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What Is A BCBA Or ABA Therapist?

Find out what ABA therapists do, and how your child can grow from working with a trained ABA therapist.

Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs), and ABA Therapists work closely with parents, caregivers and educators in reaching behavior goals with the child.

What Is a BCBA?

A Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is a professional who provides and oversees the treatment of patients with behavior disorders like autism. They specialize in behavior analysis and treatment and use evidence-based techniques to help patients increase positive and decrease negative behaviors.

What is an ABA Therapist?

An ABA Therapist, or Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), is an entry-level position available to individuals with a high school diploma and an additional 40 hours of specialized training in behavior analytics.

The course includes basic principles of ABA, behaviors, ethics, working with parents/children, and some state relevant information, including what it means to be a mandated reporter.

The work of the ABA therapist follows the client’s individualized treatment plan and is closely supervised by an assigned BCBA.

While the BCBA will evaluate your child, develop programs, advocate on your child’s behalf, monitor progress, and report to insurances, the RBT will be implementing the guidelines set forth by the BCBA throughout each therapy session.

This role distinction is a perfect partnership that has served thousands of children and their families on their journeys to success.

Both BCBAs and RBTs require state-regulated certification renewal and continued education.

How Do I Become a BCBA?

Board Certified Behavior Analysts have completed a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis or a related field, such as psychology or education. In addition, a BCBA candidate requires 1500 hours of supervision by a licensed and registered BCBA. Around 1.5 years of additional education is necessary before becoming a certified BCBA.

Hours are divided between direct work with clients and BACB (Behavior Analyst Certification Board)-approved tasks in the field.

Completing supervision hours can take up to three years, depending on the candidate’s weekly schedule.

Once a candidate has completed their degree and necessary supervision hours, they are required to sit for an exam.

The four-hour BCBA exam has been referred to as the psychology equivalent of the bar exam for aspiring lawyers.

Considering the high level of the subject content, it is not unusual for a candidate to attempt the exam three or four times before passing.

Upon passing, the candidate has earned their certification.



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