Overview

Westfield State University offers a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which involves the application of basic behavioral principles and procedures to problems of social importance. Behavior analysts are concerned with describing, explaining, predicting, and changing behavior through the use of empirically supported practices. These practices often involve the direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relations between environmental variables and behavior. The formalization of graduate training in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a result of increased demand for professionals trained to work effectively with autism and developmental disabilities. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board set the professional credential for the post-master’s certification in behavior analysis. Upon completion of a master’s degree, including the six courses in the program, the student is qualified to take the BCBA exam and become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). To be eligible for the BCBA examination, applicants must possess a master’s degree from an accredited institution.

What is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and what do they do?

BCBA is an independent practitioner who also may work as an employee or independent contractor for an organization. The BCBA:

  • Conducts descriptive and systematic behavioral assessments and provides behavior analytic interpretations
  • Designs and supervises behavior analytic interventions and is able to effectively develop and implement appropriate assessment and intervention methods for use in a range of cases
  • May teach and supervise others in carrying out ethical and effective behavior analytic interventions based on published research and designs

Application Requirements

  1. Possess a minimum of a Master’s Degree from an accredited university that was (a) conferred in behavior analysis, education, or psychology, or (b) conferred in a degree program in which the candidate completed a BACB approved course sequence
  2. An application for admission (due by February 1)
  3. All official transcripts are required from each institution previously attended
  4. Two letters of recommendation describing the individual’s potential to complete the program

Requirements

Description of Program

The Department of Psychology offers an 18-credit certification program in Applied Behavior Analysis. This is a post-masters program designed to be completed in 2 years. In addition to the coursework, students enrolled in the certificate program are required to meet the experience standards set by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (www.BACB.com). Once all of these requirements are met, students are qualified to take the certification exam to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Admission Requirements to the Certificate
  1. Possession of a minimum of a Master's degree from an accredited university that was (a) conferred in behavior analysis, education, or psychology, or (b) conferred in a degree program in which the candidate completed a BACB approved course sequence.
  2. Applicants who want to be considered for the Graduate Certificate in Behavior Analysis must submit to the College of Graduate and Continuing Education:
    1. An application for admission (due by February 1st)
    2. All official transcripts are required from each institution previously attended.
    3. Two letters of recommendation describing the individual's potential to complete the program.

Required Courses
Certificate Completion Requirements

Students must complete the six courses (18 credit hours) with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 to earn the certificate. A student who receives a grade of F or two grades below B- may be barred from further enrollment in graduate courses.

Students must complete the Graduate Certificate Program within six years; certificate students may move toward completion at their own pace within this time period. In order to remain a certificate student, the student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00.

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