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Add a Sleep Consulting Certification to Your Applied Behavior Analyst (ABA) Resume and Make More ...

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

If you’re an Applied Behavior Analyst (ABA) looking to add on a credential not only to make more money, but to also help your patients better, look no further than becoming a certified sleep consultant with The Collective for Family Rest and Wellness’s online sleep consultant certification course.

As the founders of this program (Ashley Olson and Katelyn Thompson), we’ve seen a lot of sleep consultants and know a lot of sleep consultants over our combined ten years of experience in the sleep consulting industry.

And, we have to say, some of the best certified sleep consultants are, concurrently, or formerly, Applied Behavior Analysts (ABAs).

What makes a good Applied Behavior Analyst?

A good Applied Behavior Analyst (ABA) has the following characteristics:

Analytical abilities: ABAs need to be skilled at assessing data and using that knowledge to decide on behavior treatments.

ABAs must pay close attention to detail because they frequently work with complex data sets and need to be able to spot patterns and trends.

Empathy: As they work with people who have a range of behavioral issues, ABAs must be able to comprehend and empathize with their clients.

Flexibility: Since there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for behavior difficulties, ABAs must be able to modify their strategy to match the particular needs of each client.

Patience: Since behavior modification can be a gradual process, ABAs must be persistent and patient.

Strong communication abilities: ABAs must be able to communicate clearly with the people they are caring for, including the people they are caring for, their families, and other professionals.

Helping others with a genuine desire is a must for ABAs who want to improve the lives of the people they work with.

Even while these characteristics are not exclusive to ABAs, having them can help someone succeed in this industry.

What makes a good certified sleep consultant?

Certified pediatric sleep consultants are experts who collaborate with parents to help kids form sound sleeping habits. These consultants provide parents who are having a hard time with their child's sleeping habits with assistance, advice, and guidance. If you possess these qualities, you might make a great certified sleep consultant!

Expertise and knowledge

An excellent pediatric sleep consultant should be well-versed in the subject and well qualified. They ought to be well-versed in the science of sleep, including its various stages, cycles, and sleep disorders. Additionally, they must be up to date on the most recent findings and advancements in the industry and be able to use this information to benefit their clients.

Need an evidence-based sleep consultant certification program? Look no further.

Superior Communication Skills

Any certified pediatric sleep consultant must possess effective communication skills. In addition to being able to explain difficult sleep topics in a way that parents can easily grasp, they should be able to listen intently to their clients' worries and inquiries. They should also be able to follow up with their clients to make sure they are progressing, and they should be able to give clear, succinct instructions and recommendations, presenting parents with all of their options.

Compassion and empathy

A competent certified pediatric sleep consultant should have empathy and care for their patients. They must be able to empathize with the difficulties and anxieties parents could be feeling and be able to give them moral support and encouragement. They should also be able to collaborate with parents to create unique sleep schedules that are catered to their child's individual sleep needs.

Adaptability and Flexibility

Because every child is unique, what functions for one child might not function for another. Flexible and adaptable, a certified pediatric sleep consultant may modify their approach to fit the needs of each unique child. Additionally, they should be able to collaborate with parents to create a realistic and workable sleep schedule, taking into account the particular circumstances of each family and each individual child.

Competence and morality

A good certified pediatric sleep consultant should conduct themselves in a moral and professional manner at all times. They must always uphold confidentiality and privacy and abide by rigorous ethical rules. They should also be open and truthful about their background and experience.

Parents who struggle with their child's sleep can receive vital assistance and advice from a qualified pediatric sleep specialist, which can enhance the family's general health and well-being.

If you find that you hold many of the qualities of both an ABA therapist and a certified sleep consultant, this might be the perfect opportunity for you to add this title to your credentials.

We wanted to dig deeper, so we decided to interview one of our own graduates who also is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Maddie Gaffney, M. Ed., BCBA, and owner of Swifty to Sleep, decided to jump into the sleep consultant certification course from The Collective for Family Rest and Wellness as soon as we announced it and put it out into the world. Here’s what she has to say:

Our Interview with BCBA and Certified Sleep Consultant Madison Gaffney

As a Behavior Analyst, an add-on sleep consultant certification seems like a no-brainer. Can you share more about your decision to add this certification to your credentials?

“I actually sat on this decision for quite awhile. I had my first daughter in March 2020 (I think we can all remember what happened during this time). I decided to head back to work a few days a week and pick up 1-2 clients in the ABA field when she was about 5 months old. But I soon realized how nervous I was that I was going to potentially bring some scary, unknown virus into our home. I was also dealing with untreated postpartum anxiety at the time, which made leaving my home and my baby much harder.

So I stayed home for a full year. I had been a part of Ashley and Katelyn’s facebook group and I learned SO much. I was always so in awe of Ashley and Katelyn and their dedication to helping tired parents get sleep. I actually gained really close mom friends from this group.

When Ashley and Katelyn dropped the news that they created a sleep consulting course for people who wanted to become certified I actually purchased it right away. And then again…I sat on the idea. I also struggle with perfectionism and the idea that if I am not perfect at achieving something then I just shouldn’t do it.

I got pregnant with our 2nd daughter and maybe it was the hormones, but I suddenly had the motivation to just jump into the course and go for it. I really think that helped me postpartum the 2nd time around was to have something to look forward to and to connect and help other moms not only a) get better sleep but also b) have REALISTIC expectations around infant sleep.

I am excited to hopefully use this credential to help people with disabilities. People with disabilities have such difficulty with sleep as well as their caregivers. Everyone deserves quality sleep.”

How do your skills as an ABA help you with your sleep consulting clients? Can you give a few examples?

“I actually feel like I am able to write clear, observable, and measurable goals for my sleep consulting clients. This is very drilled into our repertoire as behavior analysts because we have to be pretty specific on our treatment plans to bill for insurance companies and other funding sources.

Parents are tired. They want clear and concise plans!

Also, something we learn in ABA is the theory of parsimony. Parsimony means that the most logical explanation is often the most clear explanation. I think this can really apply to sleep as well. That something like sleep should not be made to be super complex.”

In opposition, do you feel your sleep consulting certification helps you in your ABA work?

“Absolutely. I feel like The Collective did a great job with the expert trainings and providing a variety of different scenarios that we would land on. The one that hit me the most was the PMADS. Not many people realize that caregivers who have children with chronic illness or disabilities struggle with the mental health aspect around having someone they love and care for have a disability. They almost go through a grieving process that the life they thought their loved one would live would change trajectory.

I think this can really be applied to sleep too. Of course on social media you see these ‘perfect’ sleepers. Nobody really prepares you for sleep deprivation. And just the grieving process of losing sleep and the way life was before having kids. So I like setting the expectations for parents like, ‘Here! Let’s work on sleep to see improvements. It’ll never be perfect. But I can teach you to become confident in your child’s sleep and not feel like your life is being drastically altered to the point where you’re losing several hours of sleep a week.’”

How did you feel about the training from The Collective for Family Rest and Wellness to become a certified sleep consultant?

“I am really not surprised by the effort and the amount of work that went into this from Ashley and Katelyn. It is so thorough and it is also easy to navigate. It’s the first tab open on my laptop. I feel like I have rarely needed assistance from my colleagues regarding clients because they touch upon everything within the course. Questions are always answered in the Facebook group by other consultants if you’re stuck on something!”

What would you tell other ABA professionals who are considering adding this certification to their repertoire?

“RUN, don’t walk and GET this certification. JABA (Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis) is actually a bit limited on sleep training individuals on the autism spectrum and those with disabilities. So many times I would arrive at sessions with clients and parents would inform me they did not sleep well the night before. I feel like if we can tackle sleep for these individuals, we would make significant gains in other areas of treatment.

I felt like The Collective really encompasses sleep from all different angles to help parents who are struggling with their child’s sleep.”

Tell us more about your business and the packages you are able to offer with your background and education. Where can people find you and connect with you?

“Right now I offer 2 main packages. My first is my ‘deluxe’ sleep support. This package is created with parents who are confident in carrying out a plan for their child. The package includes a thorough questionnaire, a customized sleep plan with tailored goals, a 60 minute phone call to go over the plan, & 3 follow up emails. My other package is my ‘intensive’ sleep support. This is where I lead families throughout their sleep training process. The package includes a thorough questionnaire, a customized sleep plan with tailored goals, a 60 minute phone call to go over the sleep plan, 1:1 support through text messaging & the Rested App (sleep log), and 3 complimentary emails after our time together has finished.

People can connect with me on my instagram @switftlytosleep and my website”

Make More Money as a BCBA with a Sleep Consulting Certification Add-On

Applied behavior analysts (ABAs) can specialize in a variety of fields, based on their interests and professional aspirations. The following eight specialized areas for ABAs are recognized by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB):

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): This field of study focuses on the evaluation and care of people with ASD, including behavioral, social, and communicative therapies.

  • The study and care of behavioral issues in older persons, particularly those with dementia and other cognitive impairments, is the focus of the field of behavioral gerontology.

  • Behavioral health is a speciality field that focuses on diagnosing and treating mental health issues such substance misuse, depression, and anxiety.

  • Health-related habits, such as medication adherence, are assessed and treated in the field of behavioral medicine.

  • Organizational Behavior Management is a speciality field that focuses on using behavior analysis concepts in the workplace to enhance worker productivity and safety.

  • Pediatrics: This field of study is concerned with diagnosing and treating behavioral issues in kids, particularly those who have developmental problems. Becoming certified in pediatric sleep consulting can deepen your understanding of behavioral interventions surrounding pediatric sleep issues, and as you saw with Maddie’s case, be able to provide better care for your ABA patients.

  • School psychology focuses on the identification and management of behavioral difficulties in educational settings, including classroom management and academic interventions.

  • Sports and Performance Psychology: This subfield of psychology focuses on using the principles of behavior analysis to enhance human performance in a variety of domains, including athletic performance.

To improve their knowledge and abilities, ABAs might pursue extra training and study in these specialized fields. While some of these particular areas could necessitate further certification or training, it's crucial to remember that others may not


Okay, Maddie didn’t share too much about how she makes more money (she does) because she’s a humble soul who just wants to help people. Bless her!

But, one of the other perks, besides serving her patients and clients well with her additional certification, is that there is a huge potential to make more money. Learn more about the industry here.

Obviously, depending on your current ABA work situation, you could raise your prices because you’ve got more education and more experience with this sleep consulting certification. Or, if you work for someone else in the ABA field, you could start your side-hustle as a certified sleep consultant and bring in additional income from your business. You could even work under another sleep consultant so you wouldn’t have to run your own business.

We hope this article gives you all the information you need to make an informed decision about the next steps in your career. And, if becoming an evidence-based certified consultant piques your interest, we invite you to chat further with us. We know investing in yourself is a big deal. Learn more about our online sleep consultant certification program and if it’s the right fit for you.


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