The programs in Applied Behavior Analysis prepare students to work as practitioners of behavior analysis for individuals with a variety of social, academic and behavioral needs.
The College of Education, Health, and Human Services offers programs in behavior analysis that meet the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) course work requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) Examination or Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Examination. Applicants will have to meet additional requirements to qualify.
Through coursework firmly grounded in theory, with an emphasis on application of theory to socially significant and effective practice, the BCBA certificate program provides students with an excellent foundation to meet the proficiencies mandated by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Students will be prepared to complete the required supervised field work and sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination. Pass-rate data for University of Michigan-Dearborn candidates are not available at this time. Pass-rate data are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of operation. Pass-Rate Data is available at the BACB website.
The Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is an individual with graduate certification in behavior analysis. BCBAs provide services within mental health, educational, and human services environments that may include collecting and analyzing data, conducting behavioral assessments, writing and evaluating behavior intervention plans, training others to implement components of treatment plans, and overseeing the implementation of treatment plans. BCBAs also provide supervision to Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT).
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to the study of behavior. Behavior analysts work directly with individuals to improve their social, educational, health, adaptive skills, and behavioral outcomes through the development of programming based upon the principles of ABA. Behavior analysts are trained to describe behavior, explain and predict its occurrence and non-occurrence, and change behavior through the development of programming based upon ABA principles while examining the interrelationship between the occurrence of behavior and environmental events.
After completion of the courses required for certification, students will:
- Describe and provide examples of the critical concepts and principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA);
- Describe and apply research methodology and measurement strategies used in the implementation and management of ABA;
- Describe and apply the principles of ABA in relation to individuals with a variety of disabilities in a range of clinical, educational, pre-vocational/vocational, home, and community settings;
- Describe and apply behavioral assessment procedures, including identification of target behaviors, developing operational definitions, conducting functional behavior assessment/functional analysis;
- Accurately graph, visually analyze and interpret behavioral data, including functional analysis data;
- Describe ethical issues related to ABA service delivery with individuals with developmental disabilities and other mental health needs;
- Describe and apply principles of experimental design including single-subject research methodology; and
- Develop Behavior Intervention Plans based upon the results of a functional analysis.
Eligibility & how to apply
In order to receive your certificate, you need to complete a Certificate Completion Application. The application should be submitted at the beginning of the term in which you expect to complete your certificate requirements. Certificates are awarded three times a year and distributed by mail. The Certificate Completion Application must be submitted on or before the last day of classes in order to be processed within the term in which it is submitted. Students completing a certificate only are not allowed to participate in Commencement.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Applied Behavior Analysis?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the science of analyzing and changing socially significant behavior. ABA works to systematically change behavior based upon principles of learning derived from behavioral psychology, utilizing only those interventions identified as evidence-based practices through repeated scientific research. Examples of instructional methods based upon the principles of ABA include the use of reinforcement, visual supports, modeling, prompting, shaping, fading, and behavioral momentum. ABA involves modifying the learning environment to help eliminate barriers to learning, support the learner in building new skills, and help the learner to apply those skills to new situations. Language development and communication, daily living skills, imitation, play skills, social skills, and academic engagement and performance are some examples of common goals used with an ABA approach.
Decades of data-based research have demonstrated ABA as an effective treatment for the social, behavioral, daily living skills, and communication needs of:
- individuals with developmental disabilities, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries
- Dementia and aging adults
- Psychiatric disorders
- and others with disabilities in educational, vocational, clinical, and community environments
ABA services are provided by individuals having one of three levels of certification:
- Registered Behavior Technician
- Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst
- Board Certified Behavior Analyst
What is RBT?
An RBT is a paraprofessional who practices under the supervision of a BCaBA or BCBA. Individuals with the RBT credential are responsible for assisting in the assessment and measurement of behavior and the implementation of behavior analytic services. RBTs must be at least 18 years of age, have a minimum of a high school diploma (or equivalent), complete the required hours of RBT training, complete a criminal background check, and successfully pass the RBT competency assessment and RBT examination.
What is BCaBA?
The Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst is an individual with undergraduate level certification in behavior analysis. BCaBAs provide similar services to that of a BCBA such as collecting and analyzing data, writing and evaluating behavior intervention plans, training others to implement components of treatment plans, and overseeing the implementation of treatment plans. BCaBAs must receive ongoing supervision from a BCBA. BCaBAs may supervise individuals with the RBT credential.
What is BCBA?
The Board Certified Behavior Analyst is an individual with graduate certification in behavior analysis. BCBAs provide services within mental health, educational, and human services environments that may include collecting and analyzing data, conducting behavioral assessments, writing and evaluating behavior intervention plans, training others to implement components of treatment plans, and overseeing the implementation of treatment plans. BCBAs also provide supervision to Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT).
What are the requirements to become a BCaBA or BCBA?
The content of the coursework necessary to become a BCaBA or BCBA is outlined, overseen, and approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Content for both certifications is the same but varies in how many total hours are needed in specific content areas for the BCaBA or BCBA. The required coursework addresses the following: concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis, theoretical concepts, ethical and professional conduct, research methodology, behavioral assessment, and personnel supervision and management.
Individuals must also complete the requisite number of hours of supervised fieldwork experience. Supervision for BCaBA or BCBA certification must be provided by a fully certified BCBA. The amount of supervised fieldwork experience will differ for BCaBAs and BCBAs.
The final step for BCaBA or BCBA certification is to pass the national examination administered by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).
BCaBAs must continue to receive supervision throughout their employment. BCBAs do not require ongoing supervision. Both BCaBAs and BCBAs are required to regularly recertify with the BACB and obtain and provide documentation for continuing education. BCaBAs and BCBAs who wish to provide supervision must obtain additional training and continuing education requirements.