December 17, 2010

Behavior analysts can now apply for state license

New law requires license to provide autism treatment

Jefferson City, Mo. - State regulators are now accepting applications from Missourians who want to be licensed to provide therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder. House Bill 1311, signed by Gov. Jay Nixon on June 10, creates a new licensing requirement for behavior analysts. The law includes Gov. Nixon's milestone initiative to require health insurance companies in Missouri to provide coverage for applied behavior analysis, the most effective therapy for autistic children.

House Bill 1311 created the Behavior Analyst Advisory Board to be overseen by the state agency that licenses psychologists. Under the law, applied behavior analysis may be provided by a state-licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, a licensed behavior analyst or an assistant behavior analyst working under proper supervision. State regulators expect to license 150 to 200 behavior and assistant behavior analysts.

 The new autism insurance mandate takes effect Jan. 1, which means most health insurers for the first time will be paying claims for applied behavior analysis, said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration. Since much of that therapy is provided by behavior analysts, it was vital for us to get these new regulations in place to allow for the application and licensing process by Jan. 1.

Among the requirements for licensing are a $150 fee, a photo and a criminal background check. Applications are available from the Behavior Analyst Advisory Board's website at or by phone at 573-526-5804.