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How to Become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Applied behavioral analysis
Applied behavioral analysis is a growing industry, utilizing only the most effective therapies for the treatment of autism and many other kinds of disorders that influence behavior. However, the industry doesn’t hire just anyone to treat and look after patients. One must go through rigorous training and education in order to be certified.
At Amvik Solutions, we wear many hats, including supporting your ABA practice in payroll, staff scheduling, and medical billing – but those aren’t the only things we are knowledgeable in. We know what it takes to forge would-be potential into Board Certified Behavior Analysts.
For those clinics in need of developing employees and helping their current staff obtain certifications, this post will provide some information on the pathway that needs to be taken to become a BCBA.

What is Applied Behavioral Analysis?

Distinguishable from psychology, applied behavioral analysis (ABA) is the scientific discipline that uses behavioral assessments—or tests that gauge and interpret a person’s behavior or rationing—and applies behavioral modification therapy based on the results.
This method is best known as a leading treatment for patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but is also used to treat a number of other disorders. Backed with hundreds of peer-reviewed studies providing sound, empirical evidence spanning over several decades, ABA is considered an effective intervention for disorders ranging from traumatic brain injuries to compulsive and addictive behavior.

The Basics of BCBA Certification Requirements

In order to become certified, certain requirements must be met in order to obtain your official BCBA certification. Whether your ultimate goal is to treat patients with ASD or individuals with other needs, you will need to meet this initial criteria:

  • You must earn a qualifying master’s degree, or higher, in behavior analysis, psychology, or education.
  • You must gain real-world experience through fieldwork or a supervised practicum. This can be accomplished through a number of pathways including:
    • Supervised Independent Fieldwork – 1500 hours made up of 2-week supervisory periods with 1 supervisor contact per period – 5% of hours must be supervised.
    • Practicum – 1000 hours made up of 1-week supervisory periods with 1 supervisor contact per period – 7.5% of hours must be supervised.
    • Intensive Practicum – 750 hours made up of 1-week supervisory periods with 2 supervisor contacts per period – 10% of hours must be supervised
    • Combination – An equivalent combination of practicum and fieldwork experience that would be subject to evaluation prior to being eligible to sit for the BCBA® Exam. Practicum is counted at 1.5 times the value of independent fieldwork (1.5 hours of practicum = 1 hour of fieldwork) and intensive practicum is counted at 2 times the value of independent fieldwork (1 hour of intensive practicum = 2 hours of independent fieldwork).
  • The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) offers independent credentialing certifications that must be obtained based on state legislation.
  • Because of a growing need for uniformity and certified behavior analysts, many states have begun to implement their own licensing laws. This means that you may also need to obtain state licensure in order to deliver services that are eligible for reimbursement. State laws generally fall under:
    • Require a BACB certification for licensing
    • Offer multiple paths to licensing
    • Have not yet established license requirements but have legislation in proces
    • Have not established licensing requirements

A career as an applied behavioral analysis requires a strong educational background at minimum. But if your employees are dedicated and invested in accomplishing their dreams, being aware of the process will go a long way in helping them accomplish their goals.
Treating patients with autism spectrum disorder or other types of behavior disorders carries a certain gratification that is seldom met outside of this field. As a provider of ABA services, your specialty is much needed and appreciated by families at this time.
Contact us today to learn more about how Amvik Solutions can help your practice today.

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