Deciding Between BCBA vs. BCaBA

Deciding Between BCBA vs. BCaBA


I generally recommend the BCBA route for anyone interested in pursuing a long-term career in ABA for three key reasons:

1) Lower demand and wages for BCaBA's

Why is this? Wages are heavily influenced by insurance reimbursement rates that are typically lower for BCaBA's than BCBA's. Not all insurance providers authorize BCaBA's to serve in a supervisor role, and when they do, the organization must also employ a BCBA to provide oversight and consultation.

2) Greater diversity in job opportunities for BCBA's

Why is this? BCBA's can start their own ABA Company or advance into Executive-Level positions because they do not require the supervision of another clinician to provide behavior-analytic services.

3) There is only a 1-2 year difference in training requirements if you already have a Bachelor's Degree.

Why is this? The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) requires a BCBA to have a Master's degree and 2000 hours of fieldwork which can be completed within two years if the student works diligently to accrue all their hours. In comparison, the BCaBA is a Bachelor-level certification and requires 1300 fieldwork hours. Post Bachelor programs may require only eight classes with a $10,000 price tag. Masters programs are pretty popular in the ABA industry and can cost around $25,000 to complete. Given the severe difference in job opportunities and wages (i.e., $20,000 more dollars a year), spending the extra money to pursue the Master's degree makes the most sense for many people.

If a BCBA is out of the question for you, consider pursuing a BCaBA at a University that will allow you to easily transition into a graduate program (i.e., M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis) that will recognize all of the behavior-analytic coursework you have already accrued.

Click HERE to see data on the demand for both certifications in the United States!

It should be noted that there are additional options for meeting the BCBA/BCaBA Fieldwork Requirements (i.e. Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork). Go to to learn more.

Disclaimer: All views expressed on this post are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated.