Every two years, like clockwork, Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) go through the same drill: submitting their recertification applications with the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) to keep their credentials current.
The most time-consuming part of the whole process is fulfilling the mandated continuing education requirements. For a BCBA, that’s 32 continuing education units, with 4 CEUs in ethics training and 3 CEUs in supervision for supervisors. For BCaBAs, it’s 20 CEUs with the same hourly requirements in ethics and supervision.
While it’s intended to be spread over the two-year cycle, it’s still a chore to line up the required coursework or events and attend them. It can be even more difficult to find interesting topics that genuinely continue your education. Often, local options are few, and while conferences and seminars out of town are fun, they’re expensive and time-consuming to attend.
Increasingly, behavior analysts are turning to a new option for meeting their CEU requirements: online webinars.
How Webinars Fit Into Your Options For Fulfilling BCBA Continuing Education Requirements
The BACB outlines seven types of continuing education elements that can be used to fulfill your obligation:
- College or university coursework
- Credits from authorized continuing education (ACE) providers
- Non-authorized events
- Instructing type 1 or type 2 courses
- Credits direct from the BACB
- Retaking the BCBA examination
- Scholarly activities
There are some restrictions on how much of your continuing ed you can meet through some of these activities: types 3, 5, and 7 can only account for 25 percent of your CEUs, while only 50 percent can come from type 4.
Webinars generally fall into types 2 and 3 (although you can also consider some online college coursework—type 1—as a sort of webinar).
The good news is that type 2 credits, which must be offered by ACE providers, can be used to fulfill your entire CEU obligation. That means you can take care of all 32 credits right from your kitchen table… usually at a far lower cost than attending traditional continuing education courses.
The real question is, should you?
Webinars Are Best When Combined With Traditional Courses
There are increasing numbers of ACE providers putting up webinar content. You’ll find all types of course content available online. In many cases, these are offered by the same training providers and use the same instructors as the type of courses you might attend in-person.
Although you could take care of all of your CEUs through webinars, it’s probably a better idea to take them judiciously. Although they are easy and inexpensive, and although the content can be top-notch, you are inevitably missing part of that vital friction that comes from an in-person learning experience.
Webinars can be clunky and many of them effectively amount to watching a video online. Although most allow some sort of mechanism for asking questions or providing feedback, viewers are often hesitant to do so… or are simply disengaged from the presentation.
It’s a good idea, then, to commit to taking care of at least a quarter of your CEUs through more traditional means. Whether that’s attending a seminar in your own town or going to a more distant event, it will force you to get out and rub shoulders with other practitioners and put you in a room with the trainer directly. There are plenty of benefits from actually exchanging ideas naturally and directly in such an environment.
At the same time, using the webinars to cover most of your required credits allows you to take courses that are easier to attend and more likely to align with your particular interests. That can help keep you engaged as well as getting you up to date in some of the latest techniques being used in the industry.
Teaching Webinars Also Earns You Credits
Finally, you might consider teaching webinars yourself. Under type 4 CEU credits, if you teach a college course or a course offered by an ACE, you can count those instructor hours as your own continuing education.
Performing this via webinar holds all the same advantages as it does for webinar students. You have the convenience of teaching the course without having to travel or taking care of all the related trivia of coordinating space and setup needs.
Although there are certain technical hurdles to be jumped, any ACE that allows webinar courses will have the resources to put together a technical support package to get you through them.
It’s also a great way to get exposure to students and ideas from other parts of the country who you might not encounter in a local class option.
Either way, webinars are becoming more and more mainstream. If you aren’t already using them to take care of your BCBA CEUs, there’s a good chance that you will find yourself doing so in the near future. Carefully consider your options and interests before signing up, but don’t hesitate to dive into online courses as a resource for continuing education.