COVID-19 Waivers Update

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 Vaccine Considerations for BACB Certificants

The BACB commends all of its certificants who have endeavored to place the safety and needs of clients and staff at the forefront of their action plans to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The following information is being provided to our certificants as they make critical decisions about accessing COVID-19 vaccines.

The BACB offers the following considerations as certificants begin to move forward in the wake of newly available vaccines for COVID-19. This information does not constitute legal or medical advice, but it is consistent with the following standards from the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts.

  • 1.01 Reliance on Scientific Knowledge: “Behavior analysts rely on professionally derived knowledge based on science and behavior analysis when making scientific or professional judgements in human service provision, or when engaging in scholarly or professional endeavors.”
  • 2.02 Responsibility: “Behavior analysts’ responsibility is to all parties affected by behavior-analytic services.”
  • 2.05 (a) Rights and Prerogatives of Clients: “The rights of the client are paramount and behavior analysts support client’s legal rights and prerogatives.”

Certificants should also consider the recent guidance provided by the American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs for physicians from the November 2020 AMA Special Meeting. Specifically, the AMA (n.d.) states that:

  • “When … there is an available, safe, and effective vaccine, physicians have a responsibility to accept immunization absent a recognized medical contraindication or when a specific vaccine would pose a significant risk to the physician’s patients.”
  • “Physicians who are not or cannot be immunized have a responsibility to voluntarily take appropriate action to protect patients, fellow health care workers and others … including refraining from direct patient contact when appropriate.”
  • “Physician practices and health care institutions have a further responsibility to limit patient and staff exposure to individuals who are not immunized, which may include requiring unimmunized individuals to refrain from direct patient contact.”

The BACB urges certificants to consider the AMA’s guidance when making personal decisions and creating organization-level policies about accessing COVID-19 vaccines. Should the BACB receive a Notice of Alleged Violation related to this topic, the review committee would likely consider the following questions in determining whether a violation occurred:

  • Was there a vaccine available to reduce the negative impacts of the pandemic?
  • If the certificant could not be safely immunized or refused the vaccine for personal reasons, did they take and follow appropriate actions to protect clients, stakeholders, co-workers, supervisees, trainees, and others from potential exposure?
  • If the certificant was responsible for organization-level practices, did they take appropriate measures to protect clients, stakeholders, co-workers, supervisees, trainees, and others from exposure to nonimmunized individuals?

Reference

COVID-19 Vaccine Considerations for BACB Certificants

In the wake of newly available COVID-19 vaccines, certificants are faced with critical decisions that concern the safety and health of their clients, coworkers, and staff members, among others. To offer guidance on accessing COVID-19 vaccines as a behavior analyst, the BACB has compiled considerations from the American Medical Association and the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts.

To learn more about these considerations, please visit our BACB COVID-19 Updates web page.

RBT Remote Testing Restrictions Beginning March 1, 2021

When in-person testing was restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BACB sought approval from its accrediting body to participate in an exception program that offered flexibility for RBT candidates by permitting remote testing, with the understanding that additional data collection and security measures would be required. Remote testing became available for the RBT certification program on April 15, 2020.

On March 1, 2021, in response to typical examination-security concerns associated with remote testing, the BACB will begin restricting remote testing in select geographic regions as needed. If remote testing does not appear as an option at the time of examination-appointment scheduling, it is due to these restrictions, and in-person testing will still be available.

To learn more about the RBT remote testing restrictions, please visit our BACB COVID-19 Updates web page.

RBT Remote Testing Restrictions Beginning March 1, 2021

When in-person testing was restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BACB sought approval from its accrediting body to participate in an exception program that offered flexibility for RBT candidates by permitting remote testing, with the understanding that additional data collection and security measures would be required. Remote testing became available for the RBT certification program on April 15, 2020.

On March 1, 2021, in response to typical examination-security concerns associated with remote testing, the BACB will begin restricting remote testing in select geographic regions as needed. If remote testing does not appear as an option at the time of examination-appointment scheduling, it is due to these restrictions, and in-person testing will still be available. Candidates who have an existing OnVUE appointment scheduled after March 1, 2021, and who are located in restricted regions will receive an email within the first two weeks of March with guidance on how to reschedule their examination appointment at a testing center.

Frequently Asked Questions

Remote testing was approved by the NCCA late last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because this examination-delivery method is new, additional security measures, including restrictions when necessary, are needed to meet the security requirements for administration of high-stakes examinations.


The BACB continually monitors data from all of our examinations. When suspicious scores in any geographic region reach a particular threshold, we restrict access to remote testing in that region for an undetermined period of time to prevent lapses in examination security.


Only the RBT candidate will be aware of the restriction at the time of scheduling their examination. Due to COVID-19, testing-center availability and remote-testing security must be constantly monitored, so restricted areas are updated regularly.


As an RBT Supervisor, you will need the help of the RBT candidates under your supervision to determine whether they are in a restricted area. Because restricted areas are updated regularly, the BACB is not able to provide additional information about geographic regions to supervisors or RBT candidates.

 

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.

August 2020 Newsletter

We are pleased to announce the publication of the August 2020 BACB Newsletter (PDF download)

In this issue:

  • Changes to the BCaBA Task List (5th ed.)
  • When to conduct a standardized assessment (e.g., the Vineland)
  • Common supervision issues
  • Why RBTs must know their BACB account details
  • How to protect yourself from professional identity theft
  • COVID-19 reminder: Experience/Fieldwork Requirements

Scheduling Delays Due to COVID-19

August 11, 2020

COVID-19 is impacting all of us in different ways. Right now, Pearson VUE is working hard to facilitate candidate scheduling for BACB examinations as quickly as possible. This is not easily accomplished in a time when test centers are experiencing significantly reduced capacity or being shut down with little, if any, advance notice. Pearson VUE testing centers must comply with orders to reduce capacity, along with all other COVID-19 social distancing requirements. Please keep in mind that, in most states, examination administrations at Pearson VUE centers were completely shut down for several weeks, and many are now operating at a significantly reduced capacity.

Unfortunately, this means that some of you may be experiencing longer than usual wait times when calling Pearson VUE. You may also encounter scheduling difficulties in states where test center capacities have been significantly reduced. Rest assured, as systems are being adapted to help facilitate your examination scheduling. As such measures are taken, you may see adjustments to your exam appointment (location, date, and/or time) in response to a facility reduction requirement or another change that impacts your previously scheduled examination. Check out the Pearson VUE FAQ for more information about adaptations to address COVID-19. Please pay special attention to whether your exam times are AM or PM. One of the adaptations made by Pearson VUE has been to extend exam center hours, with some operating nearly 24 hours a day.

We thank you for your patience and understanding.

Temporary Allowances for Experience/Fieldwork and Competency Assessments

Due to social distancing requirements during the COVID–19 pandemic, the BACB will allow temporary deviations for certain "with a client" requirements. As of March 1, the "observation with a client" sub–requirement that applies to Experience and Fieldwork will be temporarily waived for those without access to clients.

In addition, all RBT competency assessments received as of April 28, 2020 will allow "with a client" tasks to be fulfilled via "role play."

To learn more about COVID-19-related changes or news from the BACB, please visit our BACB COVID-19 Updates web page.

Temporary Allowances for Experience/Fieldwork and Competency Assessments

October 1, 2021, Update: As of January 1, 2022, these temporary waivers are no longer in effect.


April 28, 2020 (Modified August 11, 2020)

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

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

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