Behavior Analyst Certification and Career Facts

Learn how to use behavioral analysis techniques to help people integrate socially and change destructive behavior. Get information on applied behavior analysis therapy, see what education you'll need for this career, and find out about professional certification requirements. Schools offering Applied Behavioral Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

As a behavior analyst, you use scientific techniques and principles of learning to help children and adults better acclimate to social situations at home, in their communities and at school or work. In order to become a certified behavior analyst, you'll need to earn a bachelor's or master's degree and have significant experience in the field. You also need to pass a certification exam.

Programs Bachelor's and master's degrees in behavior analysis
Certification Behavior Analyst Board certification exam, plus 1,500 hours of supervised clinical experience
Courses Ethics, behavioral assessment, intervention and change, behavioral biology, abnormal behavior theories, behavioral analysis history

What Is a Behavior Analyst?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy includes techniques such as positive and negative reinforcement designed to help patients modify their behavior. While ABA is often used for children with special needs - including autism - you can work in various fields, including animal management, business, social work and forensics. You can work in schools, universities, non-profits or government agencies.

What Kind of Education Do I Need?

You can find educational programs approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) that meet the coursework requirements to sit for the certification exam. Many schools offer certificate programs that can be combined with a bachelor's or master's degree program, one of which is required to take the exam. You can find both master's and bachelor's programs that offer a major in behavior analysis. You can also find behavior analysis as a concentration within a degree program in education, psychology or social work.

What Will I Learn?

Coursework outlined by the BACB includes ethics, behavioral assessment and behavioral change procedures. Undergraduate coursework in behavioral analysis also includes behavior intervention, behavioral research and the biology of behavior. You learn principles and theories on typical and abnormal behavior. You study the history and science of behavioral analysis. You may also have the opportunity to focus on special populations, including children with autism.

How Can I Get Certified?

The BACB offers certification for behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts. In addition to your education, you must also have 1500 hours of supervised clinical experience. After meeting those requirements, you must take the 150-question exam. The exam covers ethics, behavioral assessment, interventions and interpreting behavioral data. You will have four hours to take the exam.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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