BCAT Credential Maintains Most Comprehensive Experience and Consumer Safety Requirements

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Board Certified Autism Technician credential’s stringent background and experience requirements reflect unmatched commitment to consumer safety and top-quality autism treatment.

A recent analysis of credentials available for behavior technicians working with individuals with autism revealed that the Board Certified Autism Technician (BCAT) certification requirements offered by the Behavioral Intervention Certification Council (BICC) requirements exceed the requirements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) credential. The analysis was conducted in light of concerns raised by Leaf and colleagues regarding the RBT’s effectiveness in the field of evidence-based autism intervention.

Because BCATs and RBTs often work with children, consumer safety has arisen as a concern of both parents of children with autism and the health plans and state agencies that fund autism treatment. The Certification of Behavior Technicians in the Field of Autism Treatment found that the RBT background check is “less rigorous” than the BCAT background check, saying, “The BACB explicitly states that the person attesting to the RBT applicant’s background check is ‘not required to review the background or registry report.’” Moreover, the RBT background check is not required to be active and ongoing, so the BACB would not be notified if an RBT committed a crime after receiving the RBT. In contrast, BICC requires BCATs to maintain “a traditional active and ongoing background check wherein…BICC is alerted in the future if a BCAT is arrested, charged, and/or convicted of a crime.”

Features of Certification - BCAT

  • NCCA-accredited program
  • Minimum of high school education
  • Must pass exam
  • Must be supervised
  • Must have autism-specific training
  • Autism-specific credential
  • Must have autism-specific experience    
  • Must have ongoing background check    
  • Requires primary source verification        

Features of Certification - RBT

  • NCCA-accredited program    
  • Minimum of high school education    
  • Must pass exam    
  • Must be supervised

The comparative analysis also found that only the BCAT requires an individual to have experience implementing behavior programs for individuals affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The article noted that this experience requirement is a critical difference between the BCAT and the RBT, saying, “BICC requires BCAT candidates to have autism-specific experience while the BACB has no experience requirement for RBT candidates.” It goes on to say, “Without actual clinical experience, Leaf and colleagues assert that ‘…it would be nearly impossible to ensure that RBTs have been successfully trained and have achieved any level of functional competency….’” The article points out that the BACB appears to use a competency assessment in place of an experience requirement but that the competency assessment “…raises concerns because the individual conducting the competency assessment may be incentivized to ensure that the RBT candidate passes the competency assessment.”

“BICC is grateful that the importance of consumer safety and autism-specific experience is being recognized,” said BICC’s executive director Teresa Cook-Guercio, MS, BCBA. “As the first organization to offer an NCCA-accredited credential for the behavior technician, BICC is proud to lead the way in ensuring treatment quality and consumer safety in the field of autism treatment.”

Currently, nearly 2000 individuals across the United States and internationally are certified as Board Certified Autism Technicians. That number continues to grow rapidly as insurers and consumers address the need for quality and safety standards in the field of autism treatment by requiring accreditation as a Board Certified Autism Technician.

About the Behavioral Intervention Certification Council: Founded in 2013, the Behavioral Intervention Certification Council (BICC) is a nonprofit professional certification organization acting in the public interest by establishing and enforcing education, examination, experience, and ethics requirements for behavior technicians treating individuals affected by autism spectrum disorder. BICC is an independent and autonomous governing body for the NCCA-accredited BCAT certification program. Certification as a BCAT demonstrates autism-specific competency and a commitment to consumer safety by individuals who treat the deficits and behaviors associated with autism using the principles of applied behavior analysis under the supervision of a behavior analyst, licensed psychologist, or other licensed professional acting within the scope of his or her license. To learn more about BICC, please visit https://www.behavioralcertification.org/

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