Behavior Analysis

VCS Program: Verified Course Sequences, ABAI: Association for Behavioral Analysis International

Behavior analysis (BA) is the natural science that studies principles of learning and the behavior of individuals. Primary areas of study include the experimental analysis of behavior (EAB) and applied behavior analysis (ABA). EAB uses laboratory research to understand the underlying basic principles of behavior whereas ABA systematically applies these basic principles to change the behavior of clients.

Behavior analysts understand that both biology and environment influence behavior. We study both human and nonhuman behavior to address socially significant issues such as health promotion, substance abuse treatment, education, animal training, employee performance and workplace safety, and the intensive treatment of pervasive developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders.

The UAA Psychology Department offers an Association for Behavior Analysis International® verified course sequence. This approved coursework sequence prepares students to sit for the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® (BCaBA®) examination to earn a nationally-recognized certification. UAA behavior analysis program coursework also prepares students who seek to find employment in agencies that provide behavior-analytic services or those who seek graduate education in Behavior Analysis or Experimental Psychology.

The concentration is a set of specialty courses within the psychology curriculum intended for students majoring in psychology. Completing the concentration as part of a BS or BA in Psychology results in a record added to student transcripts that reads that they've specialized in behavior analysis within their program of study.

For students interested in pursuing professional certification in behavior analysis, see About Certification tab.

The minor is a set of specialty courses within the psychology curriculum intended for students with a major in a field outside of Psychology who want to combine their knowledge of behavior analysis with their major program of study (e.g., pre-health occupations, education, justice). Completing the minor results in a record added to student transcripts that reads they’ve minored in behavior analysis. 

For students interested in pursuing professional certification in behavior analysis, see About Certification tab.

The Occupational Endorsement Certificate (OEC) is intended for students who have already completed a 4-year degree, but who want to come back to specialize in behavior analysis. The OEC is best suited for individuals who already hold a degree, but who want to work toward certification. Additional information about the OEC forthcoming in the 2021-2022 UAA Catalog.

For students interested in pursuing professional certification in behavior analysis, see About Certification tab.

Preparing for certification as a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) requires three things: Coursework, Experience & Supervision with a behavior analyst, and passing the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB®) certification exam. For more information, review the BCaBA eligibility requirements.

Coursework

Potential certificants must complete a certain number of content hours in special areas of the BCBA/BCaBA Task List to be able to apply for the certification exam. The UAA undergraduate behavior analysis programs are approved under both the 4th edition and 5th edition task list standards. 

The UAA Department of Psychology offers an Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI®) verified coursework sequence. A verified course sequence (VCS) is a set of coursework that has been reviewed and pre-approved by the ABAI. Students preparing for certification can be more confident that the hours they’ve completed in coursework will be accepted when preparing for certification.

Please review the content hours carefully! Students preparing for certification are advised to track their Coursework Requirements for each course. Completing a sufficient number of contact hours may require students to complete coursework beyond the minimum required to satisfy university requirements. Reach out to your behavior analysis program advisor for more information.

Students planning to pursue certification should plan to complete the following courses (at a minimum):

  • PSY A200 Introduction to Behavior Analysis
  • PSY A400 Strategies of Behavior Change
  • PSY A447 Behavioral Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • PSY A455 Interventions for Challenging Behavior 
  • PSY A468 Learning and Behavior
  • PSY A468L Learning and Behavior Laboratory
  • PSY A495a Psychology Practicum

Experience & Supervision

Certification also requires that applicants complete 1000 hours of supervised experience before testing. Experience can begin as soon as coursework in the sequence has begun (i.e., as soon as you begin taking PSY A200 Introduction to Behavior Analysis). Supervision is best accomplished when working with an organization that has behavior analysts on-site. Additional information can be found in the BACB Experience Standards

Reach out to your behavior analysis program advisor for more information!

The Certification Exam

Following completion of necessary coursework and experience in the field, individuals can apply to sit for the BACB professional certification exam. Additional information about the exam can be found at https://www.bacb.com/examination-information/.

What's the difference between the Behavior Analysis Programs (Concentration/Minor/OEC), BCaBA Certification, and licensure?

  • The behavior analysis programs (concentration, minor, or OEC) are academic programs offered by the University of Alaska Anchorage. Completion of one of these programs is reflected in a transcript or other special documentation provided by the university. Completing these programs provides knowledge and skills to work in the field of behavior analysis and helping professions, but doesn't necessarily mean that a student is ready to sit for the BCaBA certification exam or become licensed to practice.
  • Certification is offered by an external body - the Behavior Analysis Certification Board. Preparing for certification involves a combination of coursework, supervised experience and a credentialing exam. Certification is the foundation for professional licensure in the state of Alaska.
  • A professional license is required to practice behavior analysis in the state of Alaska. Visit UAA's Authorization by State website for information about licensure or certification in a state other than Alaska.

Reach out to your behavior analysis program advisor for more information!

 

Visit the BACB to review pass-rate data for this program (if available).

If you are interested in learning more about the behavior analysis programs, please reach out to the Behavior Analysis Programs Coordinator, Dr. Veronica Howard at vjhoward@alaska.edu