With the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders on the rise, getting an autism certificate makes sense for both parents and professionals. An autism certificate can help parents better understand their child's disorder, and it can help professionals better serve the children they work with.
Several schools offer you the ability to obtain an autism certificate via the World Wide Web. This gives you the flexibility to complete classes at your convenience, such as when your children are napping or you have a babysitter.
Penn State World Campus
Pennsylvania State University's World Campus offers a graduate certificate in autism studies. This certificate is for professionals or parents who have already obtained a bachelor's degree. The 12-credit program features course on autism spectrum disorders, applied behavioral analysis and communication and social considerations. The courses take about a year to complete and can be used for Act 48 continuing education credits. The program is formatted for completion through DVD courses and online activities; you will communicate with your instructors via email and message boards. The cost of the program as of 2011 is $8,800.
Ball State University
Located in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State University offers an autism certification program completely online. You will be required to take four specific classes, looking at the following concepts:
- Applied Behavior Analysis
- Learning about ASD
- Treatments for ASD
You can complete the certificate program along with the certificate in applied behavior analysis, which will transfer to the master's level program if you choose to continuing educating yourself. The program costs vary from $274 per credit for residents of Indiana and $464 per credit for non-residents, as of 2011. Financial aid, grants and loans are available to help offset the costs of the certificate program.
University of Massachusetts at Lowell
UMass Lowell offers two certificates in autism, both completely online. The first certificate is for a behavioral intervention certificate in autism, and the second is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Two required courses and two elective courses are necessary to complete the autism certificate. The required courses are:
- Introduction to Behavioral Intervention
- Teaching and Positive Behavioral Support
You then choose from nine elective courses to complete your certification. The Board Certified Behavior Analyst requires five courses to complete in order to be eligible for certification through the BACB.
Johns Hopkins University
The certificate program at Johns Hopkins University is an 18-credit program for professionals and educators. An internship or graduate project is required of all students in the program, and a grade of B or higher must be obtained to obtain certification. The program is an intense and medical based program, looking at not just autism but other pervasive developmental disabilities as well. Courses include the following:
- Classroom Programming
- Teaching Communication and Social Skills
- Assistive Technology
- Augmentative Communication Systems
An essay or personal statement is also required, along with a formal application to enter into the graduate certificate program.
National University in California offers an Autism Education Certificate Program for professionals and parents. While courses are offered online, parents and professionals can opt to study on-campus or select an off-site location for groups of 20 people or more. This makes the program ideal for autism support groups or teachers at autistic schools to education themselves about this growing disorder. This is a 12-credit program that focuses on evidence-based interventions and how to collaborate with families and parents to help a child with ASD succeed.
Located in New Hampshire, Anticoh University offers parents and professionals the ability to obtain an autism spectrum disorder certificate from their campus. The courses are delivered on weekends, making it a great program for people who work or have other commitments during the weekday. The program can be completed in nine months time and gives you the option of taking advanced seminars to further enhance your learning about the disorder. The program cost is $700 per credits as of June 2011 (about $8,400) and the continuing education workshops are offered free of charge for students.
Which Should You Choose?
Depending upon your location, you may have no choice other than an online program. Online programs are wonderful for working parents and professionals who are unable to meet the demands of a scheduled program but want the benefits of furthering their education. However, if you are unable to focus and dedicate yourself to doing the work, you may need the discipline of a formal program on-campus to keep you going. Whatever you choose, the knowledge that you are learning, growing and going to be further able to assist your child in being successful should motivate you to do your best no matter what.