FAQs About the 2023 International Changes

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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.

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 Fieldwork 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.

The 2022 Transition: What You Need to Know

The 2022 Transition Blog

Please note that the 2022 requirements are now in effect, so some of the information in this blog may be outdated.

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.

Documenting Fieldwork: Helpful Answers to Your FAQs

Documenting Fieldwork FAQs

Keeping up with documentation can be hard—but it doesn’t have to be! With a solid plan in place to track your fieldwork, you can rest assured knowing that your fieldwork hours are being accurately documented.

Check out these answers to your frequently asked questions about the fieldwork documentation system, Monthly and Final Fieldwork Verification Forms, and the former Fieldwork Tracker to ensure that you’re set up for success. For more helpful tips, be sure to review the Documenting Fieldwork Hours video.


Fieldwork Documentation System

Q: Who should develop and maintain my documentation system?

A: You and your supervisor can collaborate to develop a documentation system, or you can develop it on your own. However, please keep in mind that regardless of who develops and maintains the documentation system, both you and your supervisor are required to keep copies of all relevant documentation.


Q: Who is responsible for tracking my hours to make sure they meet the requirements?

A: Both you and your supervisor should be tracking your fieldwork hours. At a minimum, your supervisor should review all of your hours for each supervisory period before they sign the Monthly Fieldwork Verification Form. Don’t wait until the Final Fieldwork Verification Form must be signed for your supervisor to review all of your hours!


Q: What might it look like to document my fieldwork?

A: This is a great question—and there’s a lot to consider. Here are a few pointers to get you started, but be sure to check out the Documenting Fieldwork Hours video for an in-depth look at how to best document your fieldwork:

  1. First, we recommend that you complete the Fieldwork Checklist and Tip Sheet, as it includes helpful guidance on getting started.
  2. Once you’ve found a qualified supervisor, signed your supervision contract, and established your documentation system, you’ll likely begin accruing hours by performing both restricted and unrestricted activities. You should meet with your supervisor throughout the month to help ensure that you’re gaining the skills necessary to demonstrate competence in applied behavior analysis. You can find a more comprehensive description of acceptable activities in the relevant BCBA or BCaBA Handbook .
  3. By the end of the month, you’ll want to double check that you’ve documented the total number of individual and group supervision hours you accrued, the total number of supervision contacts that occurred, and the total number of observations-with-clients that took place that month. Don’t forget to document all other relevant information along the way (see the BCBA or BCaBA Handbook for additional information).
  4. At this point, you and your supervisor will review the documentation to confirm that all of the requirements for that month have been met. If your supervisor can agree to the listed attestations, they will sign your Monthly Fieldwork Verification Form for that supervisory period. This form must be signed by the last day of the calendar month following the month of supervision, and both you and your supervisor must retain copies.
  5. Once you’ve completed all of your fieldwork and met all of the requirements, your supervisor will sign your Final Fieldwork Verification Form. When you’re ready to apply, this is the form you’ll submit with your application.

Q: How do I document combined Supervised Fieldwork and Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork?

A: These should be documented on separate forms. Please note that Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork hours have approximately 1.33 times the temporal value of Supervised Fieldwork hours. In your documentation system, you may want to convert your Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork hours to Supervised Fieldwork hours to ensure that you’re on track to accrue all of the hours that you need to apply for certification.


Q: Is the audit process something that I should plan for?

A: Yes! It’s highly recommended that you keep all of your fieldwork documents organized and up to date in anticipation of an audit. If you’re audited, we’ll provide you with an audit log and guidance on what information or time period is being audited. With your documentation system already organized, it’ll be easy to complete the audit log. Feel free to review the Fieldwork Audit Process visual in the BCBA or BCaBA Handbook for more information.


Monthly and Final Fieldwork Verification Forms

Q: I see that the Monthly and Final Fieldwork Verification Forms require a BACB ID. Where can I find mine?

A: Your BACB ID is located in your BACB account. If you don’t have a BACB account, you’ll need to create one. We strongly suggest creating only one account to prevent delays in processing your application. If you experience any issues accessing your account, use the Contact Us Form for assistance.


Q: What should I do if I need to modify a Monthly Fieldwork Verification Form?

A: This one is important! Here’s what you can do:

  • If it’s still within one calendar month of the supervisory period, you can create a new version and get all of the necessary signatures.
  • If it’s more than one calendar month after the supervisory period has ended, you and your supervisor can make the relevant changes and have everyone involved initial them. Just make sure that your documentation can support the corrected form!

Q: If I lose a Monthly Fieldwork Verification Form, can I still count those hours?

A: Technically, yes. You may submit those hours, but if your fieldwork is selected for an audit, you must have additional documentation that sufficiently verifies the hours that were captured on the lost form. If your documentation is insufficient, those hours may not be accepted, and you may need to complete additional fieldwork.


Q: Can I submit the Final Fieldwork Verification Forms electronically?

A: Absolutely. Please see the Acceptable Signatures Policy for more information on acceptable types of digital signatures. When you apply, you’ll receive guidance on where to submit your forms.


Q: How can I ensure that my Fieldwork Verification Form will be accepted by the BACB?

A: Although we can’t guarantee that a form will be approved, we strongly encourage you to save your Fieldwork Verification Form and then open the saved file to review it. If the file is saved incorrectly and data is missing, your submission cannot be accepted. By reviewing the saved file in advance, you can ensure that your form isn’t missing any information.


Q: If I’m completing a Multiple Supervisors at One Organization Fieldwork Verification Form, should I enter the name of everyone who supervised me at the organization?

A: It depends! Let’s break it down:

  • Monthly Fieldwork Verification Form: No. The responsible supervisor is the only one who must be listed on and who must sign the form.
  • Final Fieldwork Verification Form: Yes. Anyone from the organization who provided supervision for you must be listed; however, the responsible supervisor should be the only one to sign the form.

Q: How should I determine who the responsible supervisor is?

A: If you’re receiving supervision from multiple supervisors at one organization, you’ll need a responsible supervisor—an individual who ensures that all of the supervisors’ activities are well organized and coordinated. The person who serves in this role must be identified on the supervision contract and must be able to agree to all of the relevant attestations on the Monthly and Final Fieldwork Verification Forms. For this reason, the responsible supervisor who signs the Final Fieldwork Verification Form must have been qualified to be a responsible supervisor for the entire duration of the supervision provided. Anyone who meets those requirements may act as your responsible supervisor.


Q: I’m completing a coordinated fieldwork experience with multiple supervisors, but they don’t all work at the same organization. Can I still use the Multiple Supervisors at One Organization Fieldwork Verification Form?

A: If your fieldwork meets the Multiple Supervisors/Settings requirements outlined in the Supervised Fieldwork Requirements section of the BCBA or BCaBA Handbook, you can use this form. The key is that your coordinated fieldwork experience is completed with a clearly defined Responsible Supervisor who ensures that the activity is well organized and meets all BACB fieldwork requirements.


Fieldwork Tracker

Q: Is the Fieldwork Tracker still available as a resource?

A: No. The Fieldwork Tracker was previously available as an optional resource that was sometimes requested during an audit. It was removed because we received feedback that it was stressful to track hours in both the Fieldwork Tracker and in a personal documentation system.

If you’re already using the Fieldwork Tracker, that’s OK! Just be sure to keep this in mind:

  • We won’t request the Fieldwork Tracker for an audit.
  • We no longer provide technical support for the Fieldwork Tracker, so you must use your own documentation system to track your fieldwork hours.
  • The Fieldwork Tracker is not comprehensive of everything that’s needed in a documentation system. These requirements have not changed, so you must work with your supervisor to ensure that your documentation meets all of the fieldwork requirements described in the relevant BCBA or BCaBA Handbook. This is vital, as your documentation will be used to show that you’re meeting all of the fieldwork requirements and receiving quality experience along the way.

Transitioning to the 2022 Requirements

Q: If I accrued experience hours on or before December 31, 2021, can I use those hours to meet the supervised fieldwork requirements that go into effect in 2022?

A: We’re glad you asked! If the experience hours you accrued on or before December 31, 2021, meet all of the 2022 fieldwork requirements (e.g., supervision contacts, observation requirements), and if you have documentation demonstrating that you meet all of the requirements in effect at the time of application, you can count your experience hours toward supervised fieldwork. The most important thing to keep in mind is that if you apply after January 1, 2022, your documentation must demonstrate that you meet the 2022 requirements. Check out the Guidance for Those Applying for BCBA Certification During the 2022 Transition or the Guidance for Those Applying for BCaBA Certification During the 2022 Transition resources for a crosswalk of the differences between both sets of requirements.


Thank you for reviewing these Q&As. We hope that they helped you feel more confident in documenting your fieldwork—and we encourage you to continue familiarizing yourself with our documentation requirements. The more you know, the more prepared you’ll be to complete your application and take the next steps toward certification.

Tips for New Certificants

Tips for New Certificants

First things first—congratulations! You met your eligibility requirements, passed your examination, and earned your certification. You just successfully finished what some believe to be the hardest part of becoming an RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA.

But now you’re facing a whole new set of challenges, including maintaining your certification and assuming your new role. To help you start off on the right foot, here are a few tips for your first weeks as a certificant.

Tip #1: Review the contact information in your BACB account

When you earn your certification, it’s important to review your BACB account and update any outdated or incorrect information. Although the BACB strongly encourages applicants to review and update their contact information as changes occur, this tip is especially important once you pass your examination and earn your certification.

But why is this review so crucial?

For one, within 4–6 weeks of passing your BCBA or BCaBA examination, your official certificate will arrive at the mailing address listed in your BACB account—however outdated that address may be. So, to prevent a mailing mishap, be sure to update your home address. Also take care to review your name, phone number, and email address, as outdated or incorrect information in any of these fields may create a problem down the line.

Tip #2: Get familiar with the Certificant Registry

The Certificant Registry is a database that includes vital information about all BACB certificants, including their location; certification number, status, and activation/recertification date; disciplinary actions or sanctions, if any; and availability for supervision services. It’s a valuable resource for employers, service recipients, applicants, and certificants alike, so we recommend getting to know it a little bit better.

As a new certificant, you will not appear in the database immediately. Like your certificant number, which may take up to 24 hours to appear in your BACB account, your name may take up to 48 hours to appear in the Certificant Registry. At that point, your certification information will become public.

Once your information is public, potential employers and supervisors can use the Certificant Registry to verify your certification. You can also use the registry to find and contact supervisors in your area if or when necessary. But be careful—as stated earlier, if your address is not updated in your BACB account, the registry may not reflect your current location.

We encourage you to give the Certificant Registry a try—maybe even search your own name to see how you will appear to others!

Tip #3: Update your resume and curriculum vitae

This tip is as short and sweet as they come, but it’s important nonetheless: Don’t forget to list your new certification on your resume and/or curriculum vitae! Once you enter the working world, you’ll want to ensure that your new title—and all of the hard work that went into getting it—is reflected on paper for potential employers to see.

Tip #4: Research your state’s licensure requirements

If you are a BACB certificant who intends to practice in the United States, you must adhere to your state’s licensure requirements before practicing or billing. This tip may be the most crucial in this list, as ABA practitioners who practice without licensure in regulated states may face serious consequences, such as disciplinary actions against their certification or even incarceration.

Follow these steps to learn more:

  1. Visit our U.S. Licensure of Behavior Analysts web page.
  2. If your state is regulated, click on your state in the table to navigate to its regulatory board website.
  3. There, you can find detailed information about your state’s licensure requirements and applications, if necessary.

Tip #5: Establish a maintenance plan

“There’s no such thing as too early!” – Bird that got the worm

It never hurts to be prepared, which is why it’s a great idea to begin establishing a plan to meet the maintenance requirements for your certification as soon as possible. As an RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA, you must meet specific requirements and complete certain tasks before you are able to recertify. It’s helpful to keep those to-dos in mind and plan ahead to avoid a last-minute panic or, at worst, an expired certification.

To create a maintenance plan, find out the length of your recertification cycle, the continuing education (CE) requirements that you must meet, if any, and the tasks that you must complete within the 45-day period before your recertification date. Then, do your research! Visit the Continuing Education tab in your BACB account to find a summary of the continuing education units needed for your current certification cycle or review the RBT Renewal Competency Assessment Packet—maybe even mark your target milestones on a calendar or planning app.

To get started, check out the following table to see a basic overview of the current BACB maintenance requirements for each certification.

Overview of Maintenance Requirements
Certification Recertification Date CE Requirements Ongoing Requirements 45 Days Before Recertification Date
RBT 1 year from original certification date Not applicable
  • Abide by the RBT Ethics Code (2.0) and self-reporting requirements
  • Meet the ongoing supervision requirements
  • Complete a renewal competency assessment with a qualified assessor
  • Renew certification
BCaBA 2 years from original certification date
  • Complete 20 CEUs (4 in Ethics, 3 in Supervision if applicable)
  • Enter CEUs in your BACB account
  • Abide by BACB ethics and self-reporting requirements
  • Meet the ongoing supervision requirements
Recertify
BCBA/BCBA-D 2 years from original certification date
  • Complete 32 CEUs (4 in Ethics, 3 in Supervision if applicable)
  • Enter CEUs in your BACB account
Abide by BACB ethics and self-reporting requirements Recertify

For more detailed, in-depth information about current BACB maintenance requirements, please visit the RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA Handbook.

Tip #6: Check out the Resources tab in your BACB account

As a new BCBA or BCaBA, you have access to multiple behavior-analytic scholarly journals and databases. These journals and databases may be helpful resources for you as you integrate current research into your behavior-analytic practice activities—and the best part is that through your BACB account, they’re free!

We encourage you to take some time to explore the Resources tab, as spending time in behavior-analytic literature is one of the best ways to stay in the know about advancements in the field. In fact, in a profession that is rapidly advancing, your education will continue long after you pass your examination.

. . .

These six tips are not the end-all, be-all of your first weeks as a BACB certificant. No matter how thoroughly you plan and prepare, you will surely run into hiccups and roadblocks at one point or another. That’s simply the nature of doing something new. Even so, we hope that these tips help you more confidently assume your new role.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to applied behavior analysis. We are so happy to have you as a certificant. Best of luck!

Debunking Myths About BACB Examinations

Debunking Myths About BACB Examinations

  1. An effective RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA examination is:
    1. Reliable
    2. Valid
    3. Fair
    4. Confidential and proprietary
    5. Informed by the practice of behavior analysis
    6. All of the above

Knowing the Terms

To better understand how the BACB develops and maintains examinations, it’s helpful to know these terms:

  • Criterion-Referenced: Criterion-referenced examinations measure success in relation to fixed requirements set by qualified professionals. The BACB’s examinations are criterion referenced.
  • Examination Blueprint: The purpose of an examination blueprint is to provide a structure for the content that will be covered in an examination. Essentially, it’s an overarching arrangement that precisely tracks how the different content components of an examination will be emphasized.
  • Psychometrician: An expert in the science of educational and psychological measurement who determines the reliability, validity, and fairness of a test or examination. The BACB works closely with psychometricians, subject matter experts (SMEs), and members of the BACB Board of Directors when establishing examinations.

7 Myths and Clarifications About BACB Examinations

There are many myths surrounding the way examinations are developed and maintained at the BACB. So, in the list below, we break down and debunk some of the most common myths about BACB examinations.

  • Myth #1. The BACB created the processes they use to develop and maintain examinations.
  • Clarification. The processes used for examination creation and maintenance are based on the best practices used in the measurement, assessment, and testing professions. These processes are widely accepted and practiced in the development of high-stakes examinations.
  • Myth #2. BACB staff members write examination questions.
  • Clarification. To create examination questions, the BACB consults a panel of SMEs who currently practice applied behavior analysis (ABA). The SMEs write and edit all BACB examination questions.
  • Fun fact: Over 100 SMEs helped write and edit BACB examination questions in 2019 and 2020!
  • Myth #3. The BCBA and BCaBA examinations are the same, but the BCBA examination has 20 additional questions.
  • Clarification.. Although the BCBA and BCaBA examinations are similar due to the overlap in their content and practice requirements, each set of certificants must be tested on this content at a different level of understanding. SMEs who help write and review examination questions are trained to account for the different levels of performance necessary to practice at each certification level. So, while the BCBA and BCaBA examinations may share similar content, they do not share questions.
  • Myth #4. The comments testers write will impact their examination scores.
  • Clarification. Examination comments do not impact the score a tester receives on their examination. In fact, the comments testers write are only used if a question is reviewed by SMEs at a later time.
  • Myth #5. Some examination questions have more than one right answer.
  • Clarification. While multiple answers to an examination question may seem correct, there is only one best answer. This is because each question is designed to differentiate between individuals who fully understand the content and those who do not. So, in some cases, subtle details make the difference between a good answer and the best one.
  • Myth #6. Examinations get harder with each retake.
  • Clarification. Every BACB examination adheres to the difficulty established by a base examination. Each base examination is developed alongside every new version of the examination blueprint and then approved by the Board of Directors. All following examinations developed by the BACB Testing department are statiscally equated to the base examination before they are administered in Pearson VUE testing centers.
  • Myth #7. The BACB examinations are norm referenced (i.e., they measure success in relation to a group with like characteristics rather than a set standard).
  • Clarification. Every BACB examination is criterion referenced. Criterion-referenced examinations measure success against a fixed standard that was established by a panel of experts using a formal process. This standard does not move or change regardless of the testing group’s characteristics (e.g., training quality, skill level). For example, an entire group of individuals taking the examination on the same day might all pass—or they might all fail. The test taker’s score really depends on the quality of training that they received, not on the skill levels of the other people taking the examination at a given time.

Bonus question: Why don’t we provide scores to individuals who pass the examination?

Many certificants who pass the RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA examination ask to see their raw score afterwards; however, the BACB does not provide raw scores. This is because our examinations are designed to put candidates in two categories: those who have learned enough to safely practice ABA and those who haven’t. Anyone who passes an RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA examination is qualified to practice at their relevant level of certification. So, while we don’t provide your numeric, raw scores after you pass a BACB examination, rest easy knowing that you have met the minimum requirements to practice as a certified RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA.

For more information about BACB examinations, listen to Episode 12 of the Inside the BACB podcast. Happy testing!

Tips for a Smooth RBT Certification Application

5 BACB Resources You May Not Know About

So, you’ve decided to take your career to the next level and pursue certification as a Registered Behavior Technician, or RBT.

Congratulations! We’re rooting for your success, so we’ve put together some tips that will make the RBT application process as quick and simple as possible.

Tip #1: Read the RBT Handbook in full


This isn’t your everyday Terms of Service agreement.

Before completing your RBT application, it’s important to carefully review the RBT Handbook in full. In fact, we suggest that you review the handbook with the person who will become your RBT Supervisor or RBT Requirements Coordinator, as they will also be involved in the application process.

The RBT Handbook is a vital resource for potential RBT applicants because, among other relevant information, it includes:

  • a detailed description of the requirements you must meet to become certified
  • an overview of the application process
  • the documents that are required when applying

The RBT Handbook should be your go-to resource when applying to sit for the RBT certification examination. If you take the time to review it in advance, you’ll become familiar with each requirement and every nitty-gritty detail, which can only mean one thing: smooth sailing ahead!

Tip #2: Create your BACB account yourself


We get by with a little help from our friends—just not while making our BACB accounts.

Be sure to create your BACB account yourself with your personal email address. Do not have anyone, including your future RBT Supervisor or employer, create your account on your behalf. Also refrain from using your work or school email address when signing up, as you may lose access to your BACB account if you lose access to that email address.

When you create your own BACB account with a personal email address, you will have full access to and control over your account when it’s time to renew your certification down the road. Your BACB account is the doorway to your certification, and that certification belongs to you and you alone!

Tip #3: Thoroughly review your application documentation


Don’t let these be your famous last words: “It’ll be fine. I don’t need to double check!”


Before you click submit, it’s important to double check that your application meets all the documentation requirements expected of RBT candidates. As stated earlier, it’s a good idea to review your application with your future RBT Supervisor. Another set of eyes will help ensure that all the documentation requirements are properly met.

Unfortunately, the BACB has been receiving a high volume of applications with documentation that fails to meet the proper requirements. Here are a few reminders based on the most frequent issues we’re seeing:

  • Upload the correct documents into the RBT application and make sure that all necessary pages are included.
  • Check that your RBT 40-hour training certificate includes this statement: “This training program was based on the RBT Task List (2nd ed.) and is designed to meet the 40-hour training requirement for RBT certification. The program is offered independent of the BACB.”
  • Complete the Initial Competency Assessment within 90 days of submitting your application payment. In this form, make sure that the assessor (and/or assistant assessor):
    • completes all applicable fields (e.g., your name, assessor’s name),
    • initials all applicable tasks,
    • indicates how each task was assessed, and
    • signs according to the Acceptable Signatures Policy.

Here are a few reminders that only apply in certain circumstances:

  • If the Responsible Assessor for your Initial Competency Assessment determined that the “with a client” waiver was applicable to you during the COVID-19 pandemic, please make sure to merge your COVID-19 attestation and Initial Competency Assessment into one PDF before submitting.
  • If the documentation that shows you have met the education requirements is in another language, please make sure to have it officially translated into English before submitting.

In the mad dash to submit your application, it’s easy to accidentally forget a document, statement, or signature. But, if information is missing from your application or if the provided documentation doesn’t indicate that you meet the necessary requirements, you may experience delays beyond the standard two-week processing time.

We recognize how important it is to move through the application process quickly so that you can become certified and move forward in your career. That’s why it’s vital to double check that your documentation is complete and meets the appropriate requirements for RBT candidates. That way, we can send you off to sit for the RBT examination as soon as possible!

To view current application processing times, please visit the Customer Service Updates page on the BACB’s website.

Tip #4: Hang in there


The path to certification can be stressful and difficult at times, but being fully prepared can ease the pressure. If you take this advice and reach out to your supervisor for additional support when you need it, the application process will feel relatively painless and far less daunting. We sincerely hope that these tips improve your RBT certification application experience. Best of luck, future RBT!

5 BACB Resources You May Not Know About

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." — Douglas Adams, author

5 BACB Resources You May Not Know About

Finding a specific piece of information online isn't always the easiest task. And sometimes you aren't even sure what you're looking for until you find it.

Whether you're already certified as a behavior analyst or researching your career options, the BACB website can be a valuable resource. But you may not have discovered these five time–saving gems yet.

Knowing the Numbers

When you're considering a career in behavior analysis, it's important to look at the big picture. Understanding the growth curves for RBTs, BCaBAs, and BCBAs can give you the confidence and insight to make informed choices about which certification is appropriate for you to pursue.

That's why the BACB publishes certificant trends on its Certificant Data page. You can quickly find answers to these questions:

  • How many people hold certification at each level?
    Our graphs show current and historical data that can help you evaluate the number of new professionals that the BACB certifies each year.
  • How fast is each certification program growing?
    These same graphs tell a story about the growth trajectory of each certification program. For example, by looking at the data, you can see that the number of certified RBTs has grown from 328 when it was introduced in 2014 to 71,875 in 2020. That enormous jump shows a fast–growing demand for credentialed RBTs. (Check out the Certificant Data page to see stats for BCaBAs and BCBAs.)

Staying Informed About Ethics

Understanding ethics requirements is a vital part of the profession of behavior analysis. That's why the BACB is scaling up the resources on its Ethics page.

You may already be familiar with the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts, which outlines what behavior analysts must do—and must not do—to best protect clients and others. The Code provides guidance on many ethics–related situations you may encounter as a behavior–analytic practitioner, such as:

  • avoiding conflicts of interest.
  • maintaining confidentiality.
  • using contracts and fees.
  • implementing behavior–change programs.
  • acting as a supervisor.

But there's much more to the BACB ethics resources than the Code documents. You'll also want to check out the following important sources of support for navigating ethics dilemmas.

Ethics Resources

In this section, you can access:

  • Ethics–Related Newsletters
    The BACB newsletter has delivered critical content to applicants and certificants since 2004. Under Ethics Resources, we've listed and linked to every newsletter that includes ethics information.
  • Ethics–Related Journals and Books
    Our behavior analysis ethics bibliography will save you time and legwork.
  • Common Code Violations
    Knowing about the common ethics violations is invaluable when supervising activities and for understanding policies within organizations. You'll find the most common ethics violations for 2018 and 2016–17 under Ethics Resources.

Reporting to the Ethics Department

If you need support in deciding whether to report a violation, you'll find what you need in this section, including:

Code–Enforcement Procedures

To learn about the steps that the BACB can take against someone's exam eligibility or certification, take a look at this section. The Code–Enforcement Procedures is your go–to resource, but you'll also see information about the types of and possible outcomes for disciplinary sanctions.

Ethics touches every aspect of a behavior analyst's professional life. The BACB's extensive ethics resources will help you obtain and maintain your certification so that you can continue changing lives.

Finding Your Behavior Analysis Subspecialty

The profession of behavior analysis is known primarily for its success in treating individuals with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities. However, behavior analysis also offers opportunities in a variety of other subspecialties. Staying aware and knowledgeable about these other areas as the profession grows is a good strategy for anyone researching a career in behavior analysis.

An RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA might work with a variety of clients, including:

  • patients in mental health clinics.
  • children or adults with developmental disabilities.
  • children and teenagers in school settings.
  • older populations in their homes or in care facilities.
  • organizations that need guidance with safety, leadership, or performance.

To learn more about areas that would interest you, the BACB has published a library of informative videos and fact sheets focusing on a wide range of behavior analysis subspecialties.

Each BACB video features a subject matter expert who shares details about working in the subspecialty, such as problems a behavior analyst might treat and the science behind those methods. For example, if you like the idea of helping to improve performance in the workplace, you can learn about organizational behavior management (OBM) from Dr. John Austin, a leading expert in the field. He shares how research has shaped the industry and allowed OBM practitioners to empower employees and leaders for success.

If you want to see a snapshot of each subspecialty and associated sub–areas with resources and recommended reading, check out our handy Subspecialties Areas document.

Staying in the Know

We know that waiting is one of the hardest parts of obtaining certification, especially when submitting applications or other electronic documents. That's why our Customer Service team shares daily updates about processing times on the BACB website. Our team processes materials in the order they are received, so you can be sure we'll get to yours as soon as possible.

For example, if you submitted your renewal application electronically on May 20th, you can check the Customer Service page regularly to see if we're processing materials received on that date yet.

In addition to processing times, you'll see instructions for system errors or notifications related to your BACB account.

Still haven't found what you need? The Customer Service page also includes links to frequently accessed resources for each certification, such as renewals, requirements, and applications.

Taking Advantage of the Data

The BACB Resources page provides a wealth of information about job demand, BACB activities, past ethics violations, and much more. Here's what you'll find:

  • Employment demand for behavior analysts
    When you're researching a career in behavior analysis, it can be helpful to investigate state–specific data. The BACB provides two reports showing demand for behavior analysts from 2010 to 2019 and from 2012 to 2014 by state.
  • Ethics violations data
    While the BACB Ethics page is the go–to source for ethics requirements and violations, you'll find unique information on the BACB Resources page. A Summary of Ethics Violations and Code–Enforcement Activities: 2016–2017 tells you what kinds of code-enforcement activities occurred during the two years after the Ethics Code was released.
  • BACB–authored publications
    Check out numerous journal articles related to the profession of behavior analysis, including history, requirements, training, education, and much more.

Finding the right links, documents, and data doesn't have to be an accident. Bookmark these indispensable BACB resources to stay in the know and save time.

The BACB: What It Is, What It Does, and Why

The BACB: What It Is, What It Does, and Why

It doesn’t matter if you have been a BACB certificant for many years, are newly certified, or are just starting to explore becoming a practitioner of behavior analysis—it is likely that you have a number of questions about the landscape of the applied behavior analysis (ABA) profession. This is where the importance of understanding the role of the BACB in the profession comes in.

The BACB was established in 1998 to meet the credentialing needs of ABA practitioners, governments, and consumers of ABA services. In the BACB’s early years, its certification programs grew consistently but slowly. In its first 13 years, the BACB certified 10,000 individuals. In the last several years, this number has grown to more than 120,000 certificants! In addition, since 2009, 34 states have passed laws to license behavior analysts. These developments mean that professional certification and the credentialing of ABA practitioners are relatively recent events, about which many people have questions. These include: What is the BACB’s role? What is credentialing and why is it important? Why can’t the BACB speak for behavior analysis? To get a better understanding of how it all works, read on for answers to these common questions.

What Is The BACB?

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) is:

  • A nonprofit organization – The BACB was founded in Florida as a nonprofit corporation in 1998 and has 501(c)(3) tax–exempt status from the IRS. Both of these legal and regulatory frameworks place important limits on BACB activity.
  • A credentialing organization – The primary function of the BACB is to operate certification programs, similar to a regulatory entity. In this role, the BACB provides practice requirements, ethics codes, and Code-Enforcement Procedures that are designed to protect consumers, applicants, and certificants, among other certification–program activities. In this capacity, ABA practitioners must interact with the BACB regularly to maintain their certification.

What Is Credentialing and Why Is It Important?

As mentioned earlier, the BACB’s certification programs exist as a regulatory–like mechanism to protect consumers of behavior–analytic services. To protect consumers, the BACB establishes entry–level eligibility standards for education and training AND provides a mechanism to address behavior analysis practitioners who violate BACB ethics code(s).

Professional Credentialing

Credentialing is vital to the profession of behavior analysis because of the particularly vulnerable populations that a majority of behavior analysis practitioners serve. Without credentialing, how would we know who is qualified to enter the profession and who isn’t?

Two of the many differences between private certification and government–issued licensure are highlighted in the following text boxes because these are the two primary ways behavior analysts are credentialed to practice.

Private Certification (BACB)

  • Voluntary
  • Code enforcement is limited to those certified by the BACB or applying for BACB certification, and consequences may be imposed on an individual’s certification or their ability to apply.

Licensure (34 states)

  • Mandatory
  • Disciplinary enforcement may be enacted upon anyone practicing, with or without a license, and consequences include substantial fines and possible incarceration.

 

In the ABA profession, practitioners who obtain certification by the BACB have a great deal of mobility because their certification will meet licensure requirements in almost any state with licensure for the practice of behavior analysis. For more information about US state licensure, please refer to the BACB’s US Licensure of Behavior Analysts web page or visit APBA’s Licensure and Other Regulation of ABA Practitioners web page.

NCCA Accreditation and Consumer Protection

All three of the BACB’s current certification programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The BACB must adhere to NCCA–established accreditation processes, similar to the way BACB certificants and applicants must meet BACB requirements.

Using the NCCA accreditation processes, the BACB convenes groups of subject matter experts (SMEs) to evaluate and potentially revise requirements for each BACB credential. SME recommendations are then voted on by the BACB Board of Directors before they are adopted. Through this process, the requirements change as needed to ensure greater consumer protection through standards that accurately reflect the ever–evolving practice of behavior analysis. As usual, everything comes back to consumer protection.

For anyone interested in a little more reading about the processes that are used by the BACB to develop standards and examinations, they are outlined in a number of publications that can be found on our BACB Resources web page. In addition, you can give us feedback if you have suggestions for SMEs to consider when they revise requirements by submitting a Certification Program Requirements: Request for Change form.

What Is the BACB’s Role in The ABA Profession?

The major professional organizations in ABA have very specific missions and roles and substantial limitations on their activities from various sources. These limitations include state laws where the organization was founded as a nonprofit, IRS rules, and for the BACB, our NCCA accreditation requirements. Let’s start with the role of the BACB.

To recap, the BACB’s job is to credential practitioners of behavior analysis and to coordinate with regulatory authorities. Although we are sometimes called upon to engage in advocacy and political and social commentary, our involvement in these activities is necessarily restricted by some of the entities mentioned earlier. In our regulatory–like role, the BACB is prohibited from engaging in political activity and has very strict limitations on its acceptable activities. That said, a number of the questions we receive indicate that some think of the BACB as a professional membership association, with flexibility about our public behavior. Although we sometimes wish we could engage in a broader array of advocacy activities, we have a very limited role in ABA—again, due to restrictions imposed upon us by certain legal statutes and IRS rules. It’s useful to think about the BACB as similar to a licensure board since we serve a similar and often interrelated regulatory function. It is notable to mention here that other professions may have certification boards that look like the BACB in function but are regulated differently under law and IRS rules, which allows them greater flexibility than the BACB. We know that this makes understanding our limitations pretty tricky!

A professional membership association is charged with representing the interests of its members and speaking on behalf of a profession. The BACB doesn’t have members; we have certificants. Fortunately, ABA has a number of state, provincial, and national professional associations to serve the membership role.

Two major professional membership associations in behavior analysis are the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) and the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). These organizations were established to provide different services than a certification board and are permitted much more flexibility in their permissible activities, including making public statements and taking a stand on social issues. We strongly encourage our certificants to become members in their state and national professional associations if they have not already. In fact, at the very beginning of a certificant’s professional experience, we send a welcome letter encouraging them to join and become involved in their relevant professional associations. The professional membership associations are permitted to engage in a wide range of important activities. They are truly the voice of behavior analysis and have the primary obligation to represent our profession. Together, membership associations, the BACB, and, most importantly, behavior analysis practitioners and stakeholders can work to improve the discipline of behavior analysis.

We hope that this information answers some of your questions about what the BACB does and why. If you’re interested in hearing more about this topic, check out our podcast episode, The BACB’s Role in the Profession of Behavior Analysis.