There are two credentials that professionals in our field are interested in: New York State Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA) and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Below is information pertaining to these credentials.
- Licensed Behavior Analyst (see LBA website) (for answers to common questions, see the LBA Frequently Asked Questions section)
- Board Certified Behavior Analyst (see BCBA website)
LICENSED BEHAVIOR ANALYST
New York state provides credentials for one to legally practice ABA in our state. A licensed behavior analyst (LBA) can legally provide ABA services to individuals with autism and related disorders. There is also a certified behavior analysis assistant, which is a credential provided by the state for individuals who practice ABA with individuals with autism and related disorders under the direct supervision of a LBA (see consumer information and Q&A). There are other New York professions that have this type of service within the scope of practice, such as a Licensed Psychologist. Without an appropriate license, it is not legal to practice ABA.
An exception to the license rule is when one works in an exempt setting. Most public schools (elementary, high school, colleges) are exempt settings if you are a salaried employee of that setting. This means that one does not need to have a license to legally provide ABA services. However, having a license is still preferred, even in exempt settings.
BOARD CERTIFIED BEHAVIOR ANALYST
Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is a certification provided by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Broadly, certifications attest to a particular level of skill and some employers favor hiring individuals with certifications. In the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, the BCBA is considered the reputable certification. The BCBA credential is broad and not specific to working with any particular population or in any particular state. The BCBA credential is a national certification and many ABA employers in New York prefer to hire individuals who possess the BCBA credential.
The ABA MA program is registered as a licensure qualifying program with New York State (Licensure is in accordance with Subpart 79-17 of the New York State Commissioner’s Regulations. Applicants must meet additional requirements outlined by NYS Education Law Title VIII, Article 167 and Commissioner’s Regulation Subpart 79-17).
The curriculum of the ABA Master’s and Certificate programs are approved by the BACB for Task List 4 and the new BACB Task List 5.
Applying to Become a Licensed Behavior Analyst
- Go to the NYS website where they post forms: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/aba/abaforms.htm
- Complete Form 1, this is the general application
- Fill out page 1 of Form 2, then send the form to the registrar. The registrar needs to complete the second page
- In the meantime, order transcripts. If you order them online, you can mark them as "hold for attachment". Let the registrar know you are doing this so they can attach the LBA form 2 to the transcripts. This was all education materials are sent in one package.
- Complete Form 3 with each supervisor you had while you were a student. Remember, only Queens College-approved experiences that compliment coursework count. That is our fellowship program.
*Each of your supervisors needs to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to verify the total number of experience hours you accrued, including the start and end date. This information is put into Form 2.
Scope of Practice:
Scope of practice is the legal boundaries of services one can and cannot provide based on credentials (e.g., professional license). In New York, a Licensed Behavior Analyst is someone who practices Applied Behavior Analysis with "persons with autism and autism spectrum disorders and related disorders." See the state website here.
The law restricts the scope of practice, or the services one can legally provide, to individuals with a diagnosis of autism or a related disorder. In order to practice ABA with other populations of individuals, one needs to become licensed in a profession that includes ABA and those populations within its scope of practice. For example, the scope of practice for a Licensed Psychologist is broader and includes the practice of ABA with many populations.
Competence can be defined as skills that are "commensurate with their education, training, and supervised experience" (BACB, Professional and Ethical Compliance Code, see here, p. 4).
Scope of Practice v. Competence:
These are two different concepts. Scope of practice deals with professional licenses and the legal basis of providing some service. Competence deals with your qualifications and skill level in providing services. Sometimes these two concepts are in concert and sometimes they are in conflict. For example, a LBA with many years of supervised experience of providing ABA services to individuals with autism is in a good position. This person has a credential that includes the scope of practice of providing ABA services to individuals with autism and appropriate training. As a second example, someone may have a long history of high quality university training of providing ABA services to children with autism and children with ADHD. Once this second person becomes a LBA, that person has the competence and credentials to provide ABA services to individuals with autism. However, once an LBA that individual cannot legally provide ABA service to individuals with ADHD, despite his or her competence, because this type of service is not within the scope of practice of a LBA.
Curriculum for BACB Task List 4
A) 27 credits of Required courses
705.00: Statistical Methods in Psychology I (3 cr)
720.05: Autism OR PSY 791.3 Special Topics: Autism Treatment (3 cr)
730.00: Psychology of Learning (3 cr)
730.01: Theory and Method in Applied Behavior Analysis I (3 cr)
730.05: Applied Behavior Analysis: Measurement and Applied Project I (3 cr)
730.02: Theory and Method in Applied Behavior Analysis II (3 cr)
730.06: Applied Behavior Analysis: Measurement and Applied Project II (3 cr)
795.00: Fieldwork Project in Applied Behavior Analysis (3 cr)
771.3: Ethical Issues in Psychology (3 cr)
B) Comprehensive Exams and completion of 9-credits of electives
- See Comprehensive Exam Guidelines
- See a sample ABA Comprehensive Exam
- See another sample Comprehensive Exam
C) Qualifying Students may have the option to complete a 3 or 6-credit thesis to substitute for a portion of the elective course. Learn more about thesis options (Fall 2015)
List of Elective Courses:
|Applied Behavior Analysis Electives||Other Electives|
*maximum of 6 credits allowed from this list
Developmental Disabilities I (3 cr)
|Psych 700.00 History of Psychology (3 cr)|
Developmental Disabilities II (3 cr)
|Psych 703.1 Design of Psychological Research (3 cr)|
|Psych 720.03 Behavioral Intervention in Developmental Disabilities (3 cr)||Psych 708.1|
Basic Neuroscience: Neuroanatomy (3 cr)
|Psych 720.04 Behavioral Analysis of Child Development (3 cr)||Psych 708.4 Behavioral Neuroscience (3 cr)|
|Psych 730.04 Supervised Practicum in Applied Behavior Analysis (3 cr)||Psych 720 Developmental Psychology (3 cr)|
|Psych 730.07 Theories of Association (3 cr)||Psych 746 Social Psychology (3 cr)|
|Psych 731.00 Stimulus Control of Behavior (4 cr)||Psych 755 Psychopathology I (3 cr)|
|Psych 732.00 Motivation and Reinforcement (4 cr)||Psych 760 Psychometric Methods (3 cr)|
|Psych 791.3/754.00 Behavioral Sciences and Business (3 cr)||Psych 791.3/757.00 Organizational Diagnosis and Intervention (3 cr)|
|Psych 780 Quantitative Methods in Psychology (3 cr) *statistics course designed for evaluating single subject research designs|
BACB Exam Pass Rates
For BACB Examination Pass rates for Queens College ABA MA and Certificate Program graduates, please see the following link:
Queens College Yearly Pass Rates:
Year Pass Rate
Currently, both the LBA credential and the BCBA credential require 1500 experience hours. However, the conditions under which one can earn the hours is different and some experience may lead to meeting one, but not the other, experience requirement.
LBA requires 1500 hours of experience working with individuals with autism because this is the scope of LBA-practice. LBA requires having a supervisor who is licensed to practice, which can be a LBA, but can also be a licensed psychologist or social worker. For the LBA, until the education requirement is met, one must gain experience within an academic program, like in the fellowships we offer at Queens College or SIBS Club. Once one graduates, a LBA applicant must apply for a limited permit to practice until s/he has earned the license. See Experience on the state's Q&A webpage.
BACB requires 1500 hours of experience doing relevant applied behavior analytic work and has rules about the percentage of experience that can be direct care and percentage of supervision that can be group v. individual. BACB allows one to begin accruing hours once s/he has begun BACB-approved coursework and that experience must be supervised by a BCBA who has completed the supervisor training and the supervisor does not need to be affiliated with the program where the students are completing coursework. See BACB's experience standards.
The most direct path for meeting both the LBA and BACB experience requirements is to gain experience through program-related ABA experiences with individuals with autism that are supervised by individuals who possess both the LBA and BCBA credentials. After one has met the state's education requirement, if there are remaining experience hours, the applicant can apply for limited permit to work with individuals with autism and be supervised by someone who possesses both the LBA and BCBA credentials.