Model Act for Licensing/Regulating Behavior Analysts
Revised September 2012
If your state1 is considering licensure or another form of regulation of individuals certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc. ("BACB®"), please contact the BACB. Each state has a unique legislative process and there is a great deal of variability in how professionals may be regulated. Contacting the BACB early in the process will help ensure that the proposed regulatory system is consistent with current BACB standards and that the proposed title use does not infringe upon the BACB's registered trademarks.
This Model Act is provided for general information purposes and is designed to cover the primary areas and approaches that commonly appear in professional regulation. The BACB welcomes the opportunity to comment on and help support proposed legislation, rules, and regulations that will strengthen the behavior analysis profession and the overall value and recognition of the BACB's credentials. The BACB may also be able to provide you with additional information about BACB certification and help educate legislators and stakeholders about the different credentials offered by the BACB.
Statutes of this type generally specify details such as requirements for obtaining and renewing the license, fees, ethical and disciplinary standards, complaint and investigatory procedures, and sanctions that can be imposed on credentialed individuals. It is also common for statutory language to be fairly broad and brief, and for the governmental body that administers the license to promulgate regulations or rules that articulate the details. Much of the language that appears in this Model Act could be used in regulations or rules instead of, or in addition to, statutes.
Please also note that the BACB is available to assist states with specific regulatory requirements, such as conducting mandatory criminal background checks and/or testing candidates on local laws and rules. Such provisions should always be coordinated with the BACB prior to introduction of specific legislation.
Each section of the proposed Model Act is followed by commentary, the purpose of which is to explain the rationale for the proposed section. To differentiate between the commentary and the proposed statutory language, the commentary is italicized.
A. Declaration of Policy
The practice of applied behavior analysis in [State] is hereby declared to affect the public health, safety, and welfare of citizens of [State] and to be subject to regulation to protect the public from (i) the practice of applied behavior analysis by unqualified persons, and (ii) unprofessional, unethical and/or harmful conduct by behavior analysis practitioners.
1. "Regulatory Authority" means the [State] Behavior Analyst regulatory board, agency, department, or individual charged with overseeing the regulation of behavior analyst professionals. The Regulatory Authority should be authorized to enforce the Act through the promulgation of regulations consistent with the Act and through the acceptance of applications, charging of fees, issuing of initial and renewed licenses, and conduct of disciplinary investigations and sanctioning of licensees.
2. "Certifying Entity" means the nationally accredited Behavior Analyst Certification Board,® Inc., or its successor.
3. "Practice of behavior analysis" means the design, implementation, and evaluation of instructional and environmental modifications to produce socially significant improvements in human behavior. It includes the empirical identification of functional relations between behavior and environmental factors, known as functional assessment and analysis. Applied behavior analysis interventions are based on scientific research and the direct observation and measurement of behavior and the environment. Behavior analysts utilize contextual factors, motivating operations, antecedent stimuli, positive reinforcement, and other consequences to help people develop new behaviors, increase or decrease existing behaviors, and emit behaviors under specific environmental conditions. The practice of behavior analysis expressly excludes psychological testing, diagnosis of a mental or physical disorder, neuropsychology, psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, sex therapy, psychoanalysis, hypnotherapy, and long-term counseling as treatment modalities.
4. "Licensed Behavior Analyst" means an individual who is certified by the Certifying Entity as a "Board Certified Behavior Analyst®" and who meets the criteria identified in Section C.2.(a) below.
5. "Licensed Assistant Behavior Analyst" means an individual who is certified by the Certifying Entity as a "Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst®" and who meets the criteria specified in Section C.2.(b) below.
6. "Applied behavior analysis direct contact technician" means an individual who directly implements applied behavior analysis services.
C. Qualifications for Initial Licensure
Each person desiring to obtain a license shall submit an application and authorized fees to the Regulatory Authority; such application to include evidence demonstrating that the applicant meets all of the following requirements:
1. The unlicensed practice of applied behavior analysis is prohibited in this state, unless exempted in Section F.
2. No persons shall hold themselves out to be a Licensed Behavior Analyst or Licensed Assistant Behavior Analyst unless they meet the applicable requirements of this Act.
A violation of section D.1. or D.2. shall be punishable by a fine of not more than [X] for each occurrence.
The provisions of this section shall not be construed as prohibiting or restricting the practice of any of the following:
1. An individual authorized to practice Psychology within the State, so long as the applied behavior analysis services provided by the Licensed Psychologist are within the Licensed Psychologist's education, training and experience;
2. An applied behavior analysis direct contact technician, or family member implementing a plan within the home, who acts under the extended authority and direction of a Licensed Behavior Analyst, a Licensed Assistant Behavior Analyst;
3. A behavior analyst who practices with nonhuman or nonpatient clients or consumers, including, but not limited to, applied animal behaviorists and practitioners of organizational behavior management;
4. A licensed professional authorized to practice in the State who is not a behavior analyst, so long as the licensed professional does not represent that he/she is a behavior analyst, and so long as the services of the licensed professional are within the scope of practice of the licensing law governing the licensed professional and the services performed are commensurate with the licensed professional's education, training and experience;
5. A matriculated graduate student or postdoctoral fellow whose activities are part of a defined behavior analysis program of study, practicum, or intensive practicum, provided that the practice under this exemption is directly supervised by a Licensed Behavior Analyst in this State or an instructor in a BACB approved course sequence;
6. An unlicensed individual pursuing experience in behavior analysis consistent with the BACB's experience requirements, provided such experience is supervised by a Licensed Behavior Analyst in this State.
G. Temporary License
A licensed or an unlicensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst residing and practicing in another state who temporarily provides applied behavior analysis services in this State and/or to a resident of this state may apply for a temporary license to practice behavior analysis in this State. A temporary behavior analysis license is available only if the behavior analysis services are to be delivered during a limited and defined period (such as, not more than seven (7) days in a ninety (90) day period or other term otherwise approved by the State).
The Regulatory Authority shall issue a license to a person who is actively licensed as a behavior analyst in another state that currently imposes comparable licensure requirements as those imposed by this State and that offers reciprocity to individuals licensed under this Act. Applicants for reciprocity must submit proof of ethical compliance, including proof of current licensure and current BACB Certification, along with any other eligibility requirements, such as, satisfactory passage of a criminal background check.
I. Expiration and Renewal
A license shall be granted for a period of XX years. Prior to expiration of a license, the license may be renewed upon submission of an application for renewal, including proof of continued certification by the Certifying Entity and payment of the renewal fee imposed by the Regulatory Authority.
J. Sanction of Licensee Status
A license issued under this Act may be revoked or otherwise sanctioned upon demonstration of: