Medical professionals who employ biofeedback therapy in their practice usually do so after obtaining biofeedback certification. While certification is not mandated by any regulatory agency, it does represent a mark of distinction among fellow clinicians. It also demonstrates that the professional has undergone peer review in terms of exercising ethical and professional standards in practice. There are several ways to get biofeedback certification.
First, biofeedback certification is not the same as a license to practice your primary profession, such as psychology or nursing. Those who seek certification without professional licensure are usually required to provide proof of the intent to deliver biofeedback services under the license and supervision of a qualified professional. In addition, a licensed professional may not be required to obtain biofeedback certification at all in order to provide biofeedback services. However, as previously mentioned, certification is considered desirable as it serves as evidence of competence and professionalism in the field.
There are certain educational requirements to meet in order to be eligible for biofeedback certification. At minimum, candidates are expected to hold a degree in a clinical health field. Acceptable proof usually consists of an original transcript from the issuing educational facility that bears an official seal. In the U.S., the degree must have been awarded by an accredited academic institution as defined by the American Council on Education. Those seeking certification in the U.S. and hold a degree in a clinical health-related field from another country may have their transcript reviewed by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).
The most widely recognized organization in the U.S. that offers biofeedback certification is the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA). Various medical centers and facilities in Europe provide biofeedback training, but do not appear to offer certification. This includes The Biofeedback Foundation of Europe and The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback of Czech Republic.
The curriculum guidelines and practical skills training vary depending on the training institution. The BCIA, for example, requires 20 hours of mentoring under an approved professional in addition to 50 supervised sessions with a patient. There is also an assortment of workshops and courses to take on anatomy, biology, and physiology. Those who hold a degree in a field other than psychology, or who lack any formal education in this area, will likely be required to take additional courses on the subject.
Biofeedback certification remains valid for four years, after which time the professional may apply for recertification. However, in order to qualify for recertification, the candidate must be able to show that they have completed at least 80 hours of continuing education that meets the certifying board’s approval. In addition, the professional must certify that his or her professional license has not been subject to suspension or revocation at any time.