Online Autism Spectrum Disorders Degrees and Programs
Autism is being diagnosed more and more often, and with this increase, there is an increase in demand for those with autism spectrum disorders degrees certifications. Because therapies take many forms, a wide variety of underlying degrees can get you started on adding a suitable credential to your resume.
Notably, the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) field is not a licensed one. Instead, your license, should you need one, will be in education, special education, or a related field. Requirements for the credential will depend not only on which state you’re in, but on which main professional focus you choose.
Many degrees of all levels in autism spectrum disorders are available fully or partially online. To find out how to apply and complete a level in this rewarding field, read the sections below.
If you’re just starting out, it makes sense to go right for a master’s degree, which can allow you to be board certified. However, if you’ve already gotten a degree in a field like special education, speech pathology, or another specialty that is helpful for autistic people, you can add an autism spectrum disorders certification to beef up your original credential. Either choice will expand your career opportunities.
As with other degrees, it is important to make sure that your chosen online program is properly accredited. Thanks to the educational focus of this field of study, accreditation is typically provided by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
Some universities offer online bachelor’s degrees in autism spectrum disorders, but it is quite rare. More commonly, you’ll start out by going for an online degree in special education, general education, or a related field. This will then contribute credits toward a specialized master’s degree or certification.
This is the prime degree for autism spectrum disorder students. It allows the graduate to better focus on the needs of autistic children. Field studies or practicum hours are typically included so that the graduate will have some experience with actual autistic children before going into professional work. Many options allow for the classroom portion of the program to be completed online.
Those who already have degrees in education-based subjects should choose this path, rather than the master’s program. An online certification program will provide several classes directly related to autism spectrum disorder. These will work with the already-obtained educational courses to allow ASD to be added to your resume as a focus of study.
|Bachelor’s Degree||Master’s Degree||Graduate Certificate||Ph.D. or PsyD|
|I am interested in gaining entry-level experience in autism spectrum disorders||x|
|I want to get started in my autism spectrum disorders career before I pursue more education||x|
|I want to pursue a non-patient-facing role||x||x|
|I want to switch to an autism spectrum disorders specialty||x||x|
|I already have a psychology degree and want to gain specialized knowledge in autism spectrum disorders||x||x|
|I want to conduct research on autism spectrum disorders||x||x|
|I want to become a licensed psychologist and treat patients||x|
|I want to work in academia||x|
Since the ASD aspect of a degree is often an add-on to a different degree, these programs work a bit differently from the norm. You’ll get to take online classes that are directly related to this specialty, rather than ones that are only tangentially relevant. However, before you can enter an ASD-specific program, you’ll first need a bachelor’s in a related subject. A bachelor’s isn’t nearly as focused, and will include classes in things like history, English, and math as well as ones that are centered on the degree’s focus.
Bachelor’s Degree – For this field, the underlying bachelor’s is typically education-related. It is typical for 120 credit hours to be required, with the classes spread out so that it’ll be a four-year degree. However, you can take more or fewer credit hours per semester, which will influence the time to graduation accordingly.
Master’s Degree – Master’s degree programs can require as few as 30 credit hours to complete, but they also include mandated practicum experience. The amount of experience involved depends on the school. In these programs, you’ll learn about topics like communicating with ASD students, positive behavior support, and how to help with life skills and transitions. Those who graduate have a better chance of getting into a career involving autistic children.
Certificate Programs – If you already have a master’s degree or greater in a special education or general educational field, you don’t need to get all of the credit hours and practicum experience needed for another master’s. Instead, choose a certificate program to add this skillset to your list of expertise. You may be able to get one with as few as six courses, but the exact number will depend on the school you choose.
At the master’s degree level, clinical experience becomes a requirement. How many hours this entails depends on the university, with some offering 90 hours, others 120 hours, and another, 270 hours. Many universities mention the need for practicum hours without saying how many. Contact the schools you’re interested in to get the full details of their program.
Looking for an online or campus-based applied psychology degree program near you? Browse our state-by-state school listings below.
Jump to Your State Listings
Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.