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Illinois Association for Behavior Analysis
Illinois Association for Behavior Analysis

Licensure for Behavior Analysts

In alignment with its purpose, ILABA has been pursuing licensure for behavior analysts in the State of Illinois since 2014.  

                                            Frequently Asked Questions

What is licensure? How is it different from certification? 
Licensed professionals are regulated by state law. Certification (such as through the BACB) is managed by the governing certifying entity. While the qualifications to become a licensed behavior analyst often mirror those of the certifying entity, licensure provides additional provisions for state regulation of the practice of behavior analysis and the use of the title "behavior analyst." 

Why is licensure necessary? 
Currently, there are no laws prohibiting the practice of ABA or the use of the title "behavior analyst in the state of Illinois. In a sense, anyone can say they practice ABA or say they are a behavior analyst (or any derivative of the term). This poses significant dangers for consumers, particularly those in areas of the state that are underserved by appropriately trained and certified behavior analysts. Individuals who are not certified by the BACB are not subject to following BACB ethical guidelines and the BACB can not impose any consequences on those individuals unless they are purporting themselves to be certified. As such, derivative terms, such as "behavior specialist," "behavior interventionist," etc. are becoming increasingly used by non-certified practitioners, resulting in increased confusion from consumers about who to go to for ABA services. Licensure is also necessary to protect the integrity of our science and practice, and, as a result, our professional reputation. As increasing numbers of individuals are practicing without the appropriate training and certification, the "definition of ABA" becomes increasingly blurred from a consumer perspective. Check out these articles for a more thorough review of the benefits of licensure-- Dorsey et al. (2009) and Guercio & Murray (2014)

Got more questions? Head over to the Discussion Forums and post your question there. We'll also continue to update this page with answers to any frequently asked questions.

                                                            Get Involved!

Attend Lobby Day! 
Behavior analysts are the best advocates to help educate legislators about the what we do and why state licensure for behavior analysts is needed. 
Lobby Day is our opportunity to gather at the Capitol and present a united voice. For more details and to register to participate, click here.

Connect with your Legislator! 
One of the best ways to help the licensure effort is by connecting with your local legislators. Download the HB 2710 Education and Fact Sheet here to guide your discussions with legislators. Need help finding your legislator or want some additional guidance on how to navigate these discussions? Fill out this form and either a committee member or our lobbyist will be in touch with strategies and suggestions for how to engage your legislators

Join the Committee!
The Legislative Affairs Committee is always looking for more volunteers to help in this effort. If you're a member of ILABA and interested  in joining the committee, please email us at


February 2019
HB 2710 has been assigned to the Health Care Licenses Committee. We need your support now more than ever, especially if you are a constituent of any of the Health Care Licenses Committee members. Click here to view a full list of committee members. Unsure of what district you live or work in? Click here and enter your home and/or work address to find your legislators! If you'd like help in facilitating a meeting with your legislator, fill out this form and someone from the Legislative Affairs Committee will be in touch! 

House Bill 2710 has officially been filed. You can read the entire bill HB 2710. Unfortunately, the bill drafters made a significant error during the drafting of the definition of "licensed behavior analyst" (as noted in the document linked above), which will be revised during amendment. Please be sure to note this in any discussions you have with colleagues or legislators! Interested in knowing the reasoning behind some of the wording chosen in our bill? Feel free to contact us at

January 2019
Our new bill has been submitted to the Illinois bill drafters and we except to have a formal bill number to share shortly! We are very excited to announce our new Chief Sponsor, Rep. Kathleen Willis and Co-Sponsor Rep. Deb Conroy. Reps. Willis and Conroy are very passionate about our cause and we believe that, with their support, 2019 will be the year for Illinois licensure! 

Fall 2018
Due to the primaries and anticipated changeover in elected officials, further meetings with legislators were put on hold at this time.  The Legislative Affairs Committee instead has been hard at work connecting with various professional organizations to craft language in attempts to decrease the likelihood of opposition being presented when our bill is presented in Spring. Thus far, we've successfully collaborated with representatives from the IL state associations for psychologists, psychiatrists, advanced practice nurses, and QIDPs. We are continuing our discussions with with representatives from the IL state associations for marriage and family therapists, social workers, and school counselors and member of the Autism Task Force. 

Summer 2018
Coming off the heels of our sponsor pulling our bill from the Healthcare & Licensing Committee in Spring 2018, the Legislative Affairs Committee hit the ground running to gear up for Spring 2019. Dozens of ILABA members signed up to become Licensure Advocates and participated in advocacy trainings, hosted by the Legislative Affairs Committee. Committee members and ILABA advocates spent the summer meeting with their district legislators to educate them about what exactly ABA is, how behavior analysis is a distinct profession and different from other related professions, and the importance of ensuring the protection of consumers of our services through state licensing. Many members even hosted legislators at their agencies, so legislators could see first hand the impact our services have on the community. Since the spring legislative session, significant work was put into the draft of our bill based on the changing landscape of practice and the feedback provided by APBA and other states. 

Winter/Spring 2018
House Bill 5580 was introduced and sponsored by Rep. Dan Brady. Rep. Deb Conroy joined as co-sponsor after it was initially introduced to the Healthcare Licenses Committee. Despite the compelling testimony of ILABA members and hundreds of witness slips that behavior analysts and ABA advocates filled out prior to the hearing, we received significant opposition via witness slips the night before the committee hearing. We worked tirelessly with the opposition to craft language to address their concerns. Ultimately, however, we were not able to make headway with the committee due to widespread misunderstandings about the science and practice of ABA. We learned several lessons about the political landscape and the stakeholders involved and are eager to apply what we've learned moving forward, in anticipation of refiling in the next legislative session. 

Fall 2017
In October of 2017, ILABA secured Philippe Largent of Largent Government Solutions, LLC as our lobbyist to help us in our pursuit of licensure. The Legislative Affairs Committee eagerly began working with a Mr. Largent in this capacity based on the limited progress made to date on the two prior iterations of the licensure bill. In the short time before the onset of the 2018 legislative session, Mr. Largent helped us gauge the political landscape of Illinois, revise our bill based on past feedback we'd received from legislators, engage our sponsor, Rep. Dan Brady, and prepare written and oral testimony for the Spring legislative session committee hearings.

Spring 2017
During the Spring 2017 legislative session, Rep. Dan Brady filed House Bill 1970 as Chief Sponsor. After being referred to the Healthcare Licenses Committee, Reps. Keith Wheeler, Stephanie Kifowit, and Grant Wehrli joined as co-sponsor. However, significant work was still needed and we continued to meet resistance from the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation. Following this, the ILABA further engaged APBA and other state chapters to learn as much as we could about how to navigate this process. Ultimately, it was determined that we needed to engage the professional resources of a lobbyist in order to make further progress with the bill.

During 2014, began drafting its proposed licensure bill based off the BACB Model Licensing Act. ILABA engaged the states that had already passed licensure at that point and continued to refine our proposed licensing act based on the feedback and experiences of other states that had started or successfully completed this process. In February of 2015, Senator Michael Connelly filed Senate Bill 1895. After several committee reassignments and documented opposition from the Department of Financial & Professional Regulation and the Illinois Chapter for the National Association of Social Workers, the bill soon died. It became apparent that the language in the model act and the language used in other states would need to be significantly amended to match the expectations of similar licensing acts in Illinois.