How to Become an Applied Behavior Analyst in Louisiana

Louisiana began licensing Behavior Analysts in 2014 after Act 351 of the 2013 Louisiana State Legislature was passed.

The act created the Louisiana Behavior Analyst Board (LBAB) within the state Department of Health and Hospitals to administer licensure, registration, certification, and disciplinary actions for:

  • Behavior Analyst – An official license in Louisiana is only available to behavior analysts, which are designated in the state as Licensed Behavior Analysts (LBAs)
  • Assistants – Assistants are not licensed in Louisiana but are instead certified by the LBAB, which refers to them as SCABAs (State Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts).
  • Technicians – Referred to as Line Technicians or Registered Line Technicians (RLT) in Louisiana, RLTs are not licensed but must register with LBAB and work under the supervision of an LBA
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Act 351 was designed to be neutral as to the development and determination of national standards of practice in behavior analysis, and consequently does not specifically name the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) as providing qualification for licensed behavior analysts.

The act does incorporate, by reference, the BACB’s Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts and Professional Disciplinary and Ethical Standards of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board as a model for professional conduct standards, but also leaves open the door for LBAB to adopt its own standards.

LBAB is also free, within the strictures of the law, to adopt other qualifications and requirements, but in practice, the licensing process closely follows the BACB’s certification standards for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) certificate (and the BCaBA® for state certified assistant behavior analysts). In practice, many LBAs choose to acquire a BCBA® to align with national standards and meet employer expectations and requirements.

Because licensing in Louisiana is administered through a board of practicing professionals, the licensing requirements are less hard and fast than in jurisdictions where a state department handles licensing. Since they are knowledgeable and involved in the field, board members are apt to look at experience, education, and other qualifications in a big picture perspective. If you do not exactly meet the letter of the law, they are more likely to consider unique circumstances or other beneficial factors in your background when judging whether or not you should be awarded a license.

Steps To Becoming a Licensed Behavior Analyst in Louisiana

Earn a Master’s or Higher Degree with Coursework in ABA
Complete a Period of Supervised Practice
Pass a Nationally Recognized Examination in Behavior Analysis
Pass the Louisiana Jurisprudence Examination
Apply for a License From LBAB


Step 1. Earn a Master’s or Higher Degree with Coursework in ABA

Louisiana requires that all behavior analysts hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution. A doctoral degree or educational specialist (Ed.S.) degree can also provide sufficient qualification for Louisiana licensure requirements.

Act 351 does not specify the type of degree or course content but you will find that a degree in applied behavior analysis or in education or psychology with significant course content in applied behavior analysis meet the BACB’s acceptable degree definitions and include:

OR

  • Course Content Allocation (BACB syllabus evaluation would be required prior to sitting for the BCBA® Exam to make sure curriculum requirements were met)

Note: Approved Course Sequence and Course Content Allocation requirements are only necessary if you are pursuing the optional BCBA® certification; this is not a requirement for licensure in Louisiana.

Many students today opt for accredited online master’s programs which allow more flexibility, lower costs, and a greater variety of options than conventional programs. Additional options may better align with career goals by making degrees in education with a concentration in ABA available, as well as degrees specifically in behavior analysis.

Online programs offer a unique level of convenience by assuring you can complete a course of study with all the rigor of an on-campus program without having to relocate. Advisors work to make arrangements for practicums to take place at locations near you.

Note: Online programs accredited by the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) meet all BACB curriculum Requirements.

State Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst and Line Technician

For state certified assistant behavior analysts, only a bachelor’s degree is required. No degree is necessary for registered line technicians.


Step 2. Complete a Period of Supervised Practice

Note: Experience requirements are only necessary if you are pursuing the optional BCBA® certification; this is not a requirement for licensure in Louisiana.

Louisiana has no experience requirements as part of their licensing requirements, but the BACB requires that candidates accumulate a certain number of hours of practical experience before taking the national examination. Those standards are:

  • 1500 hours of supervised independent fieldwork (1000 hours for SCABAs)

OR

  • 1000 hours of practicum (670 hours for SCABAs)

OR

  • 750 hours of intensive practicum (500 hours for SCABAs)

OR

  • Some combination of practicum and independent fieldwork

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 an LBA.

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 by the BACB.


Step 3. Pass a Nationally Recognized Examination in Behavior Analysis

Louisiana requires applicants to compete a nationally-recognized examination. The only option for this exam currently is the BCBA® examination, administered by Pearson VUE.

There are three testing centers in Louisiana:

  • Baton Rouge
  • Metairie
  • Shreveport

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

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

State Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst and Line Technician

The BCaBA® exam for SCABAs covers similar topics but is less intensive and has only 130 questions.

No test is required for line technicians in Louisiana.


Step 4. Pass the Louisiana Jurisprudence Examination

Act 351 requires that all LBAs applying for licensure, and SCABAs applying for certification, take and pass a jurisprudence exam issued by LBAB.

The jurisprudence exam covers all applicable laws and regulations, including Act 351 itself, and additional regulations issued directly by LBAB, which apply to behavior analysts practicing in Louisiana.

The questions and exact content of the test are not published but are expected to focus on topics that include:

  • Supervision requirements for SCABA and line technicians
  • Field of practice allowed for LBAs
  • Ethics and professional standards mandated by law
  • License renewal and continuing education requirements
  • Disciplinary procedures


Step 5. Apply for Licensure with the LBAB

Once all the pre-application requirements are met, you will file an application with LBAB for your LBA license or SCABA certification.

The filing fee is $400 for LBAs and $250 for SCABAs. Line technician registration, which does not require the following information or verifications, is only $50 (like other applicants, however, line technicians are required to pass a criminal background check).

You will have to provide detailed information about your educational background, including the name of institutions attended, the dates of attendance, and any degrees achieved. Full transcripts will have to be provided directly from the institutions to the board.

If you have achieved a BCBA® or BCaBA® certification, you will be asked to provide verification of that credential. Similarly, if you have been licensed in another state, you must provide proof of that licensure with your application.

Louisiana does not offer reciprocal credentials for behavior analysts licensed in other states. The board may offer a temporary license at its discretion, however, for a $125 fee.

Applicants also must:

  • Complete a criminal background check approved by the board
  • Submit proof of good moral character
  • Provide at least three professional references
  • For SCABAs, provide proof of supervision

License Renewal for Behavior Analysts in Louisiana

Licenses and certification in Louisiana must be renewed annually. Renewal fees are identical to the initial license fee for both SCABAs and LBAs.

Licenses expire on December 31st and the renewal period begins in October. The renewal forms are available on the LBAB website.

Failure to renew will cause the license to lapse. Whether or not it can be reinstated is at the discretion of the board. You will have to provide a justification for non-renewal and may be required to reapply from the beginning, or you may be allowed to renew late for the regular fee, depending on your reasons.

Although it’s not a part of the renewal process, it is mandatory for both LBAs and SCABAs to undergo continuing education. Tracked on a biennial basis, LBAs must have 32 credits of continuing education and SCABAs 20 credits. There are six categories that can be counted for credit:

  • Academic
  • Scholarly activities (journal publication)
  • Approved events
  • Non-approved events (approved by the board on a case-by-case basis)
  • Instructing a continuing education event
  • Passing a BACB exam

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