Your Guide to Behavior Analyst Certification Requirements in 2020

Applied Behavior Analysts (ABA) are therapists who help individuals improve, increase, and maintain behaviors needed for everyday life. They focus on a wide range of behaviors including communication, social skills, academics, and even hygiene to name a few. The idea is that ABA therapists help individuals adapt in various situations and learn how to transfer skills from one situation to another. This type of therapy is typically used to help those who have autism learn how to successfully navigate the world around them. If you’re interested in becoming an ABA therapist but are not sure of the certification requirements, this is the perfect guide for you! This guide will break down the requirements, how you go about obtaining each one, and how often you have to go through re-certification.

There are 4 distinct certifications that are provided and governed by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Each certification has its own certification and maintenance requirements. 1. Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) 2. Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) 3. Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) 4. Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D)

Candidates eligible to receive an RBT certification must be at least 18 years of age, hold a high school diploma, and pass a criminal background check before pursuing certification.

Job Description

In a nutshell, an RBT is a trained paraprofessional who works under the supervision of a behavior analyst therapist. They are responsible for carrying out and seeing that the treatment plan set forth by the behavior analyst is implemented correctly. RBTs are also responsible for direct communication with the patients, parents, and caregivers. 

Certification Requirements

Individuals seeking RBT certification must successfully complete 40 hours of training including 3 hours of ethics and professional conduct. The additional 30 hours of classes must fall in line with the requirements set forth by the BACB. Click here to see the list of course requirements.

Successfully Complete a Competency Assessment

Once RBT candidates have successfully completed all training requirements, the next step is to complete a competency assessment. The assessment looks at the competency of candidates based on the skills set forth in the requirements.

Obtain an RBT Supervisor 

After you have completed the training and successfully passed the competency assessment, you must find a qualified RBT supervisor. RBTs must be directly supervised at least 5% of the time.

Pass the RBT Exam

The final step is to take and pass the RBT Exam. The exam consists of 75 multiple choice questions that cover everything from professional conduct and behavior reduction to skill acquisition. 

RBT Certification Maintenance

In order to maintain your RBT certification, you must follow supervision requirements and adhere to the RBT code of ethics. In addition to following RBT policies, you must renew your certification yearly by submitting an application to the BACB and paying all fees as well as passing the RBT Renewal Competency Assessment.

BCaBA professionals provide behavior analysis services under the direct supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). This is an undergraduate-level and you must hold a degree to obtain it.

Certification Requirements

According to the BACB, there are two different ways you can go about obtaining a BCaBA certification. If you pursue your certification before January 2022, you must hold a degree from an accredited ABAI bachelor’s program and complete the required fieldwork before you can apply for certification. If you choose to wait until after January 2022, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree from a qualifying institution. You must complete course-work that meets BACB requirements and complete the required supervised fieldwork.

Pass the Examination

Once you have successfully completed your coursework and fieldwork, it is time to apply to BACB. Once your application has been received, you can take the BCaBA examination. 

BCaBA Certification Maintenance

In order to maintain your BCaBA certification, you must submit your renewal application along with payment every 2 years before your certification runs out. It is also important to engage in continuing education to make sure that you continue to improve your skillset and stay abreast of the latest developments and trends in the profession that will help you give your clients the best care possible.

A BCBA is a professional who has reached the graduate level of certification in behavior analysis. BCBAs are certified to provide behavior analysis services and supervise professionals at lower behavior analysis certification levels. 

Certification Requirements

At this level of certification, there are several different ways for you to receive your BCBA. The path you choose will likely depend on which one will take you the least amount of time to complete. No matter which one you choose, you must have a relevant degree, satisfactory fieldwork, and you must successfully complete the BCBA exam.

BCBA Certification Maintenance

BCBA professionals are required to submit a re-certification application every two years. They must also participate in continuing education to ensure they stay on top of the latest information available in behavior analysis. 

The BCBA-D certification is the highest level you can achieve. Professionals with a BCBA-D certification practice in the same way as a BCBA, with additional training. 

Certification Requirements

You must hold an active BCBA certification and either complete a doctoral program from an accredited ABA program or a non-accredited doctoral program with the addition of supervision, fieldwork, or publications. A third option includes a doctoral degree combined with post-doc experience and publications. 

BCBA-D Certification Maintenance Requirements

The requirements to maintain a BCBA-D certification are the same as those for maintaining a BCBA certification. You must submit a renewal application every 2 years and take continuing education courses to make sure you have all the latest information available. 

Are You Ready to Become a Certified Behavior Analyst?

Each type of certification has its own specific requirements. The type of certification you choose depends on your overall career goals. Before you embark on your career, it is important to understand the 4 distinct certifications and the requirements of each so that you can choose the quickest path to your goals!

How Do You Track Hours?

Need help tracking hours towards your (or your employees') certfications? We have a tool for that.

What is Pinnacle? Pinnacle is an employee performance evaluation system designed to help ABA practitioners nurture employee development and in turn, deliver better patient outcomes. What more information? Schedule your demo today!

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