Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) jobs are all about understanding why people behave as they do. They also involve making plans to modify or improve challenging behaviors.

BCBAs use the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

ABA is the science of understanding and improving human behavior. It uses the principles of behaviorism to make meaningful and positive changes in people’s lives.

According to behaviorism, we learn all behaviors through our responses to environmental stimuli. “Although some people feel apprehensive about ABA because it sounds ‘technical,’” writes Loren Gentile, M.Ed, BCBA, LBS, “it’s simply another way to teach.”

Behavior analysts examine a given behavior according to the “ABC model.” This model allows observation and measurement of the behavior’s various aspects:

  • Antecedent (what happens immediately prior to the behavior).
  • Behavior itself.
  • Consequence (what happens immediately after the behavior).

Having collected and analyzed this data, the BCBA now understands what function the behavior may serve. The analyst then designs and implements ways to modify undesired behaviors and replace them with desired ones.

As part of their jobs, BCBAs may also supervise:

Board Certified Behavior Analysts in the Educational Setting

In school-based BCBA jobs, these specialists assess students’ behaviors when undesirable behaviors interfere with and disrupt their own or their peers’ learning.

 Female school-based BCBA sits at table with open book in school library with elementary-aged girl and gives “high five.”

Not all disruptive behaviors at school warrant a full, formal Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA). In schools using a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) approach to related services, BCBAs can introduce teachers and staff to Tier 1 behavioral health interventions.

Tier 1 interventions equip teachers and staff to deal with common behavioral issues on their own. They free the BCBA to focus on students whose severe developmental, learning, emotional disabilities, aggression, and mental health disorders significantly impede academic progress.

In these more serious cases, the BCBA leads an FBA team. The team includes teachers, administrators, other clinicians working with the student, the student, and the student’s family.

Board Certified Behavior Analysts, FBAs, and BIPs

The behavioral analysis process begins when BCBAs gather information about conditions surrounding the student’s behavior and ask the student and others questions to find out more.

BCBAs then continue the assessment using one of three main approaches:

  • Indirect 

Using such tools as questionnaires and rating scales.

  • Direct 

Watching the student’s behavior in class and other school environments.

  • Experimental 

Formulating and testing hypotheses.

Following the assessment, the BCBA leads the team in drafting a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). It consists of one-to-three targeted intervention recommendations, teaching and rewarding the student for clearly defined, measurable, replacement behaviors.

A student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) may specify ABA. The BCBA then works with the IEP team to provide a comprehensive behavior management approach.

BCBAs collaborate with teachers to develop strategies for supporting students’ treatment plans through appropriate modifications to the learning environment.

Requirements for Becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Board Certified Behavior Analyst training is graduate-level work in behavior analysis.

Candidates may meet the requirements for BCBA certification (established by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®) through one of several pathways.

Criteria differ based on whether you’ll be applying before or after January 1, 2022. But, in all cases, candidates must:

  • Hold a graduate degree (master’s degree or doctoral degree) in behavior analysis, education, or psychology (from a qualifying institution.)
  • Complete a defined practical experience: supervised independent fieldwork, a practicum, or an intensive practicum. Candidates may also accrue hours in a combination of these three categories.
  • Pass the BCBA certification examination. The BCBA exam is a four-hour, 160-question test. It covers 11 content areas in basic behavior analytic skills and client-centered responsibilities.

BCBAs must also adhere to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s ethical guidelines.

Become a BCBA on the PTS Behavioral Health Team

If you are, or soon will be, a BCBA who wants to…

  • Play a pivotal and powerful role in helping students experience greater educational success.
  • Accelerate your professional growth on an established, innovative team of related service providers.
  • Enjoy more flexibility and freedom in setting your schedule and balancing work and life.

…then review PTS’ currently available full- and part-time Board Certified Behavior Analyst jobs on this page.

PTS has been a trusted related services delivery leader in the greater Delaware Valley for more than 20 years. Our commitment to our clinicians includes:

  • On the job supervision and mentorship.
  • Free access to an ever-growing library of industry-standard assessments and other resources.
  • Continued opportunities for professional growth and networking.

You’ll also want to look into these resources for BCBAs from PTS:

View Open Positions