Applied Behavior Analyst (ABA) Rules in Progress

How may I participate in rule making?

The rules writing process is open to the public. The public is welcome to take part in helping us write rules. Rules are also known as regulations, Washington Administrative Code, or WAC. The rule-making process includes public notices and workshops, and usually a public hearing before a rule becomes final.

Current rules in progress

The Department of Health has been working on rule changes for the applied behavior analysis licensure and certification process.  

We have sent the rules to interested parties for review. If you wish to review and comment, we ask that you send your comments to aba@doh.wa.gov on or before June 15, 2022. The next Applied Behavior Analysis Advisory Committee meeting will take place on June 17, 2022, and further review will take place at that time. See the agenda (PDF) for more information regarding this meeting.

The Department of Health began revising the ABA rules in August 2020 when a CR-101 was filed. Two rule-making workshops took place in September 2020. Since then, we have invited interested parties to several meetings of the Applied Behavior Analysis Advisory Committee, where committee members and interested parties have had input in the current draft.

The attached proposal (PDF) is not the final draft. When ready, the department will file a CR-102 with the proposed draft and will schedule a hearing. Interested parties will be able to comment at the hearing or send written comment. We will consider all comments before the department files a CR-103 to adopt the final draft.

The changes include removing the requirement for AIDS education as that is no longer required by law, as well as moving some rules to a more appropriate location and clarifying some language without changing the meaning. In addition, the following is a summary of other changes proposed in the current draft:

  • References to specific certifying bodies have been replaced with "Secretary Approved National Accredited Professional Credentialing Entity." RCW 18.380.050 (3) states, "The secretary may accept certification by a national accredited professional credentialing entity in place  of the specific requirements." There are now three professional credentialing entities that are either already recognized or have asked to be recognized. The proposed rules are amended to indicate what is needed for secretary approval.
  • The rules now reference a clinical supervisor who oversees the regular duties performed by an LABA or CBT and a training program supervisor who oversees supervised experience by an LBA or LABA trainee or who oversees a CBT trainee.
  • LBA rules are amended to better specify requirements for recognized educational programs, required topics for classroom hours and supervised experience. This is done to be consistent with the LABA requirements.
  • The new rules relating to LBA and LABA require classroom hours to be part of a Verified Course Sequence if they are not part of the ABA degree. This means they must be a set of courses that have been verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International, or other organizations approved by the Secretary. This assures that staff can easily choose? courses that meet the criteria.
  • The clinical supervisor in charge of the regular duties for both LABAs and CBTs is changed to allow supervision by an individual otherwise qualified to practice ABA consistent with the exemption in RCW 18.380.030(1).
  • Clarification changes are made to the requirement for supervision disclosure for both LABAs and CBTs. This requires that a copy of the disclosure be given to the client or appropriate individual and is updated whenever there is a new supervisor. In addition, the rule is expanded to require a review of the disclosure document once per year and, if changed, it must be shared with the client or appropriate individual. The client file must include documentation to reflect each time it is reviewed.
  • The Certified Behavior Technician Training Program is changed to take out an option that the CBT program be affiliated with a postsecondary school or college. Colleges are training at the LBA and LABA levels and the experiential training will take place at an agency, business, or with an individual. The training program can verify education earned in the college setting.
  • Another change within the CBT training program is that the trainee has a year from the date they begin the training program to apply to the department. Currently, the requirement is to submit the application within 180 days. This was prohibitive to individuals who began their classroom education in the fall within a college program leading to an LBA or LABA but who did not start their experiential learning until the next summer.
  • The rules for the CBT training program are changed to clarify the amount of time the documentation will be kept. Currently, the rules state the documentation must be maintained but does not indicate the amount of time.
  • The rule relating to CBT continuing supervision is changed to clarify that the supervision referred to near the end of the rule is direct supervision and is in addition to the ongoing supervision referred to near the beginning of the rule. The change also clarifies requirements that are part of the direct supervision. Another change to the direct supervision is that the CBT needs to be observed with each client at least once every six weeks instead of once every three months.
  • Continuing education was changed to allow a rule for general requirements for LBAs and LABAs, along with a separate rule for each credential. However, the only change to the requirements is an addition to keep documentation for at least four years. This change is also made to the CBT competency rules.
  • CBT competency requirements are changed to allow for a CBT who is not currently working to renew their license. CBTs are currently required to obtain a skills assessment from an LBA within three months of their renewal. This requirement could prohibit a CBT not currently working from renewing the credential. The rule adds the ability for the CBT to renew by signing an attestation that the CBT is not currently working. It also requires that the CBT would then be required to obtain the skills assessment within three months of obtaining employment as a CBT.
  • A new section is added to allow a license to be issued to an individual who holds a credential from a state that has substantially equivalent requirements.
  • A new section is added to allow for a temporary license for an LBA.
  • Fees are changed to add the expired license reissuance fee referred to in WAC 246-12-040, to add a fee for the LBA temporary license and to clarify that the initial application fee applies to both the original application or the reciprocity application.