How do I earn an online Master’s degree in Autism Spectrum Disorder?

If you have a desire to help children and adults on the autism spectrum, then you may want to consider earning an online master’s degree in the Autism Spectrum Disorder program. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, unfortunately, reports an increase in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD affects one out of every 68 children. If you enjoy working with children, this statistic, due to the fact that autism is the fastest growing disorder in our nation, assures that professionals in this particular field are much needed and are in demand. With your master’s degree, you will learn valuable skills to help people with ASD cope with everyday life.

The spectrum covers individuals that have either Autism Disorder or Asperger’s Syndrome and other neurological disorders. Although they display behavior problems such as social and interactive behaviors, as well as restricted or repetitive behaviors, they also can possess extraordinary talents in intelligence, music or art.

Upon earning your bachelor’s degree, the typical degree essential for working with ADS patients requires an online master’s degree in Autism Spectrum Disorder or some other field of applied behavioral analysis.

Programs in ASD place a significant importance on coursework related to the learning ability, characteristics and development of the patient with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.  Courses cover behavior assessment and sensory support, alternative communication skills, positive behavior support and intervention techniques, amongst others.  The skills to be learned in this program include knowledge of therapy and counseling, psychology, service orientation, judgment and decision making, critical thinking and complex problem solving, speaking, listening and writing skills, social perceptiveness, intervention methods, reading comprehension, in addition to, computer skills relating to databases and medical and presentation software.

Most students enrolled in the online master’s program in Autism Spectrum Disorders are also required to fulfill an internship in a field relating to ASD. At some colleges and universities, your field experience will also count as program credits. In an internship, you will gain hands-on experience dealing with young children and adults diagnosed with neurological disorders.

There are several careers that you may be interested in when considering your online master’s degree in Autism Spectrum Disorder. The ASD professional is sometimes placed in school settings as teachers or student aids to help students with Autism. Some degree holders become Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist or Licensed Behavioral Therapists. You may also choose to work in a residential center helping all ages of patients learn to become more independent and socially acceptable. As a therapist, you will be very involved in the lives of your patients and their families by providing support and educational information and creating an individualized plan of care that is conducive to their needs.

Just as becoming a school teacher needs licensure, so does the Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist and the Behavioral Therapist. A passing score on the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam is required along with your master’s degree, however, you will need to check your state’s regulations for specific information pertaining to the exam and degree requirements.

For your convenience, we have compiled a list of the Top 15 Best Online Schools for earning your Master’s degree in Autism Spectrum Disorders to help you along your educational journey.