What is licensure? How is it different from certification?
Licensed professionals are regulated by state law. Certification (such as through the BACB) is managed by the governing certifying entity. While the qualifications to become a licensed behavior analyst often mirror those of the certifying entity, licensure provides additional provisions for state regulation of the practice of behavior analysis and the use of the title "behavior analyst."
Why is licensure necessary?
Currently, there are no laws prohibiting the practice of ABA or the use of the title "behavior analyst" in the state of South Carolina. In a sense, anyone can say they practice ABA or say they are a behavior analyst (or any derivative of the term). This poses significant dangers for consumers, particularly those in areas of the state that are underserved by appropriately trained and certified behavior analysts. Individuals who are not certified by the BACB are not subject to following BACB ethical guidelines and the BACB can not impose any consequences on those individuals unless they are purporting themselves to be certified. As such, derivative terms, such as "behavior specialist," "behavior interventionist," etc. are becoming increasingly used by non-certified practitioners, resulting in increased confusion from consumers about who to go to for ABA services. Licensure is also necessary to protect the integrity of our science and practice, and, as a result, our professional reputation. As increasing numbers of individuals are practicing without the appropriate training and certification, the "definition of ABA" becomes increasingly blurred from a consumer perspective. Check out these articles for a more thorough review of the benefits of licensure-- Dorsey et al. (2009) and Guercio & Murray (2014)
Connect with your Legislator! One of the best ways to help the licensure effort is by connecting with your local legislators. Search for your representative using your business or home address/zip code.
Find your Representative Here
January 2020: SC ABA has contracted with The Southern Group to lobby the General Assembly on its behalf. SC ABA expects that legislation will be drafted in the coming weeks and introduced for future debate. SC ABA will communicate frequently between January through April regarding the status of this effort.
March 2020: SC ABA has tabled the 2020 licensure effort after consulting with Gina Green and The Southern Group. SC ABA will continue to work on creating a solid licensure bill to ensure comprehensive consumer protection that allows all of our current members in Good Standing with the BACB to practices as they do now.
Jan 2021: SC ABA, with the support of House Representative Shannon Erickson, has introduced a licensure bill! View draft bill here.
View a much easier to read summary of the bill here.
March 2021: Next steps: (1) Get a sub-committee hearing, (2) Full-committee hearing (3) Bill gets on the docket to be heard on the senate floor (4) Governor signs bill into law. This process will likely take until 2022
June 2021: On May 5, 2021, the Senate LCI - Professions and Occupations Subcommittee received testimony from interested parties on S. 630 (ABA Licensure). The Subcommittee Chair and bill sponsor, Senator Tom Davis, indicated at the beginning of the hearing that there were still some unresolved issues that needed to be worked out, and that the stakeholders would work over the summer to remedy those issues. The bill will receive another hearing when the legislature returns in January, 2022.
The subcommittee received testimony from Katie Phillips, LLR on some of the elements included in the legislation that conflicts with provisions of licensure acts of professions covered by the board of examiners that would be responsible to regulating the ABA profession.
The subcommittee then received testimony from Shirley Vickory, Board Chair, Board of Examiners in Psychology, Adrienne Davis, President Elect of the SCSHA, and Jim Ritchie, Executive Director, SCAHP. Zahra Hajiaghamohseni and David Greene each provided testimony on behalf of SC ABA.
The subcommittee received all testimony from those wishing to testify and "carried over" the bill without taking any action on suggested amendments.