Education

What Do BCBAS Do

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 8 minute read

There are a variety of roles to choose from in the field of behavioral analysis. There are a number of ways in which these two roles, BCBA and BCaBA, sound similar, but the paths required to secure them and the job responsibilities they fulfill are vastly different from one another.

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The field of behavior analysis employs both BCBAs and BCaBAs. Behavioural analysis focuses on the science of human behavior. It is through the application of these scientific principles that a therapy known as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) seeks to alter problematic behavioral patterns. The scientific studies and empirical evidence that support ABA therapy’s guiding principles is undeniable.

Applied behavior analysis can be used to teach and reinforce beneficial behaviors in a variety of contexts for an individual patient. The field of applied behavioral analysis can encompass a variety of endeavors aimed at enhancing a person’s capacity for verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as academic performance and fine motor dexterity. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and elderly adults have been shown to benefit from ABA therapy.

There is a lot of overlap between BCBAs and BCaBAs in terms of their patient populations and the settings they work in. Patients’ care teams are made up of these professionals. They may also supervise behavior therapists, who are unlicensed professionals in the field with only a high school diploma as their formal education. Treatment for conditions like autism spectrum disorder and Alzheimer’s disease or dementia does not take place in a vacuum. Other members of the patient care team, including pediatricians, nurses, nurse practitioners, clinical and counseling psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language therapists, registered dietician and possibly other health care workers, must collaborate with BCBA and BCaBAs.

A certification exam is required for both the BCBA and BCaBA credentials. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, which also grants the Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) and the BCBA-D credentials to behavior analysts who earn a doctorate, administers and confers both exams and credentials. In order to become certified and begin their careers, behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts must cover many of the same topics and content areas.

When it comes to both careers, it makes sense to look for similarities in skills and traits that can be applied to both. Emotional maturity and empathy for the person trying to change potentially harmful behaviors into more helpful ones are essential traits for any career in behavior change. You will need these traits no matter what path you choose.

Of course, BCBAs and BCaBAs also work with patients and their guardians. Good behavior analysts are approachable, approachable, and compassionate with their patients and their caregivers, among other qualities.

Where BCBA and BCaBA Differ from One Another

There is a big difference between a certified behavioral analyst (BCaBA) and a certified behavioral analyst (BCBA). In order to assist Board Certified Behavior Analysts in their efforts to help patients, BCaBAs are referred to as BCaBAs. As a BCBA, you have more freedom of action than as a BCaBA.

It is the responsibility of Board Certified Behavior Analysts to assess patients and devise treatment plans for them. To ensure that the standards of their profession and board certification are upheld, they are responsible for deciding on the interventions themselves and do not have to answer to another expert in behavioral analysis. A BCBA must oversee and supervise all work done by a BCBA-certified assistant behavior analyst. This person is not allowed to practice behavior analysis independently. A BCBA must still approve any changes to a patient’s treatment plan that arise as a result of the BCBA’s treatment plan being put into action due to difficulties or developments that weren’t anticipated.

Even though BCaBAs are not the most senior level of behavior analysts, this does not mean that they are the most inexperienced. They are often the ones who oversee the Registered Behavior Technicians and other professionals who work with clients one-on-one or on a regular basis to help them achieve their goals in therapy. As a result, BCBAs must be well-versed in the field of behavior analysis and the therapeutic approaches it employs. In order to supervise and guide the work of behavior therapists, they should also develop strong management skills.

While BCBAs may provide individual therapy using an ABA approach, their work often encompasses more than just providing therapy for individuals in need. They play an important role in the development of treatment plans based on ABA principles by performing assessments and analyses of behavior.

For BCaBA Certification, vs. BCBA Certification, the educational requirements

BCBAs and BCaBAs are distinct from one another because of the educational requirements for each credential. A master’s degree is required for full certification as a BCBA, but only a bachelor’s degree is required for full certification as a BCaBA.

For both types of certification, the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) demands studies in the same fields. The BCaBA coursework sequence, on the other hand, necessitates less in-depth study in a variety of areas. Until recently, BCaBAs were required to complete the same number of hours as their peers who were pursuing the BCBA credential in the areas of behavior-change procedures and behavior assessment. Only two-thirds of the required hours are spent on the compliance code, professionalism, and data measurement and experimental design, and only half of the required hours are spent on the philosophical underpinnings of behavior analysis.

Behavior Analyst Assistants and Behavior Analysts both need a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Starting with the bachelor’s degree, which is required for both BCBA and BCaBA certification, we’ll begin. In theory, you can begin working toward either of these certifications with a bachelor’s degree from any field. A degree in a relevant field of study, such as psychology or applied behavior analysis more specifically, makes the most sense for aspiring behavior analysis professionals.

Behaviour analysis coursework is a requirement for BCaBA certification. Additional coursework in behavior analysis beyond your bachelor’s degree is required to meet these requirements if you don’t choose a bachelor’s degree program that specifically prepares you to sit for the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst Exam. To earn your bachelor’s degree, you must earn credits in the following areas, either as part of your major or as electives.

  • Behavioural analysis concepts, principles, and philosophical underpinnings
  • Design of experiments involving the collection, display, and interpretation of data
  • Psychometric testing
  • Selecting and carrying out interventions to aid in changing one’s behavior
  • People management and supervision
  • The BACB Ethics Code and Professionalism

To be eligible to work as a BCaBA, candidates must also complete fieldwork under the guidance of an experienced supervisor.

For Behavior Analysts, Master’s and Doctoral Degree Programs are available.

The Association for Behavior Analysis International-accredited ABA master’s degree program is likely to include core graduate-level coursework in areas such as:

  • Techniques for collecting data and conducting experiments
  • The most basic components of behavior modification
  • The use of behavioral analysis’s most basic concepts
  • Functional and psychiatric evaluation
  • Interventions in human behavior
  • Ethics and professional conduct

The use of consultants, the implementation of new procedures, and close monitoring

A significant amount of fieldwork experience is required for BCBA and BCaBA candidates alike. It is possible to specialize in working with patients with autism spectrum disorder or in promoting social, emotional, and behavioral wellness in general in some master’s degree programs.

Although obtaining a PhD or PsyD in behavior analysis isn’t required for the BCBA credential, there is still value in pursuing this highly advanced education. The doctoral designation BCBA-D can be used by certified behavior analysts who hold a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in their field. In terms of clinical practice or professional privileges, this additional designation has no effect on a behavior analyst’s scope of practice or qualifications. For those who want to work in academia or lead research in the field of behavior analysis, a doctoral degree may open doors that a master’s degree cannot. A doctorate may also qualify you for leadership positions in clinical organizations. It’s not a coincidence that these positions pay more than the average behavior analyst job.

The Advantages of Obtaining a Master’s Degree in Behavioral Science

If a bachelor’s degree is all you need to become board certified, you might wonder why going to graduate school is even an option in this field. More job opportunities are available with a BCBA credential. It can also increase your salary by tens of thousands of dollars per year, making it a more lucrative option. Employers may not be directly responsible for the income disparity between BCaBAs and BCBAs; rather, it may be because of how a state’s health insurance regulations allow insurance companies to categorize BCaBaAs. It’s no surprise that BCaBAs use this credential as a stepping stone while working toward full board certification as a behavior analyst, given the better career prospects and higher earnings.

The BACB reported that BCaBAs who took graduate-level classes to meet their BCaBA coursework requirements can apply those hours toward the more extensive requirements for the BCBA credential.

Different Job Responsibilities for Behavior Analysts and Behavioral Assistants

According to Psychology Today, one of the biggest differences between BCBAs and BCaBAs is that BCaBAs are not allowed to work independently. According to the BACB, they must instead be supervised by a BCBA or BCBA-D. This requirement restricts their job duties in comparison to what a BCBA is qualified to do, and it may also limit their future employment options to some extent. There are some exceptions to the rule that a BCBA can perform all of a BCaBA’s duties, but this isn’t always the case

One-on-one therapy can be provided by both BCBAs and BCaBAs, but BCBAs spend more time on other, more advanced tasks that may necessitate a more advanced degree. There are a number of different roles that a BCBA can play, including assessing a patient’s needs and devising treatment plans. Even though BCaBAs may assist the BCBA in these job functions, BCaBAs aren’t qualified to perform these tasks independently Although a BCaBA is not usually the person who works directly with the patient on a daily basis, they do provide therapeutic intervention to patients. A Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) is typically in charge of that task. Behavior technicians can be overseen by either a BCBA or a BCaBA.

BCBAs and BCBA-Ds have historically seen more job growth than BCaBAs because of the restrictions placed on BCaBAs. However, a BCBA can be hired without the involvement of a BCaBA, as long as he or she is under the supervision of a BCBA.

Comparison of Earnings Between BCBA and BCABA

Behaviour analyst job salaries can vary widely depending on experience and training. The average annual salary for Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts was $46,009 as of 2021, according to PayScale. PayScale reported an average annual wage of $34,616 for Registered Behavior Technicians, which is significantly higher than the average annual wage for full BCBAs.

As reported by PayScale, Board Certified Behavior Analysts can expect to make an average of $65,616 per year in 2021. Professionals in behavioral analysis who pursue a doctorate earn the most money. PayScale reported an average annual salary of $80,000 for the BCBA-D position in 2021. Some ABA professionals with a doctorate earn more than $100,000 a year, however. – ABA.com

BCBAs make more money because they have more education. To become a BCBA, you don’t just have to take more courses. Unlike BCaBAs, whose coursework is not required to be completed at the graduate level, MBAs must complete their studies.

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