How Long Does It Take to Get your BCBA Certification?

Updated On January 24, 2023 | by Zayn Tindall

How Long Does It Take to Get your BCBA Certification?

There are different stages of becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). First of all, you will have to undergo several years of post-graduate education plus work experience before you can start applying for certification.

The timeline largely depends on the course one is undertaking. However, the approximate time that you can take to get your BCBA certification is six to ten years, inclusive of both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Under normal circumstances, it will take you at least four years to complete an undergraduate degree and two extra years to obtain a master’s degree. After that, you will be required to complete 1,500 hours of supervised fieldwork in your area of specialty.

It is possible to complete the supervised fieldwork within a year. But it can sometimes go beyond that depending on the institution or your pace of study.

Beginning the Process

There are several qualifications that you must fulfill if you aspire to become a board-certified behavior analyst. The role of the Analyst Certification Board (BACB) is to oversee regulations that govern applied behavior analysts to maintain professionalism and high standards of ethics.

The BACB has a list of requirements that anyone who wants to become a BCBA must meet. Some of the requirements include educational qualifications and previous work experience.

3 Pathways for Applying for Certification

1. The Foundation of Becoming an ABA Therapist

A board-certified behavior analyst generally requires a degree in a relevant field such as psychology, medicine, or education. Before enrolling in a master’s program, you must have completed a bachelor’s degree for at least four years. A master’s degree takes roughly two years in most Universities in the United States.

After completing your undergraduate degree, to pursue a career as a BCBA, the next step is to look for master’s programs that offer accredited or certified courses by the Analyst Certification Board (ACB).

Such programs may be in psychology, behavior analysis, early childhood education, special education, and nursing or medicine.

Below are the minimum hours of study for all courses focused on ABA therapy:

• 45 hours of professional conduct and ethics

• 45 hours of fundamental elements of behavior change

• 30 hours of behavior analytic content

• 20 hours of experimental design

• 30 hours of assessment and identification of customer needs

• 10 hours of every intervention and behavior change

2. Supervised Fieldwork with an ABA Therapist

After completing your coursework, you are also supposed to finish a specified amount of supervised experience with patients. This can be in the form of 1,500 supervised work, 1,000 hours of practicum work, or 500 hours of intensive practicum work.

3. Board Certification Exam

The last step towards becoming a BCBA is creating an account with the BACB and completing the board certification exam online. You can only qualify to do the exam after providing all the required paperwork, such as course grades, supervisor reports, and other relevant information.

In a nutshell, it takes time and effort to get your BCBA certification. You need to ensure that you have undergone all the required processes and passed your exams before obtaining the certification.

Organizations like offer BCBA certification to interested candidates. You can visit their website to learn more.

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