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What’s the Difference Between a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) and a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® (BCaBA®)?

People often ask, “What’s the difference between a BCBA and a BCaBA?” Below, we’ve outlined the distinction between these two highly valued credentials.

What is a BCBA?

Board Certified Behavior Analysts® (BCBAs®) are professionals who work in the fields of psychology, education, child care, speech and language disorders, and mental health and human services to conduct, develop and implement behavioral assessments and treatment plans for those with developmental disorders.

According to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®), the leading organization for credentialing professionals in behavior analysis,  “professionals who are certified at the BCBA level are independent practitioners who provide behavior-analytic services. BCBAs supervise the work of Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts, Registered Behavior Technicians, and others who implement behavior-analytic interventions.”

  • BCBAs must have a master’s degree from an accredited university.
  • BCBAs can practice independently.
  • BCBAs can supervise Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs).
  • BCBAs must pass the BCBA certification exam (and meet the organization’s other eligibility requirements).

What is a BCaBA?

Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts® (BCaBA®) are professionals who support and assist Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) by collecting data, implementing skills acquisition procedures and/or behavior management interventions, graphing and analyzing data, as well as conducting assessments. BCaBAs play an important role in supporting the growing caseloads of BCBAs in school systems, special education programs, residential programs, and community and home therapy programs.

“Professionals who are certified at the BCaBA level may not practice independently, but must be supervised by someone certified at the BCBA/BCBA-D level,” notes the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. BCaBAs can, however, “supervise the work of Registered Behavior Technicians, and others who implement behavior-analytic interventions.”

  • BCaBAs must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.
  • BCaBAs cannot practice independently; they are supervised by BCBAs.
  • BCaBAs can supervise Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs).
  • BCaBAs must pass the BCaBA certification exam (and meet the organization’s other eligibility requirements).

Are you interested in becoming a BCBA or a BCaBA?

UMass Lowell’s award-winning graduate online programs provide the required coursework necessary for individuals interested in pursuing  or BCBA or BCaBA certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). In fact, UMass Lowell has one of the highest BCBA exam pass rates in the U.S. among online graduate programs in behavior analysis, based on the BACB’s Verified Course Sequence (VCS) Provider Pass Rate data.

At UMass Lowell, courses are taught by expert behavior analysts from around the country who work for some of the most respected centers for autism treatment and research.

This six-course online graduate certificate program is designed for those interested in becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who already hold, or will soon earn, an appropriate master’s degree but who have not completed the specific coursework required by BACB.

This four-course online graduate certificate program is designed for those interested in becoming a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) who hold, or will soon earn, a bachelor’s degree and who have no near-term plan to pursue a master’s degree.

This 10-course online master’s degree program is designed for those who would like to integrate knowledge of autism studies with a master’s degree in education. Up to five of the courses taken in either of the two certificates above may be counted as part of those 10 courses.

This master’s degree program is designed for those interested in counting their autism certificate coursework towards a psychology-based master’s degree. This Master of Science in Autism Studies offers a mix of on-campus and online courses.

Source: Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. (BACB); www.bacb.com