Behavior Analyst Certification and Education
Working as a Behavior Analyst can be truly satisfying. Many students have found great satisfaction in getting the education they need to work as a Board-certified Behavior Analyst. Applied behavioral analysis (or ABA) is becoming quite a prestigious profession. The practice of behavior analysis is the professional implementation of interventions to consumers that are guided by the principles of behaviorism and the research of both the experimental analysis of behavior and applied behavior analysis. ABA has become popular for many reasons; namely, one reason for the popularization of ABA is the well-documented successes in helping children with autism, and other disorders, learn skills that are more adaptive to their environment. Though ABA is often utilized in cases of early intervention for young clients, it can be effectively implemented throughout the lifespan and for varied populations. Applied behavior analysts have been known to work with such diverse populations as autism, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), and the elderly population.
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In this ever growing field, the possibilities for employment are being created at a rapid pace, so that today’s Behavior Analysts may be employed by traditional institutions or be self-employed with a salary range between $39,000 and $77,000, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How to Become a Behavior Analyst
A Master’s level education is crucial for a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
Those looking to become behavior analysts can obtain a degree in behavior analysis or will be able to become one with degrees in fields such as psychology and education, given that they have completed the coursework asked of them by the board. In most cases, schools will offer the proper courses needed to become a behavior analyst, those who do not have Approved Couse Sequence work will need to submit their courses for board evaluation.
This promising career of behavior analysis is presently being offered by several schools that offer Master’s degrees specifically in applied behavior analysis.
Visit the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts website.
There are numerous educational opportunities that can lead to a fulfilling career as a Behavioral Analysis with most universities offering both a Master’s and Graduate Certificate programs that are approved by the BACB and assist with the BCBA examination.
A Board Certified Behavior Analyst will have, at the minimum, 270 hours of instruction in Board-mandated areas, so make sure that you pay attention to the following requirements:
- 45 hours of Principles of behavior analysis
- 45 hours of Ethical and professional conduct
- 45 hours of Elements and procedures of behavior change
- 30 hours of Problem identification and assessment
Included on the following list are many of the techniques being taught that have proven important to the profession:
- Modeling and imitation training
- Shaping and chaining
- Prompts and fading
- Positive and negative reinforcement
- Self-management strategies
- Augmentative communication
- Incidental teaching
- Token economies
Behavior Analyst Requirements
The BACB will approve 1,000 hours of overseen practice or 750 hours of rigorous practice. You will need to obtain approval from the BACB for your practice hours. In some cases, students who did not complete hours at their schools can substitute them with supervised work experience, in which they must have completed a full 1,500 hours of practice. For anyone looking for a professional to oversee their practice, the BACB will be happy to connect you with an approved counselor.
The Association of Professional Behavior Analysts offers a link to state licensing boards and professional organizations. Many states have their own APBA chapters. This is an excellent resource.