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WHAT IS A BCBA - Everything You Need to Know

October 5, 2021

By ABA Psychological Services

What does BCBA stand for?

There are many types of professionals in the autism field, and BCBAs play a crucial role in providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. A BCBA is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who owns a master’s degree in behavior analysis, education, or psychology from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

Aside from coursework focused on behavior analysis; a certified BCBA has accumulated a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised fieldwork experience and passed a BCBA examination. They also update their certification every two years via continuing education credits. As of July 1, 2021, there are 4800 BCBAs in the United States, and the number is growing quickly..

What Does a BCBA Do?

BCBAs offer guidance and structure to individuals with disorders such as autism, bipolar disorder, depression, and more. The BCBA is responsible for evaluating the client's needs and then designing programs for everyone involved in the therapeutic process, from staff to family members.

BCBAs work with patients of all ages in various settings including schools, private practices, or therapeutic preschool programs. The therapy they provide focuses on lessening challenging behavior while teaching important skills that are necessary for success in life Their job revolves around creating a personalized program for their patients and working with everyone from speech pathologists and occupational therapists to teachers and parents to ensure positive outcomes. Their goal is to help individuals gain the ability to regulate their reactions to the environment and become independent.

A Day in The Life Of a BCBA

There’s a lot of variety in BCBAs’ workdays:

  • One priority is spending time with their patients, either at home or at the clinic to closely observe if the treatment is producing the expected results. Perhaps the patient is being overwhelmed by external stimuli or is experiencing sleep issues. By interacting with their patient, BCBAs can tailor their approach to fit the child's needs.
  • The BCBA offers support and guidance to behavior therapists. They might discuss effective model programs and interventions, drawing inspiration from their ongoing research on behavior analysis. Another part of their role entails maintaining compliance with client confidentiality, company policies, or funding source specifications.
  • To keep parents and team members up to date with treatment’s next steps, they will also translate complex data into easy-to-understand concepts.
  • When they are not interacting with patients, a BCBA is deeply involved in facilitating training for their team of therapists as well as parents. Empowering caregivers to become ABA experts for their own children is of utmost importance for a BCBA, so they constantly stay in touch with families via email and phone

More than experts in autism, BCBAs are specialists in behavior management who advocate for their clients and make sure that everyone on the team is up to date with a patient’s treatment. Embracing a position as a BCBA requires strong communication skills, a willingness to travel to multiple locations in one day, and a genuine passion to keep advancing your education.

On the other hand, if you’re a parent working with this type of behavioral specialist, you should be at ease asking questions and being open to learning an array of strategies that will set your child on their path to a successful, fulfilling life.

Interested in learning how a BCBA can help your child? Meet our team, browse our services and contact us when you’re ready to start a true partnership.

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