Lehigh to offer approved course sequence in behavior analysis


Courtesy of Lehigh University College of Education

Lehigh’s College of Education has received approval to offer a six-course, 18-credit sequence toward the Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, or BACB, approved the course sequence, which will provide a concentration of coursework in behavior analysis.

Course sequence coordinator Brenna Wood said the College of Education has a focus on behavioral support and that it made sense to pursue BACB approval for the coursework. The courses are offered to graduate students and returning alumni. 

Wood said if students are interested in pursuing a BCBA that, in addition to the approved course sequence, additional requirements for eligibility are needed to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination. Those interested in taking the BCBA exam must also have at least an acceptable master’s degree from an accredited university and a defined period of supervised practical experience. Ongoing ethical compliance is also required for BACB certification eligibility.

Wood said school psychologists, special educators and individuals interested in providing behavior support to people with disabilities such as autism are just a few people who can benefit from taking the approved course sequence. She said those interested in working with individuals with behavior support needs should consider taking the new courses because there is an increasing demand among employers for behavioral analysts who can address challenging behavior.

Beth Pelton, an academic coordinator for undergraduate programs, said the process of implementing a new program can be a lengthy one. There are six different stages of review to formulate a new degree taking place from October to May. Two separate committees and the board of trustees make the final decision.

Pelton said she was excited to find out about the approved course sequence because new programs are not often implemented into the curriculum. She said once a program has been implemented, it is rarely removed due to the amount of research conducted before it starts.

Kim McCombs, ’14, said she completed her master’s and returned to take the approved course sequence.

“I was excited that I was going to complete the applied behavioral analysis program at a nationally recognized college of education,” McCombs said. “I knew I could go online, but to have the opportunity to learn from leading researchers and practitioners in the field, in my mind, strengthens the program.”

McCombs said she originally saw the program and a way to properly address behaviors or her students with autism. She said the more she worked in her school, the more she realized how behavior analysts can help other students as well. 

“In my mind, finding a way to help others lead a happy, healthy and productive life is part of what we are responsible for as teachers and as human beings,” McCombs said.

The behavior analyst classes can be incorporated into a special education master’s degree. The College of Education also plans to implement a supervised practicum within the next year to further support students pursuing careers in behavior analysis. The course hours of the new sequence can be applied to fulfill some requirements of becoming licensed as a Pennsylvania behavior specialist.

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1 Comment

  1. Robert Davenport on

    I was interested in seeing if behavior analysis included why members of a group are interested in hazing potential members to the point of injury and death (as in the death of a Florida A&M band member, local to Atlanta, GA, beaten to death by other band members). I’m thinking some people have a twisted idea of what fun is.

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