|Abstract: The professionalization of applied behavior analysis in recent years has emerged from a number of influences. Accumulating knowledge from research has continued to improve the field's capabilities. Other professions, public and private service providers, and the culture at large have become more aware of the capabilities of this science-based technology. A growing demand for effective intervention for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders has driven more consumers and employers to seek behavior analytic services. Colleges and universities have responded to these demands by establishing professional training programs. The formation of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. (BACB) in 1998 has played a major role in this professionalization movement, greatly increasing demand for credentialed individuals.
These events have both highlighted longstanding needs associated with professional practice in this field and created new ones. Assuring the right of credentialed behavior analysts to practice independently of other professions is a central issue. Other needs include increasing recognition and support for BACB credentials, increasing the number of qualified behavior analyst practitioners, monitoring and influencing state, national, and international legislation, influencing actions of regulatory agencies, improving representation of the field in the media, supporting the formation and strengthening of state professional organizations, increasing the number of universities training behavior analyst practitioners, and increasing resources available to practitioners. The Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) has been formed to meet these challenges. This presentation will introduce APBA in the context of the challenges and responsibilities associated with professionalism.