The Life Cycle of BCBA and BCaBA Applications

The Life Cycle of BCBA and BCaBA Applications

Have you ever wanted to know what goes on behind the scenes after you submit your BCBA or BCaBA application? Now you can! For your convenience, we’ve pulled together a quick overview of the BCBA and BCaBA application life cycle. In this detailed look at the beginning, middle, and end of the application process, you’ll learn more about what to expect once you apply for certification.

In the Beginning: It’s All About Documentation

Having complete and accurate documentation is one of the most important parts of the application process. However, due to the large amount of documentation that applicants are required to provide, it can be challenging to keep track of everything once it’s submitted—and that’s where we come in. Here’s an example of what the documentation stage might look like:

  1. First, we receive your documentation. This may happen in several ways. For example, your university might send us your transcript directly, or they might use a third-party transcript service to send it electronically. If your VCS Coordinator completes a VCS Coordinator Coursework Attestation form, they’ll send it to us directly as well. We may also receive documents, such as your Final Experience Verification Form, via the Contact Us Form.
  2. Next, we retrieve the documents that come from third parties (e.g., third-party transcript service, your university) and upload them to your individual record on the date that they were received.
  3. At this point, we send you a confirmation email, and you can rest easy knowing that your documentation is in good hands. It’s important to note that if you submit documentation via the Contact Us Form, you’ll automatically receive a confirmation email, but if your university or a third-party transcript service submits documentation on your behalf, we’ll send you an additional confirmation email. Keep in mind that your university may send you a confirmation email, but this only indicates that your transcript has been sent—not received.
  4. Finally, we add your documentation to a queue to be reviewed.

Helpful Reminder: Take your time when preparing for your application, and try not to submit it before it’s completely ready. For example, you might consider requesting a copy of your transcript to confirm that your degree has been conferred and that all of your behavior-analytic coursework is listed and includes passing grades. If you have your ducks in a row from the very beginning, you can potentially avoid application processing delays.

Next Up: The Waiting Game

After submitting documentation for something important, we often start to ask ourselves questions: Was my information received? How long will it take to hear back? Should I submit again just to be sure? We’ve all been there, and we want you to know that when it comes to processing your application, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a quick glance at what the review process involves on our end:

  1. As we mentioned earlier, once we get your documents, we place them in a queue and review them in the order that they were received.
  2. When your application is up for review, we take a look at all of the documents that have been uploaded to your individual record and provide feedback if any documentation is missing or needs to be corrected. This is why it’s so important to have all of your application materials ready to go before you submit your documentation; if we need to provide feedback, you may encounter delays.
  3. As you wait to hear back from us, you can visit the Customer Service Updates web page. This page provides status updates on application processing times, and we update it daily. Please note that it may take up to 45 days from when we receive all of the documentation needed to complete our review.

Helpful Reminder: As tempting as it may be, please don’t submit your documentation multiple times, as this will cause application processing delays. If any additional information is needed, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Last but Not Least: The Determination

It feels great to get two thumbs-up for an approved application, and we love giving them! That said, there are a few different outcomes that can occur at this point in the process. Here’s some additional information about what the determination phase includes:

  • If we approve your application based on the documentation we received, we’ll send an examination authorization to Pearson VUE. Once your information is in their system, we’ll send you an examination authorization email with information about how to schedule and take the examination. You can learn more about scheduling an appointment by visiting our Examination Information web page.
  • If we don’t approve your application after the initial review, we’ll provide you with a determination via email. The determination will include a list of documents that are still needed as well as documents that have already been reviewed and approved. If you receive a determination indicating that you must provide additional documents, the documents will go through the same review cycle as before once they’ve been submitted. Bear in mind that you only have 90 days from the date you make an application payment to submit all of the required documentation before your application expires.
  • If you disagree with the application determination and believe that your application was denied in error, you may review our appeals policies and procedures to determine whether a second, independent review of your application should be initiated.
  • For assistance with any additional questions you might have about your application, please complete the Contact Us Form.

Helpful Reminder: If you’d like additional guidance along the way, check out our BCBA and BCaBA Applicants: 5 Tips for a Smoother Application Process blog.

Thanks for letting us share this bit of insight into how the application process works. We hope that you feel better acquainted with the life cycle of BCBA and BCaBA applications and can have peace of mind knowing that once you apply for certification, we’re here to help make the process as smooth as possible.

COVID-19 Waivers Update

In April of 2020, we released two temporary waivers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Compassionate Exception Attestation for Experience/Fieldwork: We temporarily waived the observation-with-a-client requirement for trainees accruing experience or supervised fieldwork hours without access to clients.
  • Compassionate Exception Attestation for RBT Initial and Renewal Competency Assessments: We temporarily allowed with-a-client tasks to be assessed in role-play situations with client surrogates.

Now, with the advent of widely available COVID-19 vaccines and evidence that organizations have adapted their policies, these waivers will no longer be in effect beginning on January 1, 2022. Here is what this might mean for you:

  • For those who used the experience/fieldwork waiver, any experience or supervised fieldwork hours accrued on or after January 1, 2022, must meet the observation-with-a-client requirement. Be sure to retain the completed and signed attestation and, if audited, submit the attestation to the BACB.
  • For those who used the RBT Initial and Renewal Competency Assessments waiver, all with-a-client tasks documented on materials submitted on or after January 1, 2022, must be performed as stated in the Competency Assessment instructions.

Thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions or concerns, please visit the Contact Us web page.

2022 Hemingway Call for Nominations

The BACB is pleased to call for nominations for the 2022 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 PM MST on October 26, 2021.

Introducing the VCS Coordinator Coursework Attestations

We just released a new option for BCBA-certified VCS Coordinators to review their student’s coursework and attest if they met all of the coursework requirements for BCBA or BCaBA certification. For more information, please review the BCBA and BCaBA VCS Coordinator Coursework Attestations and the related FAQs resource.

These resources can also be found on the BCaBA and BCBA webpages.

BACB Certification Application Tip:

Before submitting your application, be sure that it contains all of the necessary elements for approval, including complete, correct forms and more. Check out the relevant certificant handbook for a detailed list of application requirements.

Please click the image below that relates to your certification to learn more.

Mass Email Service Updates

We recently made several improvements to our mass email system:

  • Stay up to date. We put together a new policies and procedures document that outlines everything you need to know about the mass email system, including the application process, important requirements, and more.
  • Resubscribe. We made it easier for certificants to resubscribe. Certificants who aren’t sure whether they’re receiving mass emails can now fill out the Resubscribing to the BACB Mass Email Service form to rejoin.
  • Have a smoother application. To reduce errors and technical difficulties, we will now request the contents of your mass email after you apply.
  • Create the best product possible. To help ensure that your final product is how you envision it, we will now require you to review your mass email before we deliver it.
  • Get in touch. You can contact the mass email team by emailing massemail@bacb.com or by using the Mass Email Support Form.

The updated Mass Email Application is accessible through our Mass Email Service web page.

The 2022 Transition: What You Need to Know

The 2022 Transition Blog

On January 1, 2022, certain BACB standards and requirements will change in a big way. Here are the primary changes that you can expect to see:

The BCBA and BCaBA Task Lists (5th ed.) will go into effect, and all BCBA and BCaBA examinations will be based on them.

New requirements to qualify for BCBA and BCaBA certification will go into effect.

The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts will go into effect.

The RBT Ethics Code (2.0) will go into effect.

The new consulting supervisor requirement for first-year BCBAs who provide supervision to BCBA or BCaBA trainees accruing fieldwork will go into effect.

As a BCBA or BCaBA applicant, candidate, or certificant, these changes may affect you. So, we gathered all of our most helpful resources, tips, and tidbits in this one-stop shop for the 2022 transition. Read on for crucial details, a resource bank, and more.

Important Information

Don’t know where to start? First, you should determine whether you plan to apply before or after 2022. If you’re unsure, the following information may help guide your decision.

  • To apply for BCBA or BCaBA certification under the current 4th edition requirements, you must submit an approvable application before January 1, 2022; otherwise, you’ll have to apply under the 2022 requirements.

    But what’s an approvable application?

    An approvable application is one that contains all of the necessary elements for approval. For example, an approvable BCBA or BCaBA application submitted before 2022 would include the following:

    • payment in full
    • complete and accurate Final Experience Verification Form(s)
    • documentation showing that all coursework content requirements have been met
    • proof of an acceptable degree that meets all applicable requirements
    • official transcripts with conferral dates sent physically or electronically by the university

    It’s important that you also review the BCBA or BCaBA Handbook for a more detailed list of requirements, as forgotten or incorrect elements could cause delays. The BACB expects to see a large influx of application submissions toward the end of the year, so if you plan to submit your application under the 4th edition requirements, please do so as soon as possible.

  • Unless they meet the 2022 supervised fieldwork requirements, experience hours accrued under the current 4th edition requirements will not count toward an application submitted after 2022.

    This info is critical for those who have been planning to meet the experience requirements (i.e., those who have been planning to apply in 2021) but will not be able to apply until after 2022. Due to certain requirements changes (e.g., number of contacts), your experience hours might not count toward an application submitted in 2022—even if you accrue additional hours to meet the overall hour requirements. The rule of thumb is that if you’re meeting all of the requirements in place at the time off application, you’re likely on the right track.

    Please note that those applying in 2022 should use Monthly and Final Fieldwork Verification Forms. If you’re in this situation, and you haven’t been using Monthly Fieldwork Verification Forms, we encourage you to use them going forward and to maintain documentation showing that you met the supervised fieldwork requirements; this will help you in the event of an audit. Then, once you’ve completed your hours and met all of the relevant requirements, your supervisor should sign off on your completed Final Fieldwork Verification Form.

  • As of January 1, 2022, first-year BCBAs who provide supervision to BCBA or BCaBA trainees accruing fieldwork hours must meet with a consulting supervisor each month in which they provide supervision for the remainder of their first year.

    Heads up: This new requirement won’t apply to most BCBAs, including those who have been certified for more than one year, who are providing supervision in 2021, who are not providing supervision to trainees accruing fieldwork, and who are only providing supervision to RBTs or BCaBAs.

    That being said, this requirement is important to know, as it may affect trainees who plan to receive supervision from a newly certified BCBA next year. For a more thorough explanation of this new requirement, please review the Consulting Supervisor Requirements for New BCBAs Supervising Fieldwork document.

  • All BCBA and BCaBA examinations will be based on 5th edition content beginning January 1, 2022.

    But what if you applied under the current 4th edition requirements and have an open examination authorization going into 2022?

    Don’t fret! If you live in the United States, Canada, Australia, or the United Kingdom, your examination authorization period will be valid for its entire two-year duration, regardless of when you applied. For example, if your application was approved in July 2021, you’d be able to sit for your examination until July 2023—or until you ran out of attempts.

    The thing to note is that, beginning in 2022, every BCBA and BCaBA candidate will be tested on 5th edition examination content. So, to prepare for your examination, we suggest that you use the relevant 5th edition task list as a guide for your studies

Helpful Tips

  • Begin preparing as early as possible. As we’re sure you know, nothing ever seems to go 100% right. Mistakes, delays, and life events happen—so if you haven’t already, we suggest that you prepare for this transition now.
  • Reach out to your supervisor(s) and VCS Coordinator, if applicable, to ensure that you’re on track for a successful transition. Trying to submit an application or prepare for an examination at this time might be tricky, so it would be smart to enlist help from someone you trust. It never hurts to get a second opinion, especially from someone with experience.
  • Use Experience Verification Forms if applying in 2021 and Fieldwork Verification Forms if applying in 2022. Due to the similarity of these forms, it would be easy to accidentally submit the wrong one—but an incorrect form could result in a delayed or unapproved application. Our advice is to double check all of your submission materials with your supervisor(s). And for additional guidance, check out our Documenting Fieldwork Hours video and Documenting Fieldwork: Helpful Answers to Your FAQs blog.
  • If you plan to apply in 2022, don’t begin your application just yet. All applications that are not approvable will be removed from the BACB account database on January 1, 2022. To avoid losing your hard work, please hold on to your application materials and begin submissions after January 1, 2022.
  • Before you submit your application, review your materials closely. Did you pay your application fee? Does the BACB ID number listed on your document(s) match the number in your BACB account exactly? Every document, signature, and requirement met matters when it comes to your application, so be sure to dot the i’s and cross the t’s before you click submit.

Key Resources

For in-depth guidance, dive into the following resources that apply to you. It may be helpful to review these with a trusted mentor or supervisor.

Thank you for taking the time to review this resource! We are so excited for all of the positive changes that will come from these updated requirements, and we hope that your transition is as seamless as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch via the Contact Us web page.