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. ABA is a growing service sector with opportunities for employment in schools, universities, and independent clinics.

Students that complete the program will be eligible for national certification as Board Certified Behavior Analysts. For more information about Board Certification visit the Board Certification website.

Program Overview

ABA encompasses a broad range of instructional and assessment techniques frequently used in academic, social, and mental health service contexts, as well as in support programs for individuals with disabilities. The approach to ABA taught, practiced and encouraged at the University of Iowa emphasizes person-centered techniques that incorporate the preferences of recipients and always considers positive accommodations designed to build important prosocial skills as the first step in addressing learning, behavioral, and mental health needs. The University of Iowa unequivocally supports the autonomy of individuals who receive ABA, which includes the right to determine the goals of services, select specific approaches, and to refuse services entirely. We further advocate for the safe and equitable treatment of all individuals regardless of race, gender, culture, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability. For additional information regarding the ethical code of behavior analysts, please visit the website of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Your program advisor will help guide you through the requirements for degree completion. For a complete list of requirements and courses, please visit the General Catalog.

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.

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).

Program Requirements

Field Experience

While not required to earn the certificate, students who are interested in becoming behavior analysts  must complete a formal supervision experience ranging from 2000 – 1500 hours.  You may choose between completing one full onsite session (approximately 8 hours) each week for an entire calendar year (August – July) at a specific clinical experience or summer practicum (June-August) in the Biobehavioral Day Treatment Clinic.

Potential field experiences include: ​​​​​​​

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.

Biobehavioral Day Treatment Clinic

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

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.

Habit Reversal Clinic

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

Biobehavioral Outpatient Clinics

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:

  • Mondays, 7:30 am-5 pm (Dr. Kelly Schieltz; Kelly-schieltz@uiowa.edu)
  • Tuesdays, 7:30 am-12:00 pm (Dr. Matt O’Brien; matthew-j-obrien@uiowa.edu)

Biobehavioral Day Treatment Clinic

Populations:

  • up to 18 years with developmental disabilities

Clinic Days, Hours, and Supervisors:

  • Daily, 8:00 am-4:00 pm* (Dr. Matt O’Brien; matthew-j-obrien@uiowa.edu)

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

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

Feeding Disorders Clinic

Populations:

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

Clinic Days, Hours, and Supervisors:

  • Each weekday, half days (Dr. Linda Cooper-Brown; linda-cooper@uiowa.edu)

Habit Reversal Clinic

Populations:

  • Patients with habit concerns or repetitive behavior concerns

Clinic Days, Hours, and Supervisors:

  • Wednesdays, 7:30 am-12:00 pm (Dr. Matt O’Brien; matthew-j-obrien@uiowa.edu)

Admissions and Application

The courses available through the Certificate in ABA 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.

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.
  • Applicants must have a combined GRE score of at least 300.
  • 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.

  • All official transcripts
  • A personal statement, and
  • Three professional references.
  • All applicants will interview with the program coordinator.

Degree Seeking Graduate Students

  1. Discuss the CABA with your advisor.
  2. Complete and submit the CABA 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.

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 CABA 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.

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 graduate program advisor and CABA advisor.

Contact Us

Questions?

Please contact:

Seth King
seth-king@uiowa.edu