Saint Joseph's University

Autism Studies Certifications

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Autism is a growing concern for families and educators as rates of diagnosis rise: According to the Centers and Disease Control, 1 in 68 children has been identified with the disorder, which occurs across all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines.1 But today there is a greater understanding of the specific needs of autistic individuals, which is driving a need for professionals with expertise in research and best practices related to teaching and caring for them.

To meet this expanding need, Saint Joseph’s University offers a variety of certifications for different educational levels and professional outcomes. The abilities and challenges of each individual with autism spectrum disorder are unique, so these certifications provide a comprehensive education in topics such as behavior analysis and social skills development to prepare you to assist and empower members of this population.


About 44 percent of children diagnosed with ASD have average to above average intellectual ability1.


Boys are 4.5 times more likely to be identified with ASD
than girls1.

Autism Studies Certification (Post-baccalaureate)

This certification curriculum consists of eight courses divided between five courses that provide an introduction to autism theories, techniques, treatment, and therapies and three practicum courses that incorporate field experience. The program thus provides specialized training in areas related to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals with ASD. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) has approved this eight-course sequence as meeting the coursework and the field experience requirements for taking the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) Examination. Students who wish to work with autistic individuals through schools, behavioral health organizations, social services agencies, and community programs as counselors, educators, and interventionists should consider this option.

Certification of Proficiency in Autism Studies

Those who do not have a bachelor’s degree or do not wish to seek BCaBA certification can opt for the Certificate of Proficiency in Autism Studies by taking only the five non-practicum courses in the autism studies program. Please note that financial aid is not available for this option.

What Can I Do with These Certifications?

Graduates of these programs work with autistic individuals in a wide range of settings, from primary schools to mental health facilities. You might teach or work as an aide for children with autism in a special education classroom, or work with adults with autism in social services or community programs. Communicating with and supporting the families and caregivers of autistic individuals is another career path in autism studies. Such certifications can also be an add-on to careers in social work, counseling, human services, and more.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Endorsement (Post-Graduate)

The endorsement is a post-master’s program designed for educators. The curriculum consists of four courses that provide a thorough foundation in the principles, ethics, and methods of best practices in ASD education for individuals of all ages. It promotes teaching skills that fill a growing demand in the special education field for qualified professionals who can provide specialized services for students with ASD. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has officially endorsed this program, signifying that it meets state standards for teaching education in this area.

What Can I Do with an Autism Endorsement?

The National Center for Education Statistics notes that 91 percent of children with autism spend all or part of their school days within general classrooms. The Autism Endorsement can benefit educators who wish to help these students mainstream into the general classroom as well as those who wish to take on specialized roles for students with ASD and other learning disabilities. Coursework provides training in socialization strategies, instructional methodologies, and behavior management, all of which can help students with ASD learn to the best of their abilities as well as gain important life skills. It also positions teachers to become Certified Autism Specialists, a national endorsement from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).

To learn more about the online Autism Studies certifications from Saint Joseph’s University and how they can serve your career goals, call (866) 758-7670 to speak with a Program Manager or request more information below.


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