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ABA Therapy Certification & Training: Guide

Learn how to get ABA therapy certification and training, step-by-step.

steven zauderer
Steven Zauderer
May 23, 2024
min read

How To Get ABA Therapy Certification

People that seek out ABA certification and training do it to change the lives of people with autism for the better, including their parents.

They do it to learn more about the aspects that lead to the development of autism's symptoms and other important contributors like neurodivergence.

Students studying in the field are hopeful to find the missing links between ASD sufferers and the places they live, go to school, and go shopping around.

Striving to become an ABA therapist is a great way for trainees to see the end of such goals, especially when applied to the field of study today.

ABA therapy is technically a medical profession. It finds positive solutions for vulnerable people, minors in particular. To be a successful ABA therapist requires lots of knowledge in many educational fields, most of which revolve around psychology.

However, it doesn't end there. They're also required to have a certain amount of hours of work experience on the job itself, even if it's through an internship.

Most medical fields require both students and the people employed with such jobs to have different types of certifications. This also ABA goes for ABA therapists.

About the BACB

Many states have distinctive stipulations on the kinds of certifications needed, yet all ABA therapists and their equivalents get licensed through the same body.

It's called the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, usually abbreviated as the BACB.

This is the organization that places stipulations on where a certification from them can be granted, whether or not the school being attended is accredited through them, and the kind of coursework that must be completed before their final exam can be administered.

Their requirements are strict among different levels of education, experience in supervision, and examination of students wishing to become certified through them.

Remember, these people routinely work with vulnerable people, both children, and adults. so qualifications and purposefully strict to ensure that standards don't falter.

However, there are some alternatives.

Not everyone can attend a college or university to go down this career path, and there are some options.

For those people, an RBT, or registered behavior technician, is a suitable career path. They're the foot soldiers in an ABA clinic, making sure that sessions are carried out as they're supposed to be.

They also assess clients case by case, so individual circumstances about a patient's profile can be tailored into the BCBA's session plan for them.

The Goal of ABA Therapy

The primary goal of ABA therapy is to help patients and their families, people with various developmental disorders, not just ASD.

But as far as autism goes, it helps to focus on positive behaviors as they relate to the patient's ability to communicate with others, socialize, learn, and take on lifelong skills.

In short, what's learned in ABA therapy is often remembered and utilized by patients long after they've reached adulthood, even if beginning as small children. It's predicated on the understanding of science as it's applied to different behaviors and how people with disorders take on knowledge.

Although the concepts began almost a century ago, modern ABA started in the 1960s.

Its impact has been conspicuous, with ABA clinics now existing in many parts of the world.

Other developmental disorders have been impacted by ABA as well, like ASD and OCD. Patients diagnosed with either one have been prescribed ABA courses with positive results.

As a whole, ABA therapy uses what therapists know about the way behavior works in real-world instances. For this reason, some people study sociology to help supplant a degree that's related to the field.

It boosts behaviors deemed helpful and guides patients far from behaviors listed as maladaptive. Many such behaviors are rooted in a patient's learning and communicative abilities, so the focus tends to hone in on them.

ABA also helps clients broaden their ability to talk and engage with other people, even strangers. It can enhance memory, their ability for them to maintain focus, better their skills when studying, and their overall abilities with academics.

Other Behaviors Deemed Problematic

Even with big goals in ABA therapy, every patient gets their treatment profile, which is created with the efforts of a BCBA.

The symptoms of those with autism are different as far as behavior goes, with some very mild and others extremely severe.

Therefore, everyone that comes into a clinic will have different needs and how they are carried out. All treatment plans are created by therapists, all of them thoroughly certified, trained, and committed to their job.

Types of ABA Therapy Certifications

For anyone considering applying for an ABA certification or getting through training involving the profession. it can be very confusing, particularly in regards to the number of certifications there are.

ABA has seen explosive growth and professionals over the years, with an increasing number of employers needed for patients with autism.

Supervisors are abundant and help look over the work of RBTs and their equivalent positions. They use behavior assessments and produce different treatment plans for clients and patients.

BCBAs can also create a clinic on their own, as they have the right certification and educational background to do so.

For BCBA certification, applicants need to have a graduate degree with a specified number of hours of coursework. To meet the coursework's requirements, trainees can do this through either a degree program such as one from the ABAI or through the Verified Course Sequence.

The BCBA certification costs money as well. To even be considered for the exam requires that students have everything lined up to take it, such as the coursework hours mentioned earlier. Another type of ABA certification is for RBTs, which is much easier to obtain, though still quite strict.

Certification Application & Exam

All BCBAs are required to pass the certification test for the position, which is carried out by the BACB. Before taking it, payment must be made either online with the package that's provided by the administrators of the exam.

For the application, it's $175 while the appointment is another $125. If failed on the first try, applicants can take it again in two periods without having to pay. Recertification for BCBAs is done every two years. For RBTs, it's every year.


  1. https://www.crossrivertherapy.com/rbt/how-to-become-an-rbt
  2. https://www.crossrivertherapy.com/behavioral-analysts/pass-exam
  3. https://www.marian.edu/academics/marian's-adult-programs/online-and-accelerated-programs-blog/blog/2020/07/17/how-do-i-get-applied-behavior-analysis-(aba)-certification
steven zauderer

CEO of CrossRiverTherapy - a national ABA therapy company based in the USA.

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