Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger: Who is Subject to Missouri Behavioral Analyst Licensing Requirements?

Behavior analysts are professionals entrusted to provide helpful environmental adjustments for autistic children and other people with behavioral disorders. In 2010 the Missouri legislature created a licensure requirement for anyone engaged in “behavior analysis.”  Their goal was to regulate and provide oversight over people who worked with these populations. Prior to 2010, Missouri simply accepted the national certification for behavioral analysts, which is administered through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

If you find yourself under scrutiny by the Missouri Behavior Analyst Advisory Board for your licensed practice of behavioral analysis, call an experienced Missouri licensing attorney immediately.

The Definition of “Applied Behavior Analysis”

Are you subject to licensure requirements for behavior analysis?  In Missouri, being subject to licensure is outlined by RSMo. § 337.300, which defines “applied behavior analysis” as the following practice:

(1) “Applied behavior analysis”, the design, implementation, and evaluation of environmental modifications, using behavioral stimuli and consequences, to produce socially significant improvement in human behavior, including the use of direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relationships between environment and behavior. Applied behavior analysis does not include cognitive therapies or psychological testing, personality assessment, intellectual assessment, neuropsychological assessment, psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, sex therapy, psychoanalysis, hypnotherapy, family therapy, and long-term counseling as treatment modalities.

In addition, the statute defines the “practice of applied behavior analysis” as:

. . . the application of the principles, methods, and procedures of the experimental analysis of behavior and applied behavior analysis (including principles of operant and respondent learning) to assess and improve socially important human behaviors. It includes, but is not limited to, applications of those principles, methods, and procedures to:

(a) The design, implementation, evaluation, and modification of treatment programs to change behavior of individuals;

(b) The design, implementation, evaluation, and modification of treatment programs to change behavior of groups; and

(c) Consultation to individual and organizations.

Accordingly, if you are working with individuals’ environments and environmental stimuli to improve their behavior, you are likely subject to RSMo. § 337.300 and must attain  one of several available licenses, which are ranked based on the degree of education attained by the holder. The licensure process and legal practice of behavioral analysis is governed by the Missouri Behavior Analyst Advisory Board.

What Licenses are Available for Behavioral Analysts?

LBA:               Licensed Behavior Analyst;

LaBA:             Licensed Assistant Behavior Analyst;

PLBA:             Provisionally Licensed Behavior Analyst;

PLABA:          Provisionally Licensed Assistant Behavior Analyst;

TLBA:             Temporary Licensed Behavior Analyst;

TLaBA:           Temporary Licensed Assistant Behavior Analyst.

The appropriate licensure depends on a practitioner’s level of education, training, and meeting requirements outlined by statute. The different licensure requirements also mandate certain amounts of supervision by a behavior analyst or analysts with superior certification.

Failing to meet these requirements can have significant consequences. It is important to note that in Missouri it is a crime under RSMo. 337.335, a class A misdemeanor, to either practice behavior analysis without a license or to practice beyond the scope of one’s license. It is clear that practicing without a license is inappropriate, but analysts also need to be aware of the bounds of their specific licensure.

Before you increase your degree of professional responsibility or take on significant types of new work, make sure it is within your license.  Attain written confirmation regarding the appropriateness of your work from your supervisor. While not a perfect defense, this sort of documentation may indicate in a subsequent review of your actions that you acted in good faith and were not trying to evade certification.

If you are a behavioral analyst in Missouri and are facing a threat to your license or an investigation by the Missouri Behavior Analyst Advisory Board, call Danielle Sanger today.

Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger is prepared to advocate for your best interests and defend your livelihood and career. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced and aggressive attorney for behavior analysts facing an investigation or occupational discipline.