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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