degree seeking Graduate Students

  1. Complete the University of Iowa non-degree online application form. In the “Purpose of Attending” box, type that you are applying to complete the Certificate Applied Behavior Analysis.  With this application you will have to pay a $40 admission fee and submit an official transcript.
  2. Given submission of the appropriate materials, your enrollment application will be reviewed and the Coordinator of the Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis will be informed of your intentions. .
  3. Complete and submit the PDF iconCABA Enrollment Form. The CABA will be added as a Program of Study in your academic record. The completed form must be signed by your advisor. You may complete the CABA form at the same time as you submit the non-degree online application form. 
  4. Arrange for a brief phone-or-in person consultation with the program coordinator and await notification of approval. After review of your application and enrollment form you will be informed of the status of your application. 
  5. If accepted, contact the Coordinator of the CABA for advising in regards to the program.
  6. Complete the required coursework (see below)
  7. Submit the Certificate Completion Form to the Coordinator of the CABA. Your form will be reviewed by the Coordinator and by the Graduate College representative.  Subsequently you will receive the certificate and it will be noted on your transcript.

NOTE: You may, at any time, pursue admission into a graduate program at the University of Iowa.  Having been enrolled in the CABA program will not guarantee acceptance into any graduate program at the University of Iowa.  If accepted into a program, inform your advisor about your enrollment in the CABA and send an e-mail to the CABA coordinator providing the name of your program of study, degree objective, and the name of your advisor.  

Notice of Withdrawal

Should you decide to withdraw from the certificate program prior to the completion of the course sequence, you will need to submit a form, signed by your advisor, to the Program Coordinator.

The Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis requires 21s.h. of graduate credit and is offered in convention and hybrid courses. Completion of the certificate is noted on the student's transcript.

The program of study for this certificate develops develops students' skills in the behavioral intervention and intensive instruction. The course sequence contributes to eligibility for certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). In addition to the course sequence offered through the certification program, obtaining the BCBA requires completion of a supervised practicum experience and successful completion of the behavior certification exam offered through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. For additional details regarding certification, visit  https://www.bacb.com/ or contact the program coordinator, Dr. Seth King (sakng@uiowa.edu).

The Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis requires the following coursework (21 s.h.):

Course # Course Name Semester Hours
EDTL:5961 Foundation of Applied Behavior Analysis 3
EDTL:4975 Explicit Instruction 3
EDTL:5963 Ethics and Professional Conduct of Behavior Analysts 3
EDTL:4950 Behavioral and Social Interventions 3
EDTL:7953 Single Subject Design Research 3
PEDS:7264 Clinical Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis 3
EDTL:5966 Advanced Topics in Applied Behavior Analysis 3

Course Descriptions

EDTL 5961: Foundation of Applied Behavior Analysis : Foundational knowledge in basic principles and philosophical assumptions of behavior analysis, behavioral terminologies, verbal operants, and measurement concepts. Explicitly links the theory of behavior to practical application (e.g., special education). One of seven courses needed to qualify for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam.

EDTL 4975: Explicit Instruction: Empirically supported methods for teaching reading and mathematics K-12 to students with mild-moderate disabilities; assessment and curricular adaptations to individual needs.

EDTL 5963: Ethics and Professional Conduct of Behavior Analysts: Issues related to ethical and professional conduct of behavior analysts when working with clients according to BACB Professional Disciplinary and Ethical Standards and Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts. Links ethical standards of the BACB to conduct standards of related disciplines and touches on pervasive ethical conduct considerations for professionals conducting

EDTL 4950: Behavioral and Social Interventions: Individual behavioral management, behavioral change strategies, and social interaction strategies, methods, and techniques for individuals with exceptional learning needs.

EDTL 7953: Single Subject Design Research: Reviews of single subject research, development of student proposals; focus on special education, applied research.

PEDS 7264: Clinical Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis: Experience behavioral observations, consultation, and/or conducting behavioral assessments (including preference assessments and functional analyses), matched treatments; interviews with care providers, collect behavioral data, conduct behavioral assessments, matched treatments; follow-up with care providers.

EDTL 5966: Advanced Topics in Applied Behavior Analysis: Behavior-change considerations, behavior-change systems, intervention, and issues related to implementation, management, and supervision; devotes specific attention to interventions commonly applied to individuals with developmental disabilities. 

To be eligible for national certification, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) requires applicants to complete a formal supervision experience ranging from 2000 – 1500 hours. Supervision experience is not required in order to complete the certificate program at the University of Iowa. However, individuals seeking employment as behavior analysts will need to complete the supervision requirement through the university or an independent provider.

Opportunities for supervised field experience are available through courses offered by the Department of Pediatrics. Clinical hours vary across supervisors, but are generally offered on weekdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm over the entire calendar year. Due to demand, courses are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Students interested in earning supervision hours must complete orientation prior to enrollment in practicum courses. Orientation consists of meeting with the specific clinical director to discuss interest and experiential goals. Following acceptance into the clinic, students must complete and attend specific trainings set-up by the University of Iowa Children Hospital’s office of Human Resources (e.g., online compliance trainings, TB tests, background check, PPE and other hospital-wide orientations).  Orientation must be completed prior to enrollment in practicum and is offered every April. For more information regarding orientation, please contact the appropriate clinical supervisor (see “Clinical Experiences,” below).

Requirements

Applicants must complete orientation, which includes training in ethical standards as well as a required background check. Supervision offered through the Department of Pediatrics is consistent with the “Concentrated” fieldwork described by the BACB. Assuming all fieldwork is completed at the Department of Pediatrics, supervisees would be eligible to earn the minimum fieldwork requirement of 1500 hours. Each month, supervisees would need to meet with their supervisor for a minimum of 6 times and at least 10% of their hours earned during the month. In addition, applicants must commit to a minimum tenure in the clinical environment for either the Annual or Summer practicum experience:

Annual Practicum

Applicants must commit to a minimum of one full onsite session (approximately 8 hours) each week for an entire calendar year (August – July) at a specific clinical experience.

Summer Practicum (Biobehavioral Day Treatment Clinic only)

Offered exclusively during the summer, interested applicants must commit to a full summer (June-August) in the Biobehavioral Day Treatment Clinic. Clinic hours and days can be negotiated with Dr. Matt O’Brien.

Clinical Experiences

Regardless of the practicum selected, each course provides experience related to unique behavioral challenges. The following list provides a description of clinical activities for each clinic as well as contact information for clinical directors:

Biobehavioral Outpatient Clinics

Evaluation and recommendations for general noncompliance or noncompliance with medical devices, tantrums, disruptive behavior, self-injury, aggression, pica, bedtime/sleep difficulties, separation anxiety, social phobias, toileting fears.

Populations:

  • 7 years and younger with and without developmental disabilities
  • 8 years and older only if diagnosed with developmental disabilities

Clinic Days, Hours, and Supervisors:

Biobehavioral Day Treatment Clinic

Evaluation and recommendations for self-injury, aggression, destruction, disruptive behavior, severe noncompliance, pica

Populations:

  • up to 18 years with developmental disabilities

Clinic Days, Hours, and Supervisors:

*Morning patient = 8:00 am-11:30 pm

* Afternoon patient = 12:15 pm-3:30 pm

Feeding Disorders Clinic

Evaluation to identify skills, food and drink preferences, refusals and acceptances, and development of a treatment plan for growth and feeding problems.

Populations:

  • Patients with concerns for growth and feeding problems, with and without G-tube or NG-tube

Clinic Days, Hours, and Supervisors:

Habit Reversal Clinic

Evaluation and recommendations for behaviors such as skin picking, vocal and motor tics, rumination, nail biting, thumb sucking

Populations:

  • Patients with habit concerns or repetitive behavior concerns

Clinic Days, Hours, and Supervisors:

    College of Education Participating Faculty

    Allison Bruhn
    Associate Professor
    Shawn Datchuk
    Assistant Professor
    Lisa Didion Johnston
    Assistant Professor
    Seth King
    Assistant Professor
    Pam Ries
    Clinical Professor

    Additional UI Participating Faculty

    Kelly Schieltz, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

    Matthew O'Brien, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics