By: Nahoma Presberg, MS BCBA

If you are interested in practicing behavior analysis in New York State, you might have started to look at what credentials are required to practice in different environments.

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) is the national governing board which is in charge of the BCBA® credential. If you are a Board Certified Behavior Analysit (BCBA®), you have completed the coursework and practicum and passed the examination administered by the BACB®.

In some states, this is enough to practice behavior analysis. However, New York State does not recognize the BACB® credential. Instead, there is a licensure process. While the BCBA® credential is technically not required in New York State, it is highly recommended that behavior analysts also earn this credential since it is the gold standard in the field.

The New York State license requires that you:

  • Have a master’s degree from a program registered by the Department or determined by the Department to be substantially equivalent to such a program, in accordance with the Commissioner’s Regulations
  • Complete 1,500 supervised hours with individuals with ASD in the practice of applied behavior analysis satisfactory to the Board and Department in accordance with the Commissioner’s Regulations
  • Pass the Examination (this is the same that you’d take to obtain your BCBA®)
  • Pass the New York State Autism Exam

There are two ways to obtain your New York State LBA (Licensed Behavior Analyst). Some people choose to get their LBA at the same time as they are working on their BCBA®. This can be done through a University masters program. Others choose to get their BCBA® prior to their LBA. In this situation, you would qualify to apply for a limited permit in New York State. The limited permit allows you to work as a behavior analyst for a year under the supervision of a licensed behavior analyst. Many people finish their requirements for the license under their limited permit.

Obtaining a Limited Permit

First, let’s talk about how to apply for and obtain a limited permit.

The first step is to submit the Application for Licensure, which is Form 1 on the New York State Office of the Professions website. Whether you are applying directly for your license or first applying for the limited permit, you will only need to submit this form once. It opens up your general application. With this form, you will submit the $300 application fee (also only paid once), and an additional $70 limited permit application fee.

The next step is to submit Form 2. This is the certificate of professional education. Some programs are licensed accredited institutions, which means that New York State has pre-approved the coursework, so getting your education approved should be a simple process. However, if you did not graduate from a pre-approved site, you can still demonstrate that your education meets the state requirements.

The next step for the limited permit is Form 5. This is the application for the limited permit itself. In order to receive a limited permit in New York State, you must have someone who is willing to be your supervisor. They will have to fill out the form with you, demonstrating to the state that you will have the appropriate supervision during the limited permit process.

It is highly recommended that once your limited permit gets approved, you finish your hours within a year because that is when the limited permit expires. If you are unable to finish the required hours within a year, you can reapply for the limited permit in order to complete this process.

Obtaining Supervision

If you are practicing with a limited permit in New York State, you are required to meet for 2 hours a week with your supervisor. These meetings can occur directly in sessions with patients or as meetings outside of a formal session. These meetings must occur face-to-face, but can be in person or via a webcam or virtual meeting space.

Applying for Licensure

At this point, you are ready to apply for licensure. Either you have completed your 1,500 hours at the same time as obtaining your BCBA® or you have completed your hours as a limited permit practitioner. Either way, you are ready to submit Form 4.

Form 4 is the Report of Professional Experience. This is the form that your supervisor signs to attest to the hours you have completed doing behavior analytic work with individuals with Autism.

Obtaining your license to practice behavior analysis in New York State can be a stressful and confusing process. This article attempts to outline the basic process of what you might encounter, but depending on your specific situation and background, there may be differences that you experience. Make sure to be thorough in your communication and documentation.

As a clinician who is in the process of obtaining an LBA, the strong recommendation is to call the Office of the Professions on a regular basis. They are often extremely busy with applications and it can take a long time for them to process paperwork.

However, if you call them regularly, they can give you more accurate updates about your process and let you know if you are missing any forms of documentation that you may have missed. Often times it can take many weeks or months to get any piece of the process completed. You should also expect long wait times in order to speak to a representative.

I wish everyone good luck with the process and a smooth transition to becoming a licensed clinician!

Please note: This post was written by a BCBA® familiar with the NY State LBA process based on personal experience. It is designed to provide insights based on this experience that may prove helpful to others seeking their NYS LBA. It does not constitute legal advice.

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