Great beginnings in the field of ABA: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I can’t even begin to spell out all the ways showing others respect will pay off for you beginning a career. For me, in addition to being an enthusiastic learner, being respectful will get you face time with me over credentials or accolades any day of the week.

What does respect look like? Here are my pointers for making a great first impression and maintaining the great beginning as you start in the field of behavior analysis:

● Greetings – you may initially reach out to someone by phone or email. Start with a well-thought-out and polite greeting – and don’t forget to address with Mr., Ms., or Dr. When meeting someone, eye contact, firm handshakes, and again using the proper title.

● Timeliness – ask for a meeting at their convenience and keep the meeting short 10-20 minutes. Arrive early – show someone his or her time is valuable to you. Keep meetings efficient and do not take more time than scheduled.

● Preparedness – Do your homework ahead of time. Do you know what you need from this person and why you need it? Ask specifically for what you need and what you are prepared to do to make that easy for them. Always bring what you need – express your desire to learn by having notepad and pen (and anything else you may need) readily available. I like spiral-bound hardback notebooks.

A worst-case scenario: you arrive 5 minutes late saying, “I’m so sorry” and then can’t find your pen. Automatically I no longer want to help you out. On the other hand, best-case scenario: you arrive 10 minutes early, address me politely with a firm handshake, thank me for my time and come prepared with pen and notepad – each time we meet!

At the end of 2019 there were almost 38,000 Board Certified Behavior Analysts and more than 70,000 Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs). Over 70,000 RBTs certified in the last five years! Not all BCBAs are willing or qualified to supervise others, meaning that there are far more supervisees than supervisors – you’ll do well to bear that in mind as you seek opportunities. Set yourself apart, in a positive way. Best of luck in your behavior analysis beginning, I know you can do it right!

Find more details about how to begin well and why it is important in the book Beyond Coursework. Available soon.