How to Start a Business as a Behavior Analyst
by Mashum Mollah Starting a Business 06 March 2018
One of the most popular programs on television has led to an increased interest in behavior analysis. When watching programs like Criminal Minds, the audience is enthralled with the process for how they can create a profile which is usually right on the money. The BAU, Behavior Analysis Unit, does tend to be a bit glorified on television, but the best part about shows like this is that they increase an awareness of the science of behavior analysis.
If you are interested in this line of work, the first thing you may want to do is get a rough idea of what a behavior analyst can hope to earn on sites like salarieshub.com. Next, look at what it takes to become a Certified Behavior Analyst and if you like what you see, here’s some of what you need to know about starting a consulting business in the field.
Requirements for Becoming Board Certified
As with any career worth pursuing, you need to be willing to put in the effort it takes to excel in your field. In order to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, you will need to complete:
- A bachelor’s degree, typically in psychology
- Supervised field work – 1500 hours
- 270 hours grad school
- Passing tests for both the BCBA and the BCaBA
Most entrepreneurs looking to start a consulting business as a behavior analyst have probably spent several years employed in the field. While most positions involve working with school districts requiring a specialist to work with autistic children, some behavior analysts work with counseling adults with autism as well. Some do enter criminology with entry-level positions in a Behavior Analysis Unit, but the experience is of vital importance if you are going to strike it out on your own.
Why So Much Experience?
Behavior analysis relies heavily on predictive behavior. To help patients change their behaviors and their responses to stimuli, you need to know how they can be expected to act in a variety of situations. In terms of criminology, you’ll need to be able to piece together a profile based on personality types most likely to have committed specific types of crimes. That takes experience. Once you have reached the top of your field, you have the necessary foundation to start your own consulting business. You are ready to become an entrepreneur taking what you have mastered and are not limited to a caseload assigned to you by your ‘boss.’ You will be that boss.
Each state has various requirements for starting a business, so it is vital to check with your state in terms of licensing, insurance, and perhaps even occupational licenses. You can expect to earn a median wage of $300,000 when working for a company and perhaps less when working with a school board, but on your own, the sky is the limit. This is when all that experience comes in handy. The more you can detail when canvassing for clients, the more that trust factor will influence their decisions to hire your services. Starting your own business can be exciting; just be ready to dig in and work. In time and with that effort, you can expect a flourishing business. Board Certified Behavior Analysts are truly in great demand.