How to Become an Applied Behavior Analyst in Alaska

Alaska has only regulated the practice of applied behavior analysis (ABA) since 2014, when the state legislature passed House Bill Number 361 (HB 361), amending Title 8 of the Alaska Statutes regulating businesses and professions. Incorporated as Title 8, Chapter 15, the bill had the strong support of the Alaska Association for Behavior Analysis (AKABA), a non-profit professional association that represents Alaska’s behavior analysts.

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Citing important public interest matters such as consumer protection, encouraging professional development, and expediting billing for behavioral analysis services, AKABA helped spearhead lobbying efforts to push HB 361 through the legislative process. The bill passed the vote unopposed in April 2014, and was signed into law in September 2014.

Licenses became required for ABA practitioners in Alaska on September 16, 2014.

The same bill imposed a similar licensing regime for assistant applied behavior analysts (AABA) in the state.

The state effectively adopts the standards of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), a national non-profit organization that offers nationally recognized certification to qualified applicants and that assists states in establishing licensing standards and other laws governing the practice of applied behavior analysis.

ABA and AABA licenses in Alaska are issued directly by the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development’s Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing Division.

Steps and Requirements To Becoming a Licensed ABA in Alaska

There are only four steps to becoming a licensed ABA in the state of Alaska:

Qualify to Sit for the National Applied Behavior Analyst Exam
Pass the National Applied Behavior Analyst Exam
Earn a Certification in Behavior Analysis
Apply for Licensure with the Alaska Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing Division


Step 1. Qualify to Sit for the National Applied Behavior Analyst Exam

In order to establish eligibility to sit for the national applied behavior analyst exam, you will have to meet many of the minimum requirements for the primary certification the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) offers for ABAs: the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®).

The BACB requires exam candidates to hold a master’s or higher degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, Psychology, or Education that meets BACB acceptable degree definitions and that includes substantial coursework in applied behavior analysis.

Programs on the BACB-Approved Course Sequence (ACS) list have been pre-approved as meeting the curriculum requirements. All programs accredited by the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) include the ACS and meet curriculum requirements. Programs through schools accredited by other accrediting bodies recognized by the US Department of Education may also meet curriculum requirements, but would be subject to a syllabus evaluation since they lack pre-approval.

ABAI-accredited online degree programs allow you the flexibility to complete coursework from anywhere, avoiding expensive relocation costs and out-of-state tuition fees.

You will also have to accumulate a number of hours of supervised practical experience before you can take the exam. The options for meeting this requirement fall into three different categories:

  • Supervised Independent Fieldwork completed independent of your graduate program – 1500 hours (1000 for AABA)

OR

  • Practicum completed as part of your graduate program – 1000 hours (650 for AABA)

OR

  • Intensive Practicum completed as part of your graduate program – 750 hours (500 for AABA)

The practicum options are available as part of a curriculum assigned by a qualified instructor, and you will have to pass that course with a C grade or better for the hours to count.

Supervised independent fieldwork has less stringent supervisory requirements, but involves more hours.

For each category, you will have to submit an attestation from your supervisor verifying both the hours practiced and your performance. Performance is assessed over 12 different categories, all of which are oriented toward measuring qualities such as:

  • Timeliness
  • Professionalism
  • Self-improvement
  • Skills acquisition 


Step 2. Pass the National Applied Behavior Analyst Exam

The language used in the laws that describe the licensing requirements and processes for applied behavior analysts in Alaska state that applicants must compete a ‘nationally-recognized examination.’ At this time, and likely for the foreseeable future, the only exam option is the BCBA® (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) Examination through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, administered by Pearson VUE.

To take the test, applicants must register online with the BACB. Once approved by the board, they are eligible to sit for the exam at a Pearson VUE testing center. There are two available testing centers in Alaska, in Fairbanks and Anchorage.

The exam has 150 multiple-choice questions and must be completed in four hours. The questions are divided into two general categories:

  • Behavior analytic skills
    • Fundamental elements of behavior change – 26 questions
    • Measurement – 15 questions
    • Experimental design – 11 questions
    • Behavior change systems – 8 questions
    • Behavior change considerations – 3 questions
  • Client-centered responsibilities (includes at least two ethics questions)
    • Intervention – 23 questions
    • Problem identification – 14 questions
    • Management, implementation, and supervision – 14 questions
    • Assessment – 12 questions
    • Measurement – 9 questions


Step 3. Earn a Certification in Behavior Analysis

Because state laws prohibit delegation of licensure authority to an outside agency, a BCBA® is not technically required in order to become an ABA in Alaska—the law is worded so that any recognized national certification will suffice. To date, however, the licensing division has not named any alternate certifying entity whose credentials are deemed acceptable. Given the fact that the BCBA® is the nationally recognized certification used for establishing a basis for licensing ABAs in many other jurisdictions throughout the nation and the world, it is very unlikely a competing credential will be introduced.

Consequently, acquiring a BCBA® is the next practical step toward acquiring an ABA license in Alaska. Find a detailed description of the credentialing process here:

Click here for step-by-step instructions on the BCBA® credentialing process.

Most of the requirements to attain a BCBA® will have been met in the course of qualifying to take the BCBA® (or BCABA, for AABAs) examination as described in Step 2.

AABAs are also required to maintain a certification. Similarly, the only currently recognized option is the BACB’s Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCABA) credential.


Step 4. Apply for Licensure with the Alaska Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing Division

Beyond the testing and certification components, the licensing division requires you to submit an application form that will require you to provide information about:

  • Personal information
  • Supervisor reference
  • Educational background
  • Behavior analyst credential or practice history
  • Criminal background information
  • Mental health background information

The application must include an authorization for release of official records and a verification of certification.

Applicants must also submit a completed 8” x 8” FD 258 fingerprint card from an approved state fingerprinting provider. A list of approved providers can be found here.

There is a $200 non-refundable application fee. Additionally, there is a $60 fee for fingerprint card processing.

All required forms, including the master application form, can be downloaded from the Corporations, Business, & Professional Licensing Division website.

An initial license fee of $500 (good for two years) must also be paid at time of application, but is refundable if the application is rejected for any reason.

For AABA, a verification of supervision must be included stating that direct supervision was provided by a licensed ABA. The license fee for AABAs is only $200, but all other fees are identical.

Temporary Licensing of Behavior Analysts in Alaska

Alaska does not offer reciprocal license recognition for ABAs. ABAs who are already licensed in other jurisdictions may apply for a full Alaska ABA or AABA license by credential, however.

The state law does allow the board to issue licenses on a temporary basis to ABAs who have already been licensed in another jurisdiction.

The fee for a temporary license is $100 and the application fee is $200. The jurisdiction that issued the original license must have requirements substantially equivalent to Alaska’s licensing requirements for ABAs. A temporary license is only good for 30 days, after which you must either apply for, and be awarded, a full license, or cease practice as an ABA.

Applicants for temporary licenses must still undergo fingerprinting and pay the $60 fingerprint and $200 application feeds. Proof of certification and license are also required.

The requirements for temporary licensing for AABAs are identical.

License Renewal for Behavior Analysts in Alaska

Your license will expire on September 30 of every even-numbered year, regardless of issue date (unless issued within 90 days of the expiration). The state is not obligated to provide notice of expiration—it is your responsibility to track and renew your license on time.

Renewal can be performed online here. Paper forms can be downloaded and sent in from the same site. Expect three to four weeks for processing regardless of the renewal method. Renewal costs $500 for a two-year license, but is pro-rated to $250 if the license had been issued less than a year before expiration.

There is no grace period for lapsed licenses and no provision for reinstatement of a lapsed licensed outside of going through the licensing process again from the beginning.

The requirements for license renewal for AABAs are identical, but the costs are only $200, pro-rated to $100 if the license had been issued less than a year before expiration.

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