Tips for New Certificants

Tips for New Certificants
First things first—congratulations! You met your eligibility requirements, passed your examination, and earned your certification. You just successfully finished what some believe to be the hardest part of becoming an RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA.

But now you’re facing a whole new set of challenges, including maintaining your certification and assuming your new role. To help you start off on the right foot, here are a few tips for your first weeks as a certificant.

Tip #1: Review the contact information in your BACB account

When you earn your certification, it’s important to review your BACB account and update any outdated or incorrect information. Although the BACB strongly encourages applicants to review and update their contact information as changes occur, this tip is especially important once you pass your examination and earn your certification.

But why is this review so crucial?

For one, within 4–6 weeks of passing your BCBA or BCaBA examination, your official certificate will arrive at the mailing address listed in your BACB account—however outdated that address may be. So, to prevent a mailing mishap, be sure to update your home address. Also take care to review your name, phone number, and email address, as outdated or incorrect information in any of these fields may create a problem down the line.

Tip #2: Get familiar with the Certificant Registry

The Certificant Registry is a database that includes vital information about all BACB certificants, including their location; certification number, status, and activation/recertification date; disciplinary actions or sanctions, if any; and availability for supervision services. It’s a valuable resource for employers, service recipients, applicants, and certificants alike, so we recommend getting to know it a little bit better.

As a new certificant, you will not appear in the database immediately. Like your certificant number, which may take up to 24 hours to appear in your BACB account, your name may take up to 48 hours to appear in the Certificant Registry. At that point, your certification information will become public.

Once your information is public, potential employers and supervisors can use the Certificant Registry to verify your certification. You can also use the registry to find and contact supervisors in your area if or when necessary. But be careful—as stated earlier, if your address is not updated in your BACB account, the registry may not reflect your current location.

We encourage you to give the Certificant Registry a try—maybe even search your own name to see how you will appear to others!

Tip #3: Update your resume and curriculum vitae

This tip is as short and sweet as they come, but it’s important nonetheless: Don’t forget to list your new certification on your resume and/or curriculum vitae! Once you enter the working world, you’ll want to ensure that your new title—and all of the hard work that went into getting it—is reflected on paper for potential employers to see.

Tip #4: Research your state’s licensure requirements

If you are a BACB certificant who intends to practice in the United States, you must adhere to your state’s licensure requirements before practicing or billing. This tip may be the most crucial in this list, as ABA practitioners who practice without licensure in regulated states may face serious consequences, such as disciplinary actions against their certification or even incarceration.

Follow these steps to learn more:

  1. Visit our U.S. Licensure of Behavior Analysts web page.
  2. If your state is regulated, click on your state in the table to navigate to its regulatory board website.
  3. There, you can find detailed information about your state’s licensure requirements and applications, if necessary.

Tip #5: Establish a maintenance plan

“There’s no such thing as too early!” – Bird that got the worm

It never hurts to be prepared, which is why it’s a great idea to begin establishing a plan to meet the maintenance requirements for your certification as soon as possible. As an RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA, you must meet specific requirements and complete certain tasks before you are able to recertify. It’s helpful to keep those to-dos in mind and plan ahead to avoid a last-minute panic or, at worst, an expired certification.

To create a maintenance plan, find out the length of your recertification cycle, the continuing education (CE) requirements that you must meet, if any, and the tasks that you must complete within the 45-day period before your recertification date. Then, do your research! Visit the Continuing Education tab in your BACB account to find a summary of the continuing education units needed for your current certification cycle or review the RBT Renewal Competency Assessment Packet—maybe even mark your target milestones on a calendar or planning app.

To get started, check out the following table to see a basic overview of the current BACB maintenance requirements for each certification.

Overview of Maintenance Requirements
Certification Recertification Date CE Requirements Ongoing Requirements 45 Days Before Recertification Date
RBT 1 year from original certification date Not applicable
  • Abide by the RBT Ethics Code and self-reporting requirements
  • Meet the ongoing supervision requirements
  • Complete a renewal competency assessment with a qualified assessor
  • Renew certification
BCaBA 2 years from original certification date
  • Complete 20 CEUs (4 in Ethics, 3 in Supervision if applicable)
  • Enter CEUs in your BACB account
  • Abide by BACB ethics and self-reporting requirements
  • Meet the ongoing supervision requirements
Recertify
BCBA/BCBA-D 2 years from original certification date
  • Complete 32 CEUs (4 in Ethics, 3 in Supervision if applicable)
  • Enter CEUs in your BACB account
Abide by BACB ethics and self-reporting requirements Recertify

For more detailed, in-depth information about current BACB maintenance requirements, please visit the RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA Handbook.

Tip #6: Check out the Resources tab in your BACB account

As a new BCBA or BCaBA, you have access to multiple behavior-analytic scholarly journals and databases. These journals and databases may be helpful resources for you as you integrate current research into your behavior-analytic practice activities—and the best part is that through your BACB account, they’re free!

We encourage you to take some time to explore the Resources tab, as spending time in behavior-analytic literature is one of the best ways to stay in the know about advancements in the field. In fact, in a profession that is rapidly advancing, your education will continue long after you pass your examination.

. . .

These six tips are not the end-all, be-all of your first weeks as a BACB certificant. No matter how thoroughly you plan and prepare, you will surely run into hiccups and roadblocks at one point or another. That’s simply the nature of doing something new. Even so, we hope that these tips help you more confidently assume your new role.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to applied behavior analysis. We are so happy to have you as a certificant. Best of luck!

Tips for a Smooth RBT Certification Application

5 BACB Resources You May Not Know About

So, you’ve decided to take your career to the next level and pursue certification as a Registered Behavior Technician, or RBT.

Congratulations! We’re rooting for your success, so we’ve put together some tips that will make the RBT application process as quick and simple as possible.

Tip #1: Read the RBT Handbook in full


This isn’t your everyday Terms of Service agreement.

Before completing your RBT application, it’s important to carefully review the RBT Handbook in full. In fact, we suggest that you review the handbook with the person who will become your RBT Supervisor or RBT Requirements Coordinator, as they will also be involved in the application process.

The RBT Handbook is a vital resource for potential RBT applicants because, among other relevant information, it includes:

  • a detailed description of the requirements you must meet to become certified
  • an overview of the application process
  • the documents that are required when applying

The RBT Handbook should be your go-to resource when applying to sit for the RBT certification examination. If you take the time to review it in advance, you’ll become familiar with each requirement and every nitty-gritty detail, which can only mean one thing: smooth sailing ahead!

Tip #2: Create your BACB account yourself


We get by with a little help from our friends—just not while making our BACB accounts.

Be sure to create your BACB account yourself with your personal email address. Do not have anyone, including your future RBT Supervisor or employer, create your account on your behalf. Also refrain from using your work or school email address when signing up, as you may lose access to your BACB account if you lose access to that email address.

When you create your own BACB account with a personal email address, you will have full access to and control over your account when it’s time to renew your certification down the road. Your BACB account is the doorway to your certification, and that certification belongs to you and you alone!

Tip #3: Thoroughly review your application documentation


Don’t let these be your famous last words: “It’ll be fine. I don’t need to double check!”


Before you click submit, it’s important to double check that your application meets all the documentation requirements expected of RBT candidates. As stated earlier, it’s a good idea to review your application with your future RBT Supervisor. Another set of eyes will help ensure that all the documentation requirements are properly met.

Unfortunately, the BACB has been receiving a high volume of applications with documentation that fails to meet the proper requirements. Here are a few reminders based on the most frequent issues we’re seeing:

  • Upload the correct documents into the RBT application and make sure that all necessary pages are included.
  • Check that your RBT 40-hour training certificate includes 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.”
  • Complete the Initial Competency Assessment within 90 days of submitting your application payment. In this form, make sure that the assessor (and/or assistant assessor):
    • completes all applicable fields (e.g., your name, assessor’s name),
    • initials all applicable tasks,
    • indicates how each task was assessed, and
    • signs according to the Acceptable Signatures Policy.

Here are a few reminders that only apply in certain circumstances:

  • If the Responsible Assessor for your Initial Competency Assessment determined that the “with a client” waiver was applicable to you during the COVID-19 pandemic, please make sure to merge your COVID-19 attestation and Initial Competency Assessment into one PDF before submitting.
  • If the documentation that shows you have met the education requirements is in another language, please make sure to have it officially translated into English before submitting.

In the mad dash to submit your application, it’s easy to accidentally forget a document, statement, or signature. But, if information is missing from your application or if the provided documentation doesn’t indicate that you meet the necessary requirements, you may experience delays beyond the standard two-week processing time.

We recognize how important it is to move through the application process quickly so that you can become certified and move forward in your career. That’s why it’s vital to double check that your documentation is complete and meets the appropriate requirements for RBT candidates. That way, we can send you off to sit for the RBT examination as soon as possible!

To view current application processing times, please visit the Customer Service Updates page on the BACB’s website.

Tip #4: Hang in there


The path to certification can be stressful and difficult at times, but being fully prepared can ease the pressure. If you take this advice and reach out to your supervisor for additional support when you need it, the application process will feel relatively painless and far less daunting. We sincerely hope that these tips improve your RBT certification application experience. Best of luck, future RBT!

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.

Online Proctored Testing Now Available for RBT Candidates

Effective April 15, 2020, live, online proctored testing is available for all RBT candidates via Pearson VUE's online delivery system, OnVUE. This option, which the BACB is offering to RBTs on a trial basis, is available while Pearson VUE's in–person testing facilities are closed due to the COVID–19 pandemic.

Online Proctored Testing Now Available for RBT Candidates

April 14, 2020

Effective April 15, 2020, live, online proctored testing is available for all RBT candidates via Pearson VUE’s online delivery system, OnVUE. This option, which the BACB is offering to RBTs on a trial basis following approval from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), is available while Pearson VUE’s in-person testing facilities are closed due to the COVID–19 pandemic.

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. 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.
  • The BACB and PearsonVUE will temporarily accept expired, government–issued IDs‚ candidates must have government–issued identification in order to sit for the RBT certification examination‚ through May 31, 2020. Both the BACB and PearsonVUE recognize the current inability to renew government–issued IDs due to the COVID–19 pandemic, and anticipate requiring non–expired government–issued IDs once again beginning June 1, 2020.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Guidance for RBTs During COVID-19

April 3, 2020

The COVID–19 pandemic continues to raise a lot of fear and questions for many people around the world and our RBTs are no exception. First, rest assured that you're not alone during this challenging and unprecedented time. We're doing our best to offer guidance that allows you to make sound decisions about your livelihood and enables you to maintain your certification while responding to your questions as quickly as we can. We encourage all RBTs to take a moment to review the following information.

RBTs Who Are Unable to Provide ABA Services
If you've been furloughed or lost your job because of the pandemic, you do not need to report this to the BACB. Also, you will not lose your certification just because you're not working. One of the RBT maintenance requirements is to receive ongoing supervision for 5% of the hours that you provide behavior analysis services. However, if you're not providing or billing for services, you don't need supervision for the month and your certification will remain active as long as you still have an RBT Supervisor or Requirements Coordinator on record with us.

RBTs Who Are Providing ABA Services
If you're currently able to provide services, you must meet the RBT supervision requirements, but we may be more lenient about requirements that involve interacting with clients (e.g., the number of RBT–client observations). It's very important to maintain detailed documentation in case you're asked to complete a BACB requirements audit. That documentation should include information about how the pandemic has impacted your services, supervision, etc., and the steps you and your supervisor took to try to meet the requirements. While there's no need to report these details to us right now, you should document them now and report them to us when you submit your annual RBT Renewal Application. For more guidance on meeting RBT requirements during the COVID–19 pandemic, please read our March 17th “COVID–19 Update from the BACB,” on this page.

RBTs Who Don't Anticipate Using Their Certification Soon
If you don't expect to use your RBT certification any time soon, you can apply for voluntary inactive status. While on voluntary inactive status:

  • your certification is listed as “inactive” on the Certificant Registry
  • you may not practice, bill, or represent yourself as an RBT
  • you don't need to submit renewal applications
  • you may remain inactive for up to two years
  • you must complete the RBT Request to Return from Voluntary Inactive Status form when you're ready to reactivate your certification

Please note: You may not reapply for voluntary inactive status until you have completed at least one renewal cycle after returning from voluntary inactive status. Voluntary inactive status is beneficial because it allows you to pause your certification. When you're ready to reactivate it within the two years you are allotted, you don't have to meet all of the eligibility requirements again.

RBTs Who Are Due to Renew Their Certification Soon
If your RBT certification renewal is coming up, a process that includes completing the RBT Renewal Competency Assessment, and you are practicing, coordinate with your supervisor/assessor about meeting the renewal requirements.

For all initial and renewal competency assessments received as of April 28, 2020, and until notified on the BACB’s COVID–19 Updates page, we will temporarily allow the “with a client” tasks to be assessed in a role–play situation with a client surrogate.

If you are a Responsible Assessor and you want those you are assessing to qualify for this temporary exception.

  • You (the Responsible Assessor) must complete the attestation and indicate on the Competency Assessment “role play.”
  • You and the applicant/RBT must keep this document in your records.
  • The applicant/RBT must submit this document with the competency assessment when submitting their RBT certification or renewal application.

Have Questions About Providing Services?
If you have questions about how to provide services during this time (e.g., whether you can provide telehealth services), speak with your supervisor, employer, and/or professional associations. As a certification board, the BACB cannot provide specific direction or recommendations on these topics.

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

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, OnVUE. For further information, please see the Online Proctored Testing Now Available for RBT Candidates post above.


April 2, 2020 (Modified July 14, 2020)

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.

BACB Suspends Fees for Voluntary Inactive Status Applications (This update has expired.)

July 6, 2020 Update: As of July 1, 2020, the unique Voluntary Inactive Status (VIS) applications, which were introduced for the temporary fee waiver related to COVID-19, were removed from use. Further, the standard VIS applications, with related fees, were reinstated.


March 31, 2020 (Modified July 6, 2020)

To help provide some financial relief for our certificants during this unprecedented time, the BACB had previously waived all fees for those applying for voluntary inactive status through June 30, 2020. Certificants wanting to make use of that temporary allowance needed to submit a unique version of the Voluntary Inactive Status (VIS) Application — previously available from this post — that pertained to their certification level.

Please note: Each BACB certification has different requirements for requesting voluntary inactive status. Please make sure you meet the relevant requirements for your certification level.