How do I become an Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist?

In general, Autism Spectrum Disorder covers a wide array of neurological conditions that can either severely or mildly affect a child’s, or even an adult’s, ability to cope with the everyday activities of life. Most often, they have difficulties with communication, their emotions, understanding instructions and relating to other people.

As an Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist, you have chosen a rewarding, yet challenging career. You will be pivotal in changing the life of a child and guiding them into adulthood. As ASD now affects one in every 68 children, the demand for students graduating with an online master’s degree in Autism Spectrum Disorders is widespread, therefore, creating lucrative job opportunities in this field.

The desired degree, of course, for this position is a master’s degree in which you may then choose an area of concentration. Due to the growing need for treatment and care of Autism patients, many colleges and universities are offering a specialization in ASD as part of the degree plan. Through this specific course of work, you will learn how to meet the needs of your autistic clients whether it be in the classroom or in their home. Previous requirements for earning your online master’s degree in Autism Spectrum Disorder will include a bachelor’s degree related to education of psychology, in addition to some practical teaching experience.

Other degree options may include a special education degree or a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis to afford you other job opportunities in mental health clinics, hospitals or long-term behavioral facilities.

Students will gain valuable practical experience by working an internship in a healthcare or school setting or by volunteering their time in social service organizations. If you can work in more than one internship over the course of your program, it will be very helpful to you and your resume.

Each Autism Spectrum Disorder student will, upon graduation, be expected to pass the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination. To qualify to take the exam, you must have graduated with your master’s degree, completed required coursework and performed the required number of hours of work under supervision in a health/Autism related field of work.

Your primary responsibilities as an ASD Specialist will include evaluating Autism clients to determine their degree of severity on the spectrum, collaborating with other therapists and doctors to develop an individualized plan of action, developing a monitoring plan and providing educational support for your client. An ASD Specialist works very closely with families of loved ones with Autism to assure them a happy home life and helps them learn to interact with fellow students or others in their community.

The typical salary for an Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist ranges from between $56,800 annually for someone in a special education teacher capacity to $76,040 per year in a clinical, counseling or school psychologist position. All salaries depend on your educational degree, experience, certifications, location and the individual employer.

Please check your state’s laws governing the regulations, certification and license requirements to practice as an Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist in your area. If you would like to learn more about earning your online master’s degree in Autism Spectrum Disorders, feel free to check out our Best Online Schools regarding this area of expertise.