Who Works in ABA Therapy?


Who is certified/qualified to perform ABA therapy?

Parents often wonder what certifications and qualifications are required from the therapists who are providing therapy for their children. There are a number of certified professionals who are trained in ABA therapy. An ABA therapist is a professional who uses applied behavior analysis as a form of treatment. Analyzing behavior is helpful because it aids us in finding appropriate behavioral interventions. Even though the treatment is not exclusively limited to Autism, ABA is a form of therapy done most with children with Autism. It is most useful when done in high quality and when treatment is intensive. ABA’s main core principle is to use positive reinforcement in order to increase desirable behaviors.

There can be a team of professionals with differing qualifications that are certified to conduct ABA therapy. Here is a list of a few, with their titles broken down:

1. Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

To be a BCBA, one must have a master’s level degree in Behavior Analysis, Education, Psychology, or other related fields. They must have extensive training and experience with designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating a wide range of ABA programs. They are trained to provide and supervise behavior analysis. Before becoming a BCBA, one must have supervised experience under someone who holds a BCBA certificate. In order to become a BCBA and take the standardized exam, one must have their application approved by the review board. Their primary role is to develop intervention plans and also supervise CAS and RBTs.

2. Certified Autism Specialist (CAS)

To be qualified as a CAS, one must hold at least a master level degree, worked in the field for at least two years, and is also required to stay current in the field of ASD by completing 14 CEU’s in Autism every two years. This certificate is usually obtained by professionals who already come across children with ASD in their case load. Professionals such as speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, teachers, and psychologists obtain their CAS to show their competency in the field of Autism. CAS can perform ABA therapy while supervised by BCBAs.

3. Registered Behavior Technician (RBT)

The RBT certificate can be obtained through online programs or at institutions where the certificate is offered. The online program can be completed in roughly 40 hours and includes quizzes after every module. The certification test is then administered after completion of the online program. RBT certification shows parents that the therapist understands the different approaches to ABA therapy and also that they were trained and under supervision of a BCBA.

These professionals are well-informed and are experts in working with children on the autism spectrum. They are your go-to for behavior analysis and intervention.