Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

Tiered Model Recognition (Tiers 2a-4b) Eligibility

Eligibility Requirements

The first step in the process is to initiate a formal eligiblity request. Prior to initating the request, we encourage programs to review the recognition standards. Programs seeking eligibility must submit their intent to apply letter, which must indicate how the program meets the eligibility criteria, according to the Transitioning to the Tiered Model Guidance document, and a program details document (see "Intent to Apply" section below). Additional information about program operations, scope, and goals may be included.


Programs in the United States must be:

  • housed in a public or private institution, 
  • authorized to confer degrees in its state of operation,
  • accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA),
  • and have at least one graduate**

ABAI will not award initial recognition to a program that is subject to an action by a recognized institutional accrediting organization or government agency that could lead to the suspension, revocation, or termination of accreditation or authority to provide post-secondary education.


Programs outside the United States must:

  • have legal authority to confer higher education degrees (as applicable), 
  • indicate how recognition will be beneficial to the programs and their students, 
  • indicate there is a commitment by program administrators to remain current on changes to educational standards and policies and to participate in continuing professional development opportunities (including those offered by ABAI), 
  • and have at least one graduate** 


**For established training programs, this criterion is waived through December 31, 2025 (see this guidance document for more information).


Programs located outside of the United States are permitted to apply to Tiers 1-4b, but those outside a higher education institution are only permitted to apply to Tier 4a or 4b. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis and upon evidence that the programs fall within the scope of the ABAI Tiered Model of Education.


Programs applying for recognition must be in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local government requirements. In cases where standards and these requirements differ, the more stringent will apply. If conflicts exist between government requirements and our standards, ABAI will defer to the government requirements. For non-U.S. programs, where there is a conflict between standards and policies and local laws, ABAI in consultation with the programs, will attempt to resolve the conflict in a reasonable manner that is beneficial to students.


Intent to Apply

The program is responsible for emailing a notification to ABAI indicating its eligibility and intent to apply for recognition via the Tiered Model of Education. The notification must be sent on institutional/organizational letterhead, containing the information outlined in the template. 

  1. Download template 
  2. Complete the appropriate program details document (bachelor's/undergraduate equivalent) (master's/graduate equivalent) (doctoral)
  3. Send completed letter and program details document to the ABAI Education Department


Modifed by Eddie Soh