Rollins Receives ABAI Accreditation for Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

The Association for Behavior Analysis International grants accreditation to the College’s Hamilton Holt School program for its rigor and exceptional commitment to students.

Photo by Scott Cook Photo by Scott Cook

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has awarded accreditation to Rollins’ Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science (ABACS), offered by the College’s Hamilton Holt School.

ABAI Accreditation is not mandatory, given only to the most distinguished master’s degree programs furthering the science and practice of behavior analysis.

“The benefits to students come from high-quality training and mentoring as well as entering a fantastic job market in a field where they can oversee real progress in the lives of others, primarily those with developmental disabilities such as autism,” says Michele Williams, associate professor and program director of Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science at Rollins.

Reporting on its site visit to Rollins, the ABAI applauded the master’s program as “outstanding” and noted the faculty’s “exceptional commitment.”

The ABAI noted that the program “exposes students to a wide variety of behavioral analytic applications not typically seen in master’s programs. For example, the curriculum contains courses that teach students about how to conduct job searches and the issues surrounding licensing of behavior analysts.”

Students say they enjoy small class sizes and intimate interactions with professors—and the accreditation adds value to the degree. Only 22 other schools have received this master’s-level accreditation from the ABAI.

“A lot of other programs might focus on principles or the big exam everybody has to take, but Rollins focuses on radical behaviorism and the importance of research, not only reading research but conducting it,” says Angie Van Arsdale ’19, who immediately began working as a behavior analyst at a clinic after graduation. “It definitely opens the door to being a board-certified behavior analyst or going on to get your PhD and doing more research. It’s nice that you have both options.”

The Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science launched in 2015 amid a growing demand for applied behavioral analysis, which the U.S. surgeon general in 2012 recognized as the only evidence-based intervention to help individuals with autism.

Seventeen people have graduated with this Rollins master’s degree, and nearly 40 current students are currently pursuing the degree. The Master of Arts in ABACS trains people for a national certification exam that is recognized internationally.

The job lookout in this field remains strong. Demand for credentialed behavior analysts doubled between 2012 and 2014 to 3,083 positions and continues to rise nationally, according to a 2017 Burning Glass report.

The Michigan-based Association for Behavior Analysis International, founded in 1974, is the primary membership group in the field. Its rigorous accreditation standards examine a degree program’s mission and curriculum, its services and outcomes for students, and the administration and faculty, among other factors.

Photo by Scott Cook Photo by Scott Cook

Learn more about the Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis at Rollins’ Hamilton Holt School.