PA Behavior Specialist License – 5 Tips for Completing the Coursework Section of the Application (By Luthando)

The application process for the Pennsylvania Behavior Specialist License may seem like a daunting task. Indeed, each section in the application does require a good amount of attention to the details. But from personal experience, completing the verification process of the 90 hours of evidence-based coursework was quite time-consuming and challenging. I’ve provided five tips that may hopefully help you as you complete this section of the application. Of course, the best thing to do is to review the application instructions within the application.

*It should be noted that the information provided below is from my personal experience through the licensure process. It should not be considered official in any capacity. If you have any questions pertaining to the licensure process, you should contact the PA State Board of Medicine (see link at the bottom of the article).

90 Clock Hours

It’s important to remember that the license requires 90 clock hours not 90 credit hours. Think of clock hours being similar to most continuing education credits (i.e. 1 clock hour equals 1 CEU). On the other hand, 1 credit hour will usually equate to around 15 clock hours.

Talk to your school ASAP

For some of you, the coursework you completed to earn your Master’s degree may actually cover everything. I found this possibility to be more reflective for people who have a degree in Applied Behavior Analysis or with a concentration in autism since many of those courses are similar to the content areas required for the licensure. However, without contacting your university, you’re unlikely to know if you fall into this scenario right away. Moreover, even if you have a Master’s degree in a related field, your university is a main deciding factor in whether your coursework will count towards the 90-hour requirement. Fortunately, over the last year with licensure applications on the rise, it’s very likely that colleges and universities are becoming more aware of the coursework requirements for licensure. This means that your University just might have a plan already in place in how they match their courses with the requirements laid out by the licensure board.

One of the first things you should do is to contact a university representative in your respective department to see if they do have a something already in place. If they do not, hopefully you can get them to start the review process as soon as possible. You may find it best to work with them along the process, such as going through each course you took and to pass along your thoughts about what content area the course would fit into. In addition to getting you to think about where you may have some deficits so you can plan accordingly, it may just make them a little more willing to get all of your documentation completed in a timely fashion.

Utilize the Free Coursework

If you fall short on getting all 90 hours through your Master’s program, you do have several options for reaching that requirement. The Bureau of Autism Services (BAS) offers free online coursework and trainings that will cover every hour that you need. The online registration process is fairly straightforward, and you can easily browse the course catalogs, which are broken down into the 8 content areas. In addition to the courses being entirely free, once you pass the course, you can print your certificate right from your home or office.

Talk to Your Agency

If you work for an agency, you may have already taken trainings that have been approved by the BAS. I would advise that you speak with your training coordinator to see if any courses have gone through the approval process. If they have, make sure you get a certificate since you will have to include a copy in the application. If they haven’t, you may want to encourage them to look into it. In my opinion, it’s a great way for the agency to be a little more competitive, with minimal effort.

Alternative Coursework

For Board Certified Behavior Analysts, the licensure board accepts continuing education credits from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board that can go towards the 90-hour requirement. Remember, it is your responsibility to provide supporting documentation with your application. There are a number of great providers that offer these CEUs, but I would recommend the Florida Institute of Technology, as they have an entire section of online trainings devoted for the PA Behavior Specialist Licensure. The price comes to about $11 per clock hour and all courses are taught by some of the most revered behavior analysts in the field.


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