FranU brings the 1st program of its kind to Louisiana | Unfiltered with Kiran

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 44 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

This statistic represents a huge need for qualified professionals to work in the field. Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University is implementing a one-of-a-kind program to meet the needs.

FranU launches Louisiana’s first Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) university program. The eight-week RBT program will launch in October 2022.

With support from the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation, up to 20 Baton Rouge area students will be selected to receive a 100% tuition discount for the RBT course.

The primary goal of the program is to train students for a career in applied behavior analysis, which is known for its application as a therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders.

“The demand is there,” said Tracy Lepper, Ph.D. and ABA Program Director/Assistant Professor at Will FranU. “I spoke to someone who told me he was going to hire all of our RBTs. I’ve heard clinics say they’re having trouble recruiting and retaining RBTs.

Becoming an RBT does not require a college degree, but Lepper said learning the training in the program will make the transition easier for RBTs.

Most RBT training programs in Louisiana are outsourced to online programs outside of the state. Programs can be difficult to complete and do not provide trainees with hands-on learning experiences.

FranU’s program will include an online component to accommodate adult learners as well as a brief but immersive hands-on component that will take place at the Emerge Center.

During their hands-on experience, students will receive direct supervision as they learn to apply behavioral services to children with autism spectrum disorders. Those who complete the program will be offered immediate employment opportunities through sponsorships with local clinics focused on autism spectrum disorders, according to the Fran U website.

“We want to have training so people feel more comfortable and have job satisfaction,” Lepper said. “The work is challenging and suitable for someone who is compassionate and wants to help others. There is not much knowledge in the community that this is a career path.

As an RBT, the person’s duties would include providing individual therapy. Assistant Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCaBA) are individuals who provide oversight of therapy services, assessments, and monitor and report client progress.

Individuals accredited as Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) oversee all aspects of the services provided. FranU offers the required education for those wishing to pursue a career in ABA, as RBT, BCaBA, and will soon begin accepting applications for its new BCBA program.

According to Glassdoor, the national average annual salary for RBTs is around $37,000.

“We hope to recruit people who may not have seen college as an option or something they saw for their future,” Lepper said. “I think it’s an amazing opportunity.”

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