How to Become a Behavior Analyst
What is a Behavior Analyst?
BCBA Education Requirements
5 Steps to Becoming a Behavior Analyst
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board is the national governing body that establishes the rules for becoming a board certified behavior analyst, or BCBA. Here are the common steps to consider to become a certified behavioral analyst.
- Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree
Becoming a behavior analyst starts with earning a bachelor’s degree. Although you may choose to major in any field, a bachelor’s in psychology, social work or even an applied behavior analysis degree would better prepare students for graduate school. Gaining some work experience in the practice of behavior analysis can also prepare you for graduate school.
- Earn a Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
The entry level of education to become a behavior analyst is a master’s in applied behavior analysis, or a master’s in education or psychology with a concentration in ABA. ABA graduate programs provide coursework on theories and research in behavior analysis as well as fieldwork for real-world application and practice. To ensure eligibility for the BCBA certification exam, be sure to select an ABA master’s program accredited by the ABAI-Accreditation Board or a graduate program with a curriculum that meets the Verified Course Sequence. There are many institutions that offer ABA master’s programs online.
- Complete Supervised Independent Fieldwork
Eligibility for the BCBA certification exam also requires supervised fieldwork. This experience is to help students practice behavior therapy under the supervision of a certified BCBA. According to the current BACB experience standards (PDF, 1.8 MB), there is the option of completing 1,500 hours of supervised independent fieldwork or 750-1,000 hours of practicum, which includes a higher percentage of supervised hours. Fieldwork requirements for the BCBA certification exam are changing in 2022 (PDF, 1.2 MB) requiring 1,500-2,000 hours of fieldwork.
- Get Your Board Certified Behavior Analyst License
Once you complete your coursework and fieldwork, you can apply for the BCBA certification exam. Passing the exam is the final step to becoming an entry-level certified behavior analyst.
Most states also require a license to practice as behavior analysts. BCBA certification is required to apply for a behavior analyst license. Below is a list of the states that require behavior analyst licensing:
• New Jersey
• New York
• North Dakota
• Rhode Island
• South Dakota
- Maintain Your Behavior Analyst Certification
To maintain BCBA certification, you must complete continuing education, adhere to the ethical requirements and submit an application with fees for recertification every two years. Continuing education helps BCBAs stay current and relevant with behavior analysis developments. BCBAs can obtain continuing education credits through ABA graduate courses or by participating in ABA conferences, seminars and workshops. State behavior analyst licenses also require renewal every two years.