What the Heck is a BCBA, Anyway?


If you’ve spent any time looking into behavior analysis, either as a career path, or as an option for your child, you’ve seen the term “BCBA”. Companies brag that their behavior plans are only written by BCBAs, and insurance companies require that children be supervised, or in some cases treated, by a BCBA. But what exactly IS a BCBA?

BCBA stands for Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Simply put, in the field of applied behavior analysis, BCBAs are the experts. They are certified and monitored by the BACB, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, who ensures that anyone pursuing the BCBA certification meets the appropriate educational and ethical requirements to work with the most vulnerable populations. They do this by attesting that certain schools are in compliance with the BACB’s required coursework, by ensuring that potential BCBAs complete an intensive period of supervised practical experience as well as a comprehensive exam, and by confirming that BCBAs meet (and continue to meet) appropriate ethical standards.

So why does this all matter? Is having a BCBA supervise behavior analysis really that important? Well, yes! Think about it this way – if you were going to hire someone to do construction on your home, you would want to verify a few things first. Are they licensed and bonded? Do they have good reviews? Can you make sure that they are qualified to do what they say they are going to do? Given that your child is much more important than your house, there are infinitely more things that you would want to know about the person working with them, many of which would be difficult, if not impossible, to find out on your own. The BACB steps in to confirm that anyone with a BCBA certification is qualified, practiced, and prepared to provide expert-level care to your child.

BCBAs are also required to undergo continuing education in a variety of different areas. This ensures that a BCBA has the most up-to-date information on best standards and practices, which they can then apply to a child’s treatment as needed. It’s just another way to confirm that a BCBA is the “best of the best” in the behavior analysis world.

If you are considering behavior analysis for your child, ensure that he or she will be receiving supervision from a BCBA before you sign up with any company. You can also verify the licensure of a BCBA, or find BCBAs in your area, through the BACB website. Behavior Frontiers provides BCBA supervision to all of our clients, as part of our individualized treatment plans. For more information on ABA and our approach, visit our website at http://behaviorfrontiers.com/our-approach!

September 3, 2019