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Applied Behavior Analysis

Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis

  • Dallas, TX
  • Full-Time
  • 1 year

The Chicago School’s Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis program at our Dallas Campus can help you master the principles of behavior analysis and their application in clinical work and everyday life. This program is intended to provide strong preparation in the development of skills needed for potential careers in: Special education behavior analyst team […]

The Chicago School’s Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis program at our Dallas Campus can help you master the principles of behavior analysis and their application in clinical work and everyday life. This program is intended to provide strong preparation in the development of skills needed for potential careers in:

  • Special education behavior analyst team leaders and members at the School System level (BCBA® required for this)
  • Therapeutic intervention; for example, OT and ST can broaden client base and enhance practice

Additionally, the Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis Program can prepare students currently in careers such as occupational therapists, speech therapists, or clinical counselors to further develop skills that can help them with patient outcomes and career advancement.

This certificate program is also ideal for current clinical psychologists who wish to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts® or students who wish to continue on to the Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis who do not currently have the BCBA® credential.

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Concepts and Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis I

Behavior analysis is a natural science approach to the prediction, control, and understanding of behavior. Students will first be introduced to the philosophical assumptions of determinism, empiricism, parsimony, and pragmatism.  Students will then learn to identify and describe the basic concepts and principles of behavior analysis. These will include operant conditioning, positive and negative reinforcement, basic schedules of reinforcement, extinction, positive and negative punishment, using primary and establishing secondary reinforcers and punishers, establishing stimulus and motivational control, and establishing discrimination and generalization training procedures. In addition, students will learn to identify, describe, and apply common behavior change procedures including shaping, chaining, and differential reinforcement. 

Behavior Change Procedures I

This course will explore ethical and socially significant behavior-change procedures developed from the basic concepts of behavior. Students will learn to develop interventions using operant conditioning, reinforcement and punishment, extinction, motivating operations, stimulus control, shaping, chaining, and other concepts. Students will identify alternative behaviors, monitor progress, and make data-based decisions. Topics include functional communication training, verbal behavior, contingency contracting and group contingencies, token economies, self-management, and staff training.

Measurement and Design in Behavior Analysis

This course addresses the measurement of behavior, data display, interpretation of data, and experimental design. Aspects of measurement including behavior definition, measureable dimensions of behavior, measurement systems and their selection, and data collection, graphing, and interpretation will be covered. Students will learn how to evaluate the validity and reliability of measurement procedures including interobserver agreement, social validity, and treatment integrity. This course also covers the uses and defining features of single-subject experimental designs as well as their advantages and limitations.

The Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis is aligned with coursework requirements for eligibility to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®).  Applicants for BCBA® certification must meet additional requirements established by BACB® including completion of an approved master’s degree, supervised experience, application, examination, and background check.

BCBA Examination Pass Rates


*Pass-rate data are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of operation.

There may also be state professional licensure requirements to practice applied behavior analysis.  A state’s licensure board determines the specific requirements for candidates seeking professional licensure and those requirements are subject to change.  The following is state professional licensure information as of the date of publication:

  • BCBA® certification aligns with certification requirements for professional licensure in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
  • Graduates who have obtained BCBA® certification may be eligible for licensure in Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, and North Dakota if their master’s degree program aligns with state degree requirements.  Note that candidates for professional licensure may be required to meet additional state requirements such as application, examination, and background check.
  • A professional license is not required to practice behavior analysis in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. State laws on professional licensure are subject to change by their legislatures.

It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements for any state not listed above.  The Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis may meet some or all of the requirements of states not listed, but additional state-specific approvals or coursework and/or practicum hours may be required beyond the program’s graduation requirements.  Some state licensing requirements include the following: completion of a master’s degree, post-graduate field work, certification as a board certified behavior analyst, examination, and application for license.

Due to recent and ongoing changes in state professional licensure of applied behavior analysis practitioners, students should contact the state board directly to verify information regarding professional licensure.  To assist with this research, the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) publishes information regarding state licensure.

Students may complete the BCBA® Supervised Practicum Experience required by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® through TCSPP’s BACB® approved University Practicum option. This option requires fewer field experience hours than the Supervised Independent Fieldwork option, which students complete independent of TCSPP. Graduate Certificate students must complete a minimum of 10 hours per week and a maximum of 30 hours per week of a combination of documented work implementing activities of applied behavior analysis plus supervision meetings to meet the requirements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®.

Applicants in the Online and on-ground programs are encouraged to gain experience in multiple sites and with multiple supervisors. See for appropriate experience activities and for more information about practicum requirements.

  • Application
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
    • Applicants to this program should ensure their resume illustrates relevant work experience.
  • Essay
    • Please write a two-page essay stating why you are interested in becoming Board Certified in Applied Behavior Analysis, and your experience in Applied Behavior Analysis.
  • Official College/University Transcripts
    • Students must submit official transcripts from all schools where degrees have been earned. The Chicago School requires that all schools be regionally accredited higher education institutions. Official transcripts may be sent directly from the institution or with your application for admission as long as they are official, sealed, and signed across the envelope flap when they arrive.
  • One Letter of Recommendation
    • Appropriate recommendations are from professors and/or supervisors from significant work or volunteer experiences, who can appraise your academic or professional performance. If you are mailing in your letters, they should arrive in a sealed envelope, signed across the seal. You can also submit the letters online via the applicant portal.

Applicants to the Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis must possess a Master’s degree from an accredited institution, that was conferred in behavior analysis or other natural science, education, human services, engineering, medicine, or related behavior analysis field approved by the BCBA®. It is recommended that students contact the BCBA® to confirm acceptance of their degree prior to beginning coursework. A practicum site approval form is also required from students seeking to complete Practicum supervision requirements through the program’s BCBA® approved Practicum Experience.

In addition to the admission criteria, applicants to the online Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis must also have access to a computer that is less than three years old, a broadband internet connection, and the Microsoft Office Suite including Word, Excel, and Outlook and, at minimum, the following computing skills:

  • A comfort with basic Internet technology
  • The ability to open and attach files from and to emails
  • The ability to send and receive email
  • The ability to save documents

The Chicago School is dedicated to keeping our professional degree programs accessible to anyone regardless of financial status. In addition to the scholarships that may be available, our Financial Aid Department will help provide you with information to determine what financial arrangements are right for you.

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