When RBT Certification Doesn’t Go as Planned


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In a perfect world, your experience as an RBT would be free of roadblocks and complications—and for the record, we hope that it is! In reality, you might end up in a situation that could negatively impact your certification. But where there’s a problem, there’s a solution. This blog post is here to help you find it.

Five people are standing together. The woman on the right has a thought bubble above her head with a lightbulb inside.

Scenario: You need to take a break from service delivery.

Solution: There are two ways that you can maintain your RBT certification while on a service-delivery hiatus:

  • Renew as usual. As you know, 5% of the hours you spend delivering behavior-analytic services each month must be supervised. What happens when you aren’t providing services? You don’t need supervision! All you have to do is keep up with the renewal process, so remember your renewal date, make sure you’re meeting the maintenance requirements, and renew on time. OR
  • Apply for voluntary inactive status. If you’re planning to take an extended leave from service delivery, consider voluntary inactive status, which lets you take a break from maintaining your certification for up to two years. The only catch is that you can’t provide services, bill for services, or represent yourself as an RBT until your certification status is reactivated. Review the Inactive Policy in the RBT Handbook to learn more about eligibility and getting started.

Scenario: You’re considering leaving your job as an RBT.

A man on the left smiles and waves to three people on the right.

Solution: We know there could be many reasons why you might consider leaving your job, but let’s focus on two:

  • Changing organizations. If you’re planning to deliver services as an RBT at another organization, give your current organization plenty of notice so that they can smoothly transition your caseload to other providers. And as you already know, you must have another supervisor on record before you start delivering services again. The Supervision Checklist for RBTs details the steps to take when your supervisory relationship is coming to a close.
  • Changing career paths. If you’re on the fence about working as an RBT again in the future, consider going on voluntary inactive status. The other option is letting your certification expire. Just know that if you let it expire and decide to become an RBT again down the line, you must start from the beginning and meet the requirements in effect at that time.

Either way, the most important thing to consider is the impact this transition will have on your clients. A lack of sufficient notice may negatively impact a client’s service-delivery experience and progress, so please consult the Continuity of Services: Reminders for RBTs document to ensure you get the details right.


Scenario: You were terminated from your job as an RBT.

Solution: Although this is the last thing you might expect to happen, it’s best to be prepared for anything. So, according to the RBT Ethics Code (2.0) (RBT Code), you must submit a self-report to the BACB within 30 days that explains why you were terminated. Chances are your supervisor will have already removed you from their BACB account, making your certification inactive. What comes after that? If you plan to stay in the field, just make sure that you have another supervisor on record before working with clients again.


Scenario: You aren’t sure if you have a supervisor on record with the BACB.

A magnifying glass hovers over a web page.

Solution: When we say that you must have a supervisor “on record” with the BACB, we mean that all of your RBT Supervisors and RBT Requirements Coordinators must list you as a supervisee in their BACB accounts. When that information is updated, it’s published on the BACB Certificant Registry so that anyone can verify it. So, if you’re unsure, talk to your supervisor(s) to determine who’s responsible for your supervision, and look up your name in the registry to confirm that they’re on record.


Scenario: You don’t have a supervisor anymore, but you want to continue providing services.

Solution: First, there’s no reason to worry. Throughout your journey as an RBT, it won’t be uncommon for your supervisor on record to change. It could happen because your supervisor’s transitioning to a different practice setting—or maybe because you are. Regardless, your supervisor should walk you through the transition process.

Here’s a basic rundown of what to expect:

When your last RBT Supervisor or RBT Requirements Coordinator removes you from their BACB account, your certification status immediately changes to inactive. Remember that you can’t provide services, bill for services, or represent yourself as an RBT until you have another supervisor on record, as their advanced training, education, and expertise are vital to consumer protection.

If your supervisor is transitioning to a different setting, they probably have another supervisor lined up for you already. To be safe, check with one of the supervisors at your organization. If you’re transitioning to a different setting, one of the eligible supervisors there will add you as a supervisee before you start working with clients. In both scenarios, it’s worth checking the BACB Certificant Registry to confirm that your supervisor is listed accurately.


Scenario: It’s the end of the month, and you didn’t meet the supervision requirements.

Solution: There are two things we suggest you do in this situation:

  1. Work with your supervisor. As you know, you are solely responsible for your RBT certification, so you must take the initiative to tell your supervisor when you aren’t in compliance with a requirement. Together, you can discuss what happened, find out why, and create an action plan to decrease the likelihood that it’ll happen again. Document these conversations by saving emails and taking detailed meeting notes, and send them to your supervisor so that they have a copy as well. AND
  2. Self-report to the BACB. Although this sounds serious, remember that submitting a self-report does not necessarily mean you’ll be in trouble with the BACB. It’s simply a way to acknowledge potential ethics violations and provide context. For example, in your self-report, you should say why you didn’t meet the supervision requirements that month and include your action plan. The BACB will review your submission and contact you about the next steps.

If you find that you are consistently unable to meet the supervision requirements and your supervisor isn’t taking your concerns seriously, we encourage you to reach out to the appropriate supports at your organization, like your RBT Requirements Coordinator.


Scenario: You waited too long to renew your certification, and the deadline passed.

Solution: We understand that things can get hectic in service-delivery settings, making it easy to miss your renewal date. That’s why we have a 30-day reinstatement period, which gives you an extra 30 days after your certification expiration date to submit and pay for your application.

Guidance for those who missed their recertification date infographic

If you’ve already applied for renewal and are waiting to hear back, take a look at the Application Processing Updates web page and the RBT Renewal Steps infographic.


Scenario: You’re struggling with your supervisory relationship.

Two people are having a conversation. A speech bubble between them has a contented smiley face inside.

Solution: Your supervisor is there to help shape your professional skills, so having a positive relationship with them is important. If you want to talk to your supervisor about something but don’t know how, ask a trusted colleague for guidance. Consider role-playing the conversation. If you don’t think you can fix the issue with one-on-one communication, you should use the appropriate chain of command at your organization, just as you would for any other workplace problem.


Scenario: You think that your supervisor may have violated the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts.

Solution: This is never an easy situation to navigate, but it’s possible. First, try to communicate with your supervisor directly, as some alleged ethics violations can be chalked up to misunderstandings or solved without BACB intervention. We even have a handy resource to help guide you, the Addressing Potential Ethics Violations with Others podcast episode. However, if you don’t feel comfortable talking about it or the issue persists, you should review the Considerations for Reporting an Alleged Violation Against a BCaBA/BCBA document and the Reporting to the Ethics Department web page. These resources will help you decide whether you should submit a Notice of Alleged Violation.


Scenario: You violated the RBT Code, and/or you’re involved in an ongoing investigation.

Solution: If you violated the RBT Code, you must self-report it to the BACB within 30 days of the event or of becoming aware (e.g., your supervisor identifies a violation and informs you, you receive a Notice of Alleged Violation). The same applies to investigations that involve you.

If you’ve been named in a Notice of Alleged Violation, a few things will happen: Your supervisor will be notified, but as a professional courtesy, you should inform them as soon as you find out. This also gives them the chance to support you along the way. Later, you’ll be given an opportunity to respond to the alleged violation(s). We’ll give you instructions on what to do and how to provide supporting documentation. See the Code-Enforcement Procedures and Responding to Requests web page for details.


Thank you for taking the time to consider these scenarios that you might encounter as an RBT. We hope this blog post gives you all the tools you need to navigate the more complicated parts of your journey. Until next time.

Three people are standing in a line, and the woman in the middle is waving.

7 FAQs for RBTs Pursuing BCBA or BCaBA Certification


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Nearly half of all recently certified BCBAs and BCaBAs were RBTs when they applied. What does that tell us? For many, becoming an RBT is the first step on a journey toward BCBA or BCaBA certification. Knowing this, we’d like to answer some frequently asked questions about accruing supervised fieldwork for BCBA or BCaBA certification as an RBT.

Before we get started, let’s define supervised fieldwork.

It’s almost (but not quite) self-explanatory. Supervised fieldwork is our term for the time you spend providing applied behavior analysis (ABA) services under a qualified supervisor toward BCBA or BCaBA certification. It’s one of our most important eligibility requirements because it helps trainees develop the skills they need to demonstrate competence in ABA and work effectively with clients, their support systems, and others. Now, we can jump right in.

Three people standing in a line with an RBT, BCaBA, and BCBA certification above their heads.

1. Can I accrue supervised fieldwork while I’m an RBT?

A. Yes, but only if you meet the maintenance requirements for your RBT certification, including ongoing supervision, as well as the supervised fieldwork requirements for BCBA or BCaBA certification (see the Supervised Fieldwork Requirements section of the BCBA or BCaBA Handbook).


2. Are the requirements for ongoing RBT supervision and supervised fieldwork the same?

A. No. The minimum requirements per supervisory period differ as shown in the following table:

Requirements RBT Supervision Supervised Fieldwork Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork
Percentage of hours supervised per month 5% 5% 10%
Real-time, face-to-face contacts per month 2 4 6
Individual supervision per month 1 meeting 50% of supervised hours
Observations of trainee/supervisee providing services with client per month 1

3. Can I count the hours I spend delivering behavior-analytic services as an RBT toward supervised fieldwork?

A. In the right circumstances, yes. The thing to remember is that most of the time, RBTs take part in restricted activities. Here’s a refresher on the supervised fieldwork activities:

  • Restricted activities are those involved in the delivery of behavior-analytic services to a client. They should make up no more than 40% of your fieldwork hours for BCBA certification and no more than 60% of your fieldwork hours for BCaBA certification. Examples include implementing therapeutic and instructional procedures directly with a client.
  • Unrestricted activities are those that support and inform the delivery of behavior-analytic services. These activities are commonly completed by BCBAs and BCaBAs. Examples include conducting behavior assessments, writing and revising behavior programs, analyzing data, and training caregivers and staff.

To get the most out of supervised fieldwork and properly balance restricted and unrestricted activities, talk to your supervisor about your professional goals. This opens the door for you to discuss the experiences and hours you’ll need, why those experiences are important, and how you’ll manage your responsibilities as an RBT and a BCBA or BCaBA trainee.

A woman with her arm raised next to an icon of hands shaking.

An important thing to consider is that some of the hours you accrue as an RBT will not count toward supervised fieldwork, and that’s okay! Fieldwork isn’t just about checking boxes—it’s about making strides in your professional development. Your activities as an RBT are designed to help your clients progress toward their goals, and fieldwork is designed to teach you the skills necessary to work as a behavior analyst or assistant behavior analyst in the future.


4. Can I count the hours I spend receiving supervision as an RBT toward supervised fieldwork?

A. Yes, but probably not all of them. Why? The activities and topics that come up during a supervision meeting about your fieldwork are likely different and more advanced than those that come up during your ongoing supervision as an RBT. This is another great time to collaborate with your supervisor. Together, you can choose activities and topics that will also meet the supervised fieldwork requirements (see also Question 3).

If you take anything away from this answer, let it be that you and your supervisor are a team—and you should make the most of that. When you’re a BCBA or BCaBA, you’ll have more responsibilities and work more independently. So, while you still have a professional safety net, take the time to experience new things and develop your skills. That way, you’ll be fully prepared for whatever lies ahead.

Remember: While working as an RBT, it may be tempting to count as many hours as possible toward BCBA or BCaBA certification. However, the true purpose of fieldwork is to thoroughly prepare you for your new role, which will come from acquiring hours in different settings with different supervisors. In other words, choose quality over quantity. After all, you only get your foundational training once in your life.

5. Can I document supervised fieldwork in the same way that I document ongoing supervision as an RBT?

A. No. Although your documents and documentation systems might be similar, they can’t be the same because the requirements differ. For example, you need to keep a summary of each supervision activity for supervised fieldwork, but you don’t need to keep one for ongoing RBT supervision.

Once you’re ready to accrue supervised fieldwork, talk to your supervisor about proper documentation. Then, before each supervision session, identify the topics and activities they’ll cover so that you know which set of documentation requirements to meet.
Two folders with different documents inside, one saying 'RBT Ongoing Supervision' and the other saying 'BCBA & BCaBA Supervised Fieldwork.'

For details, review the Ongoing Supervision section of the RBT Handbook and the Supervised Fieldwork Requirements section of the BCBA or BCaBA Handbook. The Documenting Fieldwork: Helpful Answers to Your FAQs blog post may also be a valuable tool.


6. Can my RBT Supervisor also provide supervised fieldwork?

A. Yes, but only if your supervisor meets both sets of requirements. To ensure that all trainees get the instruction and support they need, supervisors must meet specialized requirements as shown in the Additional Requirements by Role table in the BCBA Handbook.

A supervisor showing a to-do list to a supervisee.

The easiest way to get an answer is to ask your supervisor if they meet the requirements to supervise fieldwork. You can also verify their eligibility by searching their name in the BACB Certificant Registry, but remember—especially as an aspiring BCBA or BCaBA, you want a supervisor who can give you the best information and learning opportunities possible. So, even if they’re qualified on paper, make sure they’re the right fit for your professional-development goals.

Lastly, don’t forget: For supervised fieldwork, you must have a supervision contract in place with each supervisor. The good news is that they’ll help you develop a contract once you agree to work with them. Before then, check out this Sample Supervision Contract for reference.


7. Which ethics code do I follow?

A. As you already know, RBTs must be familiar with and adhere to the RBT Ethics Code (2.0). You’ll also become familiar with the Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts during your coursework, and you must comply with it during supervised fieldwork. Again, we suggest working with your supervisor to best understand what’s expected of you. They’ll help you navigate which code is applicable to the role you’re in at any given time.


Do you feel more prepared to take this next step in your career? We hope so! We can’t overstate how important supervised fieldwork is for gaining the necessary skills you’ll need as a BCBA or BCaBA, so make the most of it. Enjoy this time of guided practice and close supervision before your role changes from behavior technician to behavior analyst or assistant behavior analyst.

If you don’t know where to go from here, check out these resources to get started:

BCBA and BCaBA Handbook These handbooks detail the ins and outs of how to become certified and stay certified.
Fieldwork Checklist and Tip Sheet This checklist walks you through the steps before, during, and after of fieldwork.
Commonly Asked Questions about BACB Supervised Fieldwork Requirements These resources have additional information about the fieldwork experience and requirements.
Documenting Fieldwork Hours
Documenting Fieldwork: Helpful Answers to Your FAQs

How to Represent Your BACB Certification Status


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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.

5 Must-Know RBT Application Tips

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Whether you’re submitting an RBT Initial Certification Application or completing your annual RBT Renewal Application, we understand that time is of the essence. We want you to have all of the information you need for a quick and painless application experience. That way, you’ll feel well-equipped to move forward with your application and to achieve your goals as an RBT.

So, before you click Submit, read ahead for tips on getting started, creating and/or maintaining your BACB account, thoroughly reviewing your documentation, and understanding the key differences between an RBT Initial Certification Application and an RBT Renewal Application.

Tip #1: Consult the RBT Handbook

For all RBT applicants, new or renewing, the RBT Handbook should be your go-to resource. In it, you’ll find helpful information about eligibility requirements, the application process, and requirements for renewing your RBT certification. We also suggest reviewing the handbook with your RBT Supervisor or RBT Requirements Coordinator, as they can help answer any questions you might have.

Tip #2: Give yourself enough time to prepare

This is vital! Because there are many moving parts in the application process, giving yourself ample time to prepare is one of the best things you can do. If you plan accordingly, you’ll have all the time you need to carefully review your materials, which may prevent application errors that cause processing delays beyond the standard 2-week timeline. This is especially important if you’re submitting an RBT Renewal Application. For specifics, check out the following application timelines:

Wondering when you’ll hear back about your application? You can see current application processing times on the Application Processing Updates web page.

Tip #3: Create and/or maintain you BACB account

Your BACB account is the doorway to your certification, and that certification belongs to you and only you. That said, here are a few things to keep in mind when creating and/or maintaining your BACB account:

  • Create your BACB account yourself. Don’t have anyone, including your future RBT Supervisor or employer, create your account on your behalf.
  • Don’t use your work or school email address when signing up. If you use your work or school email address to sign up, you may lose access to your BACB account if you lose access to that email address in the future. It’s always best to sign up using a personal email address.
  • Reach out to the BACB for assistance. If you lose access to your account for any reason, let us know through the Contact Us Form, and we’ll help you access your existing account. Please do not create a new account.
  • Keep all of your information current. If your address, name, or other personal information changes, be sure to update your account right away.
  • Add bacb.com to your email contacts and list of safe senders. This way, you can ensure that you’ll receive important messages. Also, be sure to check your spam folder periodically, especially if you’re waiting to hear from us.

Tip #4: Carefully review your documentation

When you’re eager to submit an application, it’s easy to accidentally forget a key piece, like a document, attestation, or signature. The problem is that a missing piece can make the application process not-so-easy. If documentation is missing, incorrect, or does not indicate that you meet the necessary requirements, you’ll experience delays in processing times, as the review process starts over each time you resubmit.

To avoid delays as best you can, consider reaching out to your current or future RBT Supervisor or RBT Requirements Coordinator for additional support—and make sure to review these essential documentation requirements:

RBT Initial Certification Application RBT Renewal Application
  • All documentation must be uploaded in the RBT tab of your BACB account. Multipage documents must be combined into a single file, as each section of the application only allows 1 attachment.
  • All documentation must be correct and complete (i.e., all necessary boxes are checked; all required dates, signatures, and pages are included).
  • The RBT 40-Hour Training Certificate must include this statement: This training program was based on the RBT Task List (2nd ed.) and is designed to meet the 40-hour training requirement for RBT certification. The program is offered independent of the BACB.
  • The RBT Initial Competency Assessment must be completed within 90 days of submitting your application payment, and the assessor (and/or assistant assessor) must:
    • complete all applicable fields,
    • initial all applicable tasks,
    • indicate how each task was assessed,
    • include their printed name and correct certification number, and
    • sign according to the Acceptable Signatures Policy.
  • All documentation must be uploaded in the RBT Renewal tab of your BACB account. Multipage documents must be combined into a single file, as each section of the application only allows 1 attachment.
  • All documentation must be correct and complete (i.e., all necessary boxes are checked; all required dates, signatures, and pages are included).
  • The RBT Renewal Competency Assessment must be completed no more than 45 days before your RBT certification expiration date, and the assessor (and/or assistant assessor) must:
    • complete all applicable fields,
    • initial all applicable tasks,
    • indicate how each task was assessed,
    • include their printed name and correct certification number, and
    • sign according to the Acceptable Signatures Policy.
Note: If the documentation that shows you have met the education requirements is in a language other than English, it must be translated into English using an official translation service. Note: There are 2 versions of the competency assessment. Please refer to the label at the top of the document to ensure that you’re using the correct one. Initial Competency Assessments will not be accepted for a renewal application, as Renewal Competency Assessments require the completion of 5 tasks instead of 3.

Tip #5: Sit back and relax

When it comes to submitting an RBT Initial Certification Application or RBT Renewal Application, we understand how important it is for you to get an approval as soon as possible so that you can take the next steps in your RBT journey. By following this guidance and enlisting the help of your supervisor, you’ll feel confident that you can submit an approvable application in no time. And don’t forget—we’re rooting for you!

Thank you for taking the time to check out these pointers. For more RBT-related resources, visit our Registered Behavior Technician web page. For questions, please reach out via the Contact Us Form.

FAQs About the 2023 International Changes

Globe image with red "Applications" banner on top

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.

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.

RBT Certification Updates

Inside the BACB: Episode 20

RBT Certification UpdatesIn this episode of Inside the BACB, Deputy CEO Dr. Melissa Nosik and Director of Certificant Services Dr. Molli Luke share recent RBT updates, including numerous tips and resources for training, applying, testing, supervising, and more.

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