Why is continuing education important for behavior analysts?

Haley Wood

on June 9, 2015

As the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) conference has ended and professionals in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis have returned from San Antonio, I feel it’s a good time to discuss the importance of the conference and getting continuing education hours.

According to the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts, all Behavior Analysts should “maintain a reasonable level of awareness of current scientific and professional information in their fields of activity, and undertake ongoing efforts to maintain competence in the skills they use…” Also, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board requires that a BCaBA, BCBA, or BCBA-D maintain a specific amount of continuing education hours. This means that a BCaBA, BCBA, or BCBA-D is ethically obligated to be current on new information in the field and required by their certification board to get continuing education hours to maintain their certification.

The ABAI convention is very beneficial to all professionals in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. During the convention, a professional is given access to some of the latest advances in the different areas of the field (e.g., autism, organizational behavior management, animal training, etc.). These advances can be taken and applied to the workplace or can inspire new topics for research. Another benefit of the conference is that professionals in the field are given the opportunity to network with other professionals that they may not have met without the conference. This allows them to discuss and collaborate about best practices and programs.

Some may wonder why their BCaBA, BCBA, or BCBA-D did not attend the ABAI conference. Some professionals choose to gain their continuing education via other methods. There are many other opportunities to gain continuing education such as classes and other trainings. Also, there are other conferences available, such as the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts conference, the ABAI International Conference in Kyoto, Japan, and other topic-specific conferences such as the ABAI Autism Conference.

Continuing education is important to the field of behavior analysis because the body of research and best practice is constantly changing and evolving. Professionals in this field must do their best to be aware of new information and enhance the quality of their services on an ongoing basis.