Kansas began licensing Applied Behavior Analysts (ABAs) on July 1, 2016, implementing rules established in House Bill 2744. HB 2744 was passed in 2014, designed to mandate insurance coverage for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
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As a part of meeting insurance industry standards for providing billable services, the state included a licensing body to govern the process as part of the legislation to ensure that ABAs and AABAs (Assistant Applied Behavior Analysts) in the state would possess the professional qualifications necessary to safely and effectively provide behavior analysis services.
Unlike many states, however, the law does not establish firm requirements for meeting these qualifications, the licensing process, or renewals. Instead, the details of all of those regulations are delegated to the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board (KSBSRB).
Established in 1980 for the purpose of licensing psychologists and social workers, the KSBSRB’s jurisdiction has expanded over time to include oversight of a variety of other professions. The board has considerable powers to determine such regulatory aspects as:
- Licensing terms
- License fees
- Ethical requirements and standards of professional conduct
- License qualifications
The board also oversees disciplinary functions and license revocation.
Although it is not required by law, the board effectively adopts the certification standards of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) for ABAs and AABAs as qualification for a Kansas state license. A master’s degree in the field is the stepping off point to earning that certification.
Steps To Becoming a Licensed ABA in Kansas
|Earn at Least a Master’s Degree in Behavior Analysis|
|Complete a Period of Supervised Practice|
|Pass the BCBA® Certification Exam|
|Apply for Licensure with the KSBRB|
Step 1. Earn at Least a Master’s Degree in Behavior Analysis
The BACB’s certificate for ABAs, the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®), requires a master’s degree in either behavior analysis, education, or psychology that meets the board’s curriculum requirements.
Qualifying degrees must meet BACB’s Acceptable Degree Definitions and ONE of the following:
- Include a Verified Course Sequence (VCS).
All master’s or doctoral degree programs that hold accreditation from the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) include a BACB pre-verified course sequence as part of the curriculum.
Some schools also offer stand-alone ACS courses separate from graduate program curriculum specifically designed for candidates that already hold a graduate degree but that need to complete ABA courses to be eligible for the BCBA® Exam.
- If your graduate program does not include a BACB pre-verified course sequence, confirm that it meets course content allocation. Programs without a pre-verified course sequence would need to be evaluated when applying for the BCBA® Exam to verify curriculum requirements have been met.
Many students today opt for online master’s programs, which allow more flexibility and, frequently, lower costs than traditional options.
Master’s-level courses in applied behavior analysis cover topics that include:
- Behavioral assessments
- Behavior change methodologies
- Legal and ethical issues in behavior analysis
- Research and application in behavior analysis topics
A doctoral degree or educational specialist (Ed.S.) degree can also provide sufficient qualification for meeting BCBA® certification and Kansas licensure requirements.
For AABAs, only a bachelor’s degree is required. Board certification as a BCaBA® (Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst) and BACB-approved coursework are still mandatory.
Step 2. Complete a Period of Supervised Practice
Either as a part of your master’s program or as independent work in the field, you will have to undergo a period of supervised practice with patients in order to qualify for an ABA or AABA license in Kansas.
The experience standards are set by the BACB. They are:
- 1500 hours of supervised independent fieldwork (1000 hours for AABAs)
- 1000 hours of practicum (670 hours for AABAs)
- 750 hours of intensive practicum (500 hours for AABAs)
- Some combination of the three items named above
Supervised independent fieldwork is conducted outside the scope of your master’s program, usually in a working clinic or practice, where you may conduct assessments, design behavior analysis programs, or oversee implementation of such programs while under the supervision of a licensed ABA.
Practicum is conducted as a part of your master’s program, usually as an enrolled course for which you will receive credit hours. You must achieve at least a C grade in such courses for the experience to be counted toward BCBA® certification. Intensive practicum has the same standards, but with a higher ratio of contacts and supervisory oversight.
A current BCBA®-holder is required to provide supervision and evaluation for each of these categories. The supervisor will both attest to the completion of the required hours and evaluate your performance in a number of different aspects of care, including:
- Sensitivity to non-behavioral professionals
Step 3. Pass the BCBA® Certification Exam
After attaining your master’s degree and fulfilling all the necessary experience requirements, you will be eligible to take the National Behavior Analyst Exam from the BACB. The exam is administered by Pearson VUE and offered in exam centers around the nation.
There are four sites available for test-takers in Kansas:
- Overland Park
To take the test, you must first register online with the BACB. You will have to provide the necessary paperwork to verify that you have completed the educational and experience requirements for the BCBA® before you will be allowed to take the exam.
The exam is a 150 question, multiple-choice test covering:
- 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 4. Apply for Licensure with the KSBRB
Application forms for the LBA (Licensed Behavior Analyst) and LaBA (Licensed Assistant Behavior Analyst) credentials can be downloaded directly from the KSBSRB website here.
Currently, Kansas does not have any provision for the issuance of temporary or reciprocal licenses for ABAs or AABAs who have already acquired a license in another jurisdiction. However, proof of any out-of-state credentials held should be submitted with your license application and will be taken into account by the board when evaluating your qualifications.
The application fee for the license is $70, due at filing. The application requires:
- Personal identifying information
- A questionnaire establishing background information on ethics and malpractice investigations
- Proof of BACB credentials (BCBA® or BCaBA®)
- Proof of out-of-state licensure, if any
- Educational background including
- Name of institution, degree, and date of issuance
- Official transcripts from the degree program
- Attestation that you are familiar with state regulations and affirming the validity of the information submitted
License Renewal for Behavior Analysts in Kansas
LBA and LaBA credentials expire 24 months from the date of issuance. Renewal for an additional two-year term requires a $70 fee and, unlike the initial application, renewals can be filed online at the KSBSRB website here.
Kansas has strict requirements for continuing education for both LBA and LaBA license holders. Both must complete 30 hours of approved continuing education during each two-year license period. The 30 hours must include:
- Four hours of professional ethics training
- One hour of classroom instruction
You will be responsible for keeping sufficient documentation, including official transcripts or statements from instructors, to verify your participation to the satisfaction of the board. Random renewal audits are conducted by the board, which would require you to produce this documentation within 30 days of the expiration of your license.
The board does not have any explicit regulation covering lapsed or inactive licenses if you fail to renew on time. Instead, you will be expected to explain the circumstances of your failure and to inform the board whether or not you continued to practice as a behavior analyst during the lapsed period. The board will consider renewals and punishment on a case-by-case basis in such situations.