How to Become a Behavior Analyst

Behavior analysts work with patients to overcome mental and social disabilities. In schools, this often translates to support for students with autism and developmental disabilities. BAs use principles and theories derived from studying behavior to treat social, behavioral, and learning problems.

BAs assess and evaluate, then treat students with mental and social disabilities through ABA techniques, using positive reinforcement, shaping, prompt fading, and task analysis to drive progress. Using these ABA techniques, BAs can analyze and customize treatment for each student. They also train and educate teachers and caregivers, families, and inform school programs related to mental and social disabilities.

Demand for Behavior Analysts in Schools

National demand for licensed behavior analysts is increasing rapidly, with the number of positions more than doubling between 2012 (1,414 postings) and 2014 (3,083 postings). California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are enjoying the highest demands, with nearly 50% of all job postings concentrated in these three states.

The demand for behavior analysts vary across industries, with 85% of job postings concentrated around Health Care (46%), Educational Services (28%), and Social Assistance (11%). In an educational setting, highly desired skills are data collection and school psychology.

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Salary for Behavior Analysts in Schools

Behavior Analysts can earn anywhere from $27,000 to $94,000 per year, with a median wage of $49,170, according to PayScale.

The current highest paid states for behavior analysts are New York, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Though most states allow school behavior analysts to start with a bachelor’s degree, most employers prefer a master’s degree and state certification requirements that vary with each state.

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Steps to Becoming a Behavior Analyst in Schools

Most behavior analysts require a master’s degree from an accredited institution (usually in a field relevant to behavior analysis) along with state certification to become a practicing school behavior analyst. Keep in mind education and certification requirements are different for each state.

Next, depending on the state, employers might require behavior analysts to get certified or become eligible for certification. In order to get certified, applicants must have a graduate degree in a relevant field of study from an accredited institution, cover the required coursework outlined, have prior related experience, and pass the corresponding exam. To become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, you must follow the requirements outlined by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, where they offer three options that applicants can choose from.

Here's everything you should know before getting a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis.

Affiliations and Resources for Behavior Analysts in Schools: