Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Certification and Testing Requirements

Oct 20, 2021

Certification is required for some applied behavior analysis professionals. Explore the different types of applied behavior analysis certification and learn about the education and experience needed to sit for an ABA test.

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What Is Applied Behavioral Analysis?

ABA certification is utilized by those who practice in the field of applied behavioral analysis. This field is closely related to psychology and focuses particularly on therapy and counseling. Those who hold ABA certification often offer therapy and counseling for clients who suffer from a variety of disorders including:

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Other learning disorders
  • Other behavioral disorders

Types of ABA Certification

The following table shows information about two types of ABA certification:

Program Levels Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Field(s) of Study Behavior analysis Behavior analysis
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree (180 hours of coursework) and 1,000 hours fieldwork -Master's degree (270 hours of graduate coursework) and 1,500 hours supervised fieldwork
-Doctorate with teaching experience or 10 years in the field
Program Length 4 years 2 years

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

For those wondering how to become ABA certified, it is important to know that the Behavior Analyst Certification Board offers both Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) credentials. After earning initial ABA board certification, certified behavior analysis professionals must maintain certification by completing continuing education credits and by demonstrating ethics and professionalism.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Board certified behavior analysts conduct behavioral assessments and provide analytic interpretations of those behaviors. Eligibility to sit for the BCBA exam requires a master's degree and at least 1,500 hours of supervised work experience. Students can fulfill training requirements through 270 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 analysis.

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

Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst

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 180 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.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Is an ABA Certification?

An ABA certification, or an ABA license, is an important credential for aspiring professionals in the field of applied behavioral analysis. After completing ABA license requirements, professionals can increase their credibility in this through showing this ABA training certification. Certification can also be pursued with a specific focus on disorders like autism, as an ABA autism certification can also be acquired.

How Do I Get my ABA Certification?

Applied behavior analysis certification requirements include obtaining a bachelor's degree, completing 1.500 hours of supervised fieldwork, finishing 270 hours of graduate coursework, and passing tests for the BCBA and BCaBA. ABA therapy certification programs are offered by many universities.

What is an ABA degree?

Applied behavioral analysis degrees are often offered at the master's level. These degrees prepare students for attaining ABA therapy certification through conducting relevant ABA therapy training, which often includes a focus on working with those with autism or other developmental disorders. For those seeking an undergraduate degree applicable to this field, applied behavioral analysis and applied behavioral science are excellent degree choices as they prepares students with coursework in topics such as general psychology, client observation, and social problems.

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