Course List - Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis

 

COURSES REQUIRED TO EARN THE APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS GRADUATE CERTIFICATE

SPLED 503A

 

Applied Behavior Analysis for Special Education: Basic Principles I
Offered once per year in the fall semester (late August through December)

Course topics include definitions and characteristics; principles, processes, and concepts; behavioral assessment; experimental evaluation of interventions; measurement of behavior; and displaying and interpreting behavioral data. After completing this course students should be able to:
  • define the basic principles of behavior
  • identify the most effective methods to collect data in applied settings
  • interpret graphically represented data
  • use single-subject experimental design to develop methods to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions
Prerequisite(s): none
4 credits

SPLED 503B

 

Applied Behavior Analysis for Special Education: Basic Principles II
Offered once per year in the spring semester (January through April)

Course topics include functional assessment, teaching new behaviors via shaping and chaining, increasing/decreasing behaviors using reinforcement, and decreasing behaviors using punishment. After completing this course students should be able to:
  • describe and implement the components of functional behavioral assessment
  • develop an instructional program to teach desired behaviors
  • use the results of a functional assessment to develop a program to teach appropriate behavior and/or decrease inappropriate behaviors
Prerequisite(s): SPLED 503A
4 credits

SPLED 503C

 

Applied Behavior Analysis for Special Education: Extended Applications I
Offered once per year in the summer semester (May through July)

Course topics include self-management, designing effective instruction, ABA in organizations, ABA in classroom settings, and augmentative and alternative communication strategies. After completing this course students should be able to:
  • describe components of generalization programming
  • develop instructional programs to teach desired behaviors
  • develop programs to increase the use of behavior analytic strategies in organizations
  • describe systems for school-wide support
  • describe how AAC systems can be used to manage behavior
Prerequisite(s): SPLED 503A and SPLED 503B
4 credits

SPLED 503D

 

Applied Behavior Analysis for Special Education: Extended Applications II
Offered once annually during the first week of August

This course requires travel to Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania for a week-long, face-to-face seminar held in conjunction with the annual National Autism Conference, typically during the first week of August. This course focuses on current and emerging advanced topics in applied behavior analysis. To ensure professional currency, specific topics will change each time the course is offered but will generally address advances related to measurement, professional ethics, school applications, specific interventions, and emerging areas of behavioral research. Prior to attending the course, students will complete a mock certification exam. An item analysis of the exam results will be used to develop a review session held on the last day of class.

Prerequisite(s): SPLED 503A, SPLED 503B, and SPLED 503C
3 credits
SPLED 511 Ethical Considerations for Special Populations
Offered twice per year in the fall and spring semesters

Ethical behavior is a key component of any human service enterprise. Before a teacher or behavior analyst can effectively work with a client or student, they must first establish an environment of trust. This trust is built through ethical behavior on the part of the practitioner. In this class, students will learn about the governmental and professional disciplinary standards that regulate the field of behavior analysis in education. Beyond the letter of the law, students will work through case studies where ethical dilemmas are presented in an effort to tease out the underpinnings of ethical behavior. After completing this course students should be able to:
  • describe ethical behavior
  • discuss relevant governmental regulations regarding behavior analysis in schools
  • discuss the disciplinary standards of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board
  • discuss the ethical standards of the Council for Exceptional Children
  • identify effective communication skills with clients and students
  • discuss ethical standards for research
Prerequisite(s): SPLED 503A strongly recommended but not required
3 credits

 

OPTIONAL COURSE - NOT A REQUIRED COMPONENT OF THE APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS GRADUATE CERTIFICATE
SPLED 867 Practicum in Applied Behavior Analysis
The BACB® requires supervised experience by a BCBA of all applicants. Students may arrange for their own experience and BCBA supervision or choose to register for practicum through Penn State.

2 credits in summer

4 credits spring and fall

 

Optional Course - Practicum in Applied Behavior Analysis

In addition to the required coursework that comprises the Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis program, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) requires a supervised experience component as part of the application process to become a BCBA or BCaBA. Applicants have two options for obtaining supervised experience hours:

  1. Supervised independent fieldwork
  2. Approved university-based practicum

Penn State offers the university-based option to help you gain experience in developing, implementing, and evaluating techniques that produce positive behavioral change in your students while you accrue the supervised experience hours you need to sit for the BACB’s certification exam. A Penn State instructor with BCBA certification will supervise your fieldwork from a distance via video sharing and online conferencing. However, you will be responsible for securing your own placement in the field while enrolled in the practicum. 

In addition to accruing your supervised fieldwork hours, you will also complete practicum assignments and attend weekly online course meetings designed to support your understanding of the ABA content, to provide for collaboration and discussion with peers, and to hone your study skills for the BACB’s certification exam.

Participants have the option of enrolling in the practicum concurrently with or after completing any of the courses required for the Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis.

Please review the BACB website for additional information related to selecting an appropriate fieldwork experience, the hours required, and any additional BACB regulations.

Penn State welcomes students who have completed, or are in the midst of completing, an ABA coursework sequence at a different institution to enroll in our practicum. To do so, you should submit an application to the Graduate School for nondegree admission. Do not apply to the graduate certificate program. After you are accepted as a nondegree graduate student, you should contact World Campus Student Enrollment Services at 800-252-3592 or 814-865-5403 to register for SPLED 867. You may begin a practicum in the fall or spring semester, but not in the summer semester.