Certificate programs for behavior specialists are designed for candidates with a formal degree training in emotional or behavioral disorders, according to the University of North Texas. The certificate training is open to teachers, behavioral consultants and crisis intervention teachers. Depending on the program, non-degree candidates may be eligible to take behavior specialist courses. The certificate program is available in traditional classrooms or online. The Standards for Board Certified Behavior Analyst certifies behavior specialists.
To qualify for a behavior specialist certification, candidates must complete their formal education at an institution that has been approved by the Standards for Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Behavior specialists certificate programs require candidates to have at least one year’s worth of work experience with children who have emotional disturbances. Certification candidates must take core courses such as Introduction to Functional Assessment, Behavioral Consultation, Consultation and Collaboration in Special and General Education and Applied Behavioral Analysis.
Candidates who meet the education requirements for behavior specialist certification must complete at least 135 credit hours of classroom instruction in specific content areas including Ethical Considerations, Behavioral Assessment, Experimental Evaluation and Behavioral Change procedures, according to the Standards for Board Certified Behavior Analyst. In addition to satisfying core course requirements, certification candidates must complete minimum hours of supervised on-the-job training. Candidates should demonstrate qualifications that include assessment training and behavior analysis implementation strategies. Qualified candidates must pass a standardized computer-based examination.
Certified behavior specialists must maintain their credentials by taking continuing education courses every three-years; recertification candidates must also pay an annual renewal fee. Failure to meet recertification requirements will result in certification termination, according to the Standards for Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Acceptable continuing education programs include graduate level coursework at an accredited institution as well as participation in conferences, seminars or presentations. The State Board for Certified Behavior Analyst provides a list of continuing education providers on its website.
Certified behavior specialists are required to maintain high professional standards. They should perform their duties by drawing on scientific knowledge and be up to date on the latest developments in their field through professional development training. Behavioral specialists must honor their clients’ rights to confidentiality and perform consulting services that are in their best interest. Behavior specialists should refrain from disclosing confidential information about their clients and must keep client records private.