What is the Difference Between a BCBA and a BCaBA?

BCBA vs. BCaBA – these two credentials sound extremely similar, and they provide extremely similar services to clients. So, what is the difference between these behavior analysis credentials? If you are the parent of a child who receives applied behavior analysis therapy (ABA therapy) or is enrolled in a therapeutic preschool program, it can be helpful to know exactly what each credential means.

What is a BCBA, and what do BCBAs do?
A Board Certified Behavior Analyst is commonly referred to as a BCBA. Due to the education and training requirements for BCBAs, they are able to provide services to their clients without the supervision of another therapist. They can also provide assessments and develop treatment plans for their clients.

BCBAs frequently work with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or related disorders to build positive behaviors and developmental skills. Behavior analysts may achieve these goals through ABA therapy, an evidence-based approach to behavior analysis. Throughout ABA therapy, a therapist will work to discover the function of behaviors and impact of different environments, in order to develop a treatment plan that is personalized for the unique abilities and needs of that child. ABA therapy can be used in therapeutic preschool programs for children who can benefit from additional support in their communication, social, and cognitive skills.

How do you earn a BCBA certification?
You might wonder, “How do you become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst?” A BCBA holds both a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree (or a Doctoral degree), and their graduate degree must be in behavior analysis, education, or psychology. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) also outlines requirements for specific courses that aspiring BCBAs must complete during their graduate studies. To earn the BCBA certification, you must also earn a certain number of experience hours under the supervision of a fully certified BCBA who is also certified as a supervisor. The last step is applying for (and passing!) the BCBA exam.

What is a BCaBA?
A BCaBA is a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst. One key difference between a BCBA and BCaBA is that a BCBA can practice without supervision and a BCaBA must be supervised by a BCBA or BCBA-D (doctoral-level BCBA) who is a certified supervisor.

How do you earn a BCaBA certification?
While a BCBA is required to earn both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, a BCaBA is required to hold a Bachelor’s degree only. As with the BCBA credential, there are specific courses outlined by the BACB that an aspiring BCaBA must complete. To earn the BCaBA certification, you must also earn experience hours under the supervision of a BCBA (or BCBA-D) who is certified to provide supervision. Last stop: applying for and passing the BCaBA exam.

Do you think your child could benefit from working with a BCBA or BCaBA in ABA therapy or a therapeutic preschool program? Click the purple button below or call 773-620-7800 to contact us and learn more about CST Academy, the top therapeutic preschool program for children in Chicago.