FAQs About the 2023 International Changes

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In December of 2019, we announced a number of changes to our international focus that will go into effect on January 1, 2023 (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 will be affected by these changes to the BACB’s international focus?

These changes will 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 and how you can best prepare.

Applying for BACB Certification Outside of Authorized Countries

 

Q: I recently learned that as of January 1, 2023, new BACB certifications will only be 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 don’t reside in an authorized country. What’s the last day I can apply for BACB certification?

A: Because application processing timelines vary according to volume, we strongly recommend that you submit an approvable application** as early as possible—ideally before September 1, 2022. This isn’t a set deadline, but it accounts for the time you’ll need to apply for, schedule, and pass your examination by December 31, 2022. Current application processing timelines are available on the Customer Service Updates web page.


Q: I don’t reside in an authorized country, and I have an open examination authorization period that ends after December 31, 2022. Can I take the examination in 2023 before my authorization period ends?

A: No. All examination authorization periods for individuals who don’t reside in authorized countries will expire on January 1, 2023. In addition, BACB examinations will no longer be available at testing centers or offered remotely outside of authorized countries beginning on this date.


Q: I don’t reside in an authorized country, and I am currently training to become a behavior analyst. If I graduate after January 1, 2023, can I apply for certification if I’m willing to travel to an authorized country to take the examination?

A: No. As of January 1, 2023, new BACB certification applications will only be accepted from residents of authorized countries.


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 after December 31, 2022?

A: It depends. The fact that you earned a degree outside of an authorized country doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from becoming certified after that date. 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 after December 31, 2022?

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 be completed before January 1, 2023.*** Effective 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 or plan to become certified before January 1, 2023, but I don’t reside in an authorized country. Will my certification remain valid after this date?

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 or plan to become certified before January 1, 2023, but I don’t reside in an authorized country. How should I refer to my certification after this date?

A: If you practice in any country in which new BACB certifications are no longer available, you must accurately represent your certification by using the following disclaimer in all public references to your BACB certification: Full Name, Certification Level (The BACB is no longer issuing certifications in [Country]).


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 after December 31, 2022?

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


Q: I don’t reside in an authorized country. Can I apply for the doctoral designation after December 31, 2022?

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 after December 31, 2022?

A: Yes. However, certificants practicing in any country in which new BACB certifications are not available must accurately represent their certification by using the following disclaimer in all public references to their BACB certification: Full Name, Certification Level (The BACB is no longer issuing certifications in [Country]).

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 as of January 1, 2023. 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 after December 31, 2022?

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 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.

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!

New Blog: Debunking Myths About BACB Examinations

In the most recent addition to the BACB blog, we define important examination terms and debunk common myths and misconceptions surrounding the examination-development process.

For more information about who writes examination questions and how examinations measure success, please visit our BACB Blog web page.

New Episode of Inside the BACB

Tune in to the latest episode of the Inside the BACB podcast to go behind the scenes of the BACB’s examination-development process. Director of Testing and Accreditation Kyle Jordan and Deputy CEO Dr. Melissa Nosik debunk common myths and misconceptions about BACB examinations and explore the vast inner world of making and maintaining examinations.

LISTEN NOW

Episode 12: Myths and Misconceptions About Examination Development

In this episode of Inside the BACB, Director of Testing and Accreditation Kyle Jordan and Deputy CEO Dr. Melissa Nosik do more than debunk common myths and misconceptions surrounding BACB examination development. Tune in to find out who writes examination questions, how success is measured, why the BACB doesn’t provide raw scores to those who pass the examination, and much more.

Resources:

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

Online Proctored Testing Now Available for RBT Candidates

March 21, 2022, Update: RBT remote testing restrictions are now in place. See the RBT Remote Testing Restrictions post for details.


On April 15, 2020, live, online proctored testing became available for all RBT candidates via Pearson VUE’s online delivery system, OnVUE.

With advanced features that include ID verification, session monitoring, browser lockdown, and recordings, the OnVUE platform includes security features that are necessary for remote testing. RBT candidates should note the following important information:

  • Once a candidate’s application for certification is approved, they will receive a link to schedule their remote, proctored certification examination with Pearson VUE per the usual examination scheduling process.
  • Candidates who request accommodations for the RBT certification examination must test at in-person Pearson VUE testing centers; the OnVUE platform is unable to provide candidates with testing accommodations other than adjustable font, extra time, and color contrast.
  • Pearson VUE strongly recommends using a high–speed internet connection for online testing and encourages candidates to test during less popular wireless access times. Bandwidth issues greatly affect the delivery of online testing, and such issues are beyond Pearson VUE’s‚ and the BACB’s‚ control.

BACB to Temporarily Offer Online Proctored Testing for RBT Candidates

The BACB will temporarily offer live, online proctored testing for its RBT candidates through Pearson VUE's online delivery system, OnVUE. This option will be available for RBT candidates while Pearson VUE's in–person testing facilities are closed due to the COVID–19 pandemic.

The BACB is currently working with Pearson VUE to implement online proctored testing and will announce the date it is available in the near future. Visit our COVID–19 Updates page and listen to our latest episode of the Inside the BACB podcast for more information.

BACB to Offer Online Proctored Testing for RBT Candidates

March 21, 2022, Update: RBT remote testing restrictions are now in place. See the RBT Remote Testing Restrictions post for details.


April 14, 2020, Update: Effective April 15, 2020, live, online proctored testing will be available for all RBT candidates via Pearson VUE’s online delivery system.


The BACB will temporarily offer live, online, proctored testing for its RBT candidates through Pearson VUE’s online delivery system, OnVUE. This option will be available for RBT candidates while Pearson VUE’s in–person testing facilities are closed due to the COVID–19 pandemic. The BACB is currently working with Pearson VUE to implement this delivery model and will announce the date it is available in the near future.

The BACB’s decision to offer remote proctored testing for RBT candidates follows the National Commission for Certifying Agencies’ (NCCA) announcement on March 20, 2020 that it will allow the use of remote–proctor testing delivery on a limited basis for organizations with accredited programs such as the BACB. The NCCA’s announcement is in response to an urgent need for credentialing programs to make testing available following the closure of many testing centers worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NCCA recently approved the BACB’s application to offer remote testing for its RBT certification — each certification requires a separate application — on a trial basis. The BACB’s decision to pursue remote testing for the RBT certification while Pearson VUE’s in–person testing centers are closed is because the maximum length of the RBT certification examination — 90 minutes — allows the BACB and Pearson VUE to help ensure a fair testing experience for all candidates. Unfortunately, the BACB cannot guarantee such an experience for candidates taking the BCBA and BCaBA examinations, which, at four hours in length, require heightened security and accessibility at a time when wireless Internet traffic has reached unprecedented levels.

With advanced features that include ID verification, session monitoring, browser lockdown, and recordings, the OnVUE platform includes security features that are necessary for a trial of remote testing for RBT candidates during this challenging and unusual time. Once an RBT candidate’s application for certification is approved, they will receive a link to schedule their remote, proctored certification examination with Pearson VUE per the usual examination scheduling process. As part of this pilot program, BACB psychometricians will closely monitor all data associated with remote testing, which will then be used by the NCCA to determine whether to allow the BACB to continue to offer remote delivery of RBT certification examinations in the future.

PLEASE NOTE: RBT candidates who request accommodations for the RBT certification examination will need to wait until Pearson VUE reopens its physical testing centers; the OnVUE platform is unable to provide candidates with testing accommodations other than adjustable font and color contrast. Additionally, Pearson VUE strongly recommends using a high–speed internet connection for online testing and encourages candidates to test during less popular wireless access times. Bandwidth issues greatly affect the delivery of online testing and such issues are beyond Pearson VUE’s and the BACB’s control.

For further information, listen to our podcast.