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BCBA Certification Programs Online

Oct 20, 2021

Overview of Online BCBA Certification Programs

Students interested in becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) to work as an independent practitioner in the field can pursue BCBA certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Certification allows professionals to supervise other behavior-analytic professionals; eligibility for the BCBA certification requires a combination of education, experience, and passing an exam. While work experience in the field and taking the certification exam must take place in person, students can register for the exam online and meet some education requirements for certification through online programs.

Students applying for their BCBA certification generally need a graduate degree in behavior analysis and approved behavior-analytic coursework. There are several online options for this behavior-analytic coursework, including online, graduate-level applied behavior analysis certificate programs and self-paced courses that follow an approved BACB course sequence. Students in these programs and courses may apply as a non-degree-seeking student. Certificate programs may follow a cohort model and/or offer asynchronous and synchronous course formats.

Requirements for Online BCBA Certification

Students preparing for BCBA certification need to understand the methods of applied behavior analysis, how to analyze patient behaviors and effect change, and train and manage personnel involved in behavioral-change interventions. While certification cannot be completed fully online, certificate programs that help meet education requirements can be completed fully online.

General Requirements

Online certificate courses in applied behavior analysis may range from 18 to 21 credits. Students in these programs may be required to maintain a minimum of a B in their coursework throughout the program. Course topics for these preparation programs may include topics in ethics, concepts of behavior analysis, assessment, prevention, and leadership.

Once students have met all of the eligibility requirements for the BCBA exam, they must apply to the BACB and submit all required documents to ensure they have met eligibility standards. If all requirements are met, students receive authorization for the exam and can schedule the exam and pay for it online. The computer-based exam must be proctored at an approved testing site and consists of 160 multiple choice questions, and students have up to 4 hours to complete the exam.

Additional Requirements

In order to maintain BCBA certification, students must meet recertification requirements every 2 years. This requires students to complete 32 continuing education units (CEUs) every 2 years. Of these 32 CEUs, 4 CEUs must be in ethics and 3 CEUs must be in supervision (if supervising). Recertification also requires students to meet ethics and self-reporting requirements and fill out a recertification application.

Career Outcomes with Certification as a BCBA

Certification in the field qualifies graduates to work as BCBAs in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, clinics, and other organizations. These professionals help analyze the behavior patterns of patients with a wide range of mental health issues, such as learning disabilities or autism. Their goal is to help teach patients new behavior patterns that will improve the patient's overall wellness and ability to function socially. BCBAs are also qualified to oversee the work of other professionals in the field, including Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs).

PayScale.com reported that as of May 2020, the median annual salary for a BACB Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) was $63,575. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not give specific data on BCBAs, the BLS reported that the job outlook for psychologists in general was 14% from 2018 to 2028. This job outlook is much faster than the national average and may be due in part to the growing need and demand for psychological services.

BCBA certification can be prepared for and scheduled online. Certification lasts for 2 years and recertification requires CEUs and an application process.

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