How to Stand Out as a Behavior Analyst in an Growing Discipline

Photo by Jens Lindner on Unsplash

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D & Zachary H. Morford, PhD, BCBA-D

bSci21 Media, LLC

Brett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA

Brett DiNovi & Associates


The field of behavior analysis has been growing tremendously over the past 5 years. According to the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB), at the beginning of 2013 there were 11,221 individuals with a certification from the BACB in the United States, with 9,634 of those with BCBAs or BCBA-Ds. As of this writing, there were 59,114 BACB certificate holders, including 24,608 BCBAs or BCBA-Ds. Most of the remainder of the 59,114 certificants is made up of RBTs. This means that the number of people in the field has grown by an impressive average of 105% every year since 2013.

In this hugely competitive environment, what can behavior analysts do to stand out? In a recent video, Brett DiNovi spoke to employees at Brett DiNovi & Associates (BDA) about ways in which their company has attempted to stand out from the crowd.

Brett first mentions that BDA has used behavior analysis throughout the organization, including with their leadership. As we all know, behavior principles apply to all behavior, whether that be the behavior of our clients, our friends, colleagues, or students. To be as effective as possible, we should use behavior analytic methods to reinforce and shape the behavior of our employees and colleagues. By modeling effective behavior analytic principles, you not only improve the lives of your colleagues, but you also could attract more people to work with you.

The last three words of that last sentence are important to Brett and BDA employees—BDA employees do not work for each other, they work with each other. By using the latter verb, and not the former, colleagues are free to coordinate their efforts with each other as opposed to simply following instructions. That is, if I work “for” someone, I may simply wait for instructions to complete my tasks rather than work collaboratively with my boss and colleagues to generate and complete projects. This nuance is reflective of BDA’s treatment of their employees as “free agents,” whether they work as employees with benefits or as contractors. BDA wants their employees to stay true to their code of ethics and be free to pursue their own interests rather than be beholden to any single employer.

At the end of the video Brett discussed how BDA has a vision to disseminate the science of behavior analysis to multiple sectors of society, including education and government. According to a job task analysis survey by the BACB, approximately 88% of BCBAs work in the areas of autism, education, or developmental disabilities. Behavior analysis as a science has much to offer the world beyond those three domains, and behavior analysts could potentially stand out by working in a less common area of practice.

To hear more, be sure to check out the full video, and to subscribe to Brett DiNovi’s YouTube channel and let him know what you would like to see in future videos. Also be sure to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world,  bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiaries, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at [email protected]

Zach Morford, PhD, BCBA-D, has been in the field of behavior analysis for 10 years. In that time, he has worked in varied areas of behavior analysis, including autism, animal training, OBM, education, and instructional design. Dr. Morford has also taught undergraduate and graduate behavior analysis courses at three different universities, presented internationally, trained behavior analysts in Italy and Saudi Arabia, and published peer-reviewed papers in multiple behavior analytic outlets regarding applied, experimental, and theoretical issues. His primary interest in the field is the large-scale application of behavioral principles to issues of social importance. Currently, Dr. Morford serves as the Executive Director of the Texas Association for Behavior Analysis (TxABA), and is the co-owner and founder of Zuce Technologies, LLC, a small-business consulting and instructional design company. You can contact him at [email protected]

Brett DinoviBrett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA has the unique and distinguished experience of studying the principles of applied behavior analysis under the rigorous scrutiny of both Dr. Julie S. Vargas (formerly Skinner) and Dr. E.A. Vargas at West Virginia University’s internationally recognized program. For the past 26 years, Brett has used behavior analytic principles to create large scale change across school districts, Fortune 500 companies using principles of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), and across individual learners. Brett has been a OBM consultant in Morgantown WV, an instructor at West Virginia University, a guest lecturer at numerous universities, a speaker on multiple Comcast Newsmakers TV programs, an expert witness in due process hearings, has publications in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and has been in in executive leadership positions across schools and residential programs nationwide. In addition to an award from South Jersey Biz Magazine for “Best Places to Work,” an award for “Best of Families” in Suburban Magazine, and the distinguished “Top Ranked U.S. Executives” award, Brett’s proudest accomplishment is being a role model and father for his daughter and two stepchildren (one of which has autism). Brett can be reached at [email protected]

*Paid content by Brett DiNovi & Associates.

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