Soon behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts in Texas will need to be licensed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). The requirements for licensing and enforcement procedures take effect on September 1, 2018. The applications for licensure are slated to be available on June 15th.
Why Behavior Analysts Require State Licensure
Texas Senate Bill 589, signed into law in 2017, established the regulatory framework for behavior analysts. In the Bill Analysis by the Senate Committee Report speaks to the intent of SB 589 and the upcoming mandate for Behavior Analyst licensure. The analysis states: “The clinical practice of applied behavior analysis (ABA) requires extensive training and ongoing professional development as it incorporates knowledge drawn from the scientific literature and utilizes scientific methods.” Treatments utilized by behavior analysts require an approach called “functional assessment,” which is the systematic evaluation between behavior and environmental events. The Bill Analysis goes on to state that a “misapplication of functional assessment” can lead to worsening of behavior disorders for which the patient is seeking treatment.
Because of the nature of their work, it is necessary for behavior analysts to be highly skilled. Texas created a regulatory entity to oversee practitioners of ABA in direct response to the need to protect consumers, employers, and state agencies from individuals who are not adequately trained or whose practice falls below the profession’s ethical standards.
Who Needs to be Licensed?
Professionals who use the titles “licensed behavior analyst” or “licensed assistant behavior analyst,” or who use the title “behavior analyst” (unless exempt by law), and persons who engage in the practice of applied behavior analysis will need to be licensed in Texas starting September 1, 2018.
The following persons are exempt by law from the new requirement for licensure:

  • Licensed psychologists.
  • Other licensed professionals, if applied behavior analysis is in scope for their license.
  • Teachers and school employees of a private or public school.
  • Out of state behavior analysts providing temporary services for no more than 20 days per calendar year.

Also, paraprofessionals providing services under the direction of a licensee and family members implementing a behavior analysis treatment plan are not required to be licensed.
Use of the Title “Behavior Analyst”
As of September 1, 2018, only three groups can legally use the title “behavior analyst.” These groups are behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts licensed by the TDLR, exempt professionals as specifically listed in the law, and unlicensed persons who do not provide any direct services to individuals, such as instructors, researchers, and animal trainers.
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BERTOLINO LLP represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. If you are facing licensure issues or disciplinary action from a professional licensing board or state agency, contact us today or call (512) 476-5757 and schedule a case evaluation.
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