Student Spotlight

For Full-Time Behavioral Therapist, Brandman’s Online ABA Program is the Right Choice

May 08, 2019 by Cathi Douglas
Juan Lopez lauded Brandman University's online program for the flexibility to work full time and spend time with his family.        

When Juan Lopez learned about Brandman University’s online Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program, he thought it might be the solution to his quandary.

With three children still living at home, Lopez needed to work full-time, but dreamed of earning his ABA certification so he could progress in his chosen field. He ultimately wants to earn his Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification and work as a consulting behavioral therapist specializing in treating people with disabilities.

“Brandman has the flexibility that allowed me to continue to work full-time in order to provide for my family,” Lopez says. “At the same time, I was able to take my courses from the comfort of my home, where I was also able to be close to my family.”

It wasn’t unusual for him to do his classwork sitting at the kitchen table next to his daughter, who would ask him occasional questions about her assignments.


Attending classes from home
“Doing the online ABA program allowed me to come home after a full day’s work instead of going to a physical campus that would prevent me from being near my children and helping them with their homework.”


The Brandman program, offered by the School of Extended Education, is completely online and students participate in a conference call with a professor that includes a joint discussion every two weeks.

He looks forward to supervising several cases once he completes his remaining supervised hours, Lopez says. “Thanks to the ABA program, I have been given the opportunity for career advancement at my job.”

Like Lopez, most ABA students are working professionals. In addition to the streamlined time frame for completion, the program is attractive because it is affordable and offers one class at a time, giving students the opportunity to fully concentrate on what they’re learning.

Having already earned a master’s degree in general psychology, Lopez says, he was interested when colleagues first advised him to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). 


In doing assessments as a certified behavioral therapist Lopez gives parents an analysis of their child’s functional abilities and offers suggestions on how to improve them. He has been working in the field for six years.


Juan working at Star of CAOnce he enrolled in the Brandman program, Lopez says, he was able to use what he learned in class in his work the same day.


Lopez recalls becoming interested in a career in behavioral therapy when he was a substitute teacher and had the opportunity to work with children with autism. After landing an entry-level job as a behaviorist he found that he wanted to continue with his studies.


“Understanding that I am able to change and help a child’s outcome in life motivated me to further my education, and that’s when I made the decision to pursue my BCBA,” he notes.


“I have been working in different fields throughout my life,” he adds. “A career in ABA didn’t cross my mind at the beginning. I started working as a behavioral therapist to bring extra income home. I enjoyed the job, especially working with children. I was inspired to dig deeper in the field by the improvement that I witnessed in a few children’s lives.”


One of his most memorable experiences was when he witnessed the happiness on a mother’s face when she came home to find out that her son could ride a bike. “Her tears of happiness made my day.”


Click here for more information about Brandman University’s ABA Graduate Certificate program.

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