HOW TO BECOME A BEHAVIOR ANALYST
The services of a behavior analyst (BA) are often sought after parents, teachers, and other caregivers have exhausted all other ideas and resources. Therefore, the work that behavior analysts are called to do can be very challenging but meaningful work for both the individuals requiring intervention and the relevant stakeholders. Progress, while sometimes slow, can still provide much-needed hope and inspiration to those affected.
WHAT ARE BEHAVIOR ANALYTICS AND WHAT DO THEY DO?
Behavior analysts fill different roles depending on the setting. In schools, board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) often serve in a consultative role for teachers and administrators, providing guidance and training on strategies to address student behavior problems or create a school-wide behavior plan. In residential or community settings, BCBAs may also function in a variety of roles. Specifically, they may provide direct services to residents, serve as advisors to managers and directors, or perform administrative or training roles themselves. In clinical and research settings, BCBAs may be responsible for conducting assessments or supervising caseloads of individuals with significant needs or for managing research protocols. In all of these settings and roles, BCBAs are expected to function as a member of a team of professionals focused on improving outcomes for individuals with the most significant needs.
WHAT DEGREE DO I NEED TO BECOME AN ANALYTIC ANALYST?
The path to becoming a certified behavior analyst requires earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Those interested in becoming a behavior analyst may consider a bachelor’s degree program in a behavioral science field such as psychology. A graduate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with coursework approved by the Association of Behavior Analysts International prepares students to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® exam, which. This is a crucial step towards becoming a BA.
HOW TO BECOME A CERTIFIED BOARD BEHAVIOR ANALYST: 5 STEPS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Below are the top five criteria for becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
Get a bachelor’s degree
The first step to becoming a behavior analyst requires students to earn a bachelor’s degree. Aspiring behavior analysts should consider degrees in fields such as education, psychology, and other subjects related to the field of behavioral science. We encourage you to visit our undergraduate degrees page to view academic offerings from the School of Education.
Complete graduate-level thesis in behavior analysis
Those interested in becoming a behavior analyst will need to complete the coursework required to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® exam. Students are also required to have a master’s degree in a relevant field. A behavior analyst degree, such as Drexel’s MS in Applied Behavior Analysis, provides the course sequence needed to pass the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® exam. Students who already have a master’s degree in a relevant field can enroll in Drexel’s Applied Behavior Analysis certificate program, where they can complete the coursework and required field experience to pass the BCBA exam.
Complete supervised fieldwork
In addition to course completion, aspiring behavior analysts must also complete either 2,000 hours of supervised coursework or 1,500 hours of concentrated supervised fieldwork. Upon completion of fieldwork, prospective behavior analysts are paired with students in need of services. This allows students to gain valuable experience before taking the BCBA exam. Students in Drexel’s MS in Applied Behavior Analysis program work with the School of Education to find a center where they can complete their field practicum hours.
Pass the BCBA exam
After completing the course and the required number of hours of field experience, students will prepare for the BCBA exam. Prospective behavior analysts must first apply to take the exam and pay an application fee. Students may also be required to provide evidence of their degree(s), coursework, and supervised fieldwork. The BCBA typically consists of 175 questions that cover the fundamentals and applications of behavioral science. Students have four hours to complete the exam.
Get licensed in your state
The final step to becoming a behavior analyst is obtaining a state license. Not all states require a license. To find out if your state has a licensing law and details, visit APBA’s Licensing and Other Regulations for ABA Practitioners page.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A BEHAVIOR ANALYST?
For aspiring behavior analysts without a degree in a related field, it will typically take 4 years to earn a bachelor’s degree and 2 years to earn a master’s degree. Students in Drexel’s MS in Applied Behavior Analyst program can complete required field experience hours while taking courses online. Others may choose to complete the coursework first and complete the experience hours after they find work in the field.
MAINTAINING YOUR BCBA CERTIFICATION AND LICENSE
Once a person becomes a behavior analyst, they must maintain their certification and license. BCBA must be recertified every two years. To be eligible for recertification, they must meet continuing education requirements, adhere to the ethics set forth by the BACB, and apply for recertification before their current certification expires.
BECOME A BEHAVIOR ANALYST AT DREXEL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Drexel University offers two options to help students become behavior analysts through the MS in Applied Behavior Analyst degree program and the Applied Behavior Analyst certificate program. The certificate program is available to students who already have a master’s degree in a related field and wish to complete the required courses and practicum hours.