Guidance for RBTs During COVID-19

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. 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.

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.

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

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.

ASD Practice Guidelines Find New Home with CASP

ASD Practice Guidelines Find New Home with CASP

There’s no place like home – although sometimes it takes a little while to get there.

On March 25, 2020, the Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Practice Guidelines for Healthcare Funders and Managers (2nd edition) – commonly referred to as the ASD Practice Guidelines – were transferred to the Council of Autism Service Providers (CASP). The BACB first published the ASD Practice Guidelines in 2012, and the current and second edition in 2014. While such practice guidelines are traditionally published by membership organizations, the BACB’s Board of Directors authorized publication due to an impending need at the time to provide guidance to the many new funders developing ABA benefit plans as a result of legislative activity.

With its mission of cultivating, sharing, and advocating for provider best practices in autism services, CASP is an apt home for the ASD Practice Guidelines. Formed in 2015, the nonprofit organization is the official trade association of autism service providers. Its member agencies – all of which must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to evidence-based practice – care for more than 50,000 children and adults with autism across the U.S. Lorri Unumb, Esq., CASP’s CEO, is renowned for her accomplishments as vice president for state government affairs for Autism Speaks, where she led the autism insurance reform movement that resulted in all 50 states requiring meaningful health insurance benefits for autism. Unumb heads up CASP with Mike Wasmer, DVM, DACVIM, who serves as vice president of government affairs and special projects. Previously, Wasmer served as a director of state government affairs at Autism Speaks, and was instrumental in leading the passage of autism insurance reform laws. He is a frequent speaker on autism advocacy and policy, and has successfully advocated for the addition of ABA benefits in many self-funded health plans.

Following the transfer of the ASD Practice Guidelines, CASP plans to publish the third edition of the guidelines in 2021. For more information about CASP, and to download a copy of the ASD Practice Guidelines (2nd Edition), visit casproviders.org/asd-guidelines. Hear directly from Lorri Unumb and Dr. Jim Carr, CEO of the BACB, about the ASD Practice Guidelines transfer in an episode of the Inside the BACB podcast available for streaming now.

All BACB blogs are intended for general information only. Readers should refer to bacb.com for the most up-to-date information regarding BACB policies, standards, and requirements as blog content does not replace or supersede this information. All BACB blogs are the property of the BACB and may not be commercially reproduced or edited in any medium.

Episode 4: RBT Certification and the First–ever RBT Handbook

In this episode of Inside the BACB, Drs. Melissa Nosik and Molli Luke discuss the recent publication of the BACB's first RBT Handbook and answer frequently asked questions about the RBT certification.

Resources:

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