The 3 Types of Supervision: What Type is Right For You?

The 3 Types of Supervision: What Type is Right For You?

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:

  1. Supervised Independent Fieldwork
  2. Practicum
  3. 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!


Quick Start Guide to BCBA/BCaBA Supervision

Quick Start Guide to BCBA/BCaBA Supervision

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

Preparing for the Next BCBA/BCaBA Cycle: Solidify a Study Plan

Preparing for the Next BCBA/BCaBA Cycle: Solidify a Study Plan

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 katherine@readysetaba.com


Failing the Test: 4 Playlists to Drown Your Sorrows

Failing the Test: 4 Playlists to Drown Your Sorrows

Well, here we are. You know why we are here. You failed. Maybe for the first time, struck down in the prime of your optimism. Or maybe you have been here before and you know these walls all too well. Go ahead, let’s cry it out.

Here are some playlists so you can drive around the city by yourself and ugly cry at stop lights. That cute dog in the car next to you is does nothing to cure the emptiness inside.

Not a car crier? Then pop one of these bad boys on and cry it out in the shower. Or lay on the bedroom floor and cry even harder when you realize how bad you need to vacuum.

Here are some playlists that can meet you where you are so you can wallow in self-pity.

1. Life Sucks:

2. Sad Indie:

3. Sad Vibe:

4. Down in the Dumps:


Get it all out, take the whole day if you need to. Then tomorrow is a new day. Wake up, brush your self off and get back at it. You’ve got this.

Another Test Cycle Has Come & Gone

Another Test Cycle Has Come & Gone

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

August is Right Around the Corner

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.

May: Congrats New BCBAs/BCaBAs!

May: Congrats New BCBAs/BCaBAs!

Congratulations new BCBA’s! You made it through the wilderness. Somehow you know you made it through… (Madonna anyone?)

You did it!!!!

How does it feel to be on the other side? Relieved? You should be, you worked hard to get here! That test is no joke, and you conquered it! Finally, you refresh your page to see “Pass” under your name. Is this real? Did I finally survive alive? Did I receive reinforcement for this independent group contingency? (Let me stop) The point is, you should immediately sign your name with your new credentials after it. You should also order a certificate frame, and update your email signature!! Shout it from the rooftop!


You guys rocked it, and you should be proud. Celebrate with your significant others and family. They deserve an award as well for putting up with you every time you may have lashed out at them for being stressed, or blew them off to study.

Hopefully, the course helped you, but don’t give us all of the credit. Your dedication to the material and analytical skills paid off here today.


Encourage your fellow ABA colleagues and help them study and beat this thing. If you loved the course and feel it helped you in your studies, leave a review! We’d love to hear your feedback.

Best wishes guys!

Results: The May Verdict

Results: The May Verdict

Like you, I spent endless nights drinking too many lattes, reading Cooper, saying no to plans, and giving up fun. I sacrificed freedom to prepare for this test. The long nights, the reading, the memorization, the flash cards, only to take the test and wait… The wait time for results might just be the worst part. Yeah, people say “Well at least you made it through the test!” Is that supposed to make it better? I can’t take this anymore!!!

Frantically refreshing the BACB website, logging in, telling yourself maybe this time it will say the results! Nope, not yet, just a website server error. Refreshing Facebook ABA groups to see if anyone else got results. Finally, BACB posts that results are in! But wait, my account isn’t loading…. Refresh! Refresh! At last, I am in.

Fail??? Is that right???

So you didn’t get the results you wanted. Late night studying and awaiting what felt like forever only to find out you failed. I know the feeling, and you should be upset. Cry about it, indulge, go shopping, go to a brewery, do yoga, whatever helps you cope.

Believe me, you may feel defeated, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You WILL make it through this test with a passing score, and you will become board certified.

Take the night and pour a glass of wine, run a hot bath and be mopey. You are allowed to be upset! Then It is time to get motivated, get a plan, and kick this test’s ass once and for all!

You need to cry it out for tonight only. After tonight, it is time to shake it off, and get focused, because August test cycle is right around the corner.

Final words: this moment too shall pass. You will look back one day, and it will all be worth it!

If At First You Don’t Succeed

If At First You Don’t Succeed

Try try again!

Okay pretty people, it is time to wipe those tears and get to it. Which is why we just introduced our suggested study calendar to our Complete ABA CouseThe calendar combines our complete course with Cooper readings for a comprehensive study plan that will prepare you for the test. Sign up for our Complete ABA Course and download your 30 day and 60 day study calendar today.

One huge benefit to the calendar is it breaks down each task item and corresponds to the Cooper page. This is something I created while I was studying that saved me tons of time flipping through the index of Cooper. A second benefit is this systematic study plan breaks down the overload of information into smaller sections, which is most attainable. Reading through Cooper combined with the course sequence will help you retain and apply concepts.  

Happy Studying!

The Results…

The Results…

Result days are some of the best and worst days. There is always that friend you know who you hope passed, then when it is your turn, you wish them well and secretly pray and hope you make it to the “other side.” Well folks, results are in. You are either celebrating a triumphant victory over pizza and champagne, or you are curled up in a tiny ball in your snuggie asking yourself, “why” as you sip on a glass of red wine and binge watch your favorite episode of Friends.

The best way to depict these two polar opposite emotions:


Those of you who did not get the results you wanted, you are probably confused and asking yourself, “How could I possibly study any more than I already have?” I have been there! If you are like me, you are frantically googling the past test probabilities, or thinking to yourself, “if I keep reading ABA study group responses, I will find the key to passing next time.”

I am here to tell you, it is not as simple as a google search.

I am here to tell you, that if you want to pass, you must change your study approach.

I am here to tell you, that you must set consistent, realistic goals this time around.

I am here to tell you, YOU CAN DO THIS!

Let me tell you a little trick, formulate a study plan and stick to it. You can check out the pre-made study plans on the website, 30 day or 60 day study calendars. You know when you see those adds, “Lose 10 pounds in 30 days by drinking this magic potion created by unicorns?” It is unrealistic! There is simply no quick fix to losing weight, you simply need to eat healthy, and work out. Yes, I am comparing preparing for the exam to working out, but it is the same principle! Like anything worth getting in life, you must put in the time and the effort.  Knowing the definitions is only 50% of the knowledge. You must not only know the definitions, but you must know the disadvantages, advantages, purposes, applications, and limitations to all of the terms. Know the “whys, the whens and the hows” and you will find yourself understanding the ABA web. Just like working out, if you set yourself an attainable goal, you will succeed.

Once you realize ABA is a giant web, and you have to connect the dots, studying becomes a lot easier. Practice discussing terms with your fellow colleagues, or supervisors to help become familiar and fluent with the terminology. Applying concepts to real life examples is key to ultimate fluency!!


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