How To Get ABA Therapy Certification
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is a highly effective treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities.
ABA therapists work with clients to develop and implement behavior modification plans that help them learn new skills and reduce problematic behaviors.
If you're interested in becoming an ABA therapist, you'll need to obtain certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Here's what you need to know about getting ABA therapy certification.
Step 1: Meet the Education Requirements
To be eligible for ABA therapy certification, you must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as psychology, education, or social work.
In addition, you must have completed coursework in behavior analysis, such as a BACB-approved course sequence.
If you don't have a degree in a related field, you may be able to meet the education requirements by completing a BACB-approved course sequence and obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent.
Step 2: Gain Supervised Experience
Once you've met the education requirements, you'll need to gain supervised experience in behavior analysis. You must complete a minimum of 1,500 hours of supervised experience, with at least 75 hours of supervision by a qualified behavior analyst.
The supervision must be provided by a BACB-approved supervisor, and it must be completed within a two-year period. During the supervision period, you'll work with clients and develop behavior modification plans under the guidance of your supervisor.
Step 3: Pass the Certification Exam
After you've completed the education and supervised experience requirements, you'll be eligible to take the certification exam.
The exam is a computer-based test that consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. You'll have four hours to complete the exam, which covers topics such as measurement, experimental design, behavior change procedures, and ethical considerations.
To pass the exam, you must score at least 70%.
Step 4: Maintain Your Certification
Once you've obtained your ABA therapy certification, you'll need to maintain it by completing continuing education requirements.
You must complete 32 hours of continuing education every two years, with at least four hours in ethics. In addition, you must adhere to the BACB's ethical guidelines and report any ethical violations to the board.
Tips For People Getting ABA Therapy Certification
Getting ABA therapy certification is a rigorous process that requires dedication and hard work. Here are some tips to help you succeed:
1. Start Early
Don't wait until the last minute to start working towards your certification. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the education and supervised experience requirements, and make sure you're fully prepared for the certification exam.
2. Find a Mentor
Having a mentor can be incredibly helpful when you're working towards your ABA therapy certification. Look for someone who is experienced in the field and can provide guidance and support as you navigate the process.
3. Network with Other Professionals
Networking with other professionals in the field can help you stay up-to-date on best practices and new developments in ABA therapy. Attend conferences, join professional organizations, and connect with other therapists on social media.
4. Stay Organized
Keeping track of your education and supervised experience hours, as well as your continuing education requirements, can be challenging. Make sure you have a system in place to stay organized and on top of all the requirements.
5. Practice Self-Care
Working towards ABA therapy certification can be stressful, so it's important to take care of yourself along the way. Make time for self-care activities like exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends and family.
By following these tips, you'll be better equipped to successfully obtain your ABA therapy certification.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you're considering becoming an ABA therapist, you may have some questions about the certification process. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you better understand what's involved:
How long does it take to become a certified ABA therapist?
The time it takes to become a certified ABA therapist can vary depending on your educational background and how quickly you're able to complete the supervised experience and pass the certification exam. On average, it takes about two to three years to complete all of the requirements.
Can I complete the supervised experience requirement while working as a behavior technician?
Yes, many people complete their supervised experience hours while working as behavior technicians. However, it's important to make sure that your supervisor is a qualified behavior analyst who meets BACB requirements.
What happens if I fail the certification exam?
If you fail the certification exam, you'll need to wait at least 30 days before retaking it. You can retake the exam up to four times within one year of your initial attempt.
Is continuing education required for ABA therapists?
Yes, continuing education is required for ABA therapists. You must complete 32 hours of continuing education every two years, with at least four hours in ethics.
Can I practice as an ABA therapist without certification?
No, in most states you cannot practice as an ABA therapist without certification from the BACB. It's important to check your state's specific requirements before beginning your journey towards certification.
By understanding these frequently asked questions about ABA therapist certification, you'll be better prepared for what's involved in obtaining this valuable credential.
Common Mistakes People Trying To Become ABA Therapists Make
While obtaining ABA therapy certification is a rewarding and worthwhile endeavor, there are some common mistakes that people make when trying to become ABA therapists. Here are a few things to avoid:
1. Not Starting Early Enough
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not starting early enough in the process. It's important to give yourself plenty of time to complete the education and supervised experience requirements, as well as study for the certification exam.
2. Not Seeking Out Supervision Opportunities
Another mistake people make is not seeking out enough opportunities for supervision. It's crucial to work with a qualified behavior analyst who can provide guidance and feedback on your work with clients.
3. Not Focusing on Ethics
Ethical considerations are an essential part of being an ABA therapist, yet some people don't focus enough on this aspect of the certification process. Make sure you understand the BACB's ethical guidelines and how they apply to your work.
4. Neglecting Continuing Education Requirements
Once you've obtained your certification, it's important to stay up-to-date on best practices in ABA therapy by completing continuing education requirements. Neglecting these requirements could result in losing your certification.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you'll be better equipped to successfully obtain your ABA therapy certification and have a successful career in this field.
Obtaining ABA therapy certification is a rigorous process that requires a significant amount of education, supervised experience, and dedication.
However, the rewards of becoming an ABA therapist are immeasurable. By helping individuals with developmental disabilities learn new skills and reduce problematic behaviors, you'll be making a positive impact on their lives and the lives of their families.
If you're passionate about helping others and have a strong interest in behavior analysis, pursuing ABA therapy certification may be the right path for you.