Becoming a BCBA

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)® is a nonprofit corporation whose mission is "to develop, promote, and implement a voluntary international certification program for behavior analyst practitioners." Below is a brief overview of the general certification requirements issued by the (BACB)® as of July 2020, but we recommend that you visit their website for the official standards and to monitor potential changes in coursework and experience requirements.

Page Content

I. Overview of BCBA Requirements
II. JSU's BCBA Coursework Sequence
III. Applying to JSU to Complete the BCBA Coursework Sequence
IV. JSU's Supervised Experience Options


I. Overview of BCBA Requirements (for January 2022 BCBA Exam applicants)

Requirements for applying to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination®:

A. Master's or doctoral degree from a qualifying institution

B. Coursework The BACB® requires that you complete 315 classroom hours of graduate level instruction in specific content areas. The Association for Behavior Analysis International verified the following JSU psychology course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the BCBA Examination®: PSY 508, PSY 511, PSY 521, PSY 528, PSY 529, PSY 530, and PSY 538.

C. Supervised Experience. The BACB® requires that you complete 2000 hours of "Supervised Fieldwork" under the supervision of a BCBA.

II. JSU'S BCBA Coursework Sequence (We do NOT offer an online coursework option.)

The Association for Behavior Analysis verified the following course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the BCBA Examination®. Applicants will have to meet the additional "Supervised Experience" requirement to be eligible for the exam.

A. PSY 508 Personnel Supervision and Management (3). Introduction to personnel supervision and management using the principles of behavior analysis. Evaluating professional behavior and leadership skills, and applying concepts, strategies, and tactics to professional experiences.

B. PSY 511 Conceptual Foundations of Behavior Analysis (3) . Issues underlying the acquisition, conceptualization, and understanding of valid knowledge in psychology, including the design, implementation, and interpretation of research.

C. PSY 521 Functional Assessment (3) . The strategies and ethics of functional assessment are presented in the larger context of behavioral assessment. Research articles relevant to indirect, descriptive, and experimental functional assessment approaches and assessment-based interventions are reviewed.

D. PSY 528 Applied Behavior Analysis I (3) . Pre- or Co-requisite: PSY 221 or PSY 504. An introduction to and examination of the theory, principles, and methods of modern applied behavior analysis.

E. PSY 529 Applied Behavior Analysis II (3) . Prerequisites: PSY 221 or PSY 504 and PSY 528. Diverse populations commonly served by applied behavior analysts (e.g., substance abuse, autism, traumatic brain injury) are examined with respect to their prevalence, defining characteristics, etiology, and current research trends. The potential for the use of applied behavior analysis in underserved populations is also discussed.

F. PSY 530 Single-Subject Research Methods (3) . Prerequisite: PSY 221 or PSY 504 and PSY 528. Examination of the strategies and tactics used in single-subject research to implement socially important behavior change.

G. PSY 538 Ethics and Professional Development (3) . Prerequisite: PSY 530 and PSY 534. Discussion of ethical guidelines and professional skills pertinent to research and practice in behavior analysis.

Please note:

• Several of these courses have prerequisites, so the courses must be taken in the appropriate sequence. 

• The seven courses required by the BACB® are not offered every semester.

III. Applying to JSU to Complete the BCBA Coursework Sequence

A. Submit an application and the required application materials to Graduate Studies to become a degree-seeking student.
If you already have a master's or doctoral degree, you will not be required to complete the entire program, but you must be accepted using the same guidelines as an applicant pursuing the full degree. More information about application materials is available on our FAQ page.

IV. JSU'S Supervised Experience Opportunities

The following campus settings have Board Certified Behavior Analysts® available to supervise outstanding students who demonstrate acceptable performance on the BACB® Task List (5th Edition) items and are interested in careers in applied behavior analysis.

The Center for Behavioral Studies - Services include, but are not limited to: early intervention for children with autism and related disorders, problem behavior reduction, reading & math instruction for children

BCBA supervision provided by: Mrs. Carrie Kirk, Dr. Makenzie Bayles, & Dr. Paige McKerchar

Practicum Supervisor: Dr. Makenzie Bayles

Department of Learning Services - Services provided to undergraduate JSU students include development of reading, writing, numeracy, studying, reasoning, and self-management skills

BCBA supervision provided by: Ms. Courtney Peppers, Ms. Mary Reagan, and Mrs. Carrie Kirk

Practicum Supervisor: Dr. Makenzie Bayles

Other, Off-Campus Supervised Experience Opportunities

The following off-campus groups are interested in offering training opportunities to JSU Psychology students.  Practicum credit may be available and should be arranged with Dr. Makenzie Bayles. BCBA supervised experience may also be available and should be arranged directly with the BCBA on staff with the company/organization.

The Learning Tree, Inc - Services include educational, residential, and support services for children and adolescents with developmental disabilities, including autism

Milestones Behavior Group - Assessment, treatment, and training services are provided in clinic and school settings in Alabama and Georgia

Coosa Behavioral Services - Assessment, treatment, and training services are provided in clinic and school settings in Etowah County and surrounding areas