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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 6, 2017 12:05 PM
From: Representative Thomas P. Murt
To: All House members
Subject: Temporary Graduate Behavior Specialist License (Prior HB 1559)
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation which establishes a temporary graduate behavior specialist license.

In 2008 The Insurance Company Law of 1921 was amended by Act 62 to create a license requirement for behavior specialists to ensure that children with autism receive treatment and services from qualified providers. However, because Act 62 did not provide a pathway for Master’s level clinicians to obtain the experience necessary to become licensed, autism service providers are having difficulty hiring enough licensed behavior specialists to staff their caseloads. Under Act 62, in order to qualify for the license an individual must not only have a Master’s degree in an appropriate field, but also must have at least 1,000 hours of direct clinical experience with individuals with behavioral challenges. Master’s degree programs do not include that amount of clinical experience and service providers are not able to hire recent graduates. As a result many service providers are finding it very difficult to replace licensed behavior specialists who leave or retire. This shortfall of licensed behavior specialists is now impacting the needs of our children with autism.

Specifically, my legislation will create a new temporary graduate behavior specialist license that will allow individuals with the appropriate Master’s degree to work under the supervision of a licensed provider for up to one year while they accumulate the work experience necessary for full licensure. I believe this is a commonsense and simple solution to the problem, and is similar to the way other licensed professionals obtain their required work experience.


Introduced as HB709