Updated: Aug 30, 2022
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Today we are talking with Alle Engdahl about her career as a board certified behavior analyst.
Alle and I are more like family than friends. We grew up in the same home town and our moms are best friends. Now as adults we live in different states doing very different careers. I was so excited when Alle reached out to me about sharing her journey. Becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is not a job you hear about every day and I am so excited to get a behind the scenes look at all that Alle does on a daily basis.
Now let's learn more about Alle...
Name: Alle Engdahl
Board Certified Behavior Analyst - Clinical Supervisor
Years in Current Position: 1.5 years
Where Can You Connect with Alle?
Connect on LinkedIn!
What does a day in the life of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst look like?
I oversee ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapies for children with Autism. A day never repeats in my position. Every day is a new day, with a mix of doing indirect work such as updating files and report writing, and being “out in the field” assessing clients (children on the Autism Spectrum) and training staff on how to implement the client’s goals.
How did your experience in previous roles help you succeed in your current position?
Prior to this role, I was a Behavioral Therapist, as well as a Program Supervisor.
As a Behavioral Therapist I got to run our clients day to day sessions and help them progress on their goals. This direct contact helped me have hands on experience with different ABA techniques.
When I got promoted to Program Supervisor, I got mentorship and experience in making decisions and writing programs that utilize different ABA techniques, and training staff on how to use them. I also became fluent in writing progress reports that get turned into different funders for approval. While this is a tedious process, it is also critical because without it clients would not have services.
Is there any specialty training or area of expertise needed to succeed in your current role?
There are YEARS of training needed for this role. You need at least a Master’s degree, and you need to complete 1500 hours of fieldwork experience, which I completed as a program supervisor. On February 26, 2020 after 8 years in the field I sat for and passed the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam, which qualified me to be promoted to Clinical Supervisor.
How do you think your job will change in the next 5 years?
This field is evolving every day! Research is constant and new literature is being published frequently with studies on different ABA techniques. In 5 years, I imagine our clients will be able to progress even further in a shorter amount of time due to the use of more efficient strategies. That is so exciting to think about!
How did you find this career field?
I found this field through a good family friend and her son. In 2005 he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and I got to sit in on one of his therapy sessions. There was so much fun and play embedded in their time together, and I saw first-hand how much progress he was making. I found my first ABA job as a behavioral therapist in August 2011.
What skills make you successful in your career field?
Being able to multitask and work in a “chaotic” environment is a must for this job! Our clients are children first and foremost, so most of them have a lot of energy! I am always either taking notes or giving feedback, and a lot of the times I have to do that while keeping up with the client’s pace and energy. Even when I am working in the office I am ALWAYS getting interrupted either with a phone call or message to coordinate a special training or help problem solve with a parent or staff member.
What does work/life balance look like in this career field?
Work/life balance in this field is critical. It is also not easy to maintain, because as rewarding as this field can be it can also be equally as draining.
I periodically share what “self-care” looks like for me on social media, as a form of accountability for maintaining a work/life balance. Sometimes the balance is as easy as taking a night to have a good meal and watch a show on Netflix but other times It’s making sure I plan and use my vacation time!
The further I move up in the field, the harder it is to take time off guilt free. But, as a wise friend once told me, “You can’t be a superhero if you don’t take care of yourself!". As a single, childless adult I have more opportunities to take time for myself. So, ask me this question again once I am married with a family!
What has been your most memorable day at work?
My favorite day that I will always remember is the day I passed the BCBA exam. I spent about an hour in my car afterwards crying, laughing, and sharing the good news! Then, I got some chocolate and wine to celebrate!
I also have small moments from work that I will always remember. While it’s always exciting to see clients hit big milestones, being there for the small wins and victories along the way keeps me going!
Where do you see yourself professionally in 5 to 10 years?
In five to ten years, I see myself as a Clinical Director overseeing other Clinical Supervisors and Program Supervisors. In the company I work for we also have Region Training Specialists who focus on training new hires, which is also a possibility for me in 5 to 10 years. I’ve gotten to start training future BCBA’s, and I’ve really enjoyed it! Looking forward to 10 years, I may even be running my own ABA practice…it’s fun to dream big!
What is the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn't learn from your resume?
I have seen the TV show “The Office” all the way through around…five times? I love it!
If you are interested in learning more about Alle and her experience, please feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn. Feel free to mention an Office reference and you will instantly hit it off! There is a button with a direct link at the top of the blog!
If you would like to be featured on the Talent Spotlight Series, please contact me here!
I would love to share your career journey!