The Increasing Demand for Board Certified Behavior Analysts

The demand for behavior analysts has doubled from 1,414 in 2012 to 3,083 in 2014. Within this growth, the largest increase in demand has predominantly been for board-certified behavior analysts (BCBA).

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by University of Cincinnati’s Online Behavioral Analyst Certification program.

Infographic of high demand for board certified behavior analysts (BCBA).

What Is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst?

Behavior analysts study behaviors. The duties of behavior analysts may include assessing individuals with challenging behaviors, monitoring progress of individuals in their treatment, evaluating treatment effectiveness, and providing training at organizations where they work to better serve their populations.
Their duties may also include formulating treatment plans grounded in behavior-analytic principles to address problematic behaviors for individuals in various settings, and consulting with parents, educational professionals and administrators to access environmental factors that may influence behaviors.
Behavior analysts often work for governmental agencies, community centers, schools, alternative school settings or hospitals. In these settings, behavior analysts design, evaluate and implement interventions that are designed to support individuals while addressing a variety of behavioral and academic concerns.


A board-certified behavior analyst should have a master’s degree and an applied behavior analysis board-approved course sequence. While licensure varies from state to state, BCBA national certification is required by many employers. An applicant can choose between three levels of work experience to qualify for certification: after 1,500 hours, 1,000 hours or 750 hours of experience.
However, BCBAs must recertify every three years by completing 36 continuing education credits or retaking the certification exam. Approved continuing education options include completing or instructing graduate-level university courses, participating in events sponsored by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), and partaking in or instructing professional conference presentations, seminars or workshops.
Behavior analysts should also have several key skills, including the ability to collaborate, develop programs, collect data, manage cases, plan treatments and intervene in a crisis.

Job Details and Positions Typically Held by BCBAs

Board-certified behavior analysts can serve in any number of varied occupations. BCBAs can find employment as licensed behavior analysts, speech and language pathologists, special education teachers, school psychologists, clinical supervisors, behavior clinicians and counselors, among other positions.

Top Industries According to Behavior Analyst Postings

Approximately 85 percent of job postings for behavior analysts fall into the health care, educational services or social assistance industries, with 46 percent of all postings in the health care field. An estimated 28 percent of postings are for positions in educational services, and 11 percent are for positions in social assistance. Otherwise, insurance carriers and other services each account for 5 percent of job postings, and public administration accounts for the remaining demand.
Half of all board-certified behavior analysts have at least five years of experience, which may be considered desirable to employers.

Future Projections for Increasing Demand

In 2014, 45 percent of all demand for behavior analysts was concentrated in three states: California, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Among these states, only Massachusetts has enacted regulation of behavior-analytic practice through licensure.
Demand for BCBA positions is also strong in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. And 18 states had 40 or more job postings for these positions in 2014, which is more than double the number of states with the same amount of postings in 2012.

Job Demand Across the Profession

Demand for behavior analysts has increased in almost all sectors from 2012 to 2014. In many sectors, demand has more than doubled.
There were 844 positions for BCBA counselors in 2014, while there were only 337 similar positions in 2012.
There were 148 positions for other licensed BCBA professionals in 2014, up from only 60 positions in 2012.
There were 259 positions for medical and health services managers in 2014. However, there were only 104 positions in this profession in 2012.
There were 204 positions for special education teachers in 2014, whereas there were only 57 positions for these teachers in 2012.
There were 169 positions for BCBA teacher assistants in 2014, which is a substantial increase from the 79 positions for this job in 2012.
There were 425 positions for clinical, counseling and school psychologists in 2014, but there were only 146 positions in this field in 2012.
National employment of clinical, counseling and school psychologists is also projected to increase by 20 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is 7 percent faster than the average increase for all occupations.

Skills in Demand

Several skills are in especially high demand. Approximately 53 percent of job position listings cite experience with autism and 21 percent of listings cite experience working with developmental disabilities as essential skills for behavior analysts to have. Other common skills requested in job listings include experience in psychology, treatment planning, therapy and data collection.
Demand for board-certified behavior analysts is even beginning to spread to non-traditional industries. Professional sports organizations and insurance carriers are starting to create more positions for behavior analysts. In fact, industries across all sectors are hiring behavior analysts to help provide training and programs in an effort to best serve customers and employees.
Look through this comprehensive infographic to learn more about the increasing demand for board-certified behavioral analysts.

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