Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Certification and Testing Requirements

Certification is not required of all applied behavior analysis professionals. However, some individuals, such as teachers of autistic children, might be required to seek behavior analysis certification. Continue reading to learn about testing and requirements applied behavior analysis certification.

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What Are the Certification Requirements for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Workers?

Certification is administered by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. (BACB), which offers a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) credential. After earning initial certification, certified behavior analysis professionals must maintain certification annually through continuing education credits, including ethics and professionalism. Renewal of BCBA and BCaBA credentials also requires attesting to compliance with a professional code.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

Board certified behavior analysts conduct behavioral assessments and provide analytic interpretations of those behaviors. Eligibility to sit for the BCBA examination requires a master's degree and at least 1,500 hours of supervised work experience. Students can fulfill training requirements through 225 hours of graduate-level courses in areas such as behavioral assessment, ethical considerations, intervention strategies and experimental evaluation of interventions or through a full-time teaching position that includes teaching basic principles of behavior and ethics.

Applicants who earned a doctoral degree in behavior analysis, psychology or education within the last ten years prior to applying for ABA certification may submit their doctoral credentials. They'll also need at least ten years of accrued post-doctoral experience in behavior analysis, in lieu of a teaching position or graduate studies.

Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA)

Under supervision of BCBAs, board certified assistant behavior analysts conduct behavioral assessments and interpret the results, working on cases similar to others they've encountered. Eligibility for the BCaBA exam includes earning at least a bachelor's degree, acquiring 135 classroom hours in the same subjects as BCBAs. BCaBA applicants must complete 1,000 hours of fieldwork.

ABA Testing Requirements

Tests for both the BCBA and BCaBA are conducted through third-party testing centers. Multiple-choice test questions on the electronic exam cover assessing patients and implementing behavioral modification interventions. The content of the two certification exams is similar, with the BCaBA exam including fewer questions, reflecting the more limited scope of practice for certified behavior analysis assistants.

An Overview of Applied Behavior Analysis Certification Requirements

Applied behavior analysis uses human behavior and learning principles to bring about changes in behavior. For example, applied behavior analysis can be used in schools to help teachers shape and assess classroom learning and behavior problems. Other industries that employ certified applied behavior analysis professionals include human services, healthcare and community mental health.

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