How to Become an Applied Behavior Analyst in New Mexico

Thanks to trailblazing states like New Mexico, the movement toward autism insurance reform is underway throughout the nation. In 2009, New Mexico became the ninth state to pass comprehensive autism insurance laws requiring applied behavior analysis, among other therapies, to be covered for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders.

The New Mexico bill requires all insurers operating in the state to cover up to $36,000 a year for services related to the treatment and therapy of autism spectrum disorder. Under the law, ABA therapy must be covered for children up to the age of 19, or 22 if they are enrolled in high school. The law sets a maximum lifetime coverage limit of $200,000, but specifies that no limits can be imposed on the number of visits to an ABA or other provider.

New Mexico State Senator Clinton Harden called the passage of SB 39 a “win for the autism community of New Mexico.”

As a result of ABA earning long-overdue recognition as an evidence-based, medically necessary form of therapy for ASD, many states have either adopted, or are in the process of adopting, legislation aimed at the regulation and licensure of applied behavior analysts. However, as of 2016, New Mexico remains a state without a formal licensing process in place for ABAs.

Even in the absence of legal requirements, the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) designation through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) has become the singular professional identifier for qualified ABAs, both in New Mexico and throughout the U.S. Though not required by the state, the BCBA® is often required by employers and is standard among ABAs who practice independently.

Many states with established or proposed licensing have mirrored their laws, at least to some degree, to reflect the BACB’s Model Act for Licensing/Regulating Behavior Analysts, which outlines qualifications for licensed ABAs, and their assistants and other support staff.

Earning a Master’s Degree in ABA with the Option to Earn BCBA® Certification

The minimum educational requirement to practice as an applied behavior analyst is a master’s degree, either in behavior analysis or in psychology or education with a concentration or significant course content in applied behavior analysis. If you are interested in earning the BCBA®, it is also the first step in the certification process.

Eligible Graduate Programs for BCBA® Certification

To qualify for BCBA® certification, your graduate program must meet BACB course requirements.

All master’s and doctoral degrees accredited through the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) automatically meet BACB curriculum requirements by including a Verified Course Sequence (VCS).

Programs without BAAB accreditation or VCS may also meet BACB requirements if they contain the appropriate course content allocation and receive approval from the BACB after being evaluated.

Graduate certificate programs, and independent BACB-approved ABA course sequences are also available for BCBA® exam candidates that hold a master’s or higher degree but who need to complete the required courses to be eligible for BCBA® certification.

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Accredited online programs reflect the needs of many of today’s students, whose professional responsibilities or geographic location require more flexible scheduling and the convenience of distance-based coursework.

Practicum and BCBA® Exam Requirements

The BCBA® certification process also requires completing a period of supervised professional experience, either as part of your master’s program or independent from it, as well as passing the national BCBA® exam.

Many ABA programs offer practicums as part of their graduate curriculum that meet BACB experience requirements. However, you may also complete an independent field experience that meets BACB requirements or some combination of fieldwork and practicum.

Many institutions that offer online ABA programs help match students with a practicum at clinical located nearby.

Just a few of the ABA providers in New Mexico where you may complete the required professional experience include:

  • Bridges, Albuquerque
  • Bright Futures: Autism and Early Intervention, LLC: Santa Fe and Los Alamos
  • JumpStart Autism Center, Albuquerque
  • Pacific Child and Family Associates, Albuquerque
  • Stimulating Minds Autism Clinic, Albuquerque
  • WonderStage Learning, Albuquerque

Click here for detailed step-by-step instructions on the BCBA® credentialing process.

New Mexico’s Largest ABA Providers Making a Difference

The Behavior Change Institute is committed to improving the lives of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder by providing treatment based on the principles of ABA. The Behavior Change Institute uses tele-behavioral health technology, which expands the availability of services to individuals and families, even those residing in the most remote locations of the state.

The Behavior Change Institute works closely with the New Mexico Autism Society, ECHO Autism in Applied Behavior Analysis, and the New Mexico Association for Behavior Analysis to ensure they maintain a strong focus on quality treatment options and the dissemination of ABA throughout the state.

Behavior Change Institute has locations throughout New Mexico:

  • Roswell
  • Santa Fe
  • Rio Rancho
  • Cloudcraft
  • Albuquerque
  • Alamogordo
  • Dexter
  • Las Cruces

Behavioral Health Works helps individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities reach their potential through collaborations with schools, families, and relevant professionals. Their treatment approach is rooted in applied behavior analysis, along with an emphasis on individualized programs.

Behavioral Health Works’ Diagnostic Center specializes in diagnosing and treating autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, and learning disabilities. ABA services include early intervention services, home-based services, and school-based services.

They also offer a host of ancillary services, including camps, parent’s night out, training and workshops, and global outreach programs.

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Behavioral Health Works’ locations include:

  • Albuquerque
  • Sandia Park
  • Tijeras
  • Rio Rancho
  • Bernalillo
  • Belen


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