A Parent’s Guide to Changes in Behaviour Analysis Certification UK

A Parent’s Guide to Changes in Behaviour Analysis Certification UK

In the ever-evolving field of behaviour analysis, staying up to date with crucial developments is essential for families. In this blog, we delve into the significant changes happening to Behaviour Analysis Certification in the UK, providing the need-to-know and background information for parents and families.

Why is This Important For Families?

Understanding the impending changes to Behaviour Analyst Certification in the UK is important for families who rely on the expertise of behaviour analysts to support their loved ones, for the following reasons:

  1. Knowing What to Look For – It is essential for families to seek services from professionals who are qualified and adhere to the standards set by the relevant professional body. The professional body, the names of qualifications and associated acronyms are all about to change!
  2. Documentation Matters – Families will benefit from understanding the newly introduced acronyms and their importance in their child’s education and support plans. Terms like ‘BCBA’ are often used in official documentation such as IEP’s, EHCP’s and Statements. It’s worth considering whether to incorporate the new qualification names and acronyms in your upcoming review meetings, ensuring that you are well prepared with an understanding of them.
  3. Regulatory Requirements – Professional bodies hold us to account for quality and ensure that regulatory aspects such as DBS checks and insurance are in place. The UK-SBA will be responsible for this going forwards and there will be a new register to check credentials.

Evolution of Certification

The Behaviour Analysis Certification Board (BACB) is a US based certification board currently used globally by behaviour analysts to gain the prestigious Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) qualification.

In December 2019 a significant shift was announced when the BACB released information that from January 2023, they would only certify applicants from authorised countries; US, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, with the goal of eventually limiting this to only the US and Canada.

This decision was prompted by a number of concerns raised in their December 2019 newsletter.  For example, is it viable to have global requirements for a single profession? Can global certification programs meet accreditation standards? Are BACB certification requirements appropriate for some countries, but not others?

Fortunately, the UK Society for Behaviour Analysis (UK-SBA) was already working on the development of a UK-based certification board and organisation. With a mission to act in the public interest by promoting safe and ethical practice underpinned by the science of behaviour analysis, their vision is to be the home of behaviour analysis in the UK. As a result, The UK-SBA will take over from the BACB as the organisation and certification board for behaviour analysts in the UK. This means there will be some changes to the names of qualifications for our behaviour analysts.

The Grandfathering Period: What It Means

From the 1st of January 2026, the UK-SBA will take over the role of newly certifying behaviour analysts in the UK. All BCBAs who are based in the UK and are members of the UK-SBA will be grandfathered to the new and UK equivalent qualification until 31st December 2025. The table below denotes the previous BACB qualification for behaviour analysts, and the corresponding UK-SBA equivalent qualification.

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What is a UKBA(cert)?

A UKBA(cert) is a post graduate-level professional who practices behaviour analysis in the UK, under the certification requirements of the UK-Society for Behaviour Analysis (UK-SBA). As a postgraduate professional, A UKBA(cert) will hold a Master’s degree and have completed postgraduate studies on an approved course sequence and undertaken intensive supervised training. A UKBA(cert) also agrees to follow the UK-SBA Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct and work to uphold high ethical and practice standards (UK-SBA, 2023).

What is an aUKBA(cert)?

An aUKBA(cert) is an associate behaviour analyst who practices behaviour analysis in the UK. An aUKBA(cert) possesses a Bachelor’s degree and is therefore a graduate-level professional who has met the certification requirements of the UK-SBA by undertaking intensive supervised training. Like a UKBA(cert), An aUKBA(cert) agrees to follow the UK-SBA Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct (UK-SBA, 2023).

What about RBTs?

The UK-SBA are currently working on an equivalent qualification for RBTs and hope to release information as soon as possible. We’ll keep you posted on this.

Skybound’s Transition Plan

The Skybound team will continue to follow guidelines from both the BACB and the UK-SBA until January 2026, when we will move over to only UK-SBA. You may see some of our consultants sign their emails as both BCBA and UKBA(cert) in line with both boards for now. We’ll also display our BCBA and UK-SBA certification numbers on the individual profiles of each staff member on our website.

In line with our core values, we will:

 1) Continue to share our knowledge and skills

2) Act with integrity and accountability by embracing these changes in order for us to follow our vision of empowering people and those that support them to lead rich and fulfilling lives.

Additionally, this realignment supports our mission of providing bespoke therapeutic and training services to help children, adults, their families and staff teams to achieve their full potential.

Get in Touch

Please contact a member of our team at [email protected] if you have any questions or queries about these changes. We’re here to help!


UK Society for Behaviour Analysts. (2023) Available at: https://uk-sba.org/ukbacert/ (Accessed: 11/09/2023).

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