Accredited BCBA Programs and Certification in Arkansas [2024 Guide]

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) programs offer specialized training for those interested in understanding and improving behavior in various settings. Whether you aim to work with children, adults, or in educational and healthcare settings, BCBA programs provide the tools and knowledge needed to make a positive impact.

In Arkansas, these programs blend rigorous coursework with practical experience, preparing you for a rewarding career in behavior analysis. You can use this guide – which features some of the popular BCBA programs in Arkansas – to help narrow your focus and find the school that’s the best fit for your needs.

Best Accredited BCBA and ABA Programs and Certification in Arkansas Online

BCBA Programs in Arkansas

Listed below are some of the popular schools offering BCBA programs in Arkansas:

  • Ouachita Baptist University
  • University of Arkansas
  • National University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Simmons University
  • Arizona State University Online
  • Walden University

Ouachita Baptist University

Master of Science & Master of Arts – Applied Behavior Analysis

Ouachita Baptist University provides you with the opportunity to earn a 36-credit Master of Science (M.S.) or a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) through a low-residency program. This program includes a mandatory on-campus session, with the rest of the coursework available online.

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has verified the coursework requirements of this program for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination.

As the first institution in Arkansas to offer these degrees in ABA, Ouachita plays a crucial role in addressing the national shortage of BCBAs. In just 22 months, you can prepare for a career in the rapidly expanding field of ABA, where you will apply the science of learning and behavior to develop, assess, and implement therapies that enhance the lives of individuals.

Some of the core courses that you will take include:

  • Concepts & Principles of ABA
  • Research Methods in ABA
  • Behavioral Assessment
  • Behavior-Change Procedures
  • Ethical & Professional Issues in ABA
  • Supervision, Training & Performance Management
  • Advanced Concepts & Principles of ABA

Whether your interests lie in research, teaching, pursuing a doctorate, or working as a practitioner, Ouachita’s low-residency programs offer two distinct paths for you to engage in impactful and meaningful work in ABA.

The Master of Science in ABA at Ouachita combines academic coursework with 1,500 hours of supervised fieldwork, completed in partnership with one of Ouachita’s 20+ clinical partners across the U.S. and Canada. This program ensures a deep understanding of theoretical concepts and their practical application for positive change in client lives.

To be admitted, you must secure a fieldwork site by July 1 and decide on a thesis or capstone project by the end of the second semester. This program is ideal if you are already working in the field and aspire to take the BCBA exam immediately after graduation for a career in clinical practice, research, or academia.

If you prefer a more flexible approach to gaining practical experience, the Master of Arts in ABA at Ouachita does not require fieldwork hours. Instead of a thesis or capstone project, this program requires an applied research project during the last two semesters.

The M.A. program suits those working in non-autism/intellectual and developmental disabilities (AU/IDD) settings like schools, nursing homes, psychiatric units, foster care, group homes, or substance abuse treatment facilities. It’s also fitting if you intend to remain in professional practice after becoming a BCBA but are not interested in pursuing a Ph.D. or engaging in research.

At Ouachita, every ABA student is paired with an advisor from the core faculty. Both core and adjunct faculty members are experienced, qualified, and engaged BCBAs and BCBA-Ds, offering over 40 years of combined ABA experience. They continue to practice in various areas, including autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities, severe behavioral disorders, experimental behavior analysis, and more.

The learning outcomes of the program encompass a comprehensive understanding and competence in various aspects of behaviorism and applied behavior analysis, including its history, theoretical foundations, ethical issues, behavioral assessments, and interventions. You will also develop skills in behavior analytic clinical practices across diverse populations and settings.

To be admitted to either the M.S. or M.A. program in Applied Behavior Analysis at Ouachita, you must have:

  • A conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution
  • Fulfill general university graduate admissions requirements
  • A minimum GPA of 3.000 on a 4.000 scale
  • Participate in a brief interview with the ABA fieldwork coordinator.

University of Arkansas

Graduate Certificate Program in Applied Behavior Analysis

As someone interested in pursuing board certification in behavior analysis, the 21-credit Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of Arkansas is designed for you. ABAI has verified the coursework requirements of this program for eligibility to take the BCBA examination.

This program will build upon your existing knowledge of behavior strategies, enhancing your skills and knowledge in ABA. The classes focus on developing and ethically using behavior change programs, ensuring they are validated through systematic evaluation. Throughout the program, you will engage with ethical, professional, and legal standards in the context of ABA.

In this certificate program, you will be taught behavior analytic frameworks and applications. It involves learning the systematic and scientific methods of ABA. This includes understanding empathetic strategies for assessing and modifying behavior in various groups, including children, adults, families, and communities. This certificate equips you with essential ABA skills, preparing you to implement ABA effectively in educational settings, workplaces, clinics, homes, and communities.

Courses in this certificate include:

  • Basic Principles of ABA
  • Behavioral Assessment in ABA
  • Behavior Change Procedures and Supports
  • Measurement and Experimental Design
  • ABA Ethical, Professional, and Legal Standards
  • Human Performance Improvement
  • Concepts and Principles in Behavior Analysis

The coursework will relate ABA to situations you might face in clinical, professional, or personal settings. It includes detailed exercises for practicing ABA, allowing you to gain experience in assessing behavior and developing tailored intervention plans. The courses will also touch ethical case studies and impart evidence-based best practices for behavior modification. All courses are taught by BCBA-certified faculty, providing you with feedback from experienced professionals.

To earn the graduate certificate, you must achieve a B or higher in the program of study. Courses from other institutions are not accepted as substitutes for the required courses. Additionally, this Graduate Certificate can be integrated into the Master of Special Education degree program.

Admission to this graduate certificate program requires a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA during the last 60 hours of your undergraduate work.

The University of Arkansas’s Applied Behavior Analysis program follows the Behavior Analysis Certification Board’s Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts, along with specific program codes of ethics and standards outlined in program handbooks.

Violations of these principles may lead to probation, suspension, or dismissal from the internship. Such incidents include ethical misconduct or concerns, which will be documented, discussed with you, and referred to the program’s coordinator or supervising faculty. In extreme cases, such as endangerment, disruption, felonious behaviors, or ethical violations, the program coordinator may suspend a candidate.

Additionally, the coordinator, in consultation with the Graduate School, has the authority to dismiss a student from the program for unethical or unprofessional behavior and may choose not to recommend the student for certification.

National University

Online Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis

At National University, you can pursue a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis. This program is designed for those eager to work with individuals on the Autism Spectrum and those with neurodiverse conditions that benefit from behavior change systems. It aims to prepare you for the BACB exam.

To achieve your Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis, you must complete a minimum of 45 quarter units of graduate work. You have the option to transfer up to 4.5 quarter units of equivalent graduate work from another institution. These units should not have been used for another advanced degree and must have been completed within the last 7 years. It’s important to remember that course equivalence is not granted for life experience.

The courses you will engage in include:

  • Philosophical Underpinning of ABA
  • Concepts and Principles of ABA
  • Functional Behavior Assessment
  • Behavioral Change Procedures
  • Developing ABA Interventions
  • Supervision and Management
  • Application of ABA Skills
  • ABA Capstone Project

National University’s curriculum stands out for its precision learning and a verified course sequence. The program emphasizes practitioner self-care, social and emotional learning, and cultural competency. You are required to complete a research-based capstone project. Upon completing the program, assistance in finding an internship program is provided.

Upon completion, your capabilities will include:

  • Explaining foundational concepts and principles of Radical Behaviorism.
  • Analyzing measurement, data display, and interpretation in experimental design.
  • Integrating ethical considerations in behavior change processes and assessments.
  • Managing behavior and monitoring performance.
  • Applying Applied Behavior Analysis in research and daily life.
  • Conducting research using appropriate methods to enhance student outcomes.

The program opens career opportunities in various industries, including health care, social assistance, and educational services. Skills valued in these sectors include teaching, research, communication, leadership, writing, advocacy, planning, and management.

To be eligible for the BACB exam, you require a master’s degree with a verified course sequence (as provided by National University) and 2,000 supervision hours. Passing the exam qualifies you as a BCBA.

Career opportunities in this field are diverse and fulfilling. With National University’s ABA program, you can prepare for roles such as:

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
  • Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA)
  • Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT)
  • Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA)
  • Behavior Consultant
  • Behavior Analyst
  • Behavior Technician
  • Behavior Specialist
  • ABA Interventionist
  • ABA Behavioral Technician

How Do I Become a BCBA in Arkansas?

To become a BCBA in Arkansas, you must:

  • Hold a master’s level degree.
  • Have completed the required ABA course sequence.
  • Have completed the required supervised practical experience.
  • Pass the BCBA examination

What is a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT)?

A Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) is a paraprofessional certification in the field of behavior analysis. RBTs work under the supervision and direction of a BCBA or a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA). Their role primarily involves implementing behavior-analytic services, rather than designing them. Here are some key aspects of the RBT role:

  • Certification Requirements: To become an RBT, an individual must complete a certain amount of training (typically a 40-hour training course), pass a competency assessment, and successfully pass the RBT examination. This training covers the basics of ABA and equips them with the skills needed to work effectively with clients.
  • Duties and Responsibilities: RBTs provide direct behavior-analytic services to clients, particularly in the context of ABA therapy. Their duties can include implementing behavior intervention plans, collecting data on client progress, and assisting with assessments under the supervision of a BCBA or BCaBA. They play a crucial role in the day-to-day management of ABA programs.
  • Clientele: RBTs often work with individuals who have developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, although their work is not limited to this population. They may work in various settings, including schools, homes, and behavioral health centers.
  • Ethical Guidelines: RBTs must adhere to a set of ethical guidelines laid out by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, which governs their practice. These guidelines ensure that RBTs provide high-quality and ethical services to their clients.
  • Ongoing Requirements: To maintain their certification, RBTs must meet ongoing supervision and professional development requirements and adhere to the BACB’s ethical guidelines.

The role of an RBT is critical in providing effective ABA services, especially in supporting individuals with behavioral and developmental challenges. Their work, under the guidance of certified behavior analysts, is integral to the progress and success of behavior-analytic interventions.

Is a BCBA Better than a RBT?

The terms “better” or “worse” aren’t quite appropriate when comparing a BCBA and a RBT, as these roles are different in terms of their responsibilities, qualifications, and functions within the field of ABA. It’s more accurate to view them as different levels of certification with distinct roles in the ABA process.

Qualifications and Education

  • BCBA: As mentioned above, BCBA requires a minimum of a master’s degree in psychology, education, or behavior analysis, and completion of coursework in behavior analysis. BCBAs must also complete a significant amount of supervised fieldwork (ranging from 1000 to 1500 hours, depending on the type of supervision) and pass the BCBA certification exam.
  • RBT: Requires a high school diploma, completion of a 40-hour training course, passing a competency assessment, and passing the RBT exam. There is no requirement for a college degree.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • BCBA: They are qualified to conduct behavioral assessments, design and supervise behavior intervention plans, train and supervise RBTs and other staff, and consult with families and organizations. BCBAs have a deeper understanding of behavior analysis and are responsible for the overall behavioral program.
  • RBT: Works under the supervision of a BCBA (or BCaBA) and primarily implements behavior-analytic interventions. They collect data and assist in the implementation of behavior plans but do not design intervention plans or assessments.

Scope of Practice

  • BCBA: Has a broader scope of practice, including assessment, analysis, and program design. They can work independently, although collaboration with other professionals is common.
  • RBT: Has a narrower scope, focusing on the direct implementation of behavior-analytic services. They cannot work independently and must be supervised by a BCBA or BCaBA.

Career Opportunities and Salary

  • BCBA: Typically has more advanced career opportunities and higher earning potential due to their level of education and scope of practice.
  • RBT: Often considered an entry-level position in the field of ABA, with correspondingly lower earning potential compared to a BCBA.

How Much Does a BCBA Make in Arkansas?

As of April 2024, the average annual salary for a BCBA working in Arkansas is $84,900 or $40.21 per hour. More experienced and top earning BCBAs in Arkansas make over $120,000 per year.

Copyright © 2024 All Rights Reserved. Program outcomes can vary according to each institution's curriculum and job opportunities are not guaranteed. This site is for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional help.