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Capella University

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Behavior Analyst Certification and Career Facts

Behavior analysis techniques are used 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.

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 assistant, you'll need to earn at least a bachelor's degree that contains certain coursework. For certification as a behavior analyst, a master's degree with coursework in behavior analysis or a doctoral degree in the field is required. You also need to pass a certification exam.

Programs Bachelor's or master's degree with coursework in behavior analysis; doctoral degree in behavior analysis
Certification Behavior Analyst Board certification exam, completion of supervised clinical experience
Courses Ethics, behavioral assessment, intervention and change, behavioral biology, abnormal behavior theories, behavioral analysis history
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 14% growth, faster than average

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is Behavior Analysis?

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 - it can be applied in various fields, including:

  • Animal management
  • Business,
  • Social work
  • Forensics

Within these industries, behavior analysis may be used 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 degree program that includes coursework required to take the exam. You can find degree programs that offer a major specifically in behavior analysis. You may also find behavior analysis as a concentration within a degree program in education, psychology or social work.

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 a required number of hours in a supervised clinical experience. After meeting those requirements, you must also pass an exam.

What is the Job Outlook for Behavior Analysts?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 166,600 jobs in psychology, including behavior analysts, in 2017. The median salary for the same year for a psychologist was $77,030. Jobs in this industry are expected to grow by 14% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than average.