Despite Board Certified Behavior Analysts being used now for many social and behavior problems, many are still uncertain as to what a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) does in the course of a workday. There are a few different types of behavior analysis therapists, but only individuals who have earned a graduate degree in behavior analysis, completed many hours of supervised practical work and passed the BCBA certification exam can claim the title of Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Just as they have their specific work and education requirements, BCBAs also have their specific job duties.
The BCBA spends an extensive amount of time working with each patient, but they’re not the only professionals who work with the patients or clients. Behavior analysis therapists and behavior analysis assistants also work with the clients and assist with their treatment. The BCBA oversees all treatment and supervises everyone that is working with the patient to ensure the patient is receiving the appropriate care and treatment. The BCBA is always aware of what’s going on with the patient and the other analysts and assistants.
A large part of the child or patient’s treatment includes constant communication, whether it’s communicating with parents on a one-to-one basis, communicating with other members of the behavior analysis team, speaking with the school or other medical professionals. The BCBA may even come to the patient’s home or assist them on a clinic visit to monitor the patient when he or she is in another setting. There is also steady communication regarding the patient’s progress or special needs. Even when the BCBA is not with the patient, he or she is in steady contact or accessible with other professionals that may be currently working with the patient.
Every child is different, and the BCBA treats each child or client as a separate individual. What treatment might work well for one client may be wrong for another because each patient learns in a different way. They each have their own issues that need addressing and treatment. After much research and working individually with the patient and the patient’s family, the BCBA develops an individual treatment based on the client’s specific problems and learning ability. The behavior analyst spends a great deal of time not just working with the patient but also observing the patient to see what is the most effective treatment for that specific patient based on reaction and behavior.
Although the BCBAs spend a lot of time with the children, working with the parents to help them understand the training and how it fits into the child’s individual needs is another of the many important things a BCBA does. They spend time with the parents showing them the child’s strengths and weaknesses and how the parents can work with the child when the child is at home or away from the treatment center. The BCBAs offer parent training programs so the parents are well-informed of the child’s treatment and needs when at home.
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Behavior analysts may be included in the category of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, or mental health counselors or the category of psychologists, both of which are in demand. Substance abuse, behavior disorder or mental health counselors should see a job growth of 23% while psychologists should see a growth of 14% between 2016 and 2026 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because of the many things a Board Certified Behavior Analysts can do, they should experience even better career opportunities.