What are the Seven Dimensions of ABA?

What are the Seven Dimensions of ABA?

What are the Seven Dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis?

The seven dimensions of ABA are important to consider when implementing behavior change procedures. One way to remember these is “BatCage.”


This dimension of ABA emphasizes the importance of behavior being observable and measurable. It is important when identifying a behavior needed for change, that we are selecting a behavior that can be observed and measured. 

 According to Cooper et al. (2019), “the behavior must be measurable; the precise and reliable measurement of behavior is just as critical in applied research as it is in basic research” (p. 16).


We want to ask ourselves, “How is this behavior socially significant for our client?” Why are we teaching this and how does it improve the life of our client? 

According to Cooper et al. (2019), “The applied in applied behavior analysis signals ABA’s commitment to effecting improvements in behaviors that enhance and improve people’s lives” (p. 16).

This is the most important dimension of ABA in my opinion since we are focused on the needs of our client. How will targeting this behavior improve the life of my client? We want to avoid targeting behaviors to appease others. This includes behaviors that might be disruptive or especially self stimulatory behaviors. Since these behaviors are often not harmful, we would not want to target these behaviors in intervention. Instead, ask yourself, how can we set up the environment to benefit my client? If they are engaging in a loud vocalization that another student in their classroom expresses is too loud for them, we want to try and position those students in a way that might be more comfortable. Our primary focus is the best interest of our client. There might be headphones that the other student can wear, or if the behavior is disruptive to the point that our client cannot complete basic tasks or learn in their environment, we can weigh our options and consider targeting the behavior at that point. This paragraph is not meant to give advice on specific cases, but rather to provide an example of how to assess the applied aspect of goals. 

If we are creating skill acquisition goals, we want to be sure to select targets that are directly applicable to our client’s daily life. For example, if we are working on visual perception skills with a 15 year old male, we want to consider having them matching and sorting laundry rather than matching and sorting colored shapes. Although colored shapes still work on the goal, it is not as applied as using laundry. Using laundry is more socially significant since this client will be able to apply this skill. 

When we discuss social significance, this does not mean what is best for social peers. That is important to recognize! Instead, how is this significant for our client? 


This states that behavior plans and definitions should be written clearly and concisely like a recipe. This is so these plans can be implemented by many others to keep consistency across environments. How many of you have read a plan and still had many questions? It is not uncommon to need to reread sections of the plan and ask questions before working with a client. However, this behavior intervention plan and skill acquisition plan should be written in a clear and concise way that can be easily replicated and understood by others. When training caregivers on the plan, it should be written in nontechnical language so they can understand how to implement the strategies. Considering technological as a dimension of ABA is also important for accurate data collection and measuring effectiveness. We want to be sure that all caregivers, teachers, therapists, and family members are being consistent to help with the success of our clients.

Cooper et al. (2019) states, “A study in applied behavior analysis is analytic when the experimenter has demonstrated a functional relation between the manipulated events and a reliable change in some measurable dimension of the targeted behavior” (p. 17).

Conceptually Systematic:

Research based interventions should be utilized. As we know, ABA is a science based on evidence and research. We want to be sure we are only using interventions that are evidence based and not recommending interventions that are heard. Continuing education is required to stay current and understand the most up to date interventions available. It is great to seek mentorship if you are unsure how to proceed when making decisions for a client. 

Cooper et al. (2019), “A study in applied behavior analysis is analytic when the experimenter has demonstrated a functional relation between the manipulated events and a reliable change in some measurable dimension of the targeted behavior” (p. 17).


Review data when making behavior decisions. It is important to make decisions based on data when reviewing progress. Of course, we consider all aspects of benefits to the client and review data to guide our decision making. Is there a reliable change based on the intervention? Is there a functional relationships?

Cooper et al. says, “A study in applied behavior analysis is analytic when the experimenter has demonstrated a functional relation between the manipulated events and a reliable change in some measurable dimension of the targeted behavior” (p. 16).


Can the skill be performed with a variety of people in a variety of different settings? We want to be sure we are setting our clients up for success by generalizing the skills to other environments. There are many ways to promote generalization including using a variety of materials, people, and settings while teaching a new skill. 

According to Cooper et al. (2019) “A behavior change has generality if it lasts over time, appears in environments other than the one in which the intervention that initially produced it was implemented, and/or spreads to other behaviors not directly treated by the intervention” (p. 18).


Ask yourself, has the intervention been successful? How can we review progress over time and in a variety of settings to ensure generalization and maintenance of skills.

Cooper et al. states, “A study in applied behavior analysis is analytic when the experimenter has demonstrated a functional relation between the manipulated events and a reliable change in some measurable dimension of the targeted behavior” (p. 17).

Use ethics to guide decision making and always consider the benefits and costs of an intervention before selecting a behavior change procedure. We also want to consider how we will fade these interventions when necessary. Especially for reinforcement! 

Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2019). Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd Edition). Pearson Education (US). https://purdueuniversityglobal.vitalsource.com/books/9780134798769

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Upcoming BACB Changes for BCBA® and BCaBA® Certifications

Upcoming BACB Changes for BCBA® and BCaBA® Certifications

What do I need to know regarding the BCBA® and BCaBA® certification requirements in 2026?

This blog summarizes the upcoming changes to the BACB regarding eligibility to BCBA® and BCaBA® certification.

No More BACB Task List! Now Test Content Outline (TCO)

Starting in 2025, the 6th edition Test Content Outline will be released. You can find it already available on the BACB website here.  In the BACB’s February 2022 newsletter, they describe the process of reconsidering the task list and creating this TCO title. Since the prior task list was designed to be essentially a study guide for the examination, the board feels that a test content outline is a better name for the document. These reasons make sense since this information on the task list/ TCO isn’t everything you need to know to practice as a BCBA/BCaBA. Additionally, this task list is not what universities base their curriculum on either. Of course, these task list items have been included in the courses through, but this document was created to be used to study for the examination. 

BCBA® Certification Eligibility

In 2026, there are slight changes to BCBA certification eligibility regarding coursework requirements, degree, and supervision.

There is a new 10 year rolling limit for coursework. The BACB has decided to remove pathways 3 & 4 for certification eligibility due to the low numbers of candidates applying under these pathways. Starting 2026, only pathways 1 and 2 will be options for candidates. Here is the chart directly from the BACB regarding these pathways.


BCBA® Supervised Fieldwork Requirements

There are only a few changes for the supervised fieldwork requirements in 2026. The BACB decided to keep the same 2,000-hour requirements for BCBA and 1300 for BCBA. The BACB did however increase the maximum hour limit from 130 to 160 per month which aligns better with full-time employment. This will make it possibly quicker for some candidates to obtain their supervision rather than drawing it out. It seems like supervisees who seek full-time employment as an RBT or ABA therapist have the best shot at obtaining the full 160 hours per month. There is still the 60% unrestricted and no more than 40% restricted hour requirement. See our blog on the difference between unrestricted and restricted ours for more information on this.

The number of supervisory contacts was eliminated but the 5% supervised hour requirements remain a requirement. Additionally, client observation requires 60 minute duration for regular individualized supervised fieldwork.

BCBA® Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork

This is all for the basic individualized supervised fieldwork requirements. For concentrated supervised fieldwork, there is a requirement of 1500 hours per month with 7.5% of hours needing supervision. Additionally, instead of the 60-minute client observation requirement, it is bumped up to 990 minutes, which makes sense. The other element that is the same for both types of fieldwork experience is that no more than 50% of these supervised hours can be group hours.

Here is the visual from the BACB website.


    I hope this information helped you prepare for the BACB changes in the future. This information can be found in the newsletter on the BACB website. As always, refer to the BACB website for the most up-to-date information. I highly recommend creating a gateway account to subscribe to their updates!


    Feel free to reach out with any questions.




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    What’s Happening in 2022? BACB Updates

    What’s Happening in 2022? BACB Updates

    BCBA® and BCaBA® Updates

    So, by now, we’re sure that you’ve heard that BIG changes are coming from the BACB in 2022. We wanted to write a blog on what to expect as you pursue your BCBA certification with the upcoming changes. This blog will reference all of the many changes that are to come in our near future. Take a deep breath! Here we go!

    New 5th edition task list:

    The first big change coming in 2022 is that the content on the exam covers the 5th edition task list! Students applying for the exam prior to December 31st, 2021 will be applying under the fourth edition requirements. The next thing that is important to know is, students applying after the December 31st, 2021 deadline will be required to meet the 5th edition requirements.  Our ReadySetABA 5th edition ebook is coming soon in 2021!


    Beginning in 2022, there are a few educational paths that you can take to obtain a degree that will qualify you to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). You can obtain a degree from a ABAI-Accredited program or a qualifying institution. All coursework must be verified by ABAI. Per the BACB, “a qualifying institution is an “institution within the U.S. that are listed in the Council for Higher Education Accreditation data OR institutions outside of the U.S. whose degrees meet certain standards.”  

    Supervised Fieldwork: 

    Supervision of BCBA candidates must be completed by a qualified supervisor. A BCBA candidates fieldwork can be thought of similarly to how we think of Dr. Grey, Dr. Yang’s, Dr. Karev’s residences. Per the BACB, “the purpose of supervision is to improve and maintain the behavior-analytic, professional, and ethical repertoires of the trainee and facilitate the delivery of high-quality services to the trainee’s clients.” The BACB does not answer questions about what specifically may or may not qualify for supervisory experience, but does list some examples of what effective behavior-analytic supervision can include here. Candidates, also known as trainees, cannot begin accumulating their fieldwork hours until they have begun their educational experience listed above and obtained a qualified supervisor, and the duration of a trainee’s fieldwork cannot exceed 5 continuous years. 

    Next, the fieldwork criteria will change in 2022. The supervised fieldwork hour requirement is 2000 hours, requires a minimum of 4 supervisor-trainee contacts per month, and the trainee must be supervised for 5% of their monthly hours. The concentrated fieldwork hour requirement is 1500 hours. A minimum of 6 supervisor-trainee contacts are required per month, and the trainee must be supervised for 10% of their monthly hours. In both fieldwork settings, there is a minimum requirement to accrue 20 hours per month and the cap per month of accrued hours is 130 hours. One observation by the qualified supervisor of the trainee with a client is required per month and must be for at least 15 minutes. For both the supervised fieldwork and the concentrated supervised fieldwork, at least 50% of the supervised hours must be individual- in other words, group supervision cannot exceed 50% Lastly, for both the supervised fieldwork and the concentrated supervised fieldwork, at least 60% of supervised field MUST be spent engaged in unrestricted activities. Please see the BACB for an example of how fieldwork types can be combined. 

    Faculty Appointment:

    Another way of qualifying to sit for the BCBA board exam is to engage in faculty teaching. For this option, trainees must have a graduate degree from a qualifying institution and hold a full-time faculty position in behavior analysis for at least 3 years at a qualifying institution. that includes researching and teaching. This avenue also requires the supervised fieldwork listed above. 

    Postdoctoral Experience:

    Lastly, if you have a doctoral degree from a qualifying institution that was conferred within the last 10 years, and at least 10 years of postdoctoral practical behavior analytical experience, have at least 10 years of full-time practice, and 500 hours of fieldwork experience, you too can qualify to apply for the BCBA certification. 

    Now what?

    When you are ready to begin your study preparation, check out our study options (hint: we believe in studying throughout your fieldwork experience vs. cramming for the exam at the very end!). When you are ready to apply for the big exam, check out our task analysis to make your application process easy sailing! 

    Happy studying!

    RSABA Team

    How to Apply for the BCBA® and BCaBA® Exams: A Task Analysis

    How to Apply for the BCBA® and BCaBA® Exams: A Task Analysis

    Hi ReadySetABA community! Applying for the exam can be confusing and even daunting at times, but look no further! We’ve created a task analysis that hopefully will make this easier. Assuming that you have finished your educational program, and your supervision hours (woohoo!), follow the steps below to sign up for the big exam! 

    Task Analysis: How to Apply for the BCBA® and BCaBA® Exams

    1. Go to The BACB website
    2. Click on “My Account” in the top right corner of the screen.
    3. Enter in your email address and password.
    4. Click “log in”.
    5. Click on the “Certification Applications” tab.
    6. Enter in your contact information and click “continue”.
    7. Read over the “Information Release” and choose your option. Click continue.
    8. Enter in your “Personal Information”. Click continue.
    9. Enter in any “Other Professional Credentials” that you may have, or click “none”. Click continue. Complete this step for “Membership in Professional Organizations” as well.
    10. Enter in your “Degree Information”. Click continue.
    11. Enter in your “Training Type”, then click continue.
    12. If you selected coursework in step 11, enter in your coursework information. Click continue.
    13. Next you will add your experience hours on the “Experience Summary” page. You will be prompted to enter in “Experience Details”, including the starting month and year and your supervisor’s information. Click continue.
    14. Read over the “Exam Disability Accommodations”. Select “yes” or “no”, then click “continue”.
    15. Read each “Eligibility Affidavit” question and select “yes” or “no” accordingly. Click “continue”.
    16. Read each of the “Certification Processing Agreement” statements and select “yes” or “no”. Click “continue”.
    17. Review your application in its entirety from the “Application Summary” page.
    18. Click “checkout”.
    19. Enter in your payment information, click “Pay”.

    Next, you will wait for the BACB to email you saying that you were approved. If you need any additional documentation, you will be notified. From there, you will receive a link from Pearson Vue testing center with a registration link.

    Pat yourselves on the back, you made it this far!


    RSABA Team



    Behavior Goes Where Reinforcement Flows

    Behavior Goes Where Reinforcement Flows

    Say, what?

    Pairing… We talk about it often in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). We always advise you to pair before placing demands, to pair yourself with things that your scholar likes, and to pair yourself with the families and caregivers that you may be in contact with.

    So, what is pairing?

    The pairing process consists of repeatedly presenting a neutral stimulus with a conditioned or unconditioned stimulus. After repeated presentations, or pairings, the neutral stimulus will “take on” the properties of the stimulus in which it has been repeatedly paired with. So what does this mean for us as students and practitioners? This means that if our scholar LOVES playdoh, we better repeatedly present ourselves with that playdoh so that we may take on the reinforcing properties of that playdoh for that learner. 

    Breakups, Perfume, and Playdoh, oh my!

    This seems pretty straight forward while we have on our practitioner hats right? First, pair with the scholar, then begin placing demands and then continue to pair yourself with all the reinforcement.

    What does pairing look like in our lives outside of work?

    It looks like never going to that restaurant again because you’ve paired it with a bad breakup. It looks like spraying your pillow with your significant other’s scent when you miss them. Without us realizing it, we pair ourselves and other people and things with stimuli around us ALL THE TIME!

    The key with pairing that we all must be mindful of, both in our work settings and lives outside of work, is that we can pair ourselves with stimuli that others don’t like. Remember that restaurant I mentioned with the breakup history? Or even think about that playdoh. What if your scholar hated playdoh and every time you saw them, you brought them playdoh to play with? We can all think of that one person that we just love to see go away! That is because they have been paired with something that may be aversive or at the very least displeasing to us.

    Take a moment and think to yourself about what you may be paired with for each of the people that you come in contact with each day. Think of your scholars/clients, your spouse, your supervisor. Now think of one thing that you would like to be paired with. Go ahead and target that this upcoming week. Good luck! Tell us how you did below!

    Happy pairing,



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