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Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis

Photo of a man sitting next to a young child, who is pointing at a piece of paper.The Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) provides students with the preparation to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®).

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientific discipline in which tactics derived from learning theory are applied to improve socially significant behavior. The science of ABA attempts to understand, describe, and predict behavior in an effort to acquire skills and reduce problematic behavior. The evidence-based technology of ABA is well established, with applications in multiple populations including autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, geriatrics, and treatment of individuals with challenging behavior. Behavior analysts work in diverse settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, mental health agencies, schools, homes, and residential treatment facilities.

The Behavior Analysis Certification Board® (BACB®) provides certification of behavior analysts who meet qualifying standards. Candidates must have completed specific academic coursework standards and supervised experience requirements. Candidates must also pass an international examination assessing knowledge of behavior analysis to qualify as Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs).

There is a growing demand for BCBAs. In Michigan, recent legislation mandates that insurance companies provide ABA for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and permits BCBAs to independently bill insurance for ABA treatment provided to these individuals. There are currently insufficient numbers of BCBAs in Michigan to meet the needs of this population. Nationwide, there is also an increasing job market for BCBAs. International employment opportunities for BCBAs are likewise on the rise.

In response to the demand for BCBAs, Michigan School of Psychology (MSP) offers a certificate program in ABA. The certificate program consists of six ABA courses and can be completed in two years. Courses, held on campus in Farmington Hills, are designed to meet the needs of working individuals. Class size is small. The BACB has verified the course sequence as meeting the academic requirements for eligibility to take the BCBA examination. Prior to sitting for the BCBA exam, applicants must independently attain supervised experience in ABA.

Program faculty have responsibility for the integrity of the academic program. Faculty continually assess and enhance the program’s content and requirements to meet the needs of the field of psychology.

ABA Program Goals

  • Students will acquire knowledge of ethical and professional conduct as behavior analysts.

  • Students will attain comprehensive understanding of the scientific foundations and principles of ABA.

  • Students will measure and visually display behavioral data and formulate and test research hypothesis.

  • Students will administer skill assessments and conduct function-based evaluations of problem behavior.

  • Students will design and implement effective behavior-change interventions.

  • Students will learn the application of advanced ABA principles in clinical practice and effectively train and supervise others.

Professional development and personal growth are integral to the programs at MSP, and many aspects of the educational process are based on experiential learning and self-exploration.  Students participate in courses and other related activities that require self-exploration, dialogue and expression of personal information.  In addition, courses, clinical supervision or other program-related activities may require classroom presentations and/or written assignments that involve the communication of personal information.

BACB Pass-Rate Data

Verified Course Sequence pass-rate information is published annually by the BACB. 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. 2021 is the first year that MSP’s program was included in the report. MSP’s average pass rate for first time exam takers in 2021 was 100%.



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