How To Become a Behavior Analyst 

What Does a Behavior Analyst Do?

Behavior analysts use their expertise in assessment to conduct research, serve clients, and strive to change behavior to improve individuals’ lives. They measure a variety of environmental factors that influence client behavior and create specialized treatment plans to promote adaptive behavior.

Behavior analysts are trained to treat a wide range of mental and behavioral health issues. They may also use behavior analytic techniques to help clients, and even animals, achieve diverse wellness goals. In addition, they may work with other health care professionals and insurance providers in identifying the needs of a client to ensure that proper care is provided. 

Behavior analysts treat individuals living with behavioral conditions such as:

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Substance abuse or addiction
  • Mental health conditions

While many behavior analysts assist clients with ASD and other behavioral health disorders, many also treat clients with different needs in a variety of fields. Areas where behavior analysts (BAs) may contribute their knowledge include:

  • Animal behavior and training
  • Organizational behavior management
  • Behavioral medicine
  • Nonprofit sector
  • Clinical or academic research 

Requirements To Become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

The first step in becoming a certified behavior analyst is gaining the required education. Graduate programs in behavior analysis typically cover topics such as behavioral assessment, behavioral research, and behavioral intervention. To prepare for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) examination, graduate students must complete comprehensive coursework and supervised fieldwork requirements, which may or may not be included as part of a graduate program. 

After earning a graduate degree and gaining the required number of field experience hours, a passing grade on the BCBA® exam is required to earn certification. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) offers a BCBA® credential for aspiring graduate-level practitioners.

How Simmons Prepares You for the BCBA® Exam

Simmons University offers an online master’s in behavior analysis program that provides students with a rigorous curriculum needed to take the BCBA® exam. The Simmons course sequence, which is verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), also delivers experiential training and preparation through its mentoring and supervision component.

The program includes a supervised fieldwork component that allows students to gain 2,000 hours of experience in the field. This ensures that students complete all the hours required to sit for the BCBA® exam by the time they graduate. Placement specialists are also available to assist students in finding a clinical site in or near their communities. This immersive experience enables them to establish professional connections and make a difference where they live.

Students will additionally meet with a Simmons faculty member for both individual and group mentoring to gain support and feedback. Explore the Simmons Master of Science in Behavior Analysis online program now. 

Career Outlook for Behavior Analysts

80% increase in demand for BCBAs

Annual demand for individuals holding BCBA/BCBA-D certification has increased each year since 2010, with an 80% increase from 2018 to 2019. Demand for behavior analysts is highest in California, Massachusetts, Texas, Illinois, and Florida.1

As a certified behavior analysis professional, you could work in settings such as:

  • Schools
  • Clinics or hospitals
  • Community centers
  • Government organizations

Behavior analysts may have different job titles depending on the particular role or company in which they work. When researching careers, you may want to look for behavior analysis positions such as: 

  • Board certified behavior/behavioral analyst (BCBA)
  • Behavior interventionist
  • Behavioral consultant
  • Behavior specialist

Behavior Analyst Salary 

According to a 2014 report by the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, 52.3% of respondents who were full-time BCBAs reported making more than $65,000 a year.2

Take the next step toward becoming a certified behavior analyst by exploring the online Master of Science in Behavior Analysis from Simmons University.

1 Source: Burning Glass Technologies. 2019.