In order to be certified, individuals must sit for examination as either a Board Certified Behavior Analyst or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst based on their education level, specific course content, and level of experience. Examination eligibility as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst currently requires a minimum of a master’s degree in ABA with course content requirements in specific areas, and 750-1500 hours of supervised experience depending on the type of experience. Examination eligibility at the level of Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst, requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with course content requirements in specific areas, and 500-1000 hours of supervised experience depending on the type of experience(1).
Provided individuals already possess an undergraduate or graduate degree, there are a number of certification programs that offer the specific courses needed to fulfill eligibility requirements and pursue a career as an ABA therapist. The minimum time to complete a graduate level ABA program may vary depending on the level of certification sought and the program chosen, however may typically range from nine to fifteen months. Along with course requirements, BCBA and BCaBA candidates are required to acquire minimum supervised experience hours prior to examination(2).
Prospective behavior analysts should remain current with the BACB® requirements and list of approved programs prior to and during the course of training. Important information such as updated BCBA degree requirements are posted on www.BACB.com.
There may be a number of potential benefits to obtaining board certification as a behavior analyst. First, some behavior analyst jobs require applicants to be BCBA or BCaBA certified. This is due in part to many legislation requirements for certification in order to bill state agencies as well as insurance companies for services. Furthermore, BACB® certification informs prospective employers and consumers of a minimum level of education, experience and competency needed to practice applied behavior analysis.
BACB® certification also requires certificants to maintain continuing education requirements which may be obtained through ABA conferences or ABA online training courses. Topics covered in conference presentations and courses may include current research, practice, ethical issues or other professional topics, which also helps to ensure that certified behavior analysts remain informed on current standards and practice.