History

The Behavioral Intervention Certification Council (BICC) is a non‐profit organization established in 2013. BICC promotes the highest standards of treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through the development, implementation, coordination, and evaluation of certification programs. The twofold purpose of BICC is to (1) recognize individuals who are qualified to treat the deficits and behaviors associated with ASD using the principles and procedures of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and to (2) enhance public protection.

BICC was initially established with support from the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), a forprofit organization established in 1990. CARD was founded based on peer‐reviewed studies showing that intensive early intervention using ABA could effectively treat the core deficits and behaviors commonly associated with ASD. This treatment modality was considered a breakthrough at the time, given the history of autism being poorly understood clinically. Thousands of subsequent studies established the effectiveness of ABA in treating ASD, and 39 states now require private health plans to include coverage for ASD treatment using primarily ABA.

The success of ABA led to the formation of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) for certifying behavior analysts. Although BACB has been a collaborative organization, two limitations of its certification aroused significant concern. First, BACB certification does not require autism‐specific education, training, or experience, which raises concerns regarding effectiveness in a complex and highly challenging clinical environment. Second, BACB policy relies on certificants to self‐report professional license revocations and criminal convictions, which raises consumer safety concerns across multiple stakeholders, including healthcare plans, other caregivers, parents, and state policy makers.

In collaborative discussion of these issues, BACB indicated that it did not wish to change its eligibility requirements for certification and did not wish to create an ASD‐specific credential. Believing that ASDspecific certification is necessary for optimal care, CARD decided to launch a certification program to eliminate the existing certification gap and design the program to be at an accreditation‐level quality. Consistent with the criteria for accreditation, CARD supported the establishment of BICC as a separately incorporated, non‐profit organization to manage the development and administration of the certification program.

BICC’s first credential, the Board Certified Autism Technician (BCAT) was launched in 2015 with the first exam administered in July. Certification as a BCAT demonstrates autism‐specific competency by entry‐level individuals who work under the supervision of a qualified health professional. Initial NCCA accreditation for the BCAT program was achieved in November 2015.