Behavioral Intervention in Autism Certificate with BCBA Coursework Preparation FAQ's

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Frequently Asked Questions About Certificate, Certification, and Degrees:

  1. What is the difference between the certificate and certification?

    The certificate is designed for people who do not have a master's degree, and who are interested in gaining some knowledge and skill in this area to enhance their resume, or who wish to work towards starting to earn a master's degree. Certification by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board as a Behavior Analyst is only available for people who already possess a master's degree and who already have, or will be able to obtain, supervised experience in applied behavior analysis.

  2. What about certification as an Assistant Behavior Analyst?

    For students who do not yet have a master's degree, BACB provides for certification as an Assistant Behavior Analyst. Although only 3 courses (135 hours) are needed, the configuration of our courses is such that it still takes all 5 of our courses to meet all of BACB's specific requirements.

  3. I want to be certified as a Behavior Analyst, but I do not have a master's degree; can you help?

    We do have an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction/Autism Studies. Students who have completed our 4-course certificate are eligible to apply, and if accepted, their 4 courses will probably be accepted toward the 30-credit master's. Please be aware that this is not a teacher-licensure program. View  for more information.

  4. I have already taken a course in ABA; do I still need to take your Introduction course?

    If you have completed an appropriate course (work experience is not sufficient) in ABA and have knowledge of or experience with autism, we can waive the first course and allow you to begin with 47.562. However, if you are seeking certification as a Behavior Analyst, please note that our waiver of a requirement does not mean that BACB will recognize your prior coursework; you must consult BACB to determine whether other courses you have taken are acceptable and which of their required hours you have satisfied and still need to satisfy.

  5. Can I substitute other courses for certification?

    For BACB Certification you must consult BACB to determine whether other courses taken are suitable and which of their requirements, if any, other courses might meet.

  6. How do I get supervised experience?

    We do not provide any form of supervised training or supervision. If you are looking to fulfill the training and experience requirements establish by BACB (which you must do before you are eligible to take the BCBA exam), you have to do this on your own. And note that the Board says that you cannot begin to accumulate experience until you have begun the coursework; prior experience will not count.

  7. Does UML offer any assistance in site placement or locating a supervisor?

    Not at this time. The BACB website does list very specific requirements for the type of supervised experience you must have, and it also contains a search-able database of BCBAs who may be available to provide supervision.

  8. How have your students done when taking the BACB exam?

    Our courses are rigorous and have been developed and are taught by BCBAs who are very familiar with the BACB exam, so we are confident that are students will do well. Because our program began in September of 2005, we have only just recently had students who were eligible to take the exam. So far, 22 of 24 have reported passing, which is a 91.7% pass rate.

  9. Can I transfer the credits I earn in this program toward any degree at UMass Lowell?

    There is currently no Psychology degree program at UMass Lowell to which you can transfer credits. We do have a master's program in Community Social Psychology, and you can transfer one BIA course toward that degree. Our Graduate School of Education has an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction/Autism Studies toward which these credits may be transferred, but please note that this degree is an education degree and is designed for classroom teachers.

  10. Can I transfer the credits I earn in this program toward a degree program at another school?

    UMass Lowell is a fully accredited institution, and as long as you earn a grade of B or better you can usually petition to transfer credits toward a relevant degree (i.e. Special Education, Applied Behavioral Analysis). However, the decision about accepting transfer credits is always up to the other college or university.

  11. How will this program help me with my career?

    The need for well-qualified people in this field is growing dramatically, and we believe that our courses will provide significant career enhancement for those already in the field, especially for those able to go on to become certified as Behavior Analysts or Associate Behavior Analysts. However, entry-level requirements vary enormously from one state to another and from one employer to another, and these courses alone, in the absence of any other degree or license or experience, might not be enough to qualify you to begin working in this field.

Frequently Asked Questions About Application Requirements and Registration:

  1. What is the minimum education requirement to take these courses?

    These are all graduate level courses, so you must already possess a bachelor's degree (in any field), and it should include some background in the psychology of child development (but this can be waived if you have already had experience in the field, or if you already hold a master's degree).

  2. I'm a parent; am I allowed to take these courses?

    We have had many parents take at least the first course in our sequence, and they tell us it has been helpful. However, all students must meet the minimum eligibility requirements listed above.

  3. How do I apply?

    If you are pursuing BACB certification as a Behavior Analyst, you do not need to apply initially for the graduate certificate; you merely need to register for courses. However, before you will be able to register for your 3rd course with us, our Graduate School rules require that you be matriculated in the certificate program.

  4. Can I still apply for the certificate right away anyway?

    Absolutely, but remember, the certificate only requires 4 courses, but for certification you will still need to take all 5 certification courses. To apply for the certificate program go to Scroll down to find the links to the HTML or PDF versions of the application form.

  5. How do I register for courses?

    Returning students can register using ISIS self-service, while new students must use the New Student Registration Form.
    Note: If you previously completed an academic program through UMass Lowell but haven't already applied and been accepted into this program, please use the Non Degree Registration Form to register. That link will also describe for you a series of steps you have to complete after you submit the form; you must complete these steps to be able to access the course when the semester begins. After your first semester, you will use our ISIS system on-line to register for courses.

  6. Will I need to have a site to work at and a supervisor?

    No. These courses may allow you the opportunity to discuss work experiences or cases you are familiar with, but none of our courses has a field work requirement.

  7. When can I start the program?

    You may start in any one of our three academic semesters: Fall begins in early September, Spring begins in late January, and Summer begins in late May.

  8. How long will the BACB certification program take to complete?

    The five course certification program can be completed in anywhere from three to five semesters. Note that UMass Lowell's calendar consists of three semesters per year: Fall, Spring, and Summer.

  9. What is the cost of each course?

    Each course is a 3-credit, graduate-level course. As of June 2016, graduate online tuition is $570 per credit hour, which brings the total cost of a 3-credit online graduate course to $1710, plus a $30 registration fee each semester and a one-time New Student Fee of $200. Bills are generated soon after you register, and bills must usually be paid in full by about the 6th week of the semester; we are unable to make any arrangements for deferred payments or payment plans. Payments may be made by credit card.

  10. Is there financial assistance available?

    Financial assistance is only available in the form of student loans, and it is only available to students admitted into the certificate program who are taking at least two courses.

  11. Is the program completely online?

    All certification courses are fully online.

  12. Are these course self-paced?

    No, our courses follow the academic calendar at UMass Lowell. Courses begin in early September, late January, and mid May. Students begin the course with their classmates and continue together throughout the 12 to 14 week semester.

  13. How does the distance learning program work?

    In many respects an online course is like an on-campus course. As the semester progresses week by week, materials are released online and students log in during the week to review online "lectures," complete any assignments that may be coming due, and participate in an online discussion board, view video materials, take exams, communicate with the instructor and other students, etc.

  14. Do I ever have to log on at a particular time?

    Our online courses do have weekly live text-based chats at designated times, and these chats can help students to feel more connected to the instructor and each other. But we use them like office hours, and they are not required; if you cannot attend, you will be able to review chat logs, and there will be no effect on your course grade.

  15. What are the technical requirements for accessing your online courses?

    You must have access to a computer: PC users must have Windows XP or higher, and Mac users must be OS 10.6 or higher. Your computer must have a browser (Internet Explorer 8 or higher, most recent version of Safari or most recent version of Mozilla Firefox). You must have an e-mail address and a current e-mail account, and you need to be cautious about how your e-mail is configured to block spam, and whether it rejects messages if your mailbox is full. You must have a connection to the Internet - DSL or Cable. You must have the most recent version of Java installed and running, and you must disable any pop-up blockers. If you use a computer from work, you may need to check with IT staff there concerning potential firewall issues.

  16. Do I have to come to campus at all?

    Our programs can be completed entirely online, and there is no requirement to ever come to campus.

  17. How much time will each course require?

    Keeping up with a course and all its readings and assignments will typically require 10 to 12 hours per week.

  18. How are students from different time zones accommodated?

    Online courses are designed to be almost entirely asynchronous, which means that every aspect of the course is available over a span of time on a week-to-week basis, during which you can connect on your own schedule. For example, our online courses put a lot of emphasis on discussion boards. Questions are posted at the beginning of the week and students have the entire week to post their responses. Courses may sometimes have a live chat at a designated time, but live chats are usually optional.

  19. Are there required readings for these courses? How do I access these readings?

    Yes, all of these courses include fairly extensive readings- most required, some suggested. Readings will usually be in books available for purchase through UMass Lowell's online bookstore or elsewhere. Because these are graduate level courses, required readings will also consist of primary source materials from scientific and professional publications; we are usually able to make copies of these readings available to students as part of the online course or through internet links.

  20. Will I have an instructor?

    Yes, all these online courses are taught by BCBA-level instructors with doctorate degrees in Psychology. Each course is usually limited to no more than 25 students, and our instructors become very actively involved with their students to help ensure that everyone succeeds.

  21. How do I communicate with my professors and classmates?

    Communications are entirely through e-mail, text chat, and discussion board postings.

Please note that the tuition and fees are subject to change. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this website. However, Continuing Education reserves the right to make changes of any nature in its program, calendar, locations, tuition, and fees. Whenever possible, appropriate notice of such changes will be given before they become effective.

Apply Into the Program

Apply Online or complete and submit the Graduate Certificate Application form (pdf).

For further details visit UMass Lowell's Graduate Admissions.

Register for Courses

Approximately 2 months prior to the start of each semester, Online and Continuing Education posts the new course schedule to the website. Once you've decided which course(s) you would like to take, returning students can register using SIS self-service, while new students must use the Non Degree Registration Form.

Note: If you previously completed an academic program through UMass Lowell
but haven't already applied and been accepted into this program, please use the Non Degree Registration Form to register.

Questions? Contact Us!

Email our for assistance, or call for advising at (978) 934-2240 for advising. For general questions, please call (800) 480-3190 and press 1 to speak with an advisor. See links at the bottom of this page for technical assistance with your online course.

Certificate Completion

Once you have completed all the courses in this graduate certificate program, please complete and either mail or fax the Graduate Certificate Clearance Form to the Registrar's Office.