BCBA vs BCaBA: How Are They Different?


BCBA and BCaBA are two standard credentials mentioned regarding applied behavioral analysis therapy for kids with autism.

Parents of children receiving applied behavior analysis therapy would greatly benefit from knowing the credentials of the therapists who will be overseeing their child’s treatment.

Though the credentials might sound similar, this piece highlights the differences between BCBA and BCaBA and how to earn certification for each credential.

What is BCBA?

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst, abbreviated as BCBA, is an accreditation issued to professionals in child care, mental health development, psychology, and communication disorders. These professionals are responsible for conducting behavior assessments and prescribing treatment plans for kids with behavioral disorders.

For the behavioral assessment, the therapists examine the nature and the extent of the disorder and determine the child’s preferences. These findings form the basis for the personalized treatment plan to be implemented to achieve desirable outcomes. BCBA’s can work one-on-one with your child when necessary; however, they mainly play a supervisory role on analysts who work with kids daily, such as registered behavior technicians and BCaBAs.

Though BCBAs can handle several caseloads simultaneously, it is mandatory to have a BCBA in every child’s treatment plan.

How to earn the BCBA certification

To qualify for accreditation in BCBA, you will need to meet the following requirements. The individual must have earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology, behavioral analysis, or education from a recognized university.

You must pass the BCBA certification examination as well as meet other minimum eligibility requirements. To earn the certification, aspiring BCBA’s must meet the apprenticeship requirement of working for a set number of hours under the guidance of a fully certified BCBA.

What is BCaBA?

A board certified assistant behavior analyst or BCaBA refers to technicians who work under BCBAs in conducting assessments and developing suitable treatment procedures. The involvement of BCaBAs in applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy has increased significantly due to rising cases of developmental disorders in schools, homes, and community centers.

It is important to note that according to the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board, BCaBA level holders cannot work independently and mostly work under the supervision of therapists with higher credentials, such as BCBAs. However, BCaBAs can supervise the work of other specialists such as Registered behavior technicians (RBT).

Certification requirements for BCaBAs

To earn certification for this credential, aspiring candidates must possess at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Additionally, suitable candidates must pass the BCaBA accreditation exam issued by the behavior analyst certification board. Lastly, candidates must meet the minimum clinical hours under the supervision of a BCBA.

Children with autism can benefit from working with BCBA or BCaBAs in clinic-based or therapeutic preschool programs. Though often confused for the other, these two credentials offer varying skills and support to patients. It is essential to ensure that the analysts handling your kid’s therapy are qualified and competent to achieve the treatment goals as a parent. You can find more information about these certifications by checking out places like AppliedBehaviorAnalysisEdu.org.