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What Degree Do You Need To Be A Behavior Analyst

By David Krug 3 minute read

As an assistant behavior analyst, a college education is required. Assessing the influence of environmental variables on behavior and altering those variables to modify behavior is part of this function, which is carried out under the guidance of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). 

The BCaBA certificate is less demanding than the BCBA credential, but it still requires an undergraduate degree and particular behavior analysis education in specified curriculum areas.

Course titles aren’t required by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board; only curriculum content is. As a result, multiple classes within a student’s program of study may satisfy these content criteria.

In Excess of Degree Requirements

This certificate requires a bachelor’s degree, which implies students may theoretically prepare for this vocation in just four years of college.

It’s important, however, for students pursuing a career in this field to keep in mind that educational requirements go beyond the degree level. 

A bachelor’s degree in any field of study is acceptable for certification by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, but if the program of study does not match the standards for certification, students will need to complete additional training in the subject of behavior analysis. 

A bachelor’s degree program that satisfies the curriculum criteria of the Certification Board or a separate certificate program that includes this coursework is both options for aspiring assistant behavior analysts.

It is possible to earn a BCaBA certification while still in your undergrad or graduate studies. As a prospective BCBA, you should do a graduate certificate program to ensure that your courses will transfer to this higher certification.

Required Content Areas for Certification

Assistant behavior analysts must complete fewer hours of coursework than certified behavior analysts, but they must still cover the same six areas of study.

There are 225 hours of study required for the BCaBA credential, compared to 315 hours of training for the BCBA certificate, which will be introduced beginning in 2022 for all certification applicants.

A minimum of 30 hours must be devoted to studying the Certification Board’s compliance code and disciplinary procedures, as well as the standards of professionalism in this industry.

As a follow-up, students must complete 45 hours on the philosophical underpinnings of behavior analysis as well as an additional 30 hours on measuring techniques used in the study of behavior analysis. 

It’s important to know how to construct experiments and gather data in order to understand the sorts of behavior and reactions.

Board certification in behavior analysis requires a  thorough understanding of the field’s practical applications, therefore it’s not unexpected that this expertise is essential.

It takes 45 hours of education in behavior assessment to become an aspiring BCaBA, 60 hours of coursework to learn about methods for changing behavior, and 15 hours of training to learn about supervision and management of employees. 

Studying the methods of conducting behavioral evaluations and interpreting the results as well as various intervention strategies such as token economies, modeling and imitation training, and conditioning reinforcers should all be included in this course work.

Despite their assistant rank, BCaBAs are capable of supervising lower-level behavior technicians, which is why training in people supervision and management is essential.

BCaBA Program Coursework Examples in Behavior Analysis

There is no one correct approach for schools to design a curriculum that fulfills BCaBA standards. Schools can take a variety of approaches to this issue.

Courses such as Teaching and Positive Behavioral Support for Autism and Functional Analysis and Treatment of Challenging Behavior can be used in one behavior analysis graduate certificate program to cover a variety of curriculum areas. 

Courses such as Ethics of Behavior Analysts, Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis, Single Case Research Design and Behavioral Intervention may be offered as part of other graduate certificate programs.

Psychology majors in behavior analysis bachelor’s degree programs generally take courses on autism spectrum disorders, children with special needs, and program design and evaluation, in addition to their general psychology requirements.

David Krug