Maximizing the Conference Experience: Tips to Effectively Navigate Academic Conferences Early in Professional Careers


Most behavior analysts who are certified or licensed regularly attend professional conventions to obtain required continuing education credits and remain current with advances in clinical applications and research findings. As the number of behavior analysts in the profession grows, so, too, does the number of novice conference attendees at professional events. Attending conferences can be exhilarating to those who are new to the field and the context of professional events. The purpose of this article is to provide practical guidance on the topics of how to thoughtfully select a conference, how to set goals for attending (e.g., strengthening skills, developing new skills, networking), and how to proactively plan for an upcoming conference, as well as some consideration for after the conference has ended.

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Correspondence to Lorraine A. Becerra.

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The first author previously sat on the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) executive council. The second and third authors declare that they do not have any conflict of interest.

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Table 2 Timeline Checklist for Professional Conference Tasks

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Becerra, L.A., Sellers, T.P. & Contreras, B.P. Maximizing the Conference Experience: Tips to Effectively Navigate Academic Conferences Early in Professional Careers. Behav Analysis Practice 13, 479–491 (2020).

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  • conference
  • continuing education
  • convention
  • professional development