The Best BCBA-D Programs

Discover the best BCBA-D programs to empower autism advocates and shape your career in behavior analysis.

reuben kesherim
Ruben Kesherim
July 7, 2024

The Best BCBA-D Programs

Understanding BCBA-D Programs

In the world of Behavior Analysis, there's a continuing need for professionals who can provide high-quality Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. Among these professionals, Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and Board Certified Behavior Analysts Doctoral Level (BCBA-D) play vital roles. This section will delve into the distinctions between BCBA and BCBA-D, along with the educational requirements to achieve the BCBA-D designation.

BCBA vs. BCBA-D Distinction

A BCBA is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who works with individuals to provide behavior analysis services. These professionals are particularly successful in working with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A BCBA can work in various settings such as schools, therapeutic preschool programs, private practices, homes, hospitals, and more, offering tailored ABA therapy for individuals of different ages, ability levels, and needs CST Academy.

On the other hand, a BCBA-D is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has earned a PhD in addition to their Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees. The BCBA-D designation indicates that a professional has achieved a higher level of education in the field of behavior analysis. However, it's important to note that both BCBAs and BCBA-Ds can provide the same ABA therapy services, with the primary difference between them being the level of degree they hold CST Academy.

Educational Requirements for BCBA-D

To become a BCBA-D, one must follow a specific educational path. The journey begins with earning a Bachelor’s degree, followed by a Master’s degree in behavior analysis, education, or psychology. This stage is the same for both BCBAs and BCBA-Ds CST Academy.

For the BCBA-D designation, the professional must then earn a doctoral degree from a list of programs verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). This represents a significant step beyond the BCBA level, and it's what gives the BCBA-D its distinction CST Academy.

In addition to these educational requirements, the BCBA-D candidate must also complete a specific number of supervised hours and pass the BCBA exam. Once certified, a BCBA-D, like a BCBA, does not need to practice under supervision CST Academy.

The journey to become a BCBA-D is rigorous and requires a significant commitment to education and training. However, the rewards can be great, as BCBA-D professionals are highly respected in their field and often have a wider range of career opportunities. For more information on BCBA-D requirements and certification, refer to our detailed articles on bcba-d requirements and bcba-d certification.

Becoming a BCBA-D

For those intrigued by the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), and who aspire to ascend to the upper echelons of the profession, earning a BCBA-D designation can be a rewarding accomplishment. BCBA-D stands for Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral, a prestigious title that indicates a high level of education and expertise within the field.

Path to BCBA-D Certification

A BCBA-D is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has earned a PhD in addition to their Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees. To become a BCBA-D, one must pursue their doctoral degree from a list of programs that have been verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) CST Academy.

BCBA-Ds function in the same capacity as BCBAs, but they have completed their training at the doctoral or postdoctoral level. Typically, BCBA-Ds practice as a BCBA for several years before deciding to complete more education for higher credentials and income Regis College.

Application Process for BCBA-D Designation

BCBAs with doctoral or postdoctoral training in behavior analysis may apply for the designation of Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral® (BCBA-D®). It's important to note, however, that the BCBA-D designation is not a separate certification and does not grant any privileges beyond BCBA certification BACB.

The application process for the BCBA-D designation requires compliance with all BCBA maintenance requirements, as defined in the BCBA Handbook. This means that the information that pertains to BCBAs also pertains to BCBA-Ds, including supervision qualifications and requirements BACB.

In conclusion, the path to becoming a BCBA-D is certainly not an easy one, but it is a rewarding journey for those who are passionate about the field of ABA. The BCBA-D designation signifies the pinnacle of achievement within the profession, and it opens up a plethora of opportunities, including higher-income potential and the ability to move into administrative roles or become a professor in the field. For more information on the BCBA-D certification, visit our page on bcba-d certification. To learn more about the salary potential of a BCBA-D, check out our article on bcba-d salary.

BCBA-D Training and Supervision

It's essential to understand the training and supervision requirements that come with the BCBA-D designation. While the BCBA-D is a step above the BCBA certification, there are several similarities in the requirements and expectations for both roles.

Similarities with BCBAs

The BCBA-D designation, much like the BCBA, comes with a set of supervision qualifications and requirements. These standards are defined by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and are meant to ensure that individuals with this designation are properly equipped to provide high-quality services in the field of behavior analysis [1].

For example, both BCBAs and BCBA-Ds are expected to meet certain continuing education requirements, ethical standards, and professional development activities. Both roles also require ongoing supervision to ensure that professionals are maintaining best practices and continue to develop their skills.

To understand more about the basic certification, you can refer to our article on what is BCBA-D.

Maintenance Requirements for BCBA-Ds

Similar to BCBAs, individuals with the BCBA-D designation are required to meet specific maintenance requirements. These requirements are defined in the BCBA Handbook and are designed to ensure that BCBA-D professionals stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field and continue to provide the highest standard of service [1].

Maintenance requirements for BCBA-Ds include completing a certain number of continuing education hours within each recertification cycle. These hours can be earned through various activities, such as attending relevant conferences, workshops, and seminars, or completing online courses related to behavior analysis.

Also, BCBA-Ds are expected to adhere to the BACB's ethical guidelines, which outline the professional and ethical responsibilities of behavior analysts. Regular supervision is also required to ensure that BCBA-Ds are applying their skills effectively and ethically in their practice.

For a detailed understanding of the maintenance requirements for BCBA-Ds, you can refer to our article on bcba-d requirements.

Through ongoing training, supervision, and maintenance, BCBA-D professionals ensure that they are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to provide high-quality services to individuals with autism and related disorders. If you want to explore the potential career and salary prospects for BCBA-D professionals, check out our article on bcba-d salary.

Doctoral Programs in Behavior Analysis

Doctoral programs in behavior analysis, also known as BCBA-D programs, are designed for individuals who aspire to reach the pinnacle in their field. This advanced level of study provides in-depth knowledge and research opportunities, enabling professionals to make significant contributions to the understanding and practice of behavior analysis.

Ph.D. Behavior Analysis Program Overview

The BCBA-D program, such as the Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis offered at The Chicago School, typically takes 3-4 years to complete full-time. This program covers both the theoretical foundations and practical applications of behavior analysis, equipping students with the expertise needed to lead in this field.

In addition to exploring the principles and methodologies of behavior analysis, the program also incorporates multicultural, intersectionalities, and historical considerations into assessment and intervention design. This unique approach sets it apart from other ABA Ph.D. programs, ensuring that graduates are well-equipped to deal with the diverse needs of different populations and contexts.

For more information on the prerequisites and application process for BCBA-D certification, visit our guide on bcba-d requirements.

Specializations in Behavior Analysis

One of the key features of doctoral programs in behavior analysis is the opportunity for specialization. For instance, The Chicago School offers a specialization in organizational behavior management. This allows students to apply behavior analysis principles in business settings, translating their expertise into various professional contexts.

Specializations can provide an edge in the job market, demonstrating a candidate's focus and expertise in a particular area of behavior analysis. Whether the aim is to work in academia, healthcare, or corporate settings, a specialization can pave the way for a fulfilling and impactful career.

Remember, investing in a BCBA-D program is a significant commitment of time and resources. It's important to research potential programs thoroughly and consider factors such as program curriculum, faculty, research opportunities, and alumni success. For information on potential earnings after obtaining a BCBA-D, see our article on bcba-d salary.

By pursuing a doctoral degree in behavior analysis, individuals can become leaders in their field, contributing to the development and implementation of effective strategies for behavior change. Whether you're interested in working with individuals with autism or shaping organizational behavior, BCBA-D programs can provide the advanced training needed to succeed.

Career Paths for BCBA-Ds

As an individual advances in their education and training in applied behavior analysis, opportunities for career growth and diversification become more abundant. For those who have completed BCBA-D programs, numerous roles and opportunities await.

Roles and Opportunities

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst - Doctoral® (BCBA-D®) functions in the same capacity as a BCBA, but has completed their training at the doctoral or postdoctoral level. BCBA-Ds typically practice as a BCBA for several years and may decide to complete more education for higher credentials and income [2].

In a well-established ABA practice, it’s common for experienced BCBAs and BCBA-Ds to move into administrative roles and oversee a team of analysts who more frequently work one on one with clients. Because they hold a PhD, BCBA-Ds also have the option to become professors in the field.

Other possible career paths include:

Salary Insights for BCBA-D Professionals

The salary for professionals with a BCBA-D designation can vary depending on their specific role, geographical location, and level of experience. Here are some national average salary figures according to Zip Recruiter (Data gathered in 2023):

RoleSalaryBCBA$75,910Clinical Supervisor$70,135Professor (Psychology subject)$67,193Autism Specialist$46,446

These figures courtesy of The Chicago School. For more specific salary information related to BCBA-D roles, you can visit our page on bcba-d salary.

While the figures above provide a general idea of potential earnings, the actual salary can vary significantly based on a variety of factors. These factors can include the individual's level of experience, the geographic location of the job, and the specific requirements of the position. Therefore, it's important for individuals interested in pursuing a BCBA-D career to thoroughly research their potential earning power in their desired location and role.

Growth in ABA Field

The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) field has seen significant growth in recent years, particularly in the demand for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and BCBA-Doctoral level (BCBA-Ds).

Demand for BCBAs and BCBA-Ds

Between 2019 and 2020, demand for BCBAs increased by 17 percent, according to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) [2]. These professionals play an integral role in conducting assessments, designing behavior intervention plans, and overseeing their implementation to improve behaviors and skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, and other behavioral challenges [3].

BCBA-D professionals, who have obtained their doctoral-level certification in behavior analysis, are in an even higher demand due to their advanced level of training and expertise. These professionals often occupy leadership roles in the field, providing consultation and supervision to BCBAs and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs). They may also contribute to the field through research and academia.

Career Paths in Behavior Analysis

There are various career paths one can pursue after obtaining their BCBA or BCBA-D certification:

BCBA Professionals

BCBAs can work in a variety of settings, including schools, clinics, or private practice. They typically conduct behavioral assessments, design and implement behavior intervention plans, and adapt treatment strategies on an individual basis. The national average salary for a BCBA is $75,910, according to Zip Recruiter (Data gathered in 2023) [3]. For more information about the salary expectations for BCBA professionals, you can visit our page on bcba-d salary.

Clinical Supervisors

Clinical supervisors provide guidance and oversight to behavior analysts and technicians working directly with clients. They review data, ensure treatment plans are implemented correctly, and provide feedback and training to the applied behavior analysis team. The national average salary for a clinical supervisor is $70,135, according to Zip Recruiter (Data gathered in 2023) [3].


Some individuals with a BCBA-D certification choose to teach courses in applied behavior analysis at the undergraduate or graduate level. The national average salary for a professor teaching a psychology subject is $67,193, according to Zip Recruiter (Data gathered in 2023) [3].

These are just a few of the many potential career paths in the ABA field. The path one chooses will largely depend on their interests, career goals, and the population they wish to serve. For more information about becoming a BCBA-D, visit our page on bcba-d requirements.