Deciding which type of supervision can be puzzling, until you learn what the difference between the three is. I decided to give a short description of each type of supervision, as well as the pros and cons so you can do your own evaluation by the end of this blog post. Hope this helps you narrow down the type of supervision that is right for you!
What are the types of supervision?
There are three options of supervision for pursuing your BCBA or BCaBA:
- Supervised Independent Fieldwork
- Intensive Practicum.
1. What is Supervised Independent Fieldwork?
Supervised Independent fieldwork is the most common supervision that requires 1500 experience hours required to qualify for applying for the BCBA exam, and 1000 hours to qualify for the BCaBA exam. This type of supervision is done with an experience setting and is the most common. One benefit to supervised independent fieldwork is you often can find a work placement that offers supervision, so you can get paid for restricted hours. The only downside to this type of supervision is it takes the longest. Sometimes, taking longer can work out better if it corresponds with your school program. You can also take this time to study for the exam!
What are some experience settings?
Well, if you have a BCBA available in your area, you may be looking at a clinic or home setting for ABA. If you are a behavioral aid in the school system, you may have a BCBA in your district that is willing to meet with you for supervision. All of these experience settings would allow you to successfully complete your supervision, with an available BCBA who is willing to supervise you.
If you are working in a school district, or at a clinic that has limited supervisor availability, it might be beneficial to contract a BCBA in your area, look at remote supervision, or look at practicum options.
2. What is Practicum?
The second type of fieldwork is Practicum which requires 1000 experience hours and requires more supervision (7.5% of all hours supervised instead of 5%) along with more contacts. Practicum is always through an accredited university approved by the BACB. Practicum has benefits, as it allows you to move quickly through supervision, although it requires a more intensive approach. Depending on availability, it can be difficult to find practicum placements. Benefits to practicum include being able to finish your hours sooner, and guaranteed hours.
I had experience teaching practicum and found the supervision to be very effective. All of the supervisee’s hours were remote. Our practicum was structured to include an hour of group sessions per week, which was a great way to collaborate on task list concepts and experience setting scenarios.
3. What is Intensive Practicum?
Lastly, the third option is intensive practicum which is similar to regular practicum but requires 8 contacts per supervisory period, 750 hours, and 10% of all hours must be supervised. This is the most intensive and is offered through universities approved by the BACB. Though a benefit can be finishing hours sooner, the intensive practicum may be difficult to juggle if you are also working on your coursework simultaneously.
What is available?
Depending on what is available to you in your current area, depends on the type of supervision to select. If you do not have a supervisor in your area and are looking for remote supervision, we provide online supervision.
Our online supervision encompasses an individualized track that will give you the opportunity to develop the skills required to become a BCBA/BCaBA. This includes detailed concept reviews, practice with designing and implementing behavior analysis programs for clients, in-depth discussion about current ethical considerations. Including test preparation in our supervision sets us apart from others. If you are looking for in-person supervision, you can search qualified supervisors on the BACB website.
Overall, I successfully completed my supervised independent fieldwork and felt that the 1500 hours gave me the time I needed to fully complete my Master’s program, along with gain the clinical experience needed. Taking the full two years to finish my independent fieldwork also gave me plenty of time to study and prepare for the exam. It worked for me!
Feel free to comment below your input, and email me with questions!
What’s the point of supervision?
Whether you are just investigating this whole ABA track, or just beginning your supervision journey, this information will help you understand the nature of supervision. Before I started supervision, I was overwhelmed by the number of options and didn’t know where to start. I created this quick start guide to help pave the way for an easy understanding of the purpose of supervision for BCBA/BCaBA certification.
The purpose of BCBA/BCaBA supervision is to gain personalized experience with a BCBA and apply behavior-analytic concepts include in the BACB task list, and other applied behavior analysis principles in order to prepare to enter the workforce as a BCBA.
How much supervision do I need according to the BACB?
For the 4th Edition task list, individualized supervision for BCBA requires 1500 total experience hours, 5% of which are supervised by a BCBA. This equates to approximately 75 hours by the end of your supervision. If you are planning to apply for the exam under the 4th edition, you need to submit your application prior to December 31st, 2021.
For the 5th edition task list, the BACB is updating the requirements for supervision starting in 2022 requiring 2000 hours of supervision with 5% of those being supervised. There is also a concentrated fieldwork option that requires candidates to obtain 10% supervised hours. Click here for more information.
Individualized supervision for BCaBA requires 1000 total hours, 5% are supervised which equates to approximately 50 hours of supervision.
For the 5th edition task list, the BACB is updating the requirements for BCaBA supervision starting in 2022 requiring 1300 hours of supervision for BCaBA’s with 5% of those being supervised. Click here for more information.
How long does BCBA/BCaBA supervision take in total?
Supervision for your BCBA takes on average 1.5 – 2 years if you stay on track, a little less for your BCaBA. Students seeking certification can accrue up to 130 experience hours each month, and 6.5 hours of supervision, or time with a supervisor (5%).
When can I start accruing hours?
According to the BACB, you can start supervision as soon as you start your ABA coursework through your accredited program and sign a contract with your supervisor.
What are acceptable activities for supervision according to the BACB experience standards?
At least 50% of total experience hours must be composed of the following unrestricted activities. There is no limit to unrestricted activities.
- Conducting assessments related to ABA (preference, FA)
- Design, implement, systematically monitor skill-acquisition and behavior reduction programs
- Writing behavior treatment plans, progress summaries, clinical notes, transition summaries
- Oversee the implementation of behavior-analytic programs by others
- Training others on task list items and ABA principles
- Communicating with caregivers and other professionals
- Attending planning meetings, researching literature that is relevant to current client’s programs
No more than 50% of total experience hours can be restricted.
- Direct therapy/working directly with clients
What does meeting with my BCBA look like?
Supervision meetings can be in person, or remote. Online supervision can be live video or recorded videos combined with live video meetings.
These meetings will consist of a combination of observation review, and behavior analytic discussion of problem behaviors, skill acquisition related to specific clients, task analysis review, literature and research review, as well as and current ABA interventions specific to clients.
Your BCBA supervisor will:
- Monitor skills of the supervisee
- Give feedback on performance
- Observe supervisee performance with clients
- Problem solve, guide development of behavioral case conceptualization
- Review supervisee written materials (data sheets, BIP, reports)
- Oversee behavior-analytic service delivery
- Review task list items
- Evaluate the effects of supervision throughout
Now that you have a basic understanding of what supervision is like, you can search for a local supervisor in your area by looking at the board website. You can also ask your current job if there is a BCBA on staff willing to supervise you. If you do not work in a setting where ABA is an option, look into remote supervision.
As always, reach out via email if you have any questions!
-Katherine & Cammie
February is right around the corner- don’t wait to set up your BCBA/BCaBA study plan!
The biggest challenge for me while studying was navigating all of the information that was thrown my way. I was left with many materials and no structure. For example, you have Cooper, flashcards, the task list, practice tests, and other notes, but where do you start? All of the information can be a bit overwhelming.
Just like working out, set yourself goals for each day in small steps. Just like you set up goals for your clients, you want to make sure we are writing the appropriate, attainable goals for yourself. Of course, you should still add in a little reinforcement for the full effect.
Solidifying a study plan is key to a successful studying adventure. Don’t just start reading Cooper, because you may read too much for the day, or not enough. If you break down the material in smaller units and set yourself reading goals, this will help you review and feel like you have studying under control.
Here are 3 tips when creating a study plan:
1. Allow yourself “catch up” days.
Writing in catch up days will set yourself up for success and prevent you from getting behind. It also may just give you the break you need if you are caught up.
2. Do not cram the week before the test.
Do leave yourself 1 full week before your test to create your whiteboard, and review key concepts. I would recommend even 2 full weeks. If you start studying soon enough (at least 90-60 days before the test) you will retain the information. I have heard some people worry about losing the information they have learned. This is not the case if you start early enough. You will maintain the content if you pace yourself!
3. Group concepts together.
Group concepts together that are related. Check out our study plan included in our full course that breaks down exactly which tasks to study, which slides to review, and correspond with exact Cooper readings.
We took care of the hard part for you and put together a study calendar along with our 90 Complete ABA Prep course. You can check the course out here.
After you establish a study plan, set up reinforcement after each week. This will keep you encouraged and keep your momentum flowing.
Feel free to contact me for any further study tips!
You can read me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, some of you got your results… Whether they are what you wanted, or not, remember we are all in this together. We all want to make a positive influence on individuals lives using ABA. Luckily, most of you can continue to do that either way!
If you didn’t pass, keep practicing. This test is known for being a beast. It may have been 50 points, it may have been 5, either way you know what to study from here. Study like a first time test taker, and take this failed attempt as fuel for the next time. You WILL pass.
If you did pass, congratulations. You are on the other side. You will never have to test again! Now that you are a BCBA, you get to learn the clinical challenges and responsibilities associated with your certificate. Be proud, and support your fellow ABA buds!
Either way, you deserve to relax, unwind and treat yo’ self.
August is right around the corner, time to start making those study plans!
How are you preparing to study for the August BCBA/BCaBA tests? Are you navigating the overload of info related to the task list? Our comprehensive study plan combines easy to navigate slides with visual charts, examples, practice questions, and Cooper readings throughout.
If you like individualized instruction, this course is perfect for you. I am available by email so I am always glad to answer any study questions you have along the way. Additionally, if you sign up for the Complete Plus course, you get an hour of individualized tutoring. That tutoring hour is a great time to dive into your most challenging topics. I will create an individualized study session including practice questions and examples.
If you’re like me, you like the concepts broken down. We all know Cooper can be a little dry to read through. That is why I find the slides extremely helpful to break down the concepts in a way that makes sense. I am also a visual learner, so the pictures and visual charts are a useful way to filter out the noise.