Behavior Analysis

The psychology department offers undergraduate and graduate courses and basic and applied research opportunities in behavior analysis. Since January 2021, the courses listed on the BCaBA web pages meet the educational requirements for the 5th edition BCaBA Task List.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the application and scientific study of socially important behavior. Applied behavior analysis has been applied to many areas, including substance abuse, clinical behavior analysis, neurodevelopmental disorders, education, behavioral medicine, and job safety and performance. The largest population applied behavior analysts work with is people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ABA is effective in increasing language, social skills, and other important functional skills to improve the lives of people with ASD.

In Michigan and across the country, there are many opportunities in ABA for people who are credentialed as Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA), and Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). Central Michigan University provides the necessary undergraduate courses to become an RBT or BCaBA. The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified the course sequence below to be eligible to take the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst examination.

What can I do with a bachelor's degree in psychology?  Check out this spotlight on applied behavior analysis.

Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst

The Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® (BCaBA®) is an undergraduate-level certification in behavior analysis. Professionals certified at the BCaBA level provide behavior analysis services under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®).

The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified the following courses toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination.

    PSY 370 Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credit hours)
    PSY 384 Behavior Analysis (3 credit hours)
    PSY 570 Behavioral Assessment and Treatment Planning (3 credit hours)
    PSY 571 Research Methods in Behavior Analysis (3 credit hours)
    PSY 586 Applied Behavior Analysis in Education (3 credit hours)
    PSY 592 Supplemental Supervision in ABA (3 credit hours). Arranged with instructor.

    To be eligible to take the BCaBA exam, students must accrue 1300 hours of Supervised Fieldwork experience or 1000 hours of Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork experience.

    Visit the BCaBA Certification Board website

    Board Certified Behavior Analyst

    The Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) is a graduate-level certification in behavior analysis. Professionals certified at the BCBA level are independent practitioners who provide behavior analysis services.

    To find out more about the eligibility requirements to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® examination please click here.

    At this time we are not currently offering BCBA courses.

    Registered Behavior Technician

    The Registered Behavior TechnicianTM (RBT®) is a paraprofessional certification in behavior analysis. RBTs assist in delivering behavior analysis services and practice under the direction and close supervision of an RBT Supervisor and/or an RBT Requirements Coordinator, who are responsible for all work RBTs perform. PSY 370 (Applied Behavior Analysis) meets the educational requirements to become an RBT. Additional requirements include a competency assessment based on direct experience and taking and passing the RBT exam. Visit the RBT website to find out more information about becoming a Registered Behavior Technician.








    Faculty research interests

      Verified Course Sequence Coordinator
      Dr. Hixson's primary research has been in the areas of curriculum-based measurement and academic interventions. He is interested in the study of learning and behavior problems from a behavior analytic perspective. A particular area of interest is in how previous learning affects later learning.

      Dr. Reilly's research is a merging of the experimental analysis of behavior with mathematical modeling to better understand basic behavioral processes. Current research focuses on three areas: sensitivity to reinforcer delay as a measure of impulsivity, the motivational properties of response effort or work, and the environmental determinants of drug action.