Individuals who have received specialized training in behavior analysis may qualify to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc. (BACB®) is a nonprofit 501(c) corporation established to meet professional credentialing needs identified by behavior analysts, state governments, and consumers of behavior analysis services. The BACB's mission is to develop, promote, and implement a voluntary national and international certification program for behavior analyst practitioners. The BACB® has established uniform content, standards, and criteria for the credentialing process that are designed to meet the legal standards established through state, federal and case law; the standards for national certification programs as established by the National Organization for Competency Assurance, and the National Commission for Certifying Agencies; and the "best practice" and ethical standards of the behavior analysis profession.
Certification is offered at two levels:
- Board Certified Behavior Analyst™ (BCBA®) and
- Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst™ (BCBA®)
Eligibility to sit for the BCBA® certification examination generally requires three things: 1) possession of a minimum of a bachelor's and a master's degree from an accredited institution of higher education, 2) 235 classroom hours of graduate level instruction, and 3) supervised experience. The coursework must be in the following content areas and for the number of hours specified:
- Ethical considerations - 15 hours
- Definition and characteristics; Principles, processes, and concepts - 45 hours
- Behavioral assessment; Selecting intervention outcomes and strategies - 35 hours
- Experimental evaluation of interventions - 20 hours
- Measurement of behavior; Displaying and interpreting behavioral data - 20 hours
- Behavioral change procedures; Systems support - 45 hours
- Discretionary - 45 hours
Revised BACB experience requirements include various options for obtaining supervised field experience ranging from 750 to 1500 total hours under specified conditions of supervision. Options and definitions are described on the BACB® web site.
Certification by the BACB is the defining standard for professional expertise in Behavior Analysis. This is particularly true in the field of developmental disabilities, where certification constitutes a minimum set of professional competencies that are individually verified by examination. Employers use certification to identify individuals who have acquired these competencies.
The coursework and experience training for Central Washington University's Master’s degree programs in Psychology and Education (with a specialization in ABA) are currently being submitted for approval by the BACB.