Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Autism Therapist
Applied behavior analysis professionals provide behavior modification and autism therapy services. They will have bachelor's or master's degrees in applied behavior analysis or related fields such as child development, occupational therapy, psychology, etc. In addition to licensing and other required credentials for their specific field, therapists should earn a certification by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB). The BACB's certifications include Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA). Along with education, training, and experience, employers and clients will usually require the BCBA or BCaBA certifications.
The need for qualified ABA professionals remains strong. In a 2012 report, the CDC announced that Autism prevalence continues to grow with 1 in 88 children in the U.S. being diagnosed with Autism. Based on a "comparison of 2008 findings with those for earlier surveillance years indicated an increase in estimated ASD prevalence of 23% when the 2008 data were compared with the data for 2006." It is now the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the country.
The current and foreseeable need for behavior analysis professionals is so strong that the BACB announced in early 2012 that it is development a new credential called the "Registered Behavior Technician" or "RBT". These will be qualified front-line staffers who assist BCBAs and BCaBAs. The BACB is currently in the process of developing this credential.
Applied Behavior Analysis Overview
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a profession that focuses on improving the human condition. ABA is a well-developed discipline among the helping professions, with a strong research foundation, established standards for practice, distinct methods of service, and recognized experience and educational requirements for practice. ABA entails the comprehensive use of principles of learning theory and operant psychology to enhance the abilities of children and adults in human services and other areas, including education, human factors, business, medicine, and rehabilitation.
Applied Behavior Analysis Applications
The application of applied behavior analysis is very broad, ranging from assisting individuals in overcoming drug addiction to studying criminal behavior to improving workplace organizations. Behavior analysis has been applied to programs related to diet, exercise, juvenile delinquency, toilet training, education, organizational structures, and more. Over the past 60 years, applied behavior analysis has become recognized as the treatment of choice for behavior problems associated with mental retardation, autism spectrum disorders, brain injury, and other disorders. Many people also recognize that applied behavior analysis is capable of producing remarkable results in classroom learning.
Behavior Analysis is recognized as "best practices" in the field of autism, behavioral health, addiction, and corrections. Students will develop the skills to transfer basic principles of behavior analysis into effective comprehensive functional behavioral assessments, behavioral interventions, and program evaluation.
Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis
Health / Education
Treat Autism Spectrum Disorders and other Behavior Disorders, Behavior Intervention, Speech Therapy, Brain Injury Rehabilitation, Geriatric/Dementia Consulting
Executive Coaching, Behavior Based Safety, Performance Management, Leadership Consulting
What Applied Behavior Analysts Do
Behavior analysts work in numerous fields, including education, behavioral medicine, mental health, disability, and children's services, business, and institutions of higher learning. A wide variety of professionals offer behavior management services such as, behavior specialists, mobile therapists, educational consultants, speech-language pathologists, school counselors, social worker, criminal justice professionals, and human service professionals.
Behavior analysts often supervise associates or other personnel in the implementation of intervention services, or consult to other personnel. Behavior analysts possess a wide range of knowledge about human behavior, and demonstrate competence in helping people meet personal goals. Typically, behavior analysts define intervention so that the changes to be achieved are measurable; analyze personal, social, and environmental conditions to better understand the variables that are influencing behavior; recommend and develop the goals of behavior change; implement agreed-upon solutions; and monitor progress. National certification in applied behavior analysis exists to standardize qualifications of anyone practicing as a behavior analyst.
Preparing for A Career in Applied Behavior Analysis
Applied Behavior Analysis professionals will have bachelor's or master's degrees in applied behavior analysis or related fields. In addition to licensing and other required credentials for their specific field, professionals can enhance their credibility and job opportunities by earning a certification by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB). The BACB's certifications include Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA). >> FAQs about ABA and Certification
BACB Approved Behavior Analysis programs include the following content:
Definition & characteristics and principles, processes & concepts
Behavioral assessment and selecting intervention outcomes & strategies
Experimental evaluation of interventions
Measurement of behavior and displaying & interpreting behavioral data
Behavioral change procedures and systems support
Applied Behavior Analysis Salary
Salary for Applied Behavior Analysis professionals can vary greatly because there is such a wide range of occupations that integrate ABA. A 2009 Professional Employment Survey by the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBCA) reported that over half of the respondent BCBAs earned salaries between $40K and $80K and a quarter of the respondent BCBAs earned over $80,000. Of the respondent BCaBAs, a third earned $20K to 40K and almost 45% of respondent BCaBAs earned $40K to $60K. >> Read Full Survey Results (pdf)
BCBA Certified Professional
Applied Behavior Analyst
Consultant, Education / Training
Director, Clinical Services
Special Ed Teacher, PK, K, Elementary
ABA Home Therapist
Figures provided by Payscale.com
Applied Behavior Analysis and Professional Certification
The BCBA and BCaBA are industry standard certifications in the field of behavior analysis. These certifications are nationally and internationally recognized and respected. To be eligible for the BCBA or BCaBA certifications, candidates must have earned a bachelor's (for a BCaBA) or master's degree (for BCBA) in ABA or a related field, completed a BACB approved sequence of coursework, performed a required number of hours of supervised fieldwork, and pass the certification exam.
Note on National and State Certifications:
BACB accredited programs prepare professionals for the nationally and internationally recognized BCBA or BCaBA certifications. Every State recognizes these certifications for ABA professionals. Candidates for these certifications MUST complete BACB approved coursework and field experience to sit for certifications exams.
Featured Applied Behavior Analysis Online Schools
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The nation's oldest and largest graduate school focused exclusively on psychology and related behavioral sciences.
Named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2009 (for the third consecutive year) and the only school of professional psychology to receive this award with distinction.
Behavior Analysis Graduate Coursework
Includes Supervised Field Experience Options
Complete in Under a Year as a P/T Student*
Ideal For Autism, Behavior, & Education Professionals
This BACB approved BCBA Respecialization online certification program is designed to provide working professionals—including current behavior analysts or professionals in psychology, education, child care, speech and language pathology, and social services—a mastery of behavior analytic theories and procedures.
BACB approved sequence of coursework for BCBA certification eligibility
Includes optional supervised practicum
For behavior analysis and related professionals who want to update their licensure and/or develop mastery of behavior analytic theories and procedures
For educators who want to improve instruction and behavior management in the classroom, especially special education and early childhood education professionals
Can complete in one year as a part-time student*
Applicants must hold a Master's degree from an accredited institution, that was conferred in behavior analysis or other natural science, education, human services, engineering, medicine, or related behavior analysis field approved by the BCBA
* Completion time is dependent on availability of field supervision. Students are not required to complete supervised field work with CSPP although the BACB requires supervised field work to be completed prior to sitting for the certification exam. CSPP offers options for for supervised fieldwork.
Behavior Analysis Graduate Coursework
Includes Supervised Field Experience Options
Ideal For Autism, Behavior, & Education Professionals
The BACB approved M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis will develop and graduate professionals who can support individuals and organizations as well as select, implement and manage effective systems to improve outcomes across a variety of settings. The program provides students with a solid understanding of the Science and Philosophy of Behavior Analysis as the foundation that informs Applied Behavior Analysis, the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and Service Delivery domains to produce graduates who rely on the science of behavior to contribute to the betterment of society.
The objective of the M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis program is to provide students with a solid foundation in applied behavior analysis. Students are trained to understand the principles of Behavior Analysis and learn how they underlie applied practice. Students learn to implement ABA procedures correctly and ethically, and gain the skills to move forward to the next steps in their professional progression including eligibility for certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst®.
Students enrolled in the M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis program take courses covering the content areas and practicum requirements for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification and also receive a solid foundation in the philosophy, science, and application of behavior analysis. The aim is to prepare students to sit for the BCBA exam and for a rewarding career in the rapidly growing field of applied behavior analysis.
Saint Joseph's University Online
Saint Joseph's University is proud to be ranked among the top "Regional Universities in the North" and "Best Online Graduate Education Programs" by U.S. News & World Report.
Designed for Professionals
In Justice System, Community Services, & Education
BACB approved coursework in Behavior Analysis is offered as a concentration in the M.S. in Criminal Justice or as a Post Master's. The application of behavior analysis is very broad, serving those who provide a variety of behavior management services, including individuals trained as behavior specialists, mobile therapists, educational consultants, speech-language pathologists, school counselors, social workers, criminal justice professionals, and human services professionals. Behavior Analysis is recognized as a "best practice" in the field of autism, behavioral health, addiction, and corrections. Throughout this program students will develop the skills to transfer basic principles of behavior analysis into effective comprehensive functional behavioral assessments, behavioral interventions, and program evaluation. This program allows students the flexibility to concentrate on the theoretical and methodological knowledge needed to focus on the management skills necessary to succeed as upper-level decision makers.
Why I Became a Behavior Analyst
Applied Behavior Analysis
A Growing Treatment of Choice
Over the past 60 years, applied behavior analysis has become recognized as the treatment of choice for behavior problems associated with mental retardation, autism spectrum disorders, brain injury, and other disorders. Many people also recognize that applied behavior analysis is capable of producing remarkable results in classroom learning. Behavior Analysis is also recognized as "best practices" in the field of autism, behavioral health, addiction, and corrections.
Why Applied Behavior Analysis Is the Premium Intervention for Autism
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
Post-Graduate Program for
Behavior & Education Professionals
Post-Graduate Certificate Master of Science
Ideal for Autism, Behavior, and Education Professionals
The Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) has made changes to their requirements for candidates looking to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). The 4th Edition Task List will affect students taking the BACB exams starting in 2015.
Beginning January 2015, the coursework eligibility requirements will increase 45 hours, from 225 hours to 270 hours, and there is now a requirement for a freestanding ethics course for BCBA.
Beginning January 2015, a new exam will be administered to applicants that apply after September 2014.
Students that qualify and apply for the BCBA exam under the 3rd Edition Task List can take the old exam through September 2014.
Students that qualify and apply for the exam by September 2014 under the old requirements, but do not take or fail the old exam, can take the new exam in January 2015.
Degrees & Coursework
for BCBA and BCaBA Candidates
Aside from Applied Behavior Analysis degree holders, candidates with other degrees are also eligible for certification.
Effective January 2011, the following degrees were deemed acceptable by the BACB for BCBA and BCaBA candidates who wish to pursue certification.
Clinical, counseling, or school psychology
Clinical social work
Candidates with degrees in other fields must contact BACB to request consideration for eligibility.
BCBA Candidates: If you hold a BACB approved master's degree in applied behavior analysis, your degree fulfills the graduate coursework requirement toward BCBA certification eligibility. If you hold a master's degree in a BACB approved related field, you will need to complete BACB approved graduate level ABA coursework.
BCaBA Candidates: If you hold a BACB approved bachelor's degree in applied behavior analysis, your degree fulfills the coursework requirement toward BCaBA certification eligibility. However, you intend to advance to BCBA certification, you must earn (1) a BACB approved ABA master's degree or (2) a degree in an approved related field plus BACB approved graduate level ABA coursework.