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Three-year Advanced Diploma & Fast-Track Options

1.   Why would I want to choose this program?

  • It’s the most established Behavioural Science program in Canada and has been around since 1971
  • You will receive over 1,000 hours of practicum training across four placements if you are in the diploma program and over 700 hours of practicum training across three placements if you are in the Fast-Track program.
  • All faculty in the program have worked in the field and have over 50 years of combined clinical (real-world) experience.
  • Training in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) in considered best practice across the province and the country.
  • Our program is consistently rated as one of the top college programs in the province.
  • We have established articulation agreements with other post-secondary institutions.

2.   How do I know if this program is a good fit for me or if I would be better for one of the other Community Services programs instead?

  • Other programs at the college train you to work with a narrower range of clients by using a variety of techniques. The Behavioural Science Technology (BST) program trains you to work with anyone who displays interfering or challenging behaviour(s) or anyone who needs to learn a new skill(s) by applying specific and evidenced-based scientific techniques to change the behaviour and the environment. It’s a good idea to research the following topics: applied behaviour analysis, cognitive behaviour therapy, clinical behavioural science, and contextual behavioural science to see if these techniques and topics would be interesting for you to study before you decide to take the program. 
  • ABA is a very specific field in psychology and our program trains individuals to become behaviour therapists/analysts. While our students learn counselling techniques so that they can work more effectively with clients, our program does not train students to become generalist counsellors or therapists. Students who are interested in becoming counsellors should explore the required post-secondary education needed to work in these positions.

3.   What do I need to apply to the program?

Please see the Admission Requirements:

    • Behavioural Science Technology (Advanced Diploma program)
    • Behavioural Science Technology (Fast-Track program)

4.   I don’t have the necessary admission requirements to apply. Can I still get into the program?

  • Given the intensity of the program, we require specific admission requirements. Applicants to either the diploma or Fast-Track program have to meet the minimum requirements to apply. If you don’t have the required admission requirements then you cannot apply to the program.

5.   I have a diploma from another program. Is there a way for me to apply with advanced standing or apply to the Fast-Track program?

  • If you have a diploma from another program then you may be able to receive transfer credits to apply to certain courses in specific semesters.  While this may help to lighten your course load in a semester(s) there is no way to progress through the program in a shorter time period. It will still take three years to complete the program.
  • Admission to the Fast-Track program requires a degree in psychology or a related discipline from university. Students in the Fast-Track program are provided with the opportunity to earn the equivalent of a three-year diploma in ten months and therefore require specific undergraduate course work that is not offered in other diploma programs.

6.   I have previous experience in the field. Can I use this to be exempted from course work or to advance through the diploma program in an accelerated way?

  • Prior experience in the field is certainly an asset to a student’s success in the program. Unfortunately previous work experience is not considered equivalent to academic course work. Work experience cannot therefore be used as an exemption unless the student has completed the college’s Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) process. Even if a student is successful in obtaining credit for work experience through the PLAR process, this will not shorten the length of time it takes to complete the program. 

7.   I am interested in applying to the program however would like to take the course work on a part time basis or via correspondence. Is this possible?

  • At this time there are no distance education options for the program or specific course work. If you are interested in taking course work in ABA then you could check out other distance learning sites such as: http://www.autismtrainingsolutions.com

8.   Once I graduate, which fields could I work in?

  • Education
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Autism
  • Acquired Brain Injury
  • Mental Health
  • Vocational training
  • Addictions
  • Geriatrics/Long term care
  • Forensics/Corrections

9.   If I take the program will I be able to get a job in the field?

  • Our graduate employment rates for 2012/2013 were 93% for the diploma program and 100% for the Fast-Track program.
  • While our statistics are high, it’s important for graduates to remember that, as with any employment sector, the ability to be flexible is key when looking for employment. Our graduates are in high demand and some students gain employment directly from their placement experience(s). Given the fact that mental health and community services are fields that rely heavily on government funding, it’s important for graduates to be knowledgeable about which sectors have a higher demand for our graduates than others and to be willing to work in these fields if necessary. Students who gain employment in the field post graduation are those who are willing to start with part-time and/or contract work and who are initially open to taking jobs that might not be in their preferred treatment area. Students are also encouraged to consider work outside of the Kingston area as many exciting opportunities can be found in other cities across the province.

10.   How much are starting salaries in the field?

  • Each sector is different and graduates should expect to find some variance in salaries. Some sectors provide better salary and benefits than others but generally the field of human services will not lead to large, substantial salaries. Starting salaries in most fields are $30,000 - 35,000/year based on full-time positions.

11.   What can I expect as a student in the program?

  • The diploma program is challenging and requires that students have good organizational, time management and analytical skills. Some students who come directly from high school to the diploma program find that they have to adjust to a new way of learning and to new academic expectations.  It’s important for students who enter a college program to understand that they will be responsible for their own learning and that deadlines are important to meet. It is generally recommended that students work no more than 10-15 hours per week if they expect to be successful in this program.
  • The Fast-Track program is a challenging and intensive program. Students coming from university usually expect that a college program will be academically less challenging than their undergraduate work was however it is advised that students prepare themselves for the rigor of this program. Students in the Fast-Track program take a combination of second and third-year course work and are in class a minimum of 35 hours per week. This does not include time required outside of class to do assignments and study for tests. There are usually several assignments and tests due each week and it is generally recommended that students in the Fast-Track program do not work at all during the academic terms.

12.   Where will I be able to do my placements and who determines where my placements are?

  • Students in the diploma program are required to complete the first two of four placements in an educational setting and students in the Fast-Track program are required to complete the first of three placements in an educational setting in order to acquire the skills necessary to be ready to complete placements in other sectors.
  • If students are able to meet specific requirements in their educational placement settings, then they will be considered for other types of placements. Students provide their areas of interests for subsequent placements however program faculty are responsible to assign students to specific placement sites. This is to ensure that the appropriate students are matched to each site and to optimize each student’s success on placement. 

13.   Once I graduate from the BST program, can I get advanced standing in the Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Psychology program offered at SLC?

  • At this time there is no articulation agreement between the diploma program and the degree program however the college is working to see how an articulation agreement might possibly work between the two programs. This is however expected to take some time to establish.
  • Many of our graduates successfully go on to complete their degree in psychology or sociology at university. Most institutions will provide graduates who have a three-year advanced diploma with credit for their first year of a three or four-year undergraduate degree. Some students have been able to successfully secure more credit than just one full year but each post-secondary institution varies and graduates would need to explore options available to them.

14.    Does the BST program have an approved course sequence approval through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)?

  • There is an increased demand in the fields of autism and developmental disabilities for practitioners to be Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA’s) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA’s). While we do not have an approved course sequence with the BACB, our program provides students with sound training in ABA. Some graduates who have completed our diploma program and  then gone on to complete an undergraduate degree and the required supervised hours, have been able to sit for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board exam to become Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts. The training they received with our program qualifies for the necessary ABA course training that must be received in order to qualify for this level of certification.
  • Graduates of the Fast-Track program who already have a degree in psychology would need to still obtain the required supervised hours to sit for the exam however, the course content they take as part of the BST program qualifies as the necessary ABA course training required by the BACB.

15.   I would like more information about the program, how to apply or about St. Lawrence College. How do I go about getting this information?

  • The best place to start is to connect with a College Career Advisor at dreamit@sl.on.ca.