How to Represent Your BACB Certification Status


How to Represent Your BACB Certification Status thumbnail

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What’s in a name? When it comes to representing your certification status, the answer is everything.

At some point, you’ve heard us say “Be sure to properly represent your BACB certification status.” But what does that mean? What’s the “proper” way to do it? That’s what we plan to answer in this blog, but here’s the gist of it:

When you refer to your BACB certification, you must refer to its status—whether active, inactive, or somewhere in between—accurately.

It might surprise you how often this comes up in day-to-day life. You refer to your certification status when chatting with friends about your current studies or career. It’s mentioned when you work with peers, clients, parents/guardians, and employers in classrooms and clinical settings. You write it on your resume, job applications, and billing authorizations. It even crops up when you’re training, supervising, or giving lectures.

Two resumes, an envelope, and a billing authorization.

So, here’s another question for you, one that has echoed through school halls and study rooms for centuries: Why does this matter? The truth is that misrepresentation can have real-life consequences, even if done accidentally. In just a minute, we’ll outline how to accurately represent your certification status, but first, we need to discuss why it’s so important:

  • Protecting consumers: Imagine that you’re an RBT applicant. You completed your 40-hour training, studied the materials, and scheduled your exam. Believing that you’ll soon pass, you put that you’re an “RBT Pending Examination” on your resume, and you get a job. Now you’re working with a client one-on-one, but you’re not certified. What if you don’t pass the exam? Uh oh. This is just one example of how misrepresentation can open a can of worms that’s potentially dangerous for you, your employer, and most importantly, your client.
  • Adhering to BACB ethics requirements: As you know, all BACB applicants and certificants are bound by a code of ethics. These codes mandate that behavior analysts and technicians represent themselves accurately, and a violation could put your eligibility or certification at risk. For the details, check out what standard 2.08 of the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts and standard 3.07 of the RBT Ethics Code (2.0) have to say about misrepresentation.
  • Protecting the value of your certification: All BACB certification marks are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (among other jurisdictions), and it’s crucial that they’re used correctly. As we mentioned in the July 2021 BACB Newsletter, if we fail to enforce our trademark rights, they could be jeopardized, and BACB certifications could lose their value. For specifics, check out the Guidelines for Use of BACB Intellectual Property.

How-To Guide

In this section, we’ll outline the dos and don’ts of representing your certification status. These guidelines are airtight to avoid any possible confusion, as confused clients and employers are not informed clients and employers. We hope that these examples make your life a little bit easier:

Status Guidelines
Active Certification

A check mark.Represent yourself in the following ways:

  • someone who has an RBT, BCBA, or BCBA-D certification
  • an RBT, BCaBA, BCBA, or BCBA-D certificant
  • a BACB certificant

As a reminder, you don’t need to use the registered trademark symbol when referring to your own certification (e.g., RBT®).

Applicant

A check mark.Represent yourself as someone working toward national certification.

An X mark.Do not represent yourself in the following ways:

  • someone pending BACB certification
  • an RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA candidate
  • someone who is RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA trained
  • someone who has passed their competency assessment
  • someone who has completed their 40-hour training
Inactive Certification (e.g., on voluntary inactive status, no supervisor)

An X mark.Do not represent yourself as someone who has an active RBT, BCaBA, BCBA, or BCBA-D certification.

As a reminder, those on voluntary inactive status and those who hold an RBT or BCaBA certification but do not have a qualified supervisor on record with the BACB must indicate that their certification is inactive if they need to refer to their certification. For more information, check out the Inactive Policy in the RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA Handbook.

Bonus Tips

  • Don’t say that the BACB licensed you: It’s important to note that there’s a difference between the BACB, which is a credentialing organization, and a licensure board. The BACB provides certifications, not licenses. If you practice in the US and want to learn more, visit the US Licensure of Behavior Analysts web page.
  • Don’t say that the BACB is your employer: Please don’t represent yourself as a BACB employee, as it’s a violation of our Terms of Use. We see this most frequently on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Instead, list your certification in LinkedIn’s License or Certification section.
  • Don’t modify BACB trademarks: In the past, we’ve seen some funny takes on BACB certification marks, such as “BCBA-CS” for “BCBA consulting supervisor.” While we must give points for creativity, BACB trademarks aren’t a choose your own adventure. Please only use them as intended: RBT, BCaBA, BCBA, and BCBA-D.

How to Address Misrepresentation

A man and a woman having a conversation and gesturing with their hands.

Now that you know what to do and why, let’s talk about misrepresentation in the real world: What should you do if you see someone misrepresenting their certification status? What if that person is you?

The first step is to gently correct if possible. If the issue persists, the second step is to report it to all relevant entities (e.g., BACB, licensure board).

You Misrepresented Your Status

Let’s say that while reading this blog, you realized that you’ve been misrepresenting your certification status. Don’t panic! If you can, fix the error. Change your social media bio, revise your resume, contact the website’s administrator, shout your true certification status from the mountain tops—whatever you need to do. If you can’t fix the error yourself, tell your supervisor (if you have one), document your attempts to correct it, and self-report to the BACB through the Ethics Self-Reporting Form. Don’t forget to include your documentation in the submission.

Someone Else Misrepresented Their Status

If you notice that someone else is misrepresenting their certification status, follow the same procedure. First, give them an opportunity to fix the error. Here’s one way to begin that conversation:

A woman saying

“I hope you’re doing well. I just checked out your social media profile, and I’m so excited to see that you’re in a behavior analysis program. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but you can’t represent yourself as a BCBA (or a BCBA in training) until you’ve passed the exam, as it might be confusing. The BACB has clear guidelines on what’s acceptable. Can I share some resources with you, or could we hop on a call to chat about it?”

You don’t have to repeat this word-for-word, but it’s a good start.

If you aren’t comfortable reaching out to this person, or if they fail to fix the error, please report them to the BACB through the Reporting Infringement or Misuse Form. We’ll take it from there.


In summary, to represent your certification status properly, you should follow our guidelines and be as clear as possible when communicating with others. Taking misrepresentation seriously benefits your clients, your employer, and you. If you see misrepresentation in the wild, please take all appropriate steps to address it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. Your willingness to learn more about these topics helps uphold the integrity your certification. If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch through the Contact Us Form.

FAQs About the 2023 International Changes

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On January 1, 2023, a number of changes to our international focus that we first announced in December of 2019 went into effect (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 might be affected by these changes to the BACB’s international focus?

These changes 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.

Applying for BACB Certification

 

Q: I understand that as of January 1, 2023, new BACB certifications are only 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 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?

A: It depends. The fact that you earned a degree outside of an authorized country doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from becoming certified if you now reside in an authorized country. 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?

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 have been completed before January 1, 2023.*** As of 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, but I don’t reside in an authorized country. Is my certification still valid?

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, but I don’t reside in an authorized country. How should I refer to my certification after this date?

A: Since you are already certified, you may continue using and referring to your certification as you have previously.


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?

A: No. If your certification has lapsed, you must be a resident of an authorized country to apply for a new BACB certification.


Q: I don’t reside in an authorized country. Can I apply for the doctoral designation?

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?

A: Yes, you may continue consulting.

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. 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?

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 recent and 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.

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.

Introducing the RBT Ethics Code (2.0)

Inside the BACB: Episode 25

Introducing the RBT Ethics Code (2.0)In this episode of Inside the BACB, join CEO Dr. Jim Carr and Director of Ethics Dr. Tyra Sellers as they discuss the RBT Ethics Code (2.0), a revised version of the ethics code for RBTs. Tune in now to learn about the revision process, changes to current ethics standards, and more.

You can find all of the BACB’s videos on our YouTube channel.

Episode 25: Introduction to the RBT Ethics Code (2.0)

In this episode of Inside the BACB, join CEO Dr. Jim Carr and Director of Ethics Dr. Tyra Sellers as they discuss the RBT Ethics Code (2.0), a revised version of the ethics code for RBTs. Tune in now to learn about the revision process, changes to current ethics standards, and more.

Resources:

For a transcribed version of this episode, please watch the episode on our YouTube channel with closed captions.

Introducing the RBT Ethics Code (2.0)

The BACB is pleased to introduce the RBT Ethics Code (2.0), an updated version of the ethics code for RBTs. This version will replace the current RBT Ethics Code and go into effect on January 1, 2022.

We invite you to review the code and check out its accompanying crosswalk resource, podcast episode, and newsletter!

RBT Ethics Code (2.0)

This code outlines future professional ethics standards for RBTs and RBT applicants. Goes into effect in 2022.

Crosswalk for RBT Ethics Codes

This resource outlines the differences between the current RBT Ethics Code and the RBT Ethics Code (2.0).

New Podcast: Introduction to the RBT Ethics Code (2.0)

This episode of the Inside the BACB podcast gives insight into the review and revision of the code, ethics standards changes, and more.

July 2021 Newsletter
 

This month’s newsletter introduces the RBT Ethics Code (2.0) and details the revision process and important changes made.

Please visit the Ethics web page for additional resources and information.

The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts: Responsibility in Research

Inside the BACB: Episode 24

The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts: Responsibility in ResearchPlease join Director of Ethics Dr. Tyra Sellers and Ethics Disciplinary Manager Dr. Holly Seniuk for our final episode of The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts podcast series. This episode covers the revised ethical requirements for conducting research, using client data, and much more.

Thank you for tuning in! We hope that this series has been of value, and we appreciate your continued dedication to staying informed of and practicing under BACB ethics standards.

You can find all of the BACB’s videos on our YouTube channel.

Episode 24: The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts: Responsibility in Research

Please join Director of Ethics Dr. Tyra Sellers and Ethics Disciplinary Manager Dr. Holly Seniuk for our final episode of The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts podcast series. This episode covers the revised ethical requirements for conducting research, using client data, and much more.

Thank you for tuning in! We hope that this series has been of value, and we appreciate your continued dedication to staying informed of and practicing under BACB ethics standards.

Resources:

For a transcribed version of this episode, please watch the episode on our YouTube channel with closed captions.

The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts: Responsibility in Public Statements

Inside the BACB: Episode 23

The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts: Responsibility in Public StatementsIn this episode of The Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts podcast series, the BACB’s Director of Ethics Dr. Tyra Sellers and Ethics Disciplinary Manager Dr. Holly Seniuk dive into Section 5 of the revised ethics code for BCBAs and BCaBAs: Responsibility in Public Statements.

You can find all of the BACB’s videos on our YouTube channel.