ABA Therapist Job Description, Skills & Salary (2023)

Learn about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skill requirements of an ABA therapist. Feel free to use our ABA Therapist job description template to create your own. Also, we tell you about the salary you can earn as an ABA therapist.

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who is aABA-Therapeut?

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a type of therapy that uses reinforcement systems to improve social, communication, and learning skills. The term "behavioural engineering" is also used for ABA. It is a scientific discipline that uses empirical methods based on responsive and operant conditioning principles to change socially meaningful behavior. ABA is commonly used by behavioral therapists to treat people who learn and think differently, such as: B. People with autism spectrum disorders. According to Autism Speaks, a charity that promotes better understanding and acceptance of people with autism, positive reinforcement is a primary approach used in ABA. "When an action is followed by something valuable (a reward), a person is more likely to repeat that behavior," according to the ABA. This encourages good behavior change over time. The goal of any ABA program is to help each individual develop skills that will help them become more independent and successful in the short and long term.”

Therefore, an applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist is a therapist who works with children with developmental problems. Many of the patients have an autism diagnosis. An applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist is a specialist in behavioral intervention. Understanding the nature of the role and responsibilities of this profession can help you decide if it is a good fit for your skills and interests. Working under the supervision of a professional behavior analyst to deliver specific therapies in an individual setting is part of your responsibilities as an ABA therapist. These methods follow ABA guidelines and are designed to improve speech, behavior and physical skills. They also track data for each session to track patient improvement and plan future therapies. Adults are also occasionally treated with ABA. To be successful in this area, an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist must have the right mix of academic knowledge, real-world experience, and patience. Study the intricacies of ABA therapy and gain a thorough understanding of how it came about and why it works to become an effective ABA therapist. To improve your skills and understanding of these treatments, ask questions regularly and learn from your supervisors. Finally, be patient and persistent—even small wins take time to achieve, but they have a significant impact on your patients and their families.

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ABA therapists use their knowledge of behavior analysis to help clients reduce problematic behavior and promote positive behaviors. ABA therapists focus on the antecedents of the behavior (what happens before a behavior), the subsequent behavior, and the consequences of that behavior using positive reinforcement and other treatment strategies. They assess clients, set treatment goals, administer therapies, and track their progress. ABA therapists can use a variety of approaches to improve positive behaviors and reduce negative ones. Individuals, treatment preferences, and desired behaviors influence the strategies used. Discrete Experimental Training (DTT), Modeling, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), and Reinforcement Systems are examples of ABA therapy.

  1. Discreet Trial Training: DTT involves the application of the ABC method in an individually controlled environment. The therapist provides cues, asks about the desired behavior, and then compliments it with positive reinforcement. This technique is repeated until the desired behavior occurs by itself. DTT can be used by therapists to help people with autism develop social and behavioral skills.
  2. Modeling: In ABA therapy, modeling involves demonstrating the desired behavior. The therapist can demonstrate in person, on film or via audio what the participant needs to do. For example, when meeting a new person, the person may be instructed to shake hands or say thank you when given an item. This method is very useful to help children develop social and communication skills.
  3. Picture Exchange Communication System: PECS is a picture-based system for teaching communication and language skills to children. In exchange for the child's desired image of the object, the therapist offers the child the object represented in the image. They continue to send new words, phrases and modifiers using this technique.
  4. Reinforcement Systems: Reinforcement systems are used by ABA therapists to teach people the consequences of certain behaviors. Individuals may be asked to try again if they are not engaging in the correct activity, or reinforcement may be delayed until the behavior is observed. If they perform the action, they may be rewarded or given positive reinforcement in the form of praise or a reward. For example, children can receive tokens that can be redeemed for snacks, toys, or special benefits.

The primary role of an ABA therapist is to recognize and examine a patient's unique behavioral traits in different contexts, situations, and environments. They can create a treatment plan based on this study, learn about a patient's triggers, and offer exercises and activities to help them change their behavior.

Job Description ABA Therapist

Below are sample ABA therapist job descriptions that you can use to develop your resume or write an ABA therapist job description for your co-worker. Employers can also use it to screen applicants when selecting candidates for interviews.

  • Apply ABA concepts to patient behavior.
  • Respond appropriately to a variety of circumstances that patients with autism and others with behavioral and developmental difficulties may encounter.
  • Use key communication skills to provide meaningful feedback to patients.
  • Communicate positive feedback effectively to patients.
  • Learn how to apply behavioral retargeting tactics and how to use them.
  • Understand how to properly respond to unfavorable behavior.
  • Create written records for each patient.
  • Instruct patients and their parents in helpful activities.
  • Individualize treatment strategies for patients.
  • give feedback to patients.
  • Recognize and respond to significant changes in patient behavior.
  • Stay up to date with the latest ABA-related news, techniques, and advances.
  • Keep meticulous records of treatments and progress.


  • A GED certificate or high school diploma
  • A bachelor's degree in psychology, social work or a closely related subject is required and preferred
  • RBT certification (or willingness to be certified).
  • At least 5 years experience in ABA therapy.
  • Working with children, especially those with autism or special needs is a plus.
  • Certification by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
  • A certification in Basic Life Support (BLS) is a plus.
  • Vaccinations, including tuberculosis, are up to date.
  • A valid driver's license and reliable transport are required.
  • Working with particularly autistic or special needs children is a sought-after experience.
  • Ability to work in high stress environments.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

Essential Skills

  • communication skills. ABA therapists must be able to read verbal and non-verbal cues such as body language to be effective. You must also be able to interact clearly and effectively with students, teachers, parents, and staff. In order to maintain treatment and remain effective in their role, aba therapists must communicate with their patients. Delivering messages requires strong writing and speaking skills. Therapists should also explain the treatment and diagnosis to the patient's family.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Building genuine relationships with patients helps therapists provide support and can improve therapy outcomes. A therapist can encourage patients to participate in activities that benefit their rehabilitation by gaining their self-confidence. Interpersonal skills enable patients and therapists to engage and also help the therapist to model social behaviors. While your relationships with patients are critical to their recovery or life skills development, your relationships with the patient's family can be just as important. Outside of therapy sessions, the family often serves as a supportive structure and provides the patient's primary care. It is important to keep them updated on the patient's condition.
  • The ability to think critically. Critical thinking skills help ABA therapists make informed decisions about the treatment program. Practitioners using ABA therapy, for example, need to tailor each session to the student's abilities, interests, and needs. Custom programs are written to meet the needs of each client. ABA is not a one-size-fits-all method. To examine and understand the data, ABA therapists employ critical thinking skills. They can create a treatment strategy for each patient based on their results. Critical thinking can also lead to a patient's diagnosis. Each patient has their own personality, background, and set of strengths and weaknesses. An ABA therapist must use critical thinking to create (and constantly adapt) an effective treatment plan for each patient's changing needs.
  • Creativity: Since each patient's condition is different, an ABA therapist must be able to creatively interact with and treat them. They create a personalized treatment plan for each patient to customize care. ABA therapists use creativity to interact with patients and address their issues. It's easier to visualize unique or inventive ideas, such as B. Strategies for connecting with patients if you can think creatively or outside the box.
  • Empathy: "Understanding a person from their frame of reference rather than one's own or indirectly experiencing that person's feelings, perceptions, and thoughts," according to the American Psychological Association. Empathy is a necessary skill that aspiring ABA therapists must master. The person receiving ABA therapy needs to feel understood in order for it to work. An effective ABA therapist is usually someone who is empathetic and able to relate to and understand their patients' concerns and struggles. This enables them to receive individual treatment and care. Empathy is an important part of a patient's recovery and coping process. Because empathy is the cornerstone of the therapist-patient interaction, it is arguably more important than any other attribute on this list in the discipline of behavior analysis.
  • Strong problem-solving skills: ABA therapists devote significant time to observing their clients. The therapist takes careful notes during these observations for later review. These observations are intended to identify the problem and suggest ideas for solving it. For example, a young person with autism may exhibit problematic behaviors, such as B. Turning around instead of sitting still while he listens. The therapist can examine what is causing the spinning and suggest a way to stop the spinning problem. If the first remedy doesn't work, or stops working after a while, the therapist may need to work with the parent or guardian to explore other options.
  • Data Analysis Skills: Many ABA therapists do research. Even if they don't conduct their own research, they may need to consult research reports to learn what's new and to evaluate the effectiveness of a treatment for a particular disease. This requires the ability to interpret raw data. In addition, the therapist must be able to assess the facts and draw logical conclusions.

How does one become an ABA therapist?

Step 1: Earn a bachelor's degree

Earning a bachelor's degree is the first step in becoming an ABA therapist. It is desirable to have a bachelor's degree in a field such as psychology or education. You must have a college degree or higher certification in a related profession to work as an ABA therapist. There are no formal requirements for the major. Many psychology courses address difficulties directly related to ABA therapy. For example, students can learn about emotional illnesses, mental illnesses, and developmental issues. For those interested in becoming an ABA therapist, sociology is a popular course. While a bachelor's degree is beneficial, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board does not require it.

Step 2. Decide on an internship

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You may be looking for an internship or internship while still a student that will allow you to work directly with an ABA therapist and their patients. This can complement your basic training by providing hands-on experience and exposing you to real-world situations. It's a fantastic opportunity to put your knowledge into practice and hone your talents. This experience will help you earn a license when you graduate.

Step 3: Earn a degree.

Earning an advanced degree is the next step in becoming an ABA therapist. A master’s degree is required to practice. A graduate program in behavior analysis can help you further your studies in the discipline. They typically last two years, and to graduate, students must write a thesis on applied behavior analysis. Since the thesis usually requires extensive research and writing, the students choose a topic at the beginning of the master's program and start their research. While certain jobs in this field may only require a bachelor's degree in psychology or education, most employers prefer applicants to have at least a master's degree in a discipline such as applied behavior analysis.

Step 4: Obtain Licensing and Certification

Most states require ABA therapists to be licensed to practice, while specific requirements vary by jurisdiction. ABA therapists must understand the licensing and renewal requirements in the state where they will be working. Employers often require ABA therapists to be certified in addition to being licensed. If ABA therapists want to open their practice, they must be certified. While the qualification can help with job placement, working as an ABA therapist is not required. You will have the required qualifications after completing your post-secondary studies and field work. Students wishing to work as ABA therapists must be certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). This credential is now available at select universities in Manitoba and British Columbia.

Where to work as an ABA therapist

When learning a new skill that is site-specific, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapists conduct therapy sessions in a variety of locations, including the patient's home, school, or a public place. ABA therapists may also work in professional settings such as treatment centers, alongside a variety of other therapists. Some ABA therapists work in residential settings for children with severe disabilities, while others counsel students in school systems and provide services and interventions.

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Salary Scale for ABA Therapists

The typical salary for an ABA therapist in the United States ranges from $36,888 to $56,537 according to various salary aggregation websites. ABA therapists in the United States make an average of $36,888 to $56,537 per year as of March 2022, depending on experience, region, talents, and other factors. In Nigeria, an ABA therapist generally earns around NGN 430,000 per month. Salaries vary from 198,000 to 684,000 NGN. This is the average monthly salary that includes housing, transportation, and other amenities. ABA therapist salary varies widely by experience, skill set, gender, and region.

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