The state of Utah only began licensing applied behavior analysts (ABAs), assistant applied behavior analysts (AABAs), and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT®s) in 2015. Consequently, many of the laws and regulations surrounding the profession are still being worked out in the real world.
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Licensing is handled by the state Department of Occupations and Licensing (DOPL) under authority granted by Title 58 of the Utah Code. Amendments were made to Title 58 in the 2015 General Session of the state legislature to add to existing rules for psychologist licensing under the Behavior Analyst Licensing Act.
While the Psychologist Licensing Board administers psychology licensing and professional matters, that board has no authority over behavior analysts, and no separate behavior analyst board has yet to be created. Consequently, all licensing is handled directly by DOPL, which also manages disciplinary and professional conduct hearings for behavior analysts.
There are two paths to getting your license in Utah, by examination, or by certification. Both involve essentially the same steps with minor differences in the qualifying requirements.
Although Utah offers a path to licensure outside of receiving professional certification from the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB), a national non-profit organization formed to establish and maintain professional standards in the field, DOPL rules make it much easier to become licensed in Utah for applicants holding a BCBA® (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) or BCaBA® (Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst) certification.
Utah does not provide temporary or reciprocal licensing for ABAs.
The terms for RBT®s in Utah are completely different from ABAs or AABAs. Utah uses the term “Registered Behavior Specialist” and “Registered Behavior Assistant Specialist” to describe individuals who gained licensure by experience under special circumstances during the window after the licensing law passed but before November 15, 2015. This allowed practicing RBT®s to be grandfathered in to the licensing requirements. However, no new licenses are being issued for that role.
Steps and Requirements To Becoming a Licensed ABA in Utah
|Earn a Master’s Degree in Behavior Analysis or Related Field with ABA Course Content|
|Complete a Period of Supervised Practice|
|Pass the BCBA® Certification Exam|
|Apply for Licensure with DOPL|
Step 1. Earn a Master’s Degree in Behavior Analysis or Related Field with ABA Course Content
Utah provides two paths to licensure but both require a master’s or a doctoral degree to start off with.
Education Requirements When Qualifying for Licensure by Examination
If you opt for licensure by examination, you will have to comply with the state rules for qualifying degrees for LBAs (Licensed Behavior Analysts). The listed requirements are for a master’s or doctoral degree in:
- Human Services
- Another field related to behavior analytics
To be qualified for licensure as an LABA (Licensed Assistant Behavior Analyst), candidates would need a bachelor’s degree in one of these fields.
The program must additionally include coursework in behavior analysis as approved by the BACB.
Education Requirements When Qualifying for Licensure by Certification
If you opt for licensure by certification, you will have to obtain a degree compatible with BCBA® eligibility requirements.
Accredited graduate degree in behavior analysis, education, and psychology are all acceptable options, as long as they include the course content allocation guidelines or have otherwise been pre-approved by developing a BACB-approved course sequence.
The BACB will review courses that are not on its current list in order to determine whether or not they meet the course content allocation guidelines. This process must occur before you take the BCBA® Exam and may delay you until the courses have been approved.
The BACB will automatically accept any ABAI (Association for Behavior Analysis International) accredited program.
You may also obtain a post-graduate certificate from a program that includes a BACB-approved course sequence, regardless of what field your master’s degree is in.
Today, many students are electing to take their master’s degree programs in applied behavior analysis online. You can find a program that is directly aligned with your chosen practice area more easily and without relocating. The ability to time shift your coursework to hours that are not traditional class times also makes it much easier to attend graduate school while still working a regular job.
For more information about the process of earning a BCBA® or BCaBA®, see the following page on the subject:
Step 2. Complete a Period of Supervised Practice
Earning a BCBA® involves a fairly stringent period of supervised practice in the field under a previously-certified supervisor. The practice requirements vary depending on the specific type of experience, which can include supervised independent fieldwork or regular or intensive practicum as part of your degree program.
Those experience standards 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)
You must earn a C grade or better as part of your practicum courses for them to be accepted.
If you are following the licensure by exam path, the state of Utah only recognizes 1500 hours of experiential behavior analysis training (1000 hours for AABAs) within five years under a qualified instructor as qualification.
In either case, if you opt for independent fieldwork, you will likely have to line up your own job and supervisor to accumulate the required hours. Some Utah employers that might be able to satisfy that experience include:
- Affinity Behavior and Mental Health Services, Lehi
- Applied Behavior Connections, Salt Lake City
- North Eastern Services, Salt Lake County
- Intellegis, Murray
Step 3. Pass the BCBA® Certification Exam
For both paths to licensure, you must take and pass the National Behavior Analyst Exam from the BACB. The exam is administered by Pearson VUE and offered in exam centers around the nation.
The sites available in Utah are:
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® or BCaBA® before you will be allowed to sit the exam.
The required passing score for Utah is 76 percent.
Step 4. Apply for Licensure with DOPL
Applying for a license is the final step. License application forms can be downloaded from the DOPL website here. The application fee is due at time of filing and costs $120. The fee is not refundable.
If you obtained a BCBA® or BCaBA®, your licensing application will be very straightforward. In addition to filling out the questionnaire, you only need to submit official documentation of your certification from the BACB.
If you are applying for license by exam, you will have to include:
- Your official transcripts to prove you hold an appropriate degree
- Documentation of having completed your supervised experience
- Exam results from the National Behavior Analyst Exam
License Renewal for Behavior Analysts in Utah
Licenses in Utah expire on September 30 of even numbered years. You are responsible for filing your renewal form even if you do not receive notice from DOPL. The renewal fee is $93 for LBAs and LABAs, and $78 for registered behavior specialists.
Although the law includes provisions for continuing education, DOPL has not yet defined any specific requirements to fulfill. You will want to continue watching the DOPL website for information about developing requirements.