Charlebois, Mikaela - Behaviour Analyst

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[edit] Job Title (Mikaela Charlebois)

Behaviour Analyst

[edit] General overview

When working with individual's with exceptionalities outside of an Educational Assistant, Special Needs Teacher or Communicative Assistant roles, there are two general directions you can go in after achieving your bachelor's degree. You can seek a diploma in a college level Autism and Behavioural Sciences course and become a Behaviour Technician, or you can complete a Master's in Disabilities Studies and become a Behaviour Analyst.

A Behaviour Analyst is an independent practitioner. This individual may be employed or work as an independent contractor for an organization (such as a school, treatment centre or hospital). They are required to conduct behavioural assessments, provide interpretations of these assessments and supervise interventions [1]. Commonly, these individuals work with clients with autism, however these assessment and intervention tools can be used for a variety of issues such as behaviour problems, the elderly or other psychiatric diagnoses.

A Behaviour Analyst may take a research approach in the area of applied behaviour analysis, or they may take more a professional approach applying today’s commonly believed theories [2].

[edit] Job duties and responsibilities

Job duties involve performing behavioural assessments and developing behavioural intervention plans, while outlaying possible treatment options.

They may also implement this behaviour plan and would consistently monitor the client’s progress.

Depending on the organization, a behaviour analyst may create programming for the organization as a whole.

A behaviour analyst often oversees and trains other individuals who may take a part in implementing the behaviour plan.

[edit] Typical work day

The typical work day of a Behaviour Analyst depends on the setting in which they are employed. There are a variety of possible work settings available, but most individual's work with children with autism spectrum disorder, with the second most popular population being children with other developmental disabilities [3]. In the US, 28.5% of Behaviour Analysts reported working for a government agency, 34% working for a non-governmental agency and 39.3% reported being self-employed [3]. Many reported involvement in administration and supervision to Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) services.

This position is sought after year round, as even when children are out of school, therapy often continues.

A typical work day may include tasks such as [4]

  • Assessing a child or adult using ABA
  • Designing education and behavioural programs
  • Implementing intervention and therapeutic programs
  • Evaluating the progress of clients
  • Completing administrative tasks on all assessments and programs
  • Overseeing admistrative of intervention plans
  • Informing parents on the program or assessment result of their child

[edit] Educational requirements and other qualifications

To practice as a Behaviour Analyst, it is preferred that the individual complete their Master's in Applied Behaviour Analysis, Disabilities Studies or a similar field.

Many organizations require you to complete a certification, and the most commonly sought after one is provided by the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (BACB). This allows the individual to become a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA). This certification is accepted worldwide, and many universities offer programs with the BACB approved coursework.

To become BCBA one must[1]:

  • Possess a minimum of a master's degree in behavioural analysis, education or psychology OR complete a program that has Behaviour Analyst Certication Board approved course sequence
  • Complete Behaaviour Analyst Certifation Board approved experience, this could include:
    • 1500 hours of supervised independent fieldwork in behaviour analysis
    • 1000 hours of practicum in behaviour analysis within a university practicum program approved by the BACB and taken for graduate academic credit
    • 750 of intensive practicum in behaviour analysis within a university practicum program approved by the BACB and taken for graduate academic credit

To maintain your certification with the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board you must send in a renewal application once a year and recertify every three year. Recertification requires 36 hours of continuing education, three of which are required to be focused on ethics and professional behaviour [1].

Some schools that offer approved course sequences applicable toward BACB eligibility requirements include:

There are a variety of other associations that one may choose to become a part of to strength their credibility in this field. Many provinces have their own associations you can apply to become a part of. Ontario's Behaviour Analysis Association can be found here: Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis, Inc.

[edit] Related skills, interests, and abilities

Communication is a key skill in this profession. Often times, the client's an individual may be working with will have troubles communicating, for a variety of reasons, so the ability to speak coherently and directly is essential to the job. On top of this, often these client's will be children, so an ability to professionally communicate with the parents and properly explain an assessment and intervention plan in terms they will understand is a huge part of the job.

Leadership is very important in this role as most Behaviour Analyst's oversee a team, or run their own practices. The ability to provide guidance is essential as these individuals will often be asked to supervise young applicants who are striving to achieve their BCBA. Even if this is not the case, the individual must show strength and persistance as the team could be as simple as the client's parents, who are extremely impressionable and need all the support they can get.

A desire to learn is another essential part of this job. The field is constantly changing, and the BCBA requires you to continue your education and consistently put new practices in to place.

Experience working with individuals with autism is often a well-sought after skill in this profession[4].

[edit] Relevance of Psychology undergraduate degree

In order to become a Behaviour Analyst, you must have completed an undergraduate degree in psychology or a similar discipline, combined with a BACB course approved Master’s degree or equivalent.
This is a requirement as many of the topics covered in a Psychology undergraduate degree will help you throughout further training and throughout one's career. Brock offers a variety of courses that will build an exceptional foundation for one looking to get into this field. An individual in this program will take a variety of courses, all of which contributing in different ways.

In second year, Brock offers a course on Learning [5], in which different theories of learning, reinforcement and punishment are studied. These concepts will later be used in implementing behaviour plans when tackling difficult behaviours or creating new habits.

Another very valuable course for this career path is Psychology of the Exceptional Child [5]. This course focuses on varying disabilities as well as other struggles a child may go through, such as psychiatric disorders or being exceptionally smart.

Brock also offers a service learning credit that a psychology major can choose to take as a minor, that involves you with their Special Needs Activity Program. Through this program, the student is able to interact with children with exceptionalities and work with them through a movement program based on curriculum created at Brock[6]. This gives hands on experience of working with children of this population, and allows the student to utilize the skills they have learned through their other psychology courses.

[edit] Salary potential

In Canada, Board Certified Behaviour Analyst's make an average of $60,000 a year [7].

Salary ranges from $38,723 - $75,174 in the United States, with a median of $54,279 [4].

There are a variety of different positions a Behaviour Analyst may hold, and across Canada, these salaries remain between $40,000 and $80,000 a year, depending on the position and the applicant's experience.

[edit] Job outlook

The prevalence of autism has been increasing drastically in the past decade. In Canada, one in 94 children were diagnosed with autism as of 2012[8]. This number is not limited to Canada, as in 2014 it was reported that one in 68 children in the US have an autism spectrum disorder, a number that has increased from one in 166 in 2000 [9]. Although this career is not soley related to autism, this increase in individuals needing services directly related to the increase needed in providers. A strong push for BCBA's is currently happening as many are providing services without proper qualifications which can be detrimental to a child. Brock's Masters of Disabilities Studies website claims, many positions are available for providing therapeutic and consultation services, as well as supervising interventions, research and program evaluation [2].

Although statistics are difficult to find on the projected job outlook, many sources say that the field is growing. This can be demonstrated through Service Canada's prediction that the need for special needs teachers to significantly rise over the next few years [10]

[edit] To know more

Brock’s Centre for Applied Disabilities Website - Master’s Information

Behaviour Analyst Certification Board

[edit] References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Standards for Board Certified Behaviour Analyst. (n.d.) Retrieved from,
  2. 2.0 2.1 About Our Program. (n.d.) Retrieved from
  3. 3.0 3.1 APBA 2009 Professional Employment Survey Results. (2009). Retrieved from,
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Board Certified Behaviour Analyst Salary (United States). (2014). Retrieved from
  5. 5.0 5.1 Brock Undergraduate Calendar, 2014-2015, (2014). Psychology. Retrieved on March 26, 2015 from,
  6. Special Needs Activity Program (SNAP), (2009), Retrieved March 26, 2015 from,
  7. Average Salary for Certification: Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). (2015). Retrieved from,
  8. What's the Best Estimate of the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Canada. (2012). Retrieved from,
  9. Autism Prevalence. (2014). Retrieved from,
  10. Instructors and Teachers of Persons with Disabilities. (2013). Retrieved from,
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