Part of being a military spouse involves relocating frequently, sometimes with little notice. Moving often can be exciting and difficult. Who doesn’t want to see the world and have someone pay the relocation costs? However, it can impact the military spouse’s career, leading to gaps between jobs, working several different types of jobs, sometimes holding multiple to make ends meet. And often, working at a job that is not in the field they desire to work in.
I feel very fortunate to have lived in multiple places, including Germany, Georgia, and Colorado. I would not have been able to live in these places if it was not for my husband’s career in the Army. Although I enjoy moving and experiencing life in different places, moving has definitely impacted my career. There were a few times I had to put my education and career goals on hold, which meant I started my career later than most friends my age.
Fortunately, I finally found a career field that is in high demand! When my husband mentions the possibility of future moves, my anxiety is much lower than in the past because I do not have to stress as much about continuing my career elsewhere.
I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and I supervise, implement, and devise Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programming for children, adolescents, and adults with autism and related disorders. ABA is used in many settings, across a wide range of populations.
Funding provided for ABA services varies depending on rank and military status (i.e., retired, active duty, reserves) and due to the funding TRICARE provides for ABA, there are often several ABA providers near military bases. Most ABA providers have a waitlist for clients because they do not have enough BCBAs to serve all of their clients.
This means being a BCBA and living near military bases can be beneficial because there’s likely multiple options for work, as well as the possibly of working privately. There are also opportunities for a BCBA to work in schools, hospitals, the criminal justice system, with animals, and many other settings. Depending on their experience in the field and the role of the BCBA in the company they work for, salaries can range from $50,000 to $100,000 a year.
There are a few different routes to become a BCBA. You must have a Master’s degree in a field accepted by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Fields accepted are usually in the areas of education, child development, autism, behavior analysis, psychology, etc., and there is some flexibility. You must also complete the required behavior analysis courses, complete supervision hours, and pass the BCBA exam, which had a 65% pass rate in 2015. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board website provides very detailed information about how to become credentialed and also provides information on college and university programs that are accepted by the board, along with their individual exam pass rates.
Have you ever considered work in Behavior Analysis? If not, maybe now you will! To make things even more interesting, the National Military Family Association offers funding and scholarships to help you reach your goals.
Whether you want to go back to school, seek a new certification, or take classes to advance your career, you can apply today for an NMFA Military Spouse Scholarship. Funding can be used towards:
- Undergraduate Degrees
- Graduate Degrees
- Continuing Education
- Clinical Supervision for Mental Health Licensure
- Business Expenses
- And more!
Posted by Amanda Oakley, MEd, BCBA, and NMFA Scholarship Recipient