Alternative Behavior Strategies Addresses Shortage of Trained Autism Therapists with Innovative Graduate Program

As the number of diagnosed cases of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) continues to skyrocket, the demand for Board Certified Behavior Analysts has increased more than 800 percent in the last decade, according to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.i To help meet that demand, Alternative Behavior Strategies (ABS), a leading provider of services to children with ASD, has partnered with San Diego-based National University and funded a graduate program specifically for its employees to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts. ABS today announced twenty of its Registered Behavior Technicians from around the country have recently earned their Master of Science degree from the ABS-National University partner program.

“By encouraging professional growth and funding graduate school training for our most qualified employees, this partnership program with National University is a huge step toward making sure all children with ASD can get the help they need,” said Jeff Skibitsky, MA, BCBA, LBA, president of ABS. “Helping our employees to become even better at what they do empowers them to deliver the highest level of care possible, provides an upwardly mobile career path for our employees, and increases retention of these highly dedicated individuals.”

The program’s curriculum was created by the university with all required classes taught by credentialed ABS adjunct professors through a variety of learning modalities. The professors are working professionals with relevant real-world experience who can provide the mentoring and teaching they need to become board certified behavior analysts while completing their graduate school program. Early results are extremely positive, as students in the ABS-National University partnership program who take the test for BCBA certification boast a first time pass rate of approximately 90 percent, higher than the national average of 65 percent.ii

ABS’ commitment to meeting the needs of ASD patients while advancing the skills of its workforce is ongoing. In June 2019, the next group of ABS employees entered the ABS-National University partnership program. A third class is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2019. Once the employees complete the program and obtain their Master of Science degree, they will be required to take a test for certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

“Through our comprehensive training programs, development paths and digital tools such as our innovative ABS Virtual Office, we will continue to enhance our employees’ skills while producing positive outcomes in the lives of patients,” adds Mr. Skibitsky. “The ABS-National University partnership program is just one of many innovative strategies we are implementing to nurture and retain the best possible team of clinicians and continue our rapid growth.”