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January 14, 2013

Massachusetts Becomes 10th State to License Behavior Analysts


On January 9, 2013, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law H4555, which provides for licensure of applied behavior analysts and assistant applied behavior analysts by the state Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals. The law states that applicants for licensure as applied behavior analysts must provide evidence that they completed a doctoral degree program that included at least 60 credit hours of coursework "related to the study of behavior analysis" or a master's degree program that included at least 30 credits hours of such coursework as well as a course sequence approved by the Board of Registration. Those applicants must also provide evidence of successful completion of supervised experiential training and passage of an examination in behavior analysis approved by the Board. Applicants for licensure as assistant applied behavior analysts must provide evidence that they completed a bachelor's degree program that included at least 135 classroom hours of instruction or other coursework in behavior analysis, supervised experiential training, and an examination, all of which must be approved by the Board. The governor will appoint two behavior analysts to the Board of Registration, which must then develop regulations that detail licensure eligibility requirements and how the practice of licensees will be overseen. For a period of 4 months after those regulations are promulgated, the Board may grant licenses as applied behavior analysts to Board Certified Behavior Analysts, individuals with doctoral degrees from programs that included at least 60 credit hours of coursework related to behavior analysis, and individuals with master's degrees from programs that included at least 30 credit hours of coursework related to behavior analysis and who can provide evidence that they have been practicing ABA for at least 5 years. During that 4-month window the Board may also grant licenses as assistant applied behavior analysts to Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts.

Another bill that was filed during the last legislative session, which proposed to have behavior analysts licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Psychologists, did not get through the legislature.

Further information about H4555 is available from APBA Affiliate the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (www.babat.org).