I was out at the BC-ABA conference yesterday and had a chance to meet with a lot of really fantastic people. It was extremely encouraging to see how the ABA community here in BC is really quickly maturing professionally, especially with the steady growth in behaviour analysts obtaining professional credentials.
I've never been one to blindly seek out credentials for the sake of having credentials (in fact I have made it a point to resist certain credentials), but this I believe is a positive move for a number of reasons and I hope more BA's continue down this path.
When I started my son's ABA program over 12 years ago, it was hard to find a good consultant. We had to rely on word of mouth reputations and still we cycled through a few who just didn't work out. Part of this I felt was a lack of real professional development. They had the knowledge but there were very few highly experienced local professionals to mentor and guide them. Even agency-affiliated consultants didn't always seem to get the career development support they appeared to lack. While they were clearly knowledgeable, their ability to implement and manage an ABA program was definitely hit and miss.
It's not just about having some letters after your name. What I saw yesterday was a night-and-day contrast to the world of a dozen years ago. Collaboration, mentorship, a commitment to professional development and lifelong learning. Humility and a willingness to learn and share. Certification is not only an important commitment to that path, but it provides parents with a justifiably higher level of confidence. It's not the only thing that matters and there are very excellent ABA consultants who do not have a certification, but it definitely helps.
Of course letters after your name only ever mean anything if the community is there to back it up; and a strong community was clearly in attendance. The movement towards increased certification is a clear symptom of a highly dedicated community of professionals.
That was a very encouraging thing to see and I think we all will benefit.