Behavior Analysis in Practice

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 424–435 | Cite as

A Call for Discussion About Scope of Competence in Behavior Analysis

  • Matthew T. BrodheadEmail author
  • Shawn P. Quigley
  • Susan M. Wilczynski
Discussion and Review Paper


The field of behavior analysis has defined its scope of practice through credentialing and licensure efforts. However, scope of competence in behavior analysis has received little discussion. Scope of competence refers to activities that the individual practitioner can perform at a certain criterion level (e.g., the functional analysis is conducted accurately and safely, a skill acquisition program includes critical program components and establishes accurate stimulus control). Given the successful efforts of behavior analysts in growth and recognition of the field, it is time for a robust conversation about scope of competence for the field of behavior analysis. This discussion can clarify how behavior analysts self-evaluate their own scope of competence and how they might expand their scope of competence if the needs of consumers require practitioners to expand into new areas.


Behavior analysis Ethics Scope of competence Scope of practice 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Linda LeBlanc and the five anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, edits, and suggestions on multiple versions of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special EducationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.MelmarkBerwynUSA
  3. 3.Department of Special EducationBall State UniversityMuncieUSA

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