Understanding ABA Certification: A Guide

The ABA certification is a behavior analysis graduate-level certification. The holders of the ABA certificate become independent applied behavior analysis practitioners providing services that help modify their client’s behavior. They oversee the work of both the Board-Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts and The Registered Behavior Technicians.

An ABA-certified person can work anywhere the behavior analytic services are required. For example, they can use their knowledge to manage their client’s anger, stress, and anxiety. They can also create treatment plans for adolescents, children, and adults suffering from different behavioral issues. They work in group homes, hospitals, schools, and assisted living facilities, among other settings.

How Long Will It Take to Be Certified as A BCBA?

The current BCBAs guidance on how long it takes to obtain BCBA certification dictates that one must first get a graduate degree in psychology or applied behavior analysis from an accredited university. They must also undertake supervised field experiences. About 65% of all students pass on their first try and do not require additional time to study for the ABA certification.

It takes about six years to attain a BCBA certification. This includes four years required to complete an undergraduate degree and two years necessary for the graduate degree. The supervised hours are not a bother since they are accumulated as one completes their degree.

Is It Hard to Become A BCBA?

Working to attain a BCBA certification can be very overwhelming, isolating, and very exhausting. To succeed, one must prioritize efficiently, enjoy academic research and reading, have endless patience, work, and learn independently without being pushed.

Achieving the requirements needed to obtain a BCBA certification is not easy. One must either have an ABI-accredited program graduate degree or a master’s with completed behavior-analytic coursework. One must pass their exams as well as experience 100 hours of supervised fieldwork. There is also another requirement where one is expected to undertake a 175 question exam and must pass with a 65% pass rate.

How Can I Become A Board-Certified Behavior Analyst?

Becoming a board-certified behavior analyst is not so complicated. You need to follow four significant steps. Be eligible for the certification, meet the practical fieldwork requirements, pass your examinations and maintain the certification.


For all those applying before the 1st of January 2022, they only need to have a graduate degree, master’s, or a doctorate from an ABA-certified institution like AppliedBehaviorAnalysisEDU.org combined with the required 100 hours of fieldwork. For those applying after the 1st of January 2022, their eligibility changes; they will have four pathways that they can use to reach certification.

The first pathway requires the applicant to have a degree, master’s, or a Ph.D. program from an ABAI- accredited institution and practical fieldwork. The second pathway will need candidates to have a graduate degree, coursework on behavior analytics, and practical fieldwork. The third pathway requires a graduate degree, faculty teaching, research and practical fieldwork. The fourth and final pathway requires a doctoral degree, postdoctoral experience in applied behavior analysis, and practical fieldwork.

Fieldwork Requirements

To become a certified BCBA member, you must experience at least 100 hours of supervised fieldwork. The supervisor should be a registered psychologist with an active BCBA with no disciplinary sanction and worked for more than a year. The candidate should receive supervision from different supervisors for different perspectives on their work.

Pass the Exams

To qualify for the BCBA certification, one must complete the 175 questions. The questions are divided among the nine content areas, and some content areas receive more questions than others. Once the candidates pass the exams with a 65% or more, they are then eligible for the certification.

Maintain the Certification

Once certified, it’s critical to keep yourself up to date to stay relevant. Therefore, it would help if you kept taking the continuous education that expands your knowledge and keeps you updated with the field’s developments, trends, and best practices.

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