Option 1 Eligibility Requirements

This option to qualify for BCBA certification requires an acceptable degree, acceptable coursework, acceptable practical experience, and passing the BCBA examination.

1. Degree

Applicants must possess a minimum of a graduate degree (e.g., master’s or doctoral) in an acceptable field of study from a qualifying institution. Acceptable fields of study are behavior analysis, education, or psychology. Degrees may also be accepted from degree programs in which the candidate completed a BACB verified course sequence. Applicants who are unsure of whether the field of study of their degree is acceptable may request a preliminary review.

See the October Newsletter for changes that go into effect on January 1, 2022.

2. Coursework

Coursework must come from a qualifying institution and cover the required content outlined in the BACB’s Fourth Edition Task List and Course Content Allocation documents. Only graduate (i.e., master’s or doctoral) courses where the applicant was formally enrolled and earned a passing grade (“C” or better for graded courses) are acceptable.

Coursework may come from an Association for Behavior Analysis (ABAI) Verified Course Sequence (VCS), although other coursework may also be acceptable.

ABAI VCS Coursework:

When applicants present a transcript with a passing grade, students do not need to submit the course syllabi with their applications for examination.

ABAI VCS Directory

Pass Rates for Verified Course Sequences

Other Coursework:

Coursework that is not from an ABAI VCS must be reviewed in order to determine whether it covered the required content for the minimum amount of instructional hours. The BACB will only make determinations about the acceptability of non-verified coursework as either (a) part of a formal application for exam or (b) an independent application for coursework evaluation.

A combination of ABAI VCS and other coursework may also be acceptable. Regardless of whether coursework is obtained from an ABAI VCS, every applicant must demonstrate that his or her coursework covered all of the required content for the minimum number of hours per category.

3. Experience

Applicants must complete experience that fully complies with all of the current Experience Standards. Applicants must carefully review the experience standards with their supervisor(s) before beginning their experience. Please note that these standards stipulate training requirements for trainees and supervisors which must be completed before experience begins.

See our Audit Process webpage for additional information about what to do in the event of an audit.

Visit our Certificant Registry to locate BCBAs willing to supervise the applied experience of those pursuing certification.

4. Examination

Applicants must take and pass the BCBA examination. Authorization to take the examination is only provided to applicants who have submitted a complete application to the BACB, including all documentation necessary to demonstrate that they have met criteria.
More Information


Apply for the BCBA Examination
BCBA Option 1 Self-Review Application Checklist (PDF Download)
Self-Reporting Requirements