Call for 2023 Hemingway Award Nominations

The BACB is pleased to call for nominations for the 2023 Michael Hemingway Behavior Analysis Award. In memory of the life and contributions of Michael Hemingway, this annual award honors an individual distinguished for their contributions to public policy related to behavior analysis and/or for their efforts to increase the availability of behavior-analytic services.

We are accepting nominations until 5:00 p.m. MDT on October 25, 2022.


2026 BCBA and BCaBA Certification Requirements Pushed to 2027

Based on feedback from university faculty, we have decided to push back the implementation of the 2026 BCBA and BCaBA certification requirements until 2027 to give universities more time to prepare for the changes. Please note that the rolling 10-year limit on BCBA and BCaBA coursework will still take effect in 2024, and the new BCBA and BCaBA examinations will still be implemented as planned in 2025. See the updated March 2022 BACB Newsletter for details.

Recent and Upcoming Changes Timeline

Click the timeline to enlarge, or visit our Recent and Upcoming Changes to BACB Requirements page to view updates.

FAQs About the 2023 International Changes

Globe image with red "Applications" banner on top

In December of 2019, we announced a number of changes to our international focus that will go into effect on January 1, 2023 (see Recent Changes to the BACB’s International Focus). To help you navigate these changes, we’ve answered several of your key questions. Let’s address the most important one before we get started:

Who will be affected by these changes to the BACB’s international focus?

These changes will primarily impact new BACB applicants and current BACB certificants, supervisors, trainers, and faculty members who work and/or reside outside of the following authorized countries: the United States (US), Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom (UK).* If this describes you, read on to find out how you might be affected and how you can best prepare.

Applying for BACB Certification Outside of Authorized Countries

 

Q: I recently learned that as of January 1, 2023, new BACB certifications will only be available to residents of authorized countries. Who’s considered a resident?

A: To be considered a resident of an authorized country, you must physically reside in the US, Canada, Australia, or the UK. The BACB will confirm that you’ve met this requirement by checking the address listed in your BACB account. The BACB may also verify your residency by requesting additional documentation, such as your government-issued identification, work records, driver’s license, or utility bills from the time of application. Please note that using a false or temporary address to wrongfully meet this requirement may lead to the invalidation of your eligibility or certification.


Q: I don’t reside in an authorized country. What’s the last day I can apply for BACB certification?

A: Because application processing timelines vary according to volume, we strongly recommend that you submit an approvable application** as early as possible—ideally before September 1, 2022. This isn’t a set deadline, but it accounts for the time you’ll need to apply for, schedule, and pass your examination by December 31, 2022. Current application processing timelines are available on the Customer Service Updates web page.


Q: I don’t reside in an authorized country, and I have an open examination authorization period that ends after December 31, 2022. Can I take the examination in 2023 before my authorization period ends?

A: No. All examination authorization periods for individuals who don’t reside in authorized countries will expire on January 1, 2023. In addition, BACB examinations will no longer be available at testing centers or offered remotely outside of authorized countries beginning on this date.


Q: I don’t reside in an authorized country, and I am currently training to become a behavior analyst. If I graduate after January 1, 2023, can I apply for certification if I’m willing to travel to an authorized country to take the examination?

A: No. As of January 1, 2023, new BACB certification applications will only be accepted from residents of authorized countries.


Q: I earned my degree outside of an authorized country and then moved to an authorized country. Will I meet the degree requirements when I apply for certification after December 31, 2022?

A: It depends. The fact that you earned a degree outside of an authorized country doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from becoming certified after that date. If your degree meets the degree requirements in effect at the time of application, it likely qualifies. Visit the BCBA or BCaBA Handbook to explore our current degree requirements.


Q: I completed my coursework and/or fieldwork outside of an authorized country and then moved to an authorized country. Will I meet the coursework and/or fieldwork requirements when I apply for certification after December 31, 2022?

A: It depends. So long as your coursework and/or fieldwork meets all of the requirements in effect at the time of application (regardless of where it was completed), it should qualify. Please review the BCBA or BCaBA Handbook for a full breakdown of current coursework and fieldwork requirements.

Note for those completing VCS coursework outside of an accredited educational institution: Coursework from a Verified Course Sequence approved under an Alternative Pathway in which courses are taught outside of an accredited educational institution must be completed before January 1, 2023.*** Effective July 1, 2023, the BACB will no longer accept non-university coursework. Any individual who wishes to pursue BCBA or BCaBA certification with coursework from such a VCS must submit a fully approvable application** by June 30, 2023.


Residing or Practicing Outside of Authorized Countries

 

Q: I’m already certified or plan to become certified before January 1, 2023, but I don’t reside in an authorized country. Will my certification remain valid after this date?

A: Currently, yes. However, please keep in mind that as countries develop their own professional programs and/or as laws change, certificants in authorized and unauthorized countries may be impacted.


Q: I’m already certified or plan to become certified before January 1, 2023, but I don’t reside in an authorized country. How should I refer to my certification after this date?

A: If you practice in any country in which new BACB certifications are no longer available, you must accurately represent your certification by using the following disclaimer in all public references to your BACB certification: Full Name, Certification Level (The BACB is no longer issuing certifications in [Country]).


Q: My certification has lapsed, and I don’t reside in an authorized country. Can I still qualify for certification via the past certification option after December 31, 2022?

A: No. If your certification has lapsed, you must be a resident of an authorized country to apply for a new BACB certification after this date.


Q: I don’t reside in an authorized country. Can I apply for the doctoral designation after December 31, 2022?

A: Currently, you may apply for the doctoral designation if you hold an active BCBA certification. Subject to local laws and regulations and where feasible, the BACB will continue to accept doctoral designation applications from any active BCBA regardless of whether they are in an authorized country. Should laws or feasibility change, affecting our ability to offer the doctoral designation to unauthorized countries, the BACB will give the profession a year’s advance notice. Shorter notice may be necessary in regions subject to US business/trade sanctions.


Q: I’m an active BCBA or BCaBA consulting in another country. Can I continue consulting after December 31, 2022?

A: Yes. However, certificants practicing in any country in which new BACB certifications are not available must accurately represent their certification by using the following disclaimer in all public references to their BACB certification: Full Name, Certification Level (The BACB is no longer issuing certifications in [Country]).

Serving as a Supervisor or ACE Provider

 

Q: I’m an RBT or BCaBA and a resident of a country in which new BACB certifications are no longer available as of January 1, 2023. Can I receive supervision remotely from a certificant in another country, regardless of whether that country is authorized?

A: Yes, as long as the supervision meets all of the applicable supervision requirements in effect at that time.


Q: I’m a certificant and a resident of a country in which new BACB certifications are no longer available. Can I provide RBT or BCaBA supervision remotely to someone in another country, regardless of whether that country is authorized?

A: Yes. However, you must adhere to the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts to ensure that your supervision is effective. You must also make sure that you and your supervisees comply with all BACB supervision requirements and any other relevant laws and regulations where supervision occurs (e.g., where the supervisor, supervisee, and client are located).


Q: I’m one of the only BCBAs in the country in which I reside. Is there a limit to how many RBT or BCaBA certificants I can supervise?

A: While there is no definitive answer to this question, we encourage you to consider Section 4.03 of the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts, which requires behavior analysts to only take on a number of supervisees and trainees that allows them to provide effective supervision and training. This means that your supervisory volume must not impact your effectiveness or your ability to meet the RBT or BCaBA ongoing supervision requirements detailed in the Ongoing Supervision sections of the RBT and BCaBA Handbooks. For example, you need enough client knowledge to inform the RBT or BCaBA’s work, provide direction, and contract with any client to whom the RBT is providing services.


Q: I do not reside in an authorized country. Can I apply for or maintain ACE Provider status after December 31, 2022?

A: Yes, so long as you meet and comply with all of the requirements detailed in the ACE Provider Handbook.


Thank you for taking the time to learn more about these upcoming international changes. We hope that you find this information helpful. For further guidance, visit our International Development & Support web page. If you have any questions, please reach out through the Contact Us Form.


*Individuals who reside in the UK may continue to apply for BACB certification through 2025. This date may be moved earlier if the UK Society for Behaviour Analysis achieves national recognition for UK behavior analysts, develops its own credentialing system, and transitions current BACB certificants into the new UK system.
**An approvable application is one that contains all of the necessary elements for approval. For example, an approvable BCBA or BCaBA application would include the following:

  • payment in full
  • complete and accurate documentation showing that all fieldwork and coursework requirements have been met
  • proof of an acceptable degree that meets all applicable requirements, including official transcript(s) with conferral dates
  • a degree equivalency evaluation if applicable

***When coursework is no longer acceptable, it may not be used to mark the onset of fieldwork.

Commonly Asked Questions About BACB Supervised Fieldwork Requirements

When our subject matter experts designed the BCBA and BCaBA supervised fieldwork requirements, they had one person in mind:

You.

The requirements had to accommodate the countless circumstances in which you deliver—or help deliver—behavior-analytic services. They also needed to set minimum expectations that could help guide you and your supervisor as you create the most valuable practical experience for you, your professional path, and the clients you serve. When trying to check all of these boxes, the subject matter experts realized that flexibility is key.

However, we understand that with flexibility comes uncertainty. It can be frustrating when you ask us whether something counts toward a requirement, and we respond with, “It depends.” That’s why we rely on supervisors to understand our requirements and make judgment calls based on the context of your unique situation. By working closely with your supervisor, you can develop fieldwork that meets our requirements and your career goals so that you can become a well-rounded, certified behavior analyst who serves clients to the best of their ability.

To help ensure that you’re headed in the right direction, we answered some of your most frequently asked questions about fieldwork. Please review these Q&As, the Considerations When Identifying Practical Fieldwork Opportunities section of the BCBA or BCaBA Handbook, and our Documenting Fieldwork blog and video for details.


Q: How do I know whether an activity counts toward my fieldwork hours?

A: First, review the list of Acceptable Activities in the Supervised Fieldwork Requirements section of the BCBA or BCaBA Handbook. Then, ask your supervisor. They are ultimately responsible for determining whether an activity meets our fieldwork requirements, lines up with your professional goals, and helps you develop the skills you need to demonstrate competence in behavior analysis.


Q: What’s the difference between restricted and unrestricted activities?

A: Let’s break it down:

Type of Activity Definition Details
Restricted An activity that involves the delivery of therapeutic and instructional procedures directly to clients. These activities are optional and must not make up more than a certain percentage of your fieldwork hours. See the BCBA or BCaBA Handbook for details.
Unrestricted An activity that best exemplifies the work of a behavior analyst who oversees and develops programs and systems for others to implement. These activities are required and must make up a certain percentage (or more) of your fieldwork hours. See the BCBA or BCaBA Handbook for details.

Whether an activity is restricted or unrestricted depends on context. For example, data collection could be a restricted activity if you’re solely collecting as part of a client’s treatment program. It could also be an unrestricted activity if you’re collecting as part of a functional assessment to identify a client’s future programming needs. Per usual, your supervisor can help you determine which category your activity falls into.


Q: How should I structure my restricted and unrestricted activities?

A: It’s up to you and your supervisor. Trainees are not required to accrue restricted hours, but they are required to accrue unrestricted hours so that they’re fully prepared to do everything a certified behavior analyst does. This leaves room for many different approaches. Some trainees begin their fieldwork with primarily restricted activities, and others jump right into both, especially if both types are relevant to a client’s programming.


Q: Do I have to see people in a clinical setting for them to be considered clients?

A: A client is anyone (i.e., a person or a group of people) who receives behavior-analytic services in any setting. For example, a client might be an older adult in an assisted living facility or a group of employees in a corporate office. If you’re ever unsure, ask your supervisor. They can determine who is considered a client and who isn’t.


Q: Can the observation with a client and supervisor-trainee contact requirements be met at the same time?

A: It’s up to you and your supervisor. (Do we sound like a broken record yet?) But there’s a catch. For the benefit of you and your clients, supervisor-trainee contacts must happen in real time. For example, if your supervisor watches an hour-long video of you delivering services but does not provide immediate, real-time feedback, that hour could count toward the observation with a client requirement but not the supervisor-trainee contact or total supervised hours requirement. If you and your supervisor watch the video together, pausing to discuss feedback and behavior-analytic principles, the hour could count toward all requirements at once.


Q: Can I count an observation from a BCBA who isn’t in my supervision contract?

A: No. For your hours to count toward the observation with a client requirement, you and your supervisor must have a supervision contract in place. You may be in contact with other BCBAs not listed in your supervision contract, but those interactions will not count toward your fieldwork hours. That being said, those interactions are not for naught! They might count toward your independent hours.

Note: If you’re accruing fieldwork at an organization with multiple supervisors, please make sure that all of your supervisors are included in your supervision contract and that you’re using the correct Monthly and Final Fieldwork Verification Forms. See our Documenting Fieldwork: Helpful Answers to Your FAQs blog for more information about your documentation system.


Q: I’m working as an RBT or BCaBA as I accrue my fieldwork hours. Can I count the hours I’m working under supervision as supervised fieldwork hours, or is that double dipping?

A: If the hours you work meet all of the fieldwork and RBT or BCaBA supervision requirements, you may double dip. For example, if you have an hour-long meeting with your RBT Supervisor, you may count it toward your supervised fieldwork hours (only if you have an applicable supervision contract in place, your supervisor meets all necessary qualifications, and the meeting’s activities are appropriate for and meet both sets of requirements).

Before you consider double dipping, please keep in mind that there are a number of important differences between BACB requirements. For one, someone who is qualified to be an RBT Supervisor may not be qualified to be a fieldwork supervisor. In addition, there’s a limit on the number of restricted hours that may be counted toward fieldwork hours, and unrestricted activities are likely outside of the scope of an RBT’s responsibilities.


Q: Can I take breaks while accruing my supervised fieldwork hours?

A: Absolutely. Your fieldwork must be accrued within 5 consecutive years, but in that time period, you are more than welcome to take breaks and even change settings and/or supervisors.


Q: I’m going to take a semester off. Can I accrue supervised fieldwork hours during that time?

A: Yes, under one condition: You must have been enrolled in a qualifying behavior-analytic course (that you completed or will complete with a passing grade) before you began accruing fieldwork hours. If this is true, you can accrue hours during a break from school or even after you’ve completed your program and are no longer enrolled.


Q: Can I have one supervisor who provides all of my group supervision and another who provides all of my individual supervision?

A: It depends! (Now we’ve really come full circle.)

If you’re receiving supervision at an organization with multiple supervisors, yes. It’s possible in this situation because one supervisor coordinates all activities, ensuring that the topics and clients covered in individual and group supervision meetings correlate.

If you’re receiving supervision from one supervisor or a few independent supervisors, no. In this case, the same supervisor must provide your group and individual supervision and meet all of the fieldwork requirements independently.


That’s a wrap! (It seems like we’ve finally fixed that pesky broken record.) Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to get familiar with our supervised fieldwork requirements. Before you go, we’d like to share a few important resources to help you get the most out of this blog.

Because BACB requirements are flexible and occasionally change, please visit the BACB website, the Recent and Upcoming Changes to BACB Requirements web page, and the BACB Newsletter frequently. For more information and helpful fieldwork resources, including a full glossary of terms and a fieldwork tip sheet, check out the Supervised Fieldwork section of the BCBA or BCaBA Handbook.

Future Changes to BCBA Certification Requirements

Inside the BACB: Episode 27

In this episode, CEO Dr. Jim Carr and Deputy CEO Dr. Melissa Nosik review upcoming changes to BCBA certification requirements, originally announced in the March 2022 BACB Newsletter.

You can find all of the BACB’s videos on our YouTube channel.

Episode 27: Future Changes to BCBA Certification Requirements

In this episode, CEO Dr. Jim Carr and Deputy CEO Dr. Melissa Nosik review upcoming changes to BCBA certification requirements, originally announced in the March 2022 BACB Newsletter.

Resources:

For a transcribed version of this episode, please watch the episode on our YouTube channel with closed captions.

Introducing the 2025 BCBA and BCaBA Test Content Outlines

Inside the BACB: Episode 26

In this episode, join CEO Dr. Jim Carr and Deputy CEO Dr. Melissa Nosik as they discuss the newly developed BCBA and BCaBA test content outlines, which will replace the current BCBA and BCaBA task lists in 2025.

You can find all of the BACB’s videos on our YouTube channel.