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Idaho State University Offers Minor in Applied Behavior Analysis

September 26, 2022

To help fulfill an increasing need in Idaho, Idaho State University now offers a minor in applied behavioral analysis. 

In 2019 Idaho became one of the last states to have a mandate requiring insurance companies to cover applied behavioral analysis services. Knowing that applied behavioral analysis would be growing in the state of Idaho, the Department of Psychology at Idaho State University wanted to develop a minor that would support students wanting to enter into that field. 

In Spring 2022 the very first class with the Applied Behavioral Analysis Minor in psychology graduated. Every class within the minor is available online, and the courses in the program are in high demand. 

ABA is a therapy based on the science of learning and behavior. Programs in ABA can help learners improve language and communications skills, improve focus and social skills, and decrease problem behaviors. Therapists use ABA to help children with autism and other developmental disorders.

Students in psychology are not the only ones who can benefit from adding this minor to their course of study. The minor is also useful to students in areas such as education, sociology, and social work.

Robert Rieske, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Psychology and Clinical Director, was integral in developing the minor. Graduate students were also involved in the creation of the minor, and in teaching the classes.

“Many students have told me they want to have better skills to be able to meet the needs of the children they work with,” Riseke said

Rieske said that psychology majors with the minor have a direct pathway into employment.

“With this minor in applied behavior analysis and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, students have a direct path to employment in a field that’s very needed here in Idaho,” he said. “We have been developing relationships with developmental disability agencies in the community, and ISU students have a direct pathway to get experience. They are already linked with an employer by the time they graduate.”

Rieske says that ISU students are trying to gain skills that are impactful and help children be more involved in their environment. 

“There are a lot of families in our communities that need help,” he said, “and either they don't know how to get that help, or they're not getting the appropriate help they need. And that's ultimately the goal of this minor, is to provide students with the skills to be able to provide that help.”

“It's so amazing to be able to show families: Look at the progress you've made. Look at all the progress your kiddo has made!”

For more information about the Applied Behavioral Analysis minor, please contact the Department of Psychology at 208-282-2462, or via email at



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