The Types of Degrees That Allow Practice of ABA Therapy

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ABA therapy is an evidence-based method of communication that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of children with autism. It aims to teach skills such as social interaction and language acquisition, using a variety of methods including play, games and rewards.

The “bcba” is a degree that allows for practice of ABA therapy. It is typically the first degree required to work in the field of autism.


Many degrees allow for the practice of ABA treatment, but all levels of certification require completion of specified behavior-analytic curriculum. Degrees in behavior analysis, psychology, and education are often the most compatible with future ABA certification.

Qualifications for ABA Therapy

To be qualified to operate in the area of behavior analysis, all applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapists have completed specialized training. ABA therapists’ abilities and duties differ based on the kind of therapist.

The three basic categories of ABA therapists are as follows:

  • Technician in Applied Behavior Analysis (RBT)

  • Assistant behavior analyst with board certification (BCaBA)

  • Behavior analyst with a board certification (BCBA)

Behavior Analyst with a Board Certification-doctoral (BCBA-D) is a new credential for BCBAs who have earned a doctorate degree. A BCBA-D, on the other hand, has the same rights and obligations as a BCBA. We’ve broken down what each professional credential entails and how long it takes to get it.

Technician in Applied Behavior Analysis

RBTs offer behavior analysis and treatment under the supervision of a professional. In all of their client interactions, they work closely with an RBT supervisor or RBT requirements coordinator. A Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) RBT has at least a high school graduation and has completed the RBT test.

To become an RBT, you must also meet the following requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old to participate.

  • A background check must be passed.

  • Completing a 40-hour training course is required.

  • Complete a preliminary competence evaluation.

  • Pass the RBT test with flying colors.

It is feasible to begin working as an RBT practically immediately after getting a high school diploma and satisfying the necessary prerequisites. In the United States, the typical RBT compensation is about $34,000 per year, or $16.50 per hour.

Assistant Behavior Analyst with Board Certification

ABA therapists who have earned a bachelor’s degree are eligible for the BCaBA certification. Because you must earn a four-year college degree before seeking to become a BCaBA, it takes longer to become a BCaBA than it does to become an RBT. It is a valuable qualification to have, particularly for those who want to work as a BCBA in the future.

The following are BCaBA requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree is required.

  • As part of your undergraduate degree, take BACB-certified behavior analytic curriculum.

  • Obtain experience under the supervision of a BCBA.

  • Obtain a passing score on the BCaBA test.

Obtaining supervised field experience is a requirement for obtaining a BCaBA. You must complete 1,000 hours of supervised independent field work, 670 hours of practicum, or 500 hours of intense practicum before applying to take the BCaBA test.

You may start working as a BCaBA as soon as you pass the BCaBA test. You must complete continuing education requirements, get continuous supervision from a BCBA supervisor, adhere to the BACB code of conduct, and renew your certification every two years to keep your certification.

Although the qualifications for becoming a BCaBA take longer than those for becoming an RBT, the salary is usually better. In the United States, the average BCaBA pay is about $48,400 per year.

Behavior Analyst with a Board Certification

BCBAs are fully qualified graduate-level therapists who can perform ABA treatment on their own. BCBAs have earned a bachelor’s degree in behavior analysis, education, or psychology, as well as a master’s degree in one of these fields. These courses must include behavior-analytic coursework, or it must be taken separately.

To get qualified, you must also have practical fieldwork experience. Either 1,500 hours of supervised independent fieldwork, 1,000 hours of practicum, or 750 hours of intensive programs must be completed. Students seeking a doctorate in behavior analysis must complete 500 hours of supervised independent fieldwork.

You may apply to take the BCBA test after completing the degree, behavior-analytic courses, and supervised experience requirements. You will be qualified to practice as an independent ABA therapist as soon as you pass the test. BCBAs and BCBA-Ds do not need ongoing monitoring.

While being a BCBA takes four years to finish a bachelor’s degree and another two to seven years to complete master’s or doctoral-level training, BCBAs enjoy the most privilege and freedom. BCBAs might work for themselves or for a bigger company. RBTs and BCaBAs may also be supervised by them.

Because becoming a BCBA takes the most time, the salary for this sort of ABA therapist is also the highest. The average income for a BCBA is about $62,400 per year, with top wages approaching $80,000 per year.

The Best College Majors for ABA

It is essential to choose undergraduate and graduate degrees that incorporate necessary training if you wish to get certified to work in the area of ABA. Degrees in behavior analysis, psychology, education, or a related discipline are accepted by BACB. No matter what major you choose, you must take behavior-analytic classes.

The following two methods may be used to verify coursework:

  • Verified coursework: Completing a degree with a Verified Course Sequence at a recognized school implies the courses have already been prescreened to fulfill BACB course standards for each certification.

  • Nonverified coursework: Non-Verified Course Sequence behavior-analytic courses may still count for a BACB certificate. A Nonverified Course Content Attestation must be presented with your certification application in order to be counted.

If you already have an undergraduate degree but it does not contain behavior-analytic education, you may take the requisite behavior-analytic courses at a qualified school in addition to your degree.

The number of hours of study required varies depending on the certification. BCBAs must complete 270 hours of behavior-analytic training, whereas BCaBAs must complete 180 hours.

There are several methods to get certified in the subject of ABA for those interested in establishing a career in the industry. Whether you have a high school certificate, a bachelor’s degree, or a graduate degree, there is a certification that will help you get started in the profession right away.


Average Behavior Analyst with a Board Certification Salary. (January 2021). Payscale.

Average Technician in Applied Behavior Analysis Hourly Pay. (January 2012). Payscale.

BCaBA: Assistant Behavior Analyst with Board Certification Handbook. (November 2020). Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

BCBA: Behavior Analyst with a Board Certification Handbook. (November 2020). Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

BACB stands for Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Technician in Applied Behavior Analysis. Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Salary for Certification: BACB Assistant behavior analyst with board certification (BCaBA). (January 2021). Payscale.

The “how to become an aba therapist assistant” is a degree that allows practice of ABA therapy. The types of degrees that allow practice of ABA therapy are the doctorate in clinical psychology, the master’s degree in clinical or counseling psychology and the bachelor’s degree in applied behavior analysis.

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