How Long Does it Take to Get My ABA Certificate?

A person who wants to work as an applied behavior analysis (ABA) professional may want to know, “How long does it take to get my ABA certificate?” This is important information to have because it allows a person to plan their personal and professional goals. Knowledge of the timeline to earn an ABA certificate also helps a person prepare for the job market.

Related resource: 40 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate Online Programs

Coursework for an ABA Certificate

In order to earn an ABA certificate, a person has to complete the required coursework. Most certifications require 270 hours of coursework at an accredited institution if the person holds a master’s degree. Those courses will include ethics, behavioral assessments, intervention strategies, experimental analysis of behavioral interventions and applications of applied behavioral analysis. If a person holds a doctoral degree, they may be able to submit their list of doctoral courses. They must have earned their doctoral degree within 10 years of applying for ABA certification. If the person with a doctorate degree in psychology does not also have teaching experience, they will need to show at least 10 years of accrued experience in behavioral analysis in order to gain ABA certification. How long it takes to complete the 270 hours of coursework is up to the individual.

Fieldwork for an ABA Certificate

There is also a fieldwork component for an ABA certificate. In order to sit for the ABA certification exam, a person with a master’s degree has to earn 1,500 hours of supervised fieldwork experience in applied behavioral analysis. A person with a doctorate degree can show proof of their 10 years or more of work in behavioral analysis in order to sit for the exam; additional supervised fieldwork is not necessary.

Degree Prerequisites for ABA Certification

In order to earn an ABA certificate, a person has to have at least a master’s degree. A doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) or a doctor of psychology are also acceptable for ABA certification. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a doctor of psychology degree is more focused on practical work and clinical applications, and the doctorate of philosophy degree focuses on research and a dissertation. The master’s or doctoral degree should be in a relevant field, such as psychology, behavioral analysis or education.

Testing Requirements for an ABA Certificate

Once the degree, additional courses and fieldwork are completed, a person must then sit for the ABA certification exam. The exams are coordinated by independent institutions. They take place at different times throughout the calendar year. There is a fee for the exam. The exam is a multiple-choice test. Most of the questions on the exam are about how to assess patients and how to implement different types of behavioral interventions. There are also a few ethics questions on the test.

The amount of time that it takes to earn an ABA certificate varies based on a person’s education level, which is an important consideration when planning. A person may also take a while to prepare for and pass the certification exam, which can add to the completion time for the certificate. Being familiar with the answer to, “How long does it take to get my ABA certificate?” can give a person some peace of mind when it comes to knowing what their future will look like.