The MS CABAC clinical graduate degree program for professionals is the first of its kind offered by a U.S. college or university. The program employs a scientist/practitioner model following the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and evidence based practice. It uses a blended-learning course delivery model consisting of Internet-based courses (both synchronous and asynchronous), 5-day residency lab courses with animals, real-world practicum in the student’s community, and a capstone empirical research project (thesis) designed to fills gaps in the companion animal scientific literature. The program is specifically designed for the working adult who might not otherwise be able to attend a traditional campus-based program.
Graduates are trained to work as companion animal behavior analysts in leadership positions and as part of a behavior management and intervention team that includes the behavior analyst/counselor, the family or facility veterinarian, and the animal’s caregiver(s). Graduates may be employed by animal-related organizations including animal shelters, animal sanctuaries, veterinary practices, animal behavior businesses, humane societies, SPCAs, NGOs, educational institutions, wildlife parks, government animal control organizations, health departments or other such organizations.
Graduates may also enter the profession as self-employed animal behavior professionals and consultants, and as forensic consultants/expert witnesses in animal injury litigation matters; college, university or vocational school adjunct instructors, media consultants and alike.
Veterinarians will be capable of expanding their practice services to include companion animal behavior consulting and treatment. Veterinary technologists will be able to utilize additional skills in their current practice or in private practice working from their homes.
The curricula explores companion animal behavior and behavior change including learned and heritable behavior, species-specific behavior, functional behavioral assessment and the analysis of behavior problems, measurement and graphing of behavior using quantifiable methodologies, development of positive behavioral intervention plans, psychopharmacological intervention when prescribed by a licensed veterinarian, caregiver counseling and ethical/best practice. Graduates should come away from the program with an understanding of the societal value of the human-animal bond, the value of the companion animal in the family unit, as well as the cultural and ethical issues related to companion animal welfare. This prepares graduates to become powerful behavior change agents for the animal and within the society and community in which they live.
Species Specialization- In addition to the core courses, students will elect to study three (3) species, e.g. canine, feline, equine and/or avian. Each species will require a classroom course designed to provide students with a foundation in understanding the species, a 5-day residency lab course with animals and externship practicum.
5-day Faculty Lead Academic Residency Lab Courses with Animals - Upon the satisfactory completion of online classroom core and elective courses, students will register for and attend three 5-day, 45 hour faculty lead academic residency lab course with animals. Courses are presently held at the college 20-acre Dream Pond Science Field Station and Reserve in Florida and at the Best Friends Society Sanctuary in Utah. Venues are subject to change. This is a unique opportunity for students to apply the theory learned from online coursework to real-world situations with animals under faculty supervision. Students will handle animals, work with training equipment, perform function based assessments (FBAs), formulate hypotheses, test the hypotheses through phase changes, and develop behavior intervention plans BIPs. Baseline and intervention data will be graphed in the field on laptops to demonstrate behavior change and trends. Students will develop skill sets for caregiver training to teach caregivers how to implement and monitor the BIPs. Clinical behavior reports for the family or facility veterinarian will also be written.
Externship Practicum Capstone in your Community - The final capstone requirement for this program involves two 90 hour externship practicums with the elected species specialization. This is usually completed in the student's community. The student will identify a facility, practice or animal behavior professional to work with. The student's faculty adviser will vet the supervisor and agreements with learner outcomes will be established. The student will communicate weekly with the faculty adviser via an online classroom and submit a project report at the end of the semester.
Upon successful completion of the MS CABAC program, graduates will have satisfied the theoretical and practical requirements for professional credentialing as a Board Certified Companion Animal Behavior Analyst (MS, BCCABA) granted by the Board of Professional Certification of the Association of Companion Animal Behavior Counselors (ACABC). See the ACABC Web site for membership information, dues and certification fees. Graduates may also qualify for similar professional credentials with other animal behavior professional membership organizations.