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Behav Anal Pract. 2018 Oct 24;11(4):424-435. doi: 10.1007/s40617-018-00303-8. eCollection 2018 Dec 31.

A Call for Discussion About Scope of Competence in Behavior Analysis.

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1Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education, Michigan State University, 620 Farm Lane, East Lansing, MI 48824 USA.
Melmark, Berwyn, PA USA.
3Department of Special Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN USA.


The field of behavior analysis has defined its scope of practice through credentialing and licensure efforts. However, scope of competence in behavior analysis has received little discussion. Scope of competence refers to activities that the individual practitioner can perform at a certain criterion level (e.g., the functional analysis is conducted accurately and safely, a skill acquisition program includes critical program components and establishes accurate stimulus control). Given the successful efforts of behavior analysts in growth and recognition of the field, it is time for a robust conversation about scope of competence for the field of behavior analysis. This discussion can clarify how behavior analysts self-evaluate their own scope of competence and how they might expand their scope of competence if the needs of consumers require practitioners to expand into new areas.


Behavior analysis; Ethics; Scope of competence; Scope of practice

[Available on 2019-10-24]

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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