How Do I Become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst®?

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  • Written By: Patrick Lynch
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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If you are looking to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) in the United States, prepare to spend a minimum of four years in college. In order to become certified, you must pass an exam, but you will not be allowed to even sit this examination unless you meet certain requirements. These typically include a set amount of study, teaching experience, or a certain number of years spent as a professional behavior analyst. Once you pass the final exam, you will become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst®, but you must usually renew this certification each year.

A behavior analyst is responsible for determining what factors influence changes in a person's behavior. They are often in high demand, and it is frequently hoped they can help children who behave badly and other people who are at risk. This job title is largely limited to the US. A Board Certified Behavior Analyst® must complete a minimum of 1,500 hours of work experience. Only then will a certification board consider your case.


To become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst®, you must first complete a bachelor's degree in behavior analysis or a subject which is closely related. After this, you must complete a master's degree program in this field. Once you are finished these degrees, you must meet other requirements in order to take the certifying exam. You have the option of completing a minimum of 225 hours of study topics such as behavior change procedures. If you choose this option, you must also have fieldwork experience that has been supervised by someone who is approved by the certification board.

Another way to meet the exam requirement to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® is by teaching for a full year in a post-secondary educational institution. You must teach behavior analysis, do a research paper, and meet the aforementioned fieldwork experience requirements. Yet another option is to have 10 years of professional experience in the field of behavior analysis following your master's degree.

If you meet these requirements, you will be allowed to take the final certification exam. It is supervised by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board and contains up to 150 multiple choice questions. If you pass this exam, you will become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst®, but you will have to pay a fee for renewal each year. After three years, you will be asked to complete a certain amount of board approved further education to keep your certification.


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