NACOGDOCHES, Texas — A new certification program in the Stephen F. Austin State  University James I. Perkins College of Education will help prepare students to become board-certified behavior analysts who apply behavioral principles to solve social problems.

“ABA-certified individuals provide services critical to our community,” said Dr. Luis Aguerrevere, interim chair of the Department of Human Services and Educational Leadership at SFA. “They teach children and adults specific behavioral skills, which include communication, self-help and social skills.”

Authorized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in 2020 and the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the Applied Behavior Analysis Certification program emphasizes critical thinking, communication, personal and social responsibility, empirical and quantitative skills and teamwork.

“We are dedicated to producing ethical, responsible and competent scholars in behavior analysis,” said Dr. Jaime Flowers, assistant professor of school psychology and coordinator for the certification program. “We will use a practitioner-scientist/scholar model of training in which practice, research and theory are considered integrated components.”

Beginning in fall 2021, the program’s classes will be taught face to face, either in person or via videoconferencing, during the evenings so individuals working full time can participate in the program.

“The classes will be offered in a cohort model to allow students to build relationships and progress through the program in a group,” Flowers said.  

The program’s 315-hour course sequence meets the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s eligibility requirements for students taking the Board Certified Behavior Analyst or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst examination.

The certification is designed for individuals pursuing their master's degree in social work, marriage and family therapy, speech and language pathology, psychology, teaching and counseling, among others.
“There are additional requirements to becoming a BCBA, but the courses offered will fulfill the coursework portion of the certification,” Flowers said. “This specific certification gives program graduates a specialty in behavior analysis that they can use in a variety of settings such as schools, mental health clinics, hospitals and business organizations.”

The certification is required by most health care companies to provide applied behavior analysis therapy to individuals with developmental disabilities.  

To be eligible for the program, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning. They also must have a master’s degree or be enrolled in a master's program in psychology, education or a related field. In addition, applicants must meet minimum GPA requirements.

For more information on the certification program, email Flowers at or visit