In essence, Applied Behavior Analysts are professionals who help solve behavior-related issues and problems in different types of environments and situations.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an expansive field that allows therapists and educators to help people suffering from behavioral disorders and disabilities, like children on the autism spectrum.
However, they can also train and educate teachers, caregivers, and even families related to mental and social disorders.
Steps to Becoming an Applied Behavior Analyst
Step 1: Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree
To become a behavior analyst, start by earning an education. But while you can choose any field, it’s recommended that you major in psychology, social work, or even an applied behavior analysis degree to better prepare you for graduate school. Work experience in a related field will also help.
Step 2: Earn a Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
Once you earn your bachelor’s degree, the next step is to get a masters in applied behavior analysis. Alternatively, you can also earn a master’s in education or psychology with a concentration in ABA.
Either way, applying for one will get you coursework on theories and research in behavior analysis and fieldwork for real-world application.
Make sure you take an ABA master’s program accredited by the ABA-Accreditation Board, as this will ensure your eligibility for the BCBA certification exam.
Step 3: Finish Supervised Independent Fieldwork
To help you practice behavior therapy under a certified BCBA, you also need to complete supervised fieldwork hours. You have two options in this case: 1,500 hours of supervised independent fieldwork or 750-1,000 hours of practicum.
Come 2022; however, fieldwork hours will be increased to 1,500-2,000. Completing supervised fieldwork is also a requirement for BCBA certification exam eligibility.
Step 4: Get Your Board-Certified Analyst License
Once you pass the BCBA certification exam, you can become an entry-level certified behavior analyst. Most states require a license to practice behavior analysis, and BCBA certification is necessary to apply for a behavior analyst license.
Step 5: Maintain Your Behavior Analyst Certification
To maintain your certification, you need to adhere to the ethical requirements, complete continuing education, and apply for recertification every two years.
You can also gain education credits by attending seminars, workshops, and conferences. Analyst licenses also require renewal every two years.
How to Find a Job After Becoming a Behavioral Analyst
Once you get your certification and license as a behavior analyst, it would be good to join a professional organization that gives you access to a network of experienced practitioners.
Two great examples are the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the Association of Professional Behavior Analysis. Both of these organizations will help you with services such as job placement or continuing education.
Luckily, it’s an excellent time to pursue a career in this field, given that the demand for certified behavior analysts is rapidly increasing.
ABA therapists use their knowledge to help clients change their behavior and better relate with others, and those interested in this field will be glad to know that it provides a fulfilling and well-paying career.