Career in Psychology


Author’s name

Career in psychology


A career in psychology has been my dream and goal since childhood.Being an Applied Behavior Analyst (ABA) at Easter Seals SouthernCalifornia has given me tremendous exposure and experience. It is mypassion to help people and participate in the process of improvingthe lives of people with disorders such as autism that driven me tothis career. Although the career is remunerated handsomely, my workis driven by passion and the desire to help others. My vision hasbeen to become one of the few Board Certified Behavior Analysts(BCBA). This would enable me to formulate various strategies to helppeople with behavioral disorders. This vision is based on myeducational career and the life goals.

My visionary career as a BCBA requires certain skills, knowledge andattitudes. This may include decision making, problem solving andconflict resolution. These are, however coupled with academicqualifications in branch of psychology. A career as a BCBA will alsorequire certain professional qualifications and certifications. Forinstance, a master’s degree in a psychology related field such asbehavior analysis is a must (Krantz &amp McClannahan, 2009).Certification by the behavior analyst certification board (BACB) isalso a requirement for becoming a BCBA.

The knowledge and skills that I possess are sufficient to enable mepursue my dream career of becoming a BCBA. The action plan will,however include the steps necessary for me to take in order become aBCBA. A career in psychology is one of the most fulfilling careers inthe mainstream sector. It involves working with the people andhelping people to achieve their goals. Positive results are clearlyevident in psychology careers such as being a behavior analyst.

My interest and passion in psychology is the opportunitiesthat psychology careers offer that enables one to work with peoplewith special needs. Having grown up with children with behavioraldisorders such as inability to communicate effectively, socialize andperform well in school, I developed a passion of helping suchchildren to achieve their goals in life. Such realizations can onlybe achieved through a career in psychology. Psychology is a fieldthat offer real life experiences and also offers solutions toeveryday life problems (Krantz &amp McClannahan, 2009). Behavioraldisorders are extremely common and there are few people who take upthe challenge of helping the affected children, as well as adults.

Research has indicated that psychology degrees are most sought afterby students. There are various reasons as to why numerous peopleprefer a degree in psychology. To start with, psychology is a careerthat enhances personal growth. It also enables one to understand whypeople behave in particular ways. My passion for a career inpsychology was to understand myself and also to understand thebehavior of other people. The future prospects for a career inpsychology are numerous. Psychology is not tied to one career. Forinstance, one can become a behavior analyst, clinician, sportpsychologist and many others (Eldevik et al., 2009). As a professionin behavior analysis, I have experienced numerous cases of behavioraldisorders. My desire to help such individual children and adults hasenhanced my passion for becoming Board Certified Behavior Analyst infuture.

My future career vision is to be become a BCBA. This is a careerlevel that has numerous benefits as compared to lower level careersuch as an ABA. It will enable me to act independently withoutsupervision from another practitioner. This is a career level thatwill also enable me carry out systematic, as well as descriptivebehavioral assessments and come up with interpretations. It will alsoenable me to design and supervise behavior interventions. Thisvisionary career provides opportunities to train other aspiringpsychologists to help other children and adults will behavioraldisorders (Krantz &amp McClannahan, 2009). In order to become asuccessful and certified Board Certified Behavior Analyst, it prudentto have immense confidence and commitment (Hanley et al., 2012). Mypresent position as an ABA has given me assurance that am on rightcareer path. My supervisor is a BCBA supervisor. This has enabled meto work under the policies and standards of a Board CertifiedBehavior Analyst. As a result, this experience has given me immenseconfidence and experience hence the confidence of achieving my careervision.

Vision and Goals

Future career vision as a psychology practitioner scholar

My vision as a psychology practitioner scholar is to acquirecertification by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Asmentioned above, BCBA will enable me to operate either as anemployee, contractor or independently. This independence will enableme to serve children and adults with behavioral disorders. As a boardcertified behavior analyst, I will be able to impart my knowledge toother psychologists who aspire to offer help to people withbehavioral disorders. My career as an applied behavior analyst givesme the perfect foundation for my future career. The vision career asa BCBA will give me an opportunity to serve children and adults withautism and other behavioral disorders (Krantz &amp McClannahan,2009). A career as a BCBA will enable me to directly interact withclients with behavioral disorders. It is also worth stating that as aBCBA, I will have the opportunity to impart knowledge and skills toother psychologists.

My specialized areas of research are principles of behavior,application of principles of behavior, as well as research methods.Primary areas of research interest include the various ways ofaddressing behavior disorders among children and the step parents andguardians should take to monitor and direct the behavior of theirchildren (Eldevik et al., 2009).

Educational, career and life goals

In order to become a BCBA, there are various educationalrequirements that must be fulfilled. According to the BehaviorAnalyst Certification Board (BACB), BCBAs must have BACB approvedmaster’s level degree. However, the approved master’s degrees aremainly natural science, education, human services, engineering andmedicine, as well as any other master’s degree that the board maydeem as a qualification. In addition to this, a candidate forcertification must have studied 225 hours in the classroom at thegraduate level. A career in teaching on principles of behavior in acollege or a university for a period of one year is also an option.My career path is on the right track. After acquiring a degree inpsychology, I will progress to acquire a master’s degree in a oneof the fields certified by the board. My career as an ABA has alsoprovided me with the experience that will be helpful to me whenseeking for the board’s certification. Since my life goal is tobecome an independent behavior analyst, my vision career that willenable me to become exactly that is not beyond limit.

Professional competencies

In order to become a successful behavior analyst, it isimperative to have specific knowledge, skills and attitudes that willenable you to deal with clients suffering from various behavioraldisorders such as autism. It is evident that some of the clients,especially children with behavioral disorders can be difficult tohandle and irritating (Eldevik et al., 2009). While taking a careerin psychology, skills such as problem solving, decision making andconflict resolution are extremely necessary. My career path demandsof me to have these skills. Fortunately, these some of the skillsthat I possess and have been able to enhance during my internship anapplied behavior analyst.

As a behavior analyst, I need to make decisions with regard to thesteps I should take in order to find a solution to my client’sbehavioral disorder. I also need problem solving skills. It isevident that as a behavior analyst I will be faced with numerousproblems with regard to my clients’ health. One must be in aposition to come up with a solution or a strategy through which suchclients are helped (Hanley et al., 2012). My career path alsorequires the attitude of helping others. People suffering frombehavioral disorders need total attention, and it is thereforeprudent to have patience and the need to help in order to achievepositive results. My career path also needs somebody who can workwith others. In other words, one must embrace teamwork as a behavioranalyst.

My career path also has various ethical standards that must beobserved. These are coupled with different responsibilities that aprofessional behavior analyst must perform. Privacy is a significantand key ethical issue in these career. It is unethical to share thehealth disorders of clients with third parties without prior consentfrom the client (Eldevik et al., 2009). The professional in thiscareer has the responsibility of caring and treating his or herclients with respect and dignity. It is the responsibility of theprofessional and qualified behavior analyst to correctly analyze thedisorder that the client is suffering from. He or she has theresponsibility of using previous patient data to come up with thecorrect treatment for the client.

Professional requirements

In order to be certified by the behavior analyst certification board(BACB) as a behavior analyst, there are various professional andeducational requirements that one must fulfill. My future career ofbecoming a board certified behavioral analyst requires a master’sdegree in a field that is accredited by the board. The degree must,however, be related to behavioral analysis (Hanley et al., 2012).Besides this credential requirement, the certified professional mustalso have had certain training and experiences. The professional musthave completed 225 hours of graduate classroom instruction. Thecourse covered in these hours must be in behavior analysis fromcollege or university that is recognized by the World EducationServices (WES).

In addition to the above hours of classroom instruction, thecandidate must also have had supervised experience of 1500 hours ofBCBA and 1000 hours of board certified assistant behavior analyst(BCaBA) (Hanley et al., 2012). It is a requirement to complete theclassroom instruction before accumulating the supervisory hours. Thesupervisor must be either a Board Certified Behavior Analyst or BoardCertified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral in good standing. Besides themaster’s degree, the candidate can also have an academic year ofcollege or university where he or she taught classes on areas ofprinciples of behavior, ethical issues, as well as application ofbasic principles of behavior in contextual settings (Mulick, 2010).These qualification must be coupled with the experience describedabove. The third and last option is to have a doctorate degree thatone acquired 10 years ad above prior to applying for certification(Eldevik et al., 2009). It is also critical to state that the fieldof study must be behavior analysis, psychology or any other fieldthat satisfies the is also mandatory to have 10post-doctoral practicing experience in behavior analysis. Besides theapplicant stating such information on the curriculum vitae, the BCBAsfrom the board must verify such experience (Mulick, 2010).

When a candidate has qualified on the above stated requirements, heor she will then seat for a certification examination from the board.Certification is issued upon successful completion of theexamination.


My knowledge and skills are not sufficient for my psychologycareer. However, my attitude towards my career is totally sufficientand should enable me to successfully practice career in psychology.It is evident from the knowledge and skills described above that Ineed to undertake a master’s degree in behavior analysis. The hoursof supervised experience required are also not sufficient for me toqualify for the certification examination. However, these are in myaction plan which will enable me to fulfill my dream of becoming aBoard Certified Behavior Analyst. Although I have numerous skillnecessary for my dream psychology career, it is prudent to continuelearning and enhancing those skills.

My problem solving skills require further development. During myinternship, it has dawned to me that there numerous clients withvarying behavioral disorders and creativity in terms of coming upwith a solution is vital. Therefore, this is an area that I needfurther development as a preparation for my psychology practitionerscholar.

Action plan

After the completion of graduate degree, my immediate plan isto enroll for a master’s degree in behavior analysis. This will isan achievable requirement that should take at least 2 years toaccomplish. At the same time, I plan to be undertaking supervisedpractices which will add onto my supervised hours. The 225 hours ofclassroom instruction in behavior analysis required at the graduatelevel will be achieved at the end of my graduate studies. After thecompletion of the master’s degree, I plan to embark on practicingas a teacher of behavior analysis in a behavior analyst certificationboard (BACB) approved college or university for at least 5 years.After this, I plan to apply for the board’s certificationexamination.


Becoming a practitioner scholar in the field of psychology is one ofthe best careers that anyone can venture into. The practice ofpsychological careers aim at solving real-life problems facing thesociety. In other words, the career comes along with personalsatisfaction of solving people’s problems (Mulick, 2010). It isalso apparent that this is a career of people who have thewillingness to help others. Practitioner scholars in the field ofpsychology are also highly rewarded. Lastly, a practitioner scholarsin psychology can delve into various careers such as teaching,counselling among others. My vision and goal to become a BCBA isextremely crucial to my personal and professional aspirations. Mypersonal aspirations is to work for and with the people. I have apersonal attitude and desire to help the needy in society. I aspireto offer guidance and direction to the people who have behavioraldisorders in society. Professionally, I aspire to be a professionalbehavior analyst and therefore my vision and goals of achieving mydream as a BCBA are in line with my professional aspirations.


Eldevik, S., Hastings, R. P., Hughes, J. C., Jahr, E., Eikeseth, S.,&amp Cross, S. (2009). Meta- analysis of early intensive behavioralintervention for children with autism. Journal of Clinical Childand Adolescent Psychology, 38, 439-450.

Hanley, G. P., Iwata, B. A., &amp McCord, B. E. (2012). Functionalanalysis of problem behavior: A review. Journal of AppliedBehavior Analysis, 36, 147-185.

Krantz, P.J. &amp McClannahan, L.E. (2009). Teaching children withautism to initiate to peers: Effects of a script-fading procedure.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 26 (1): 121–32

Mulick, J. A. (2010). Positive Behavior Support and Applied BehaviorAnalysis. The Behavior Analyst 29 (1), 51–74.