[UPDATE (11/15/2017): AB 1715 is currently a “dead” bill. We will provide additional updates if the bill begins to move forward in the future.]
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is a treatment modality commonly used with individuals who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Some ABA positions offer above-average pay and hours toward licensure, making them highly desirable among marriage and family therapist registered interns. However, on May 2, 2016, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) sent out an e-mail to its members discussing proposed legislation (AB 1715) to establish a license for the practice of ABA. In the e-mail, the following statement was made:
“AB 1715 prohibits BBS trainees and registrants from practicing behavior analysis even if they are doing so to gain experience hours toward a BBS license. This is extremely problematic and concerning for those who are gaining hours currently in behavior analysis.”
As of today’s date (May 16, 2016), AB 1715 has been moved forward by the Assembly Business and Professions Committee and is currently being reviewed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Although this legislation has not yet reached the governor’s desk, it’s important for marriage and family therapist registered interns to consider how this legislation could have an impact on their job-searching process and overall journey toward licensure as a marriage and family therapist.
According to AB 1715, individuals who wish to practice ABA would have to “apply for and obtain a license from the board prior to engaging in the practice of behavior analysis, as defined, either as a behavior analyst or an assistant behavior analyst…meet certain educational and training requirements…[and] provide proof to the board of ongoing supervision by a licensed behavior analyst or a licensed psychologist who is qualified to practice behavior analysis.” AB 1715 would “require the registration of a behavior analyst intern by the board and would require the intern to be supervised by a licensed behavior analyst or a licensed psychologist who is qualified to practice behavior analysis.” Behavior analysis technicians would be required to practice “under the direction and supervision of a licensed behavior analyst, a licensed assistant behavior analyst, or a licensed psychologist who is qualified to practice behavior analysis.” The licensing requirements are listed in Article 3 of AB 1715, and they are quite extensive.
After reading over AB 1715, my understanding is that being a marriage and family therapist registered intern would not, in and of itself, permit an individual to practice ABA. Furthermore, since marriage and family therapist registered interns would need to apply for registration/licensure with a separate board, ABA experience may only count toward licensure as a behavior analyst – NOT as a licensed marriage and family therapist. If you are currently applying for, or considering applying for, an ABA position, then you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
“Am I prepared to apply for registration/licensure with the appropriate board/agency, should AB 1715 take effect in the future?”
“Will this employer provide me with appropriate supervision for ABA, now and in the future?”
AB 1715 goes on to state that the intention is for “the board [to] begin accepting applications for behavior analyst licensure, assistant behavior analyst licensure, behavior analysis technician approval, and behavior analyst intern registration no later than January 1, 2018.” This gives marriage and family therapist registered interns some time to consider their options (which is good news for those who currently hold ABA positions!).
(Image Credit: Rafał Konieczny)
What are your thoughts on AB 1715 and its proposed changes? Would you consider an ABA position if AB 1715 goes into effect? Share your comments below!