How to Become an Applied Behavior Analyst in Oklahoma

In 2009 Oklahoma became one of the first states in the nation to establish licensing laws for behavior analysts, establishing the Oklahoma Licensed Behavior Analyst Board (OLBAB) as the dedicated licensing authority. The OLBAB operates as part of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Services Division.

The OLBAB requires candidates to hold the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s BCBA® (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) credential as a condition for licensure.

It is important to distinguish between these two terms:

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) certification – a national certification that is granted by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and a requirement for state licensure in Oklahoma
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst license – the state license you must earn through the OLBAB to work as a behavior analyst in Oklahoma

The OLBAB also licenses assistant applied behavior analysts, another professional class that is discussed in this guide.

Follow these steps to become a licensed ABA in Oklahoma:

Earn a Graduate Degree in the Field of Behavior Analysis
Complete Qualifying Supervised Experience
Pass the BCBA® Exam
Apply with the Oklahoma Licensed Behavior Analyst Board

Step 1. Earn a Graduate Degree in the Field of Behavior Analysis

To qualify for the requisite Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) certification exam, sponsored by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), you must hold a master’s or higher degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, Education, or Psychology that meets the BACB’s curriculum requirements.

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

The BACB may also approve the curriculum from a program that does not include a pre-verified course sequence if it is found to meet course content allocation requirements after being evaluated by the BACB.

You can find fully accredited, qualifying master’s degree programs with a verified course sequence both online and in-state.

While completing your behavior analysis program you will study subjects that include:

  • Ethical and legal issues
  • Behavior change methodologies
  • Single subject research designs
  • Skinner’s writings on applied and theoretical behavior analysis
  • Behavioral assessments
  • Applied behavior analysis introduction
  • Advanced behavior analysis

The most competitive behavior analysis programs include a thesis and supervised field experience. The thesis is your opportunity to leave your individual mark on the field of behavior analysis. It can incorporate field experience you’ve had in practica, internships, and other supervised activities.

Prerequisites for ABA Master’s Programs

Most applied behavior analysis master’s programs accept an undergraduate degree in any related major:

  • Education
  • Counseling
  • Psychology
  • Special education
  • Social work

Examples of undergraduate course prerequisites you may need to fulfill include:

  • Research methods
  • General psychology
  • Applied behavior analysis
  • Conditioning and learning
  • Developmental psychology

Education Requirements for Assistant Behavior Analysts

To get your state license from the OLBAB you must earn and maintain the BACB’s Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA®) credential. This is earned by passing the BCaBA® certification exam. Qualifying for this requires that you have a bachelor’s degree in any subject from an accredited institution and complete coursework in the following subjects:

  • Applied behavior analysis
  • Ethical and professional conduct
  • Research methods in behavior analysis
  • Principles and concepts of behavior analysis
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Step 2. Complete Qualifying Supervised Experience

Gaining eligibility to take the BCBA®’s BCBA® certification exam also means meeting the BACB’s experience requirements. To qualify, any supervised experience you complete must conform to these standards:

  • Develop of performance expectations
  • Include behavioral skills training, observation, and delivery of performance feedback
  • Model ethical, professional, and technical behavior
  • Provide guidance for behavioral case decision making, conceptualization, and problem solving
  • Include review of written materials like reports, behavior programs, and data sheets
  • Provide evaluation and oversight regarding the effects of the behavioral service delivery and supervision
  • Up to half of the supervision can be conducted in small groups
  • The supervised experience must be conducted according to a written contract pre-established between you and your supervisor
  • The supervised experience must be well documented, including hours and activities

Programs that incorporate BACB-approved practica Select master’s programs in behavior analysis incorporate practica / intensive practica that meet the BACB’s experience requirement and will qualify you to sit for the BCBA® exam upon graduation. Such programs include ONE of the following:

  • Practicum – 1,000 hours (automatically included in master’s programs with a BACB-approved practicum)
  • Intensive practicum – 750 hours (automatically included in master’s programs with a BACB-approved intensive practicum)

Supervised Independent Fieldwork – If you attend a master’s program that doesn’t include a BACB-approved practicum then you can document 1,500 hours of independent fieldwork to be eligible to sit for the exam.

Alternatives to supervised experience – You would also be eligible to take the BCBA® examination if you meet either of these conditions:

  • You have a qualifying graduate degree and a full-time research/teaching faculty position in behavior analysis
  • You’ve had a doctoral degree for 10 years and have 10 years of practical experience in behavior analysis

Supervision Requirements for Assistants Behavior Analysts

The standards for supervised experience for these professionals are the same as the standards for behavior analysts. Supervised experience that qualifies you to take the BCaBA® exam includes any one of the following:

  • Practicum – 670 hours of experience
  • Intensive practicum – 500 hours
  • Supervised independent fieldwork – 1,000 hours

Throughout your career as an assistant behavior analyst you must always be supervised by an approved licensed behavior analyst. This supervision must cover a minimum of two hours of behavior-analytic services each week. It must also include two percent of all behavior-analytic service hours you engage in each month. During your first 1,000 hours of post-certification practice this increases to five percent each month.

Step 3. Sit for the BCBA® Certification Exam

You can apply for the BCBA® exam online with the BACB. Once the BACB determines your application is complete it will notify its testing partner Pearson VUE that you are eligible to register, and you’ll be able to choose an examination date and testing location.

There are three Pearson VUE testing centers in Oklahoma:

  • Norman – 3000 South Berry, Suite 200
  • Oklahoma City – 5100 N Brookline, Suite 282
  • Tulsa – 7136 South Yale, Suite 418

Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA®) Exam Content

You’ll have a four-hour time limit to complete this computer-based exam, which is comprised of 150 graded multiple-choice questions with four choices per question. Topics evaluated cover two main areas and are divided into these categories:

Basic behavior analytic skills

  • Fundamental elements of behavior change – 26 questions
  • Measurement – 15 questions
  • Specific behavior change procedures – 15 questions
  • Experimental design – 11 questions
  • Behavior change systems – 8 questions
  • Behavior change considerations – 3 questions

Client centered responsibilities (includes at least two ethics questions per section):

  • Intervention – 23 questions
  • Problem identification – 14 questions
  • Management, implementation, and supervision – 14 questions
  • Assessment – 12 questions
  • Measurement – 9 questions

Examination Requirements for Assistant Behavior Analysts

You apply for the BCaBA® exam with the BACB and schedule through Pearson VUE following the same process detailed for behavior analysts.

The BCaBA® exam content evaluated is also similar to that for the BCBA® exam.

Step 4. Apply with the Oklahoma Licensed Behavior Analyst Board

Behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts follow the same process when it comes to making an application for licensure with the state board. A complete application packet includes:

Send all application materials to:

Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Finance Division
PO Box 25352
Oklahoma City, OK 73125

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License Renewal

Both the behavior analyst license and assistant BA license must be renewed by April 30 of each odd-numbered year. To renew you must submit the following to the state board:

As a condition for renewal you must maintain your national certification with the BACB. This also involves biannual renewal and requires:

  • BCBA®s – 32 units of approved continuing education
  • BCaBA®s – 20 units of approved continuing education and maintenance of supervision requirements

At least four hours of continuing education must relate to ethics. Approved BACB continuing education can include:

  • College and university coursework
  • Scholarly activities
  • Retaking and passing the certification exam
  • Education from approved providers
  • Teaching or instruction activities

Legislative Updates

Applied behavior analysis is a relatively new field. While Oklahoma recognizes two classes of professionals in this field – BCBA®s and BCaBA®s – many states have recognized a third type of professional: registered behavior technicians. The BACB also recognizes this class of professional and has designed its own RBT® credential.

In the event that Oklahoma recognizes this new type of professional, and to be aware of changes in your field, you can always check with the Oklahoma Licensed Behavior Analyst Board and the professional organization Applied Behavior Analysis Oklahoma.

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