Temporary Allowances for Experience/Fieldwork and Competency Assessments

Due to social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, the BACB will allow temporary deviations for certain “with a client” requirements. As of March 1, the “observation with a client” sub-requirement that applies to Experience and Fieldwork will be temporarily waived for those without access to clients. In addition, all RBT competency assessments received as of April 28, 2020 will allow “with a client” tasks to be fulfilled via “role play.” For more information about how to qualify for these temporary exemptions, visit our COVID-19 Updates page and continue to monitor BACB correspondence.

Temporary Allowances for Experience/Fieldwork and Competency Assessments

Due to social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will provide temporary deviations for the following “with a client” requirements.

  • Experience and Fieldwork (“observation with a client”) – As of March 1, and until further notice, we will temporarily waive the “observation with a client” sub-requirement for trainees who do not have access to clients and, thus, are only accruing unrestricted hours.
    If you are a supervisor and you want your trainees to qualify for this temporary exception:
    • You (the supervisor) must complete the attestation for each month impacted.
    • You and your trainee must keep this document in your records.
    • In the event of a future audit, this form must be submitted for any of the qualifying months that were impacted.
  • RBT Competency Assessments (“with a client” tasks) – For all initial and renewal competency assessments received as of April 28, 2020, and until notified on the BACB’s COVID-19 Updates page, we will temporarily allow the “with a client” tasks to be assessed in a role-play situation with a client surrogate.
    If you are an assessor and you want those you are assessing to qualify for this temporary exception:
    • You (the supervisor) must complete the attestation and indicate on the Competency Assessment “role play.”
    • You and the applicant/RBT must keep this document in your records.
    • The applicant/RBT must submit this document with the competency assessment when submitting their RBT certification or renewal application.

Continue to monitor BACB correspondence and the COVID-19 Updates page for the date on which these temporary exceptions will no longer be allowed. This is only applicable for the sub-requirements stated above and does not apply to any other requirements.

Online Proctored Testing Now Available for RBT Candidates

Effective April 15, 2020, live, online proctored testing is available for all RBT candidates via Pearson VUE’s online delivery system, OnVUE. This option, which the BACB is offering to RBTs on a trial basis following approval from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), is available while Pearson VUE’s in-person testing facilities are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With advanced features that include ID verification, session monitoring, browser lockdown, and recordings, the OnVUE platform includes security features that are necessary for a trial of remote testing for RBT candidates during this challenging and unusual time. RBT candidates should note the following important information:

  • Once a candidate’s application for certification is approved, they will receive a link to schedule their remote, proctored certification examination with Pearson VUE per the usual examination scheduling process.
  • The BACB and PearsonVUE will temporarily accept expired, government-issued IDs—candidates must have government-issued identification in order to sit for the RBT certification examination—through May 31, 2020. Both the BACB and PearsonVUE recognize the current inability to renew government-issued IDs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and anticipate requiring non-expired government-issued IDs once again beginning June 1, 2020.
  • Candidates who request accommodations for the RBT certification examination will need to wait until Pearson VUE reopens its physical testing centers; the OnVUE platform is unable to provide candidates with testing accommodations other than adjustable font and color contrast.
  • Pearson VUE strongly recommends using a high-speed internet connection for online testing, and encourages candidates to test during less popular wireless access times. Bandwidth issues greatly affect the delivery of online testing, and such issues are beyond Pearson VUE’s—and the BACB’s—control.

Guidance for RBTs During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to raise a lot of fears—and questions—for many people around the world, and our RBTs are no exception. First, rest assured that you’re not alone during this challenging and unprecedented time. We’re doing our best to offer guidance that allows you to make sound decisions about your livelihood—and enables you to maintain your certification—while responding to your questions as quickly as we can. We encourage all RBTs to take a moment to review the following information.

RBTs Who Are Unable to Provide ABA Services
If you’ve been furloughed or lost your job because of the pandemic, you do not need to report this to the BACB. Also, you will not lose your certification just because you’re not working. One of the RBT maintenance requirements is to receive ongoing supervision for 5% of the hours that you provide behavior analysis services. However, if you’re not providing or billing for services, you don’t need supervision for the month and your certification will remain active—as long as you still have an RBT Supervisor or Requirements Coordinator on record with us.

RBTs Who Are Providing ABA Services
If you’re currently able to provide services, you must meet the RBT supervision requirements, but we may be more lenient about requirements that involve interacting with clients (e.g., the number of RBT-client observations). It’s very important to maintain detailed documentation in case you’re asked to complete a BACB requirements audit. That documentation should include information about how the pandemic has impacted your services, supervision, etc., and the steps you and your supervisor took to try to meet the requirements. While there’s no need to report these details to us right now, you should document them now and report them to us when you submit your annual RBT Renewal Application. For more guidance on meeting BACB requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, please read our March 17 post, “COVID-19 Update from the BACB,” on this page.

RBTs Who Don’t Anticipate Using Their Certification Soon
If you don’t expect to use your RBT certification any time soon, you can apply for voluntary inactive status. To help provide some financial relief for our certificants, we’re waiving all fees for those applying for voluntary inactive status through June 30, 2020. This option is only available if you haven’t yet reached your certification expiration date, which is listed in your BACB account. While on voluntary inactive status:

  • your certification is listed as “inactive” on the Certificant Registry
  • you may not practice, bill, or represent yourself as an RBT
  • you don’t need to submit renewal applications
  • you may remain inactive for up to two years
  • you must complete the RBT Request to Return from Voluntary Inactive Status form when you’re ready to reactivate your certification.

Please note, you may not reapply for voluntary inactive status until you have completed at least one renewal cycle after returning from voluntary inactive status. Voluntary inactive status is beneficial because it allows you to pause your certification. When you’re ready to reactivate it within the two years you’re allotted, you don’t have to meet all of the eligibility requirements again.

RBTs Who Are Due to Renew Their Certification Soon
If your RBT certification renewal is coming up—a process that includes completing the RBT Renewal Competency Assessment—and you are practicing, coordinate with your supervisor/assessor about meeting the renewal requirements.

If you’re not practicing and are unable to complete the RBT Renewal Competency Assessment, we have temporarily extended the reinstatement period (i.e., the grace period that kicks in immediately following your certification expiration date) from 30 days to 90 days for RBTs renewing in March 2020 and April 2020. If you plan to practice again soon, this extension gives you more time to complete your renewal requirements, including your RBT Renewal Competency Assessment. We’ll waive the late fee in these situations and your annual certification expiration date won’t change. We’ll also continue to evaluate this extension to determine whether we’ll apply it to individuals with renewal dates later than April 30, 2020. Please note, during your reinstatement period, you’re considered inactive and may not practice. If you don’t meet the renewal requirements at the end of the 90 days, your certification will be considered expired and you’ll need to reapply and meet the current requirements.

Have Questions About Providing Services?
If you have questions about how to provide services during this time (e.g., whether you can provide telehealth services), speak with your supervisor, employer, and/or professional associations. As a certification board, the BACB cannot provide specific direction or recommendations on these topics.

BACB to Temporarily Offer Online Proctored Testing for RBT Candidates

The BACB will temporarily offer live, online proctored testing for its RBT candidates through Pearson VUE’s online delivery system, OnVUE. This option will be available for RBT candidates while Pearson VUE’s in-person testing facilities are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The BACB is currently working with Pearson VUE to implement online proctored testing and will announce the date it is available in the near future. Visit our COVID-19 Updates page and listen to our latest episode of the Inside the BACB podcast for more information.