A History of the Professional Credentialing of Applied Behavior Analysts

Abstract

The need for a credible professional credential became apparent early in the history of applied behavior analysis. The first efforts to develop a system that identified behavior-analytic practitioners having a specified level of expertise in the profession began in the early 1970s. Over the years, a number of credentialing initiatives were developed in an effort to meet the profession’s growing needs for a means of establishing a meaningful professional identity. This article reviews the evolution of these initiatives, culminating with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and the more recent movement toward state licensure.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    We use the term “profession” to refer to ABA practitioners and their professional infrastructure and the term “discipline” to refer to behavior analysis as a whole.

  2. 2.

    A certificate program differs from certification in that the former is an assessment of a learner’s performance following a specific training experience and the latter indicates that an individual has met more extensive eligibility requirements (e.g., degree, coursework, supervised experience) and passed a psychometrically sound examination.

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Correspondence to James M. Johnston.

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Conflict of Interest

The second and third authors are employed by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, one of the article’s main topics.

Additional information

This article is dedicated to the memory of Jerry Shook, whose tireless efforts on behalf of professional credentialing will continue to strengthen the profession for years to come.

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Johnston, J.M., Carr, J.E. & Mellichamp, F.H. A History of the Professional Credentialing of Applied Behavior Analysts. BEHAV ANALYST 40, 523–538 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40614-017-0106-9

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Keywords

  • BACB
  • Behavior analyst certification board
  • Certification
  • Credentialing
  • Licensure