The first thing I’ll say is that it takes more than just a degree to be a CARD therapist. The qualities required of a successful clinician involve more than what can be summed up under education and experience on a resume.
I think there’s a common misconception that being a therapist is easy. To even be qualified for the position, you must possess a degree in Psychology or related field (senior level undergraduates are also considered), along with at least 6 months of experience working with children with disabilities. Upon hiring, you must pass background clearance and tuberculosis tests. Training? Now that’s a whole other subject! For the first few weeks, you receive intensive training that involves 40 hours of lecture training and 40 hours of fieldwork training provided by a senior therapist. Before being able to independently work 1:1 with a child, you then have to pass a written exam and a field exam. Whew that’s a lot of work!
But that’s just the start of it. The typical work day can be long and arduous, starting as early as 7 in the morning and ending as late as 8pm. You can spend up to 2-3 hours of driving between appointments each day, only to arrive to a home in which the child refuses to run their programs, kicking, screaming, or ignoring you when you try to get their attention. And at the end of the day, you take with you a piece of the frustrations that the families feel, or the overwhelming want for a child’s success. The combination of the long work days and added pressure can mount to quite a tough job, but knowing how much of a difference you make can be tremendously rewarding.
I LOVE my job, and wouldn’t trade it for the world. What I’m trying to get across here is, the people in my field, are changing lives every day. They are here not because it pays a lot of money, or because it’s easy, but because they have a great passion for what they do. They, just like me, become enmeshed in all of the different families they work with, almost as an extension of the families. We watch their children develop and grow, watching them reach their milestones and conquer a program they’ve been working with for a long time. Beyond that, we see a difference, almost daily! Sometimes it’s the small things and sometimes it’s the big ones, but seeing these positive changes in the children we work with gives us a fulfillment that cannot be compared.
So how do I feel about being a CARD therapist? I feel blessed; blessed to be a part of the team that is the leader in ABA Therapy on the planet (CARD), and blessed to be playing a role in changing the lives of children with autism for the better. Want to be a therapist with CARD, or want to have your child in therapy at CARD? Let us know here.