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, 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 PDF fact sheets.

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 in behavior analysis—it is likely that you have a number of questions about the landscape of the applied behavior analysis (ABA) profession. There are many reasons for this, but chief among them is that ABA is a relatively new profession, with professional credentialing only existing for a few decades. 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 seven years, this number has grown to more than 100,000 certificants! In addition, since 2009, 31 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? Why are there so many acronyms!?

While we can't address every question, we hope to answer a few.

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, an ethics code, and a disciplinary system designed to protect consumers, 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 discipline behavior analysis practitioners who violate their ethics code.

Professional Credentialing

Credentialing is vital to behavior analysis because of the particularly vulnerable populations that a majority of behavior–analytic 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 boxes below because these are the two primary ways behavior analysts are credentialed to practice.

Private Certification (BACB)

  • Voluntary
  • Disciplinary enforcement is limited to those who are certified by the BACB and the consequences are limited to revocation of certification.

Licensure (31 states)

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

 

In ABA, 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 Regulation of Behavior Analysts or visit APBA's Licensure and Other Regulation of ABA Practitioners webpage.

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 processes, similar to the way BACB certificants and applicants must meet BACB requirements.

Using the NCCA 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 our publications and can be found on our Resources webpage. In addition, you can give us feedback if you have suggestions for future SMEs to consider as they revise requirements in the future.

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, as we mentioned earlier, 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. This is just not true. 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.

Because the BACB cannot speak on behalf of the profession of behavior analysis, we hope all certificants and practitioners join their state and national professional membership associations. Together, membership associations, the BACB, and, most importantly, behavior analysis practitioners and stakeholders can work to improve the discipline of behavior analysis.
If you're interested in hearing more about this topic, check out Episode 11 of the BACB's podcast, Inside the BACB.

ASD Practice Guidelines Find New Home with CASP

ASD Practice Guidelines Find New Home with CASPThere’s no place like home – although sometimes it takes a little while to get there.

On March 25, 2020, the Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Practice Guidelines for Healthcare Funders and Managers (2nd edition) – commonly referred to as the ASD Practice Guidelines – were transferred to the Council of Autism Service Providers (CASP). The BACB first published the ASD Practice Guidelines in 2012, and the current and second edition in 2014. While such practice guidelines are traditionally published by membership organizations, the BACB’s Board of Directors authorized publication due to an impending need at the time to provide guidance to the many new funders developing ABA benefit plans as a result of legislative activity.

With its mission of cultivating, sharing, and advocating for provider best practices in autism services, CASP is an apt home for the ASD Practice Guidelines. Formed in 2015, the nonprofit organization is the official trade association of autism service providers. Its member agencies – all of which must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to evidence-based practice – care for more than 50,000 children and adults with autism across the U.S. Lorri Unumb, Esq., CASP’s CEO, is renowned for her accomplishments as vice president for state government affairs for Autism Speaks, where she led the autism insurance reform movement that resulted in all 50 states requiring meaningful health insurance benefits for autism. Unumb heads up CASP with Mike Wasmer, DVM, DACVIM, who serves as vice president of government affairs and special projects. Previously, Wasmer served as a director of state government affairs at Autism Speaks, and was instrumental in leading the passage of autism insurance reform laws. He is a frequent speaker on autism advocacy and policy, and has successfully advocated for the addition of ABA benefits in many self-funded health plans.

Following the transfer of the ASD Practice Guidelines, CASP plans to publish the third edition of the guidelines in 2021. For more information about CASP, and to download a copy of the ASD Practice Guidelines (2nd Edition), visit casproviders.org/asd-guidelines. Hear directly from Lorri Unumb and Dr. Jim Carr, CEO of the BACB, about the ASD Practice Guidelines transfer in an episode of the Inside the BACB podcast available for streaming now.

All BACB blogs are intended for general information only. Readers should refer to bacb.com for the most up-to-date information regarding BACB policies, standards, and requirements as blog content does not replace or supersede this information. All BACB blogs are the property of the BACB and may not be commercially reproduced or edited in any medium.

BCBA and BCaBA Exams: Immediate Results and Year-round Availability

BCBA and BCaBA Exams: Immediate Results and Year-round AvailabilityConvenience and immediate results: We seek both in virtually every aspect of our daily lives – from our food and entertainment to our transportation. Now you can expect these same qualities in your BCBA and BCaBA certification exams.

Following extensive work to ensure that our systems are optimized, we will move to continual testing on Feb. 1, which means that those of you seeking BCBA and BCaBA certification will not have to wait for testing windows to take your exams. Once you apply for certification and your application is approved, you’ll be able to schedule your certification exam as soon as you receive your "authorization to test" email (typically within 24 hours of your application being approved). This means that YOU pick a time, date, and location that works for YOU.

And, if that’s not enough to get you excited, when you take your BCBA or BCaBA certification exam, you’ll get the results BEFORE you leave the testing center. You read that correctly: When you walk out the door, you’ll know whether you’re certified or whether you have to retake the exam. If you pass the exam, your certification is effective immediately (woo hoo!) and you’ll find your certification number in your BACB account within 24 hours. If you fail the exam, you’ll be able to start planning your retake right away: The retake application will be available in your BACB account within 24 hours, and once your completed application is authorized, you can sit for the exam 30 days from the date of your last attempt. That gives you plenty of time to study and prepare.

Why Now?
Given our excitement about these changes, many of you may be asking, "Why didn’t the BACB offer continual testing and immediate exam results before now?" Well, we did – but only for our RBT certification exam. With the dramatic growth of the profession in recent years – and the number of you applying for BCBA and BCaBA certification – requests for greater flexibility in scheduling those exams have increased exponentially. Similarly, our growth as an organization means that we now have the psychometric infrastructure to make these changes without impacting the quality of the BCBA and BCaBA exams.

Our ability to provide you with your score report before you leave the testing center is tied to how we now equate our exams – or in simpler terms, how we ensure our exams are fair and valid. Historically, we used a post-equating model to analyze exam data in order to ensure fairness and validity. It recently became possible for us to implement a pre-equating model, however, something that enables us to perform data analysis earlier in the testing process, which means immediate results for you.

Keep In Mind
When you can take the BCBA and BCaBA certification exams may have changed, but their look, feel, format, and rigor has not, nor has the overall testing experience or our stringent security standards.

Another thing that hasn’t changed is how many attempts you have to pass the certification exam: You still have eight chances to take and pass the exam within a two-year period after you’re authorized to take it. Like before, we urge you to prepare for each exam attempt you make. If you fail the exam, use your score report to identify the areas in which you need additional study time – or training or fieldwork – for your next attempt. The bottom line is, if you use all of your eight exam attempts before the end of your two-year authorization period, you’ll have to wait for that period to end before you can reapply for that certification. And anyone authorized to take the BCBA or BCaBA exam on January 1, 2020 or later has a two-year authorization that will expire after the transition to our 5th edition standards on January 1, 2022. This means that if you don’t pass your exam within your two-year authorization window, you’ll have to reapply for certification under the new standards, which entail additional coursework and fieldwork requirements.

While this rarely happens, if you’re authorized to take the BCBA certification exam and you use all eight exam attempts before the end of your two-year authorization period, you have the option of applying for BCaBA certification. Perhaps you’re not quite ready to practice as a BCBA and need a bit more training and experience in behavior analysis. If you apply for and pass the BCaBA certification exam, you can start working in the field and preparing yourself to become a BCBA. Should you take this route, you will have to reapply for BCBA certification and meet the requirements applicable at the time you reapply.

One final thing to consider: Now that certification application deadlines and testing windows have gone out the . well, window, it will be harder to predict when busy application periods will be throughout the year. You may apply during a period when we happen to receive a high volume of applications, which means it will take us a little longer to review your application than it would if you applied during a low-volume period. To be safe, allow up to 45 days for your application to be processed. As always, you can visit our Customer Service page for the latest on application processing times.

Want More Information?
We hope you’re as excited about the changes to our BCBA and BCaBA testing as we are. We’re SO excited, in fact, that we dedicated an entire episode of the Inside the BACB podcast to this topic for your listening pleasure. Additionally, everything you need to know about these changes is available at bacb.com, the official source of information for everything BACB.

Happy testing!

All BACB blogs are intended for general information only. Readers should refer to bacb.com for the most up-to-date information regarding BACB policies, standards, and requirements as blog content does not replace or supersede this information. All BACB blogs are the property of the BACB and may not be commercially reproduced or edited in any medium.

BCBA and BCaBA Applicants: 5 Tips for a Smoother Application Process

BCBA and BCaBA Applicants: 5 Tips for a Smoother Application Process

We get it: Life is short, time is precious, and waiting really is the hardest part. Particularly when you’ve got a lot riding on something, like your BACB certification exam. You want to know NOW whether you’re eligible to take the exam, and we want to tell you (really!). But we need your help.

The following five tips help pave the way for a smoother application process by giving us what we need when we need it so that we can review your application and required documentation as efficiently as possible. This means that we’ll be able to give you the answers you seek sooner rather than later.

Tip #1: Get your ducks in a row. Before you even think about applying for certification, take a step back and determine whether you meet all the eligibility requirements. Do you have the required degree? Did you complete a verified course sequence (VCS) and if so, do you know the VCS number? If you completed nonverified coursework (i.e., courses that are not in a VCS), do you have course content attestations? Have you double-checked the calculations on your Final Experience Verification Forms (F&-EVFs)? Do you have the necessary signatures from the necessary people? Ask for help if you’re uncertain about your eligibility: Your supervisor or VCS coordinator are great resources. Or request a preliminary degree or coursework evaluation from us before applying. We’re happy to help!

Tip #2: All together now. Once you’re certain you meet all the eligibility requirements, get all your documents in order before submitting your application so that you have everything at your fingertips and aren’t scrambling for missing pieces at the 11th hour. We only review complete applications (i.e., the application itself, the application fee, and your supplemental documents) so if we notice that one of these things is missing, we have to pause the process and check with you to see where it is and when we’ll receive it. Getting everything in order before you start the process will make life easier, for all of us.

Tip #3: What’s in a name? Everything! Please, please, PLEASE make sure the name on your transcript and F-EVF(s) matches the name in your BACB account EXACTLY. If your name has changed, tell us and update your information in your BACB account. It’s also a good idea to include your BACB account number on everything you send to us as an additional means of identification. It’s simple: If we can’t verify who you are, we can’t process your application.

Tip #4: Can we all agree? Be sure the supervisor who signs your F-EVF(s) is the supervisor who can agree to the attestations you’ve made on your F-EVF(s). This is the supervisor who is listed on your supervision contract, and who meets all supervision requirements during the entire experience timeframe you record on your F-EVF(s). And while we&’re talking F-EVFs, please don’t change information (i.e., cross out statements or insert new ones) on your F-EVF(s) once your supervisor has signed it/them. We have no way of knowing whether your supervisor has approved or verified the altered information. If you must make changes, we recommend completing a new form(s), having your supervisor sign it/them, and sending us a clean copy(ies). Oh, and you can always send us your F-EVF&(s) via email versus snail mail to speed up the process.

Tip #5: Make it official. We require a sealed official transcript or an e-transcript sent to us directly from your institution(s). Make sure your transcript(s) lists all required degrees and coursework. Please don’t send us a photocopy of your degree or (perish the thought!) the real thing. If you earned your degree from one school and completed your coursework at another, we need two transcript: one from each school. If you completed your degree and required coursework at the same school, one transcript showing both will do the trick.

While all this may seem pretty basic, you’d be surprised by some of the things people do when applying for certification (do we have stories!). Following these five simple tips will help smooth out and speed up our review of your application. And remember: Current application processing times, updates, and other news you need to know is available on our Customer Service Updates page. For specific instructions on applying for BACB certification, visit bacb.com and select the certification that applies to you.

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