Experienced board certified behavior analysts (BCBA®s) in Alabama can earn up to $104,710 a year, according to 2021 statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While Alabama’s Medicaid program recognized BCBA®s as qualified providers as far back as 2009, the state changed its licensing in 2014 to make formal certification of all applied behavior analysts a legal requirement.
The new requirement for board certification means that BCBA®s now command higher salaries. One of the requirements for this certification is that candidates must possess at least a master’s degree. In fact, Alabama’s reimbursement rates for services delivered by BCBA®s are now higher than for licensed doctoral-level psychologists according to the consulting firm Reinforcement Unlimited.
Salaries for Experienced BCBA®s in Alabama’s Major Cities
The range of salaries for board-certified behavior analysts with ten years of experience in the field are shown below (median to top 10% – current as of 2021):
- 50th: $104,710
- 75th: $110,860
- 90th: $120,100
Salaries for New BCBA®s in the Major Cities of Alabama
The most highly paid BCBA®s in Alabama who lack job experience in the field of behavior analysis can command salaries that exceed the median salary among highly experienced BCBA®s in the state. Salary data shown below is current as of May, 2021 (10th percentile to median):
- 10th: $27,480
- 25th: $92,370
- 50th: $104,710
Behavior Analyst Certification in Alabama Permits Insurance Coverage for Autism Services
While BCBA®s can serve a number of functions, a large number of ABAs provide services specifically aimed at treating autistic children. These types of behavior analysts are instrumental in helping children and adults with autism learn to function in society. ABAs have worked with young children with autism since the 1960s and also refined techniques to help adults with autism.
In fact, experts consider applied behavior analysis to be a vital medical treatment for autism. The New York State Department of Health and the US Surgeon General are among the many organizations that endorse ABA treatment of the autistic.
The principles and techniques of ABA are used to foster basic skills to look, learn, and listen in addition to complex skills such as conversing, reading, and understanding other people’s perspective. The application of these techniques greatly increases the ability of autistic individuals to function in society.
However, insurance companies tightened up their regulations and limited ABA services to the autistic. They did so by requiring that the providers be licensed and certified. This posed a particular problem in Alabama where ABAs were not licensed prior to 2014.
The situation in Alabama was so dire that state Senators sponsored legislation to license and certify ABAs in the state. Senator Cam Ward chose Dr. Paige McKerchar to write the bill to require certification. The passage of SB13 in 2014 resulted in Alabama being the 15th state in the country to license behavior analysts.
2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Psychologists, All Other reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed January 2023.