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Top 11 Aba Therapist Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available for individuals interested in becoming an ABA therapist.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for an ABA therapist in the job market because they provide evidence of a professional’s knowledge, experience, and qualifications. Employers look favorably upon applicants who have attained certifications in their field as it demonstrates their commitment to professional development and expertise. Certifications also serve as a way to differentiate one applicant from another and can be used to demonstrate a person’s qualifications when competing for jobs. Additionally, certifications may be required by employers in order to work in certain settings or with certain populations. Ultimately, having certifications can help an ABA therapist stand out and make them more competitive in the job market.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the top certifications for Aba Therapists, and to explain how they can contribute to an Aba Therapist's career.

What are Aba Therapist Certifications?

Aba therapist certification is a professional credential awarded to individuals who demonstrate knowledge, skills, and experience in the practice of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA is an evidence-based therapy used to help children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) develop skills related to communication, social interactions, behavior management, and daily living. Aba therapists are typically certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), which requires completion of a graduate degree program in psychology or education that includes coursework in ABA.

Certified aba therapists can provide comprehensive services for individuals with ASD, including assessment and diagnosis, development of individualized treatment plans, implementation of behavior management programs, consultation with family members and other professionals involved in the client’s care, and ongoing monitoring of progress. The use of evidence-based practices such as ABA allows certified aba therapists to effectively target behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorder while also promoting positive behavior change. Certified aba therapists can also provide support for parents and caregivers as they navigate the challenges associated with raising a child on the autism spectrum.

Pro Tip: Make sure to research the qualifications and certifications required for becoming an ABA therapist in your state. Each state has different requirements and certifications that must be met before you can begin practicing as an ABA therapist. Additionally, keep up to date with any changes to the certification requirements for ABA therapists as these may change over time.

Related: What does an Aba Therapist do?

Top 11 Aba Therapist Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Aba Therapists today.

1. Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is a professional certification in the field of behavior analysis. It is a type of credential that is earned by individuals who have completed graduate-level coursework and passed an examination in the principles of applied behavior analysis.

It typically takes between two to four years to complete the requirements for BCBA certification, depending on the individual's educational background and experience. The requirements include completing a master's degree in behavior analysis or a related field, completing supervised practicum hours, and passing both a written and practical examination.

To get certified as a BCBA, individuals must first complete an accredited Master’s program in Applied Behavior Analysis or another related field such as psychology or education. After completing the degree program, they must then take and pass the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination administered by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Once they have passed this exam, they will be eligible to receive their BCBA certification.

The cost of becoming certified as a BCBA varies depending on several factors including the type of program chosen and any additional fees associated with taking the BACB exam. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 to become certified as a BCBA.

2. Registered Behavior Technician (RBT)

Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) is a certification program for individuals who work with individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. The RBT certification is offered by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

The RBT certification requires candidates to complete a 40-hour course of study, pass a competency assessment, and pass a written examination. The coursework covers topics such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), ethical considerations in behavior analysis, and evidence-based practices for working with individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.

To become an RBT, an individual must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, be at least 18 years old, complete the 40-hour course of study, pass the competency assessment and written exam, and submit to a criminal background check.

The cost of obtaining the RBT certification varies depending on where you take the training course. Generally speaking, the cost can range from $500-$1,000 depending on where you take it.

3. Applied Behavior Analysis International (ABAI)

Applied Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) is an organization that provides certification in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA is a scientific approach to understanding and modifying behavior, which has been used to treat a variety of behavioral issues. ABAI offers certification in several areas, including Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA), and Registered Behavior Technician (RBT).

To become certified by ABAI, individuals must meet certain educational and experience requirements. For BCBAs, applicants must have a master's degree in behavior analysis or related field from an accredited university and complete at least 1,500 hours of supervised experience. For BCaBAs, applicants must have a bachelor's degree in behavior analysis or related field from an accredited university and complete at least 750 hours of supervised experience. For RBTs, applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete at least 40 hours of training in ABA principles.

The cost for obtaining certification through ABAI varies depending on the type of certification being sought. The fees for BCBAs are $225 for the initial application fee plus $200 per year for renewal fees; the fees for BCaBAs are $175 for the initial application fee plus $100 per year for renewal fees; and the fees for RBTs are $50 for the initial application fee plus $50 per year for renewal fees.

It typically takes about two weeks to receive approval after submitting an application to ABAI. Once approved, individuals can take the required examinations to become certified.

4. Professional Association for Applied Psychology (PAAP)

Professional Association for Applied Psychology (PAAP) is an international organization that was founded in 2016 to promote the professional development and advancement of applied psychology professionals. The mission of PAAP is to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas, resources, and research between members and to facilitate the growth of the field.

It takes approximately two weeks to get membership with PAAP. To become a member, you must be an active practitioner in the field of applied psychology. This includes psychologists, counselors, social workers, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals. You must also have completed at least one year of graduate study in applied psychology or related fields.

To apply for membership with PAAP, you will need to submit a completed application form along with proof of your credentials and any additional documentation required by PAAP. Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you will be required to pay an annual membership fee which is currently set at $50 USD per year. This fee covers access to all PAAP resources including newsletters, webinars, conferences, workshops, and more.

In addition to providing access to resources and networking opportunities within the field of applied psychology, becoming a member of PAAP also gives you access to exclusive discounts on products and services related to the field as well as discounts on continuing education courses offered by PAAP partners.

5. National Association of Professional Behavioral Analysts (NAPBA)

The National Association of Professional Behavioral Analysts (NAPBA) is a professional organization that provides credentials and certification to qualified professionals in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The NAPBA was founded in 2012 with the mission to advance the science and practice of ABA by providing quality professional development, advocacy, and resources to its members.

To become certified through NAPBA, applicants must meet certain requirements, including: holding a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology, education or a related field; completion of an approved course sequence in ABA; and passing an examination. The entire process typically takes several months to complete.

In order to begin the certification process, applicants must first submit an application form along with proof of their educational background and experience. Once accepted into the program, applicants must then complete all required coursework before taking the examination. Upon successful completion of both components, applicants will be awarded their NAPBA credential.

The cost for becoming certified through NAPBA varies depending on individual circumstances but typically ranges from $200-$500 USD. This cost includes application fees as well as any additional costs associated with completing coursework or taking the exam.

6. Autism Society of America (ASA)

The Autism Society of America (ASA) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1965. It is the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, and its mission is to improve the lives of all affected by autism. ASA works to increase public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the autism spectrum, provide information and education, advocate for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and advance research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorders.

Joining ASA is free and open to anyone interested in supporting its mission. There are no membership fees or dues associated with joining ASA. You can join online or by mail. To join online, simply fill out an application form on the website. To join by mail, print out an application form from the website and send it to: Autism Society of America, 7910 Woodmont Avenue Suite 300 Bethesda MD 20814.

Once you have joined ASA, you will be able to access a variety of resources including newsletters, webinars, advocacy alerts, conferences and events, local support groups and more. Additionally, members receive discounts on products from partner companies as well as discounts on registration fees for some conferences and events hosted by ASA.

7. Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT)

The Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing evidence-based information on autism treatments and interventions. ASAT was founded in 2004 by parents, clinicians, and researchers who wanted to bring together the best available science on autism treatments. ASAT's mission is to provide accurate, up-to-date information about the effectiveness of different treatments and interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

It takes no time to get involved with ASAT. You can join the organization as an individual or family member, or you can join as a professional. Membership is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about ASD and evidence-based treatments.

As an individual or family member, you can access ASAT’s website, which includes resources such as fact sheets, research summaries, and videos about various topics related to ASD treatment. You can also attend virtual events hosted by ASAT throughout the year that offer presentations from experts in the field of autism treatment.

As a professional member, you can access additional resources such as webinars, online courses, and publications related to evidence-based practices for treating individuals with ASD. Professional members also have access to networking opportunities with other professionals in the field of autism treatment.

Membership costs nothing; however donations are accepted if you would like to support ASAT’s mission of providing evidence-based information on autism treatments and interventions.

8. International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES)

The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) is a global leader in online training and certification for healthcare professionals, educators, and other professionals who work with individuals with autism and other cognitive disorders. The IBCCES provides comprehensive training and certification programs that are designed to help professionals develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to effectively support individuals on the spectrum.

The IBCCES offers two levels of certification: Certified Autism Specialist (CAS) and Certified Autism Professional (CAP). The CAS is the entry-level certification that provides a basic understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The CAP is an advanced level certification that focuses on more specific areas such as behavior management, communication strategies, social skills development, assessment techniques, interventions, etc.

In order to become certified through IBCCES, applicants must complete an online application form and submit a fee. Once accepted into the program, applicants must complete all required coursework within six months. Applicants must also pass an exam at the end of their coursework in order to receive their certification.

The cost of IBCCES certification varies depending on which level you are pursuing. For the CAS level certification, it costs $295 USD plus applicable taxes; for the CAP level certification it costs $395 USD plus applicable taxes.

9. American Psychological Association (APA)

The American Psychological Association (APA) is a professional organization for psychologists and other mental health professionals. It was founded in 1892 and is the largest organization of its kind in the world. The APA's mission is to advance psychology as a science, profession, and as a means of promoting human welfare.

It takes approximately two to three months to become an APA member. To join, you must complete an online application form and pay the required membership fee. The cost of membership varies depending on your status (e.g., student or professional). Student memberships are typically less expensive than professional memberships.

In addition to paying the membership fee, you must also agree to abide by the APA's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. This code outlines standards for ethical conduct in research and practice activities related to psychology.

10. National Institute for Certification in Applied Behavioral Analysis (NICABM)

The National Institute for Certification in Applied Behavioral Analysis (NICABM) is an organization that provides certification and training in the field of applied behavior analysis. It is the largest provider of applied behavior analysis training and certification in the United States. NICABM was founded in 1989 and has since trained over 10,000 practitioners.

NICABM offers a variety of courses to help professionals become certified in applied behavior analysis. The courses range from introductory to advanced levels and cover topics such as ethical principles, research methods, assessment techniques, interventions, data collection and analysis, and more. To become certified through NICABM, individuals must complete at least one course from each of the four core areas: Applied Behavior Analysis, Ethics & Professionalism, Research & Assessment Methods, and Intervention Strategies.

The length of time it takes to get certified through NICABM depends on which courses are taken and how quickly they are completed. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete all the required courses and obtain certification.

In order to get certified through NICABM you must first apply online or by mail. Once your application is approved you will be able to select which courses you would like to take. After completing all the required courses you will need to pass a final exam before becoming officially certified by NICABM.

The cost of getting certified through NICABM varies depending on which courses are chosen but typically ranges between $500-$3,000 USD for all four core areas combined.

11. National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) is a nonprofit, independent certification organization that sets professional standards for counselors. The NBCC provides national certification to qualified mental health professionals who have met rigorous standards of practice and ethical behavior. This certification is recognized by many state licensing boards as a requirement for licensure.

To become certified by the NBCC, applicants must complete an application and submit it along with official transcripts from their accredited degree program, proof of supervised clinical experience, and three letters of recommendation. Once the application is approved, applicants must pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).

The NCMHCE consists of 10 simulated counseling scenarios and takes approximately four hours to complete. The exam fee is $195 USD. After passing the exam, applicants must pay an additional $175 USD to receive their certificate.

In total, it can take up to six months or more to become certified by the NBCC depending on how quickly you can get all your documents together and pass the NCMHCE exam.

Do You Really Need a Aba Therapist Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on your specific career goals and the requirements of the job you are seeking. If you are looking to become a professional ABA Therapist, then you will likely need an ABA Therapist Certificate in order to be considered for the position. Depending on the state or country where you live, there may be different levels of certification available, ranging from entry-level certificates all the way up to board certification.

In addition to being certified, many employers also require experience working with clients in an ABA setting as well as knowledge of various relevant topics such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Having a certificate can also demonstrate that you have completed a certain amount of specialized training in these areas and can help set you apart from other candidates who may not have received any formal education related to ABA.

It is important to note that having an ABA Therapist Certificate does not guarantee employment in this field; rather it serves as a helpful credential when applying for jobs. Ultimately, employers look for individuals with both knowledge and experience who are committed to providing quality care and services to their clients. Therefore, having a certificate may help you stand out from other candidates but it is not necessarily required for most positions.

Related: Aba Therapist Resume Examples

FAQs About Aba Therapist Certifications

1. What is an ABA Therapist Certification?

Answer: An ABA Therapist Certification is a professional credential that demonstrates a person's knowledge and skills in the area of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). It is awarded by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) after successful completion of an approved course of study and passing of a certification exam.

2. How do I become an ABA Therapist?

Answer: Becoming an ABA therapist requires completing an accredited program, gaining supervised experience, and passing the BACB certification exam. The exact requirements vary by state, but typically include a graduate degree in psychology, education or related field; coursework in behavior analysis; and supervised practicum hours.

3. How long does it take to become certified as an ABA Therapist?

Answer: The time it takes to complete all the requirements for becoming an ABA therapist varies depending on individual circumstances. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from 12-24 months to complete all the necessary steps.

4. What type of salary can I expect as an ABA Therapist?

Answer: The salary for ABA therapists depends on a variety of factors including location, experience level, employer type and more. According to PayScale, the average hourly rate for Certified Applied Behavioral Analysts is $21 per hour with salaries ranging from $33K - $73K per year.

5. Is there any continuing education required for maintaining my certification?

Answer: Yes, BACB certificants are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years in order to maintain their certification status.