When deciding on who will supervise your child’s ABA program, it is very important to consider the training and experience of that professional. Behaviour analysts are university educated allied health professionals who evaluate, design, and implement individualised programs to improve skills. In Australia, there are two pathways to becoming credentialed in behaviour analysis – the North American Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) pathway and the Australian Certified Behaviour Analyst (CBA) pathway. Professionals certified at the BCBA or CBA levels are independent practitioners who provide behaviour-analytic services. A CBA must live and work in Australia.
Both the BCBA and CBA credentials are graduate-level certifications in behaviour analysis and are both the gold standard in Australia. Some clinicians may hold both certifications and some may only hold one. The BCBA and CBA certification do have different application processes. These are based on the applicant’s education, supervision, recency of practice and English language proficiency. At this stage, one certification is not better than the other in Australia. It is possible that in the future, the BCBA certification will no longer be available in Australia. ABAA will no longer specifically advocate for recognition of the North American BCBA credential in Australia and instead is encouraging professionals to use the CBA credential.
As part of a tiered approach, there are also other Australian certifications available. An Australian Certified Behaviour Analyst – Undergraduate (CBA-U) is similar to a CBA but has completed less training and is not suitably qualified to independently supervise an ABA program. They may provide behavior-analytic services under the supervision of a CBA. This level of membership communicates completion of behaviour analytic course work at an undergraduate level and completion of formal supervision.
CBAs are part of a system of National self-regulation in Australia. Behaviour analysis is a self-regulated profession in Australia; therefore, registration or licensing is not mandated but strongly recommended. Benefits of this include that it allows the Australian behaviour analysis community to set our own standards of practice for what knowledge, skills, and experience are required for behaviour analysts to practice in a safe and effective manner. It also allows the Australian behaviour analysis community to develop a code of ethics and a complaint procedure that fits our values and apply it to the Australian context. These benefits lead to a more transparent profession that allows for increased consumer confidence in behaviour analysis as a profession in Australia. In the future, Applied Behaviour Analysis Australia (ABAA) will become a member of the National Association of Self-Regulating Health Professionals (NASRHP), and we will work to ensure that CBAs are recognised professionals in the wider Australian education and disability sectors, including the by the NDIS.
Super Kids acknowledges each individual’s personal preference to use identity-first or person-first language to describe themselves or their loved one. We interchangeably use both language conventions and therefore refer to both autistic children and children with autism.