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School-Based BCBA

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What is a BCBA
How to Become a BCBA
Day in the Life of a BCBA School Based BCBA
Certifications and Continuing Ed

If you have an innate ability to observe people and a desire to help them understand their inner workings with scientific founding and reason, then you might want to consider becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. This is an ideal profession for individuals that have impressive listening and problem-solving skills.

What is a BCBA

A BCBA is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. BCBA’s often work as therapists and counselors. Many BCBA’s start their career as a social worker, counselor, psychological assistant or special education assistant. As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst you will observe people and their surroundings. You will take note of any environmental or physical changes for a person and document their behavior. You will analyze this data and help create a plan that will help them cope and progress through any psychological or mental barriers they may be experiencing. Patients of BCBA’s typically seek out their help for lengthy periods of times and BCBA’s must build lasting relationships with their clients in order to establish trust and understanding.

How to Become a BCBA

This is a graduate-level certification. You must obtain a master’s degree in education, applied behavior analysis or psychology to be certified. In addition to this, there are fieldwork requirements that are very specific and can be found in detail here. In summary, you must have a minimum of 2000 supervised fieldwork hours to qualify for this requirement (in the concentrated model, this requirement is 1500 hours), and all of the fieldwork must be completed within five continuous years. You must meet the qualifications to become an applicant for a BCBA certification according to the requirements laid out by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Once you have your BCBA certification, you may still need an official license according to the requirements of your state. Not every state licenses the practice of ABA. Please check with your specific state to see what you need to practice ABA therapy.

Day in the Life

A school-based BCBA is typically an employee of the school district and works to support and supervise those providing behavior analysis (ABA) services to students at one or more schools in their jurisdiction. 

Being a BCBA goes far beyond mentoring people and helping them work through any crisis situations they may be engaged in. Crisis management and de-escalation is a major part of this job but there is a paperwork side as well.

ABA is a well-developed scientific discipline used among various helping professions to focus on design, analysis, implementation and evaluation of social and environmental modifications to produce a meaningful change in behavior for those receiving ABA therapy.

BCBA’s must complete at least 20 billable hours of counseling throughout the week but they also must have knowledge on submitting insurance claims, complete reports about each client’s progress weekly, train staff, maintain billing records, establish intervention plans for each patient that uniquely helps them progress and also work on terminations of services or patient discharge plans for those who have worked through their barriers and are ready to be treatment free.

BCBA’s often commute from client to client. They will spend time going from school to school or even provide home-based services depending on the school district.

Certifications and Continuing Ed

Once you become a BCBA you will still need to continue your education and take a recertification every two years. This is to ensure you are up to date on any new methods of analysis and to keep your certification up-to-date. To be eligible for the recertification you must have 32 units of acceptable continuing education and of those four hours must go over ethics content