Tip of the Week: Things You Should Know About BCBAs

Maybe you’ve never heard of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), or you’ve heard of them frequently but never been provided an explanation of how a BCBA differs from an ABA therapist. Here are a few things you should know:

  • BCBAs are required to take extensive coursework in applied behavior analysis and complete 1500 hours of supervised work. Furthermore, they are required to take a difficult comprehensive exam at the end of their coursework and supervision hours. Once they have completed the hours and passed the exam, they are officially a BCBA.
  • BCBAs must complete 32 units of continuing education every two years. There is a requirement that some of these hours pertain to ethics, but the rest can be focused on skills such as addressing verbal behavior, feeding issues, aggressive behaviors, and more.
  • BCBAs are required to utilize evidence-based practice. A BCBA should be aware of current research in the field and should be able to easily reference the literature when encountering a difficult problem or working on an intervention.
  • One of my favorite parts of the ethical code for BCBAs is that “clients have a right to effective treatment.” Your BCBA should be taking data and implementing interventions that are effective in creating behavior change for clients. If an intervention is not working, then adjustments should be made.

The goal of Behavior Analyst Certification Board is to ensure appropriate training and accountability for behavior analysts.


Sam is an ABA provider for students ages 3-12 in NYC. Working in education for ten years with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental delays, Sam has developed strategies for achieving a multitude of academic, behavior, and social goals. Sam is currently pursuing her PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis at Endicott College.

NYS Licensing Process for Behavior Analysts Announced

The New York State Office of the Professions announced on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014, the application process for licensed behavior analysts and certified behavior analyst assistants.  This process marks the first step in implementing the landmark ABA License Bill that was signed by New York State Governor Cuomo in January. This bill establishes a new state license for providers of applied behavior analysis (ABA) services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Now, individuals seeking to become licensed BCBA’s and BCaBA’s in New York will be able to register and become certified by the following requirements (subject to change in January 2016):


  1. Currently certified by the national Behavior Analyst Certification Board
  2. Submit a 4-page application
  3. Pay the required application fee
  4. At least 21 years of age
  5. Complete a 3-hour training in the identification and reporting of child abuse
  6. Be of good, moral character

Visit the NYS Office of the Professions’ website to view the detailed list of Licensure/Certification Requirements.

Special thanks to Eden II and ELIJA for sharing the news with us!