BCBA: Board Certified Behavior Analyst Licensure

If you have given any consideration to pursuing a career as a behavior analyst, you should outline your steps to licensure based on what is required by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB).

The BACB currently approved degree programs in behavior analysis as well as a specific set of course work that can lead to certification in this field. The minimum degree level that you should pursue in order to become licensed in this area is a masters. Some students choose to pursue a direct BCBA degree program, while others pair the BCBA course work with a degree in counseling or education.

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BCBA Counselor Licensure

Professionals in fields related to counseling can make a difference in the lives of others. Services provided in these fields can have a huge influence on clients being served, making it necessary for professionals to go through extensive and specific training prior to working with people in the field. The licensure process for upcoming professionals can involve the completion of accredited degree programs, as well as a practical requirement that can involve working on-site under the supervision of licensed professionals. These two components can help upcoming licensees learn the rules and regulations of their fields while gaining hands on experience in the field.

Fields that require licensure are often those that provide direct services to clients in the field, especially those in healthcare and mental health. If you are interested in being a professional in one of these incredibly influential fields, you should choose degree programs that can lead to licensure, as well as review the reliability of your chosen university. Your state licensing agency can also be a helpful resource for you along the way, since they generally set the standards and restrictions for licensure in your field.

Licensure as a BCBA

The experience requirement for licensure in this field can begin once you have started your first course in behavior analysis. Students can choose to pursue supervised independent fieldwork or an intensive practicum for their experience, each providing slightly different hour requirements for completion. The most supervised hours that students would be required to complete would be through the supervised independent fieldwork option, which requires 1500 hours in the field in order to complete.

The BACB also requires that upcoming licensees complete a board examination in behavior analysis as a final step towards pursuing licensure. This examination combines knowledge from both degree programs and field experiences in order to help prospects make informed decisions about cases in the field. If you successfully complete this examination, you can receive your certification as a behavior analyst from the BACB and apply for individual licensure through your state. You are encouraged to review your state's licensure requirements prior to starting any degree program in this field.

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Counseling Programs Fitting for BCBA Licensure

Upcoming licensed BCBAs can take advantage of the flexible degree options currently required by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Students currently in Master's in Counseling, Psychology, or Education programs can pursue future certification in Applied Behavior Analysis after completing their master's program - leading to licensure in the future. New college students looking for faster ways to get their certification can located online Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis programs to complete their curriculum requirements while finishing their master's degree.

Our team of educational experts has pulled together a few example online degree programs below to help you visualize your educational path towards licensure in this field. The degree programs below can be found at online or traditional universities all over the country. If you have completed a master's degree in any of these areas, or even another related field, you could be considered for post-master's certification programs in ABA. Read more about these degree paths in the list below.

  • Online Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis: The most basic route to obtaining your license as a BCBA is through online Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis degree programs. These degree programs can be found at traditional and online universities all over the country, consisting of BACB-approved course sequences to help you move forward into licensure in your future. During these degree programs, you can learn more about the analysis of behavior, data collection, and intervention programs needed for behavior improvement.
  • Online Master's in Counseling: In order to be considered for post-master's certification programs in applied behavior analysis, students must have already graduated from an accredited Master's in Counseling, Psychology, or Education program. The online Master's in Counseling program can allow you to explore some of the common components of mental health, treatment methods, and analysis tools used by professionals in the field. Current ethical principles and laws surrounding this field can also lead to your success in this program. Once you have completed this program, you can move forward into certification programs specifically for BCBA prospects.
  • Online Master's in Psychology: You can also choose to pursue the psychological route towards your future BCBA certification and licensure during your educational experience. A lot of students may choose to complete their online Master's in Psychology prior to enrolling in a certification program in order to learn more about the psychological aspects of behavior that are currently known in this specialty area. Once you have successfully graduated from the online Master's in Psychology, you can move forward to certification and licensure.

BCBA Certification Paths

Learning more about the roots of behavior can be extremely beneficial to upcoming BCBAs. The first certification option listed below would be ideal for graduates of related master’s degree programs. The remaining certification options could be great additions for BCBA prospects seeking the optimum fill of expertise for their future careers. Since a majority of studies in ABA focus on autism spectrum disorders, further training and development in this field could be helpful when seeking careers in the field.

  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Behavioral Science
  • Cognitive Behavioral Health
  • Behavior Modification
  • Autism Studies
  • Social Behavior
  • Occupational Behavior

Career Options

ABA is a relatively new field in comparison to counseling and psychology. Students currently considering a move into this field may be interested in learning how this degree program can get them involved in the field and in which fields they may be most successful. In order to help you learn more about this growing and influential field, our team has put together this helpful career information guide to enlighten you on ABA careers in the U.S. In this first section, read more in the list to see what types of settings you could work in when licensed as a BCBA.

  • ABA Clinics: ABA clinics are a growing necessity in cities all over the country. This setting involves providing observation, behavior planning, and treatment for children in need of behavioral services. Children with autism are often serviced in these locations, as well as children with learning disabilities and other physical impairments. Clinics providing ABA services can employ BCBAs to initiate behavior planning and supervise the implementation of behavioral therapy conducted by registered behavior technicians.
  • Contractual Services/State Agencies: State agencies that work with delinquent youth and children in foster care often employ BCBAs to work in-home with children under their care. The purpose of the BCBA in this setting is to analyze a child’s environment to determine antecedents of bad behavior, modify a child’s environment, and implement positive reinforcement techniques aimed at changing behavior. State agencies seek out BCBAs to help teach families alternative methods for changing behavior for lasting positive change.
  • Schools: In educational settings, children with significant behavior problems can work with BCBAs employed to help with behavior change. BCBAs may conduct observations during normal school hours in order to identify factors in the classroom that may be contributing to behavior issues, develop intervention plans that can be implemented during classroom hours and while in other areas throughout the schools. BCBAs can also train parents and teachers on how to implement strategies within a behavior plan to foster improvement during school and home hours.

Completing your degree and certification programs is typically followed by a supervised independent experience requirement to help prepare you for testing by the BACB. Once you have successfully completed your exam and have received your license, you may have access to a wide range of career options in several different specialized areas. Your title as a behavior analyst may be different depending on the type of work you do in the field and the organization that has hired you. In order to familiarize you with some of the common titles of BCBAs in the field, our team has listed some common job titles for graduates that have received their licensure in this field. Read more about these careers options below.

  • Behavior Analyst
  • Behavior Technician
  • Behavior Specialist
  • Interventionist
  • Autism Specialist
  • Behavior Therapist
  • Behavior Consultant

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