5 BACB Resources You May Not Know About

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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 that 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.

New Podcast: The BACB’s Role in the Profession of Behavior Analysis

In the latest episode of Inside the BACB, learn how the BACB differs from a professional membership association and the roles of each. BACB CEO Jim Carr and Deputy CEO Melissa Nosik will also shine a light on the existing BACB policies and programs to support and encourage activities focused on diversity. Listen now.

Episode 11: The BACB’s Role in the Profession of Behavior Analysis

In this episode of Inside the BACB, CEO Jim Carr and Deputy CEO Melissa Nosik explore the BACB’s role in the profession of behavior analysis and discuss diversity policies, processes, programs, and other developments.

Resources:
Certification Program Requirements: Request for Change
COVID-19 updates page
Nondiscrimination Policy
Resources page
SME Application

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

Episode 10: Addressing Potential Ethics Violations With Others

In this episode of Inside the BACB, join Dr. Tyra Sellers, Director of Ethics for the BACB, as she discusses when, why, and how to approach others about possible violations of the BACB's ethics standards

Resources:
Ethics Information
BACB Ethical Compliance Code

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

Episode 9: Inside the BACB’s Ethics Department

In this episode of Inside the BACB, join Drs. Tyra Sellers, Sarah Lichtenberger, and Holly Seniuk for a glimpse into the BACB's Ethics Department, including its mission and structure, and available ethics resources.

Resources:
Ethics Information
BACB Ethical Compliance Code

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

Ethics Guidance for ABA Providers During COVID-19 Pandemic

June 10, 2020 Update: Additional resource added from the Michigan Taskforce.

March 20, 2020 Update: We have updated the following information to provide a revised description of individuals who may be at increased risk of becoming very ill during the pandemic. The revised statement also clarifies the guidance provided to support certificants in making decisions around service provision. It is important to remember that the BACB cannot issue a blanket directive to continue or discontinue services due to the complexity of each individual situation and client.


March 19, 2020 (Modified June 10, 2020)

Because the COVID–19 pandemic is particularly impactful on vulnerable populations and their service providers, we offer the following information to our certificants as they make critical decisions about service delivery during this difficult time. Please keep in mind that this information does not constitute legal or medical advice.

First, we extend our gratitude to the many BACB certificants who had contingency plans in place to address service interruptions. We also want to serve as a resource for the many certificants who have contacted us for ethics guidance as they seek to develop and modify contingency plans consistent with the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts (Code) during the pandemic. The Code is primarily focused on ensuring that high–quality services are delivered in a safe manner. Throughout the Code, it is clear that the primary directive is to do no harm to clients. Section 2.0, Behavior Analysts: Responsibility to Clients, states: "Behavior analysts have a responsibility to operate in the best interest of clients." Section 2.04(d) states: "Behavior analysts put the client's care above all others."

Section 1.04(d) of the Code makes it clear that certificants must comply with legal requirements, including those related to social distancing and service provision. Recent directives regarding social distancing may create scenarios that are not easily addressed under 4.07(b) of the Code. Essentially, the social distancing requirements could be deemed "environmental conditions [that] hinder implementation of the behavior-change program." Accordingly, certificants must "seek to eliminate the environmental constraints, or identify in writing the obstacles to doing so." 4.07(b). This means that if there are barriers to service provision in a particular region or context (e.g., a mandate to engage social distancing, high-risk clients) that cannot be removed or adequately addressed, certificants must document in writing the barriers and steps taken for each client.

As BACB certificants endeavor to uphold the Code and protect clients, we provide the following considerations:

Health and Safety

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently list the following as groups who may be at increased risk for getting "very sick" during the pandemic: older adults; people of any age who have asthma, COVID–19, or serious underlying medical conditions (blood disorders; chronic kidney and liver diseases; compromised immune systems; current or recent pregnancies; diabetes heart disease; lung disease; metabolic disorders; and neurological, neurologic, and neurodevelopmental conditions). For more information on these categories, please see the following resources: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019–ncov/specific-groups/high–risk–complications.html and Appendix A in www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019–ncov/downloads/community–mitigation–strategy.pdf. Each certificant is responsible for verifying whether a client falls into one or more of these groups to assist in fully determining the risks associated with continuing to provide services in their current form.
  • The World Health Organization and the CDC recommend social distancing to slow the spread of the infection, minimize the risk of infection to those considered high–risk, and reduce the strain on health services and resources. In the United States, the federal and state governments have directed the public to engage in social distancing, schools have closed or moved to online instruction, and many other public services have been limited or temporarily stopped. Similar practices have been enacted in many other countries.
  • The CDC indicates that individuals who are asymptomatic or have yet to display symptoms may expose others to the virus, and because testing is limited, most individuals are unable to verify that they are not infected. This means that service providers or clients who do not appear ill could be spreading the virus.
  • To minimize risk, service providers should consider developing a COVID–19 pandemic risk mitigation plan and implementation policies. The risk mitigation plan may include some of the following elements: regular communication with staff and clients about how to stay safe, telecommuting/telehealth, limits on air travel, attestations about symptoms and exposure, encouraging social distancing, considerations for determining whether to continue/augment/suspend client services, and cancelling services/sessions if clients or service providers are symptomatic or if deemed necessary to comply with social distancing recommendations.

Continuity of Care and Appropriate Transition of Services

  • Section 2.15, Interrupting or Discontinuing Services, indicates that certificants must work in the best interest of clients to avoid interrupting or disrupting services. This code element must be balanced with the overall requirement to not harm clients. Therefore, certificants providing services to vulnerable individuals must first comply with all government mandates (1.04(d) of the Code). Assuming there are no mandates to the contrary, the service provider must determine if the risk of suspending services (e.g., substantial risk of injury to the client) is greater than the risk of continuing to provide services.
  • If continuing services is deemed appropriate, the certificant must then determine if services can be delivered in a manner that does not unduly increase the risk of exposure to COVID–19 (e.g., enhanced disinfecting protocols, minimizing numbers and points of contact, using protective gear).
  • In the event that services should be suspended in their current form, the next step is to determine if services can be augmented (e.g., provide telehealth services, develop maintenance and generalization programming, create home-based program materials, move to parent consultation via telehealth) to minimize disruptions (i.e., minimize loss of critical skills).
  • If it is determined that services must be stopped, as opposed to augmented, providers should engage in appropriate steps to ensure continuity of care and appropriate transition (e.g., update reports and data, make relevant documents and materials available to caregivers, provide caregivers with a list of other relevant providers).
  • In summary, certificants must systematically and carefully consider the risks of stopping, continuing as-is, or augmenting services, and then take steps to carry out the decision in a way that minimizes risks to clients, caregivers, and staff and maximizes therapeutic benefits to clients.

As certificants make these difficult decisions, we urge you to follow all laws and public health recommendations from your local health authority and respective governmental agencies. We have compiled a list of resources relevant to the COVID–19 pandemic below. Note that including a resource is not an endorsement of the agency or organization, or the guidance provided by said agency or organization.

The BACB will continue to monitor the evolution and impact of COVID–19 and work to continue supporting the profession during this difficult time. If you have questions, please visit the Contact Us page.

Resources

Episode 6: The History of Ethics at the BACB

In this episode of Inside the BACB, learn about the history and evolution of ethics standards at the BACB from Misty Bloom, the BACB's Director of Regulatory Affairs and Chief Legal Counsel, and key members of the Ethics Department.

Resources:
Ethics Information
BACB Ethical Compliance Code

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