Response to Implementation Considerations of BCBA and BCaBA 2022 Requirements

A number of new BCBA and BCaBA eligibility requirements will go into effect in 2022. We recently received several requests to delay the implementation of these requirements from individuals who were planning to apply prior to 2022 under the existing requirements, but whose progress has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We feel for the students and trainees in this situation. Because the BACB is not permitted to accept two different sets of certification standards during the same time period, the BACB Board of Directors considered the possibility of a delayed implementation of the 2022 requirements.

Given how the 2022 BCBA and BCaBA eligibility requirements (i.e., degree, coursework, fieldwork) were developed and how our certification programs are accredited, it is not possible to delay only one requirement (e.g., fieldwork). Thus, the Board considered the feasibility and various impacts of delaying all of the 2022 requirements. Among their considerations were:

  • possible negative impacts on individuals planning to apply in 2022 under the new requirements (e.g., new fieldwork requirements are not backward compatible with existing requirements, individuals with academic degrees that do not currently qualify but will in 2022)
  • possible negative impacts on university training programs that have already been training under the 2022 requirements
  • possible negative impacts on the profession (e.g., delayed implementation of more rigorous requirements)
  • potential confusion for students, trainees, supervisors, and faculty who have been preparing for the 2022 requirements since their announcements 3+ years ago
  • the availability of our existing compassionate appeal process for special circumstances

Ultimately, the Board decided to proceed with the originally planned 2022 implementation of the new BCBA and BCaBA eligibility requirements.

Guidance. We offer the following guidance for BCBA and BCaBA trainees who are unsure whether they will be able to apply prior to 2022. First, we encourage a careful self-audit of all requirements that have been completed and those that will likely be completed in time to submit a complete application by December 31, 2021. Faculty and supervisors should be able to assist with this process. This audit should include a determination of whether existing COVID-19 temporary allowances are relevant. Students and trainees who are still uncertain about when they will apply should review our BCBA and BCaBA transition resource documents. In general, if students and trainees are unsure whether they will be able to apply before 2022, we recommend meeting both the current and 2022 requirements to be safe. Finally, if a student or trainee has taken all of these steps and is not able to meet the 2022 requirements as a direct result of the pandemic, they should review our compassionate appeal process (located within the Administrative Appeal Request Form). This process was specifically designed to provide flexibility to individuals who can demonstrate that extenuating circumstances prevented them from meeting BACB certification requirements. Keep in mind, however, that submitting a compassionate appeal will not guarantee an extension and that the outcome will be based on a full analysis of how the pandemic has impacted the training timeline.