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 January 2013, but we recommend that you visit their website for the official "Standards and Application for Examination" and to monitor potential changes in coursework and experience requirements. The BACB® also offers an Application FAQ page under their 'Become Certified' link if you have specific questions regarding the application process.

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 (as of January 2013)

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

A. Master's degree conferred in behavior analysis, education, or psychology; read detailed definitions on the BACB's website.

B. Coursework . The BACB® requires that you complete 270 classroom hours of graduate level instruction in three content areas (i.e., Ethical and Professional Conduct, Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis, Research Methods in Behavior Analysis, Applied Behavior Analysis, and a "Discretionary" category). The BACB® has verified the following JSU psychology course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the BCBA Examination®: PSY 511, PSY 521, PSY 528, PSY 529, PSY 530, and PSY 538.

C. Supervised Experience. The BACB® requires that you complete 1500 hours of "Supervised Independent Fieldwork" under the supervision of a BCBA. During your experience, you will learn behavior analytic skills listed in the BACB Fourth Edition Task List (e.g., developing interventions, conducting assessments, collecting and analyzing data). This experience must include at least 75 hours of direct supervision by a BCBA (i.e., the BCBA must meet with the trainee at least once every two weeks for 5% of the accumulated hours). Additionally, each meeting with the BCBA must be documented on the form provided by the BACB®. Note: The BACB® will not consider any supervision hours as meeting the 1500-hour requirement until the student has begun taking one of the six required courses listed above.

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

The BACB® has approved 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 (see above).

A. 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.

B. 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.

C. 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.

D. 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.

E. 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.

F. 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. PSY 528 lists PSY 221 or PSY 504 as a pre- or co-requisite; these courses are the undergraduate (PSY 221) and graduate (PSY 504) labs in behavior analysis. If graduate students have not passed PSY 221 at JSU or an equivalent lab at another university, they are required to enroll in PSY 504 Graduate Behavior Analysis Lab prior to or in the same semester that they enroll in PSY 528 Applied Behavior Analysis I.

• The six courses required by the BACB® are not offered every semester. We offer PSY 504, PSY 511, PSY 521, and PSY 528 every fall; we offer PSY 504, PSY 529, and PSY 530 every spring; and we offer PSY 504 and PSY 538 every summer.

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 an acceptable master's 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 (4th 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. Jennifer Bruzek, & 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.

Behavior Changes, LLC - Services include in-home and one-on-one ABA services, as well as school consultation, for children and young adults on the autism spectrum

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.