You are a “BC what”?

I love it when people ask me what I do. I take a big ole’ deep breath as I prepare to over-explain my work to the point of almost confusing myself. I remember being in my previous career and told to create our elevator speech to recruit volunteers or members. Our elevator speech was to be concise, only a few sentences, and convey enough information and meaning that everyone would want to know more about our organization. I have tried many times to come up with my BCBA elevator speech. I almost think I have it, but let us look at what a Board Certified Behavior Analyst does, and maybe it can help you create your own elevator speech. 

There are two ways I may explain what I do as a BCBA. I may say, “ I oversee the treatment of individuals, children in my case, with developmental disabilities, mostly Autism. I focus on early intervention and work mostly with clients from East Africa.” 


“I am a Behavior Analyst who works with organizations to find better ways to serve their clients and team members by looking at the environment and focusing on improving identified outcomes.”

Imagine if I could have more than one way to describe what I do as a BCBA; there must be millions of other people who describe their work entirely differently. Let us look at the role of BCBA in a more generalized way. According to the BACB® (our licensing board), a BCBA is “a graduate-level professional in behavior analysis who can practice independently and provide supervision for BCaBAs and RBTs.” BCBAs are experts in applied behavior analysis (ABA), and this is most commonly associated with individuals on the Autism spectrum. BCBAs work in all settings: schools, in-home, clinics, residential, and organizations. BCBAs must have a very adaptable skill set. They may be meeting with caregivers or other professionals to discuss client issues. They will be observing client behavior in varying environments. In these observations, they will oversee data collection or collect data themselves. The data is then used to create and adjust interventions based on client and caregiver goals. BCBAs can become supervisors to those accruing their hours and become BCBAs or BCaBAs. They may teach, either formal or non-formal, in classroom settings or at CEU events. They may be researchers working on new ways to provide better services to our clients.

What did I miss? Do you know a BCBA? Or are you a BCBA? Share with us how you answer the question, What do you do? Or ask a BCBA what they do and report back? We would love to know how they describe this fantastic profession that changes daily! 

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Anissa Jepsen

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