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ABA Therapy

How To Become A Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

What Is a BCBA?

BCBA stands for Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. This is someone who conducts assessments of a client’s skills and behaviors to determine the level of intervention that is required for ABA services.

ABA interventions are designed to reduce behavior barriers and teach new skills that promote independence with all clients. BCBAs also work with the client’s families and other providers to teach effective strategies to ensure consistency and success.

What Is the Board Analyst Certification Board (BACB)?

The BACB is the credentialing board that provides the guidelines and credentialing for RBTs, BCBAs, and more. The website can be found here.

Navigating this website can ensure that you are practicing updated requirements and ethics. The board is also helpful for answering questions and providing resources for becoming credentialed. Some of the resources are listed here:

What are the Requirements for Becoming a BCBA?

The requirements are outlined extensively in the BCBA handbook. First, it is important to note that if you are pursuing BCBA credentials, you must abide by the BCBA handbook and ethics code while engaged in fieldwork. It is crucial that these documents are reviewed and understood prior to starting fieldwork with clients. The major requirements of becoming a BCBA include the following:

  • A master’s degree from an accredited school in ABA or similar

  •  Supervised or concentrated fieldwork

  • Passing the BCBA exam

What Is Supervised Versus Concentrated Fieldwork? 

Supervised: According to the fifth edition task list, supervised fieldwork requires 2000 hours of fieldwork sorted between working directly with clients under restricted fieldwork and unrestricted fieldwork.

The activities that a BCBA would do during the day include assessments of clients, writing treatment plans, supervision of RBTs, conducting parent training, analyzing graphs and data, and developing treatment goals. This fieldwork path requires 5% supervision from a BCBA supervisor each month.

Concentrated: The concentrated fieldwork option under the 5th edition task list requires fewer hours, approximately 1600 hours of fieldwork sorted between working directly with clients under restricted fieldwork and the other portion under unrestricted fieldwork.

Unrestricted fieldwork includes activities that a BCBA would do during their day including assessments of clients, writing treatment plans, supervision of RBTs, conducting parent training, analyzing graphs and data, and developing treatment goals.

This fieldwork path requires 10% supervision from a BCBA supervisor each month. Hours tracked under the concentrated path are counted as 1.33 hours instead of one hour, allowing for a quicker accumulation of hours while receiving more supervision.

You can have one or multiple supervisors while conducting fieldwork. The forms to track monthly accruement and final verification of hours, and final verification of hours vary depending on if you are tracking hours from one or multiple supervisors.

How to Identify Areas of Training

An important skill to develop is self-reflection. It is important to always evaluate ourselves and practices to ensure we are delivering quality ABA services. Going forward, the use of self-assessments on the BCBA 5th edition task list is a great way to start self-reflecting. Completing this type of self-assessment and sharing it with your supervisors allows for discussion and collaboration to occur and guides future fieldwork activities.

How to Apply for the Exam:

Once you complete a master’s degree and fieldwork hours are met, you can start applying for the exam. You can submit an application with supporting documentation through the BACB gateway account. If it is not approved, the BACB will provide feedback on what is needed. If approved, you will be able to schedule your exam through the Pearson Vue website. But first, study! Below are some links to websites, study resources, and mock exams.

You’ve Passed!

Congratulations! Now you are able to start the credentialing process with insurance companies and apply for any state-required licensure. When credentialed with insurance companies, you are able to accept clients to service a BCBA!

Delivering Service

When you become a BCBA and start delivering services to clients and supervisees, it is time to take all the skills gained in fieldwork and apply them to your clients. In addition, continuous professional growth should occur as it only benefits the delivery of services provided and greatly impacts the client’s overall success. This can be done using Continuing Education Credits (CEUs). This is also required to maintain BCBA credentials.

Resources:

RECENT AND UPCOMING CHANGES TO BACB REQUIREMENTS – Behavior Analyst Certification Board

Parsons, M. B., & Reid, D. H. (2011). Reading groups: A practical means of enhancing professional knowledge among human service practitioners. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 4(2), 53–60.

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