In the journey to becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), the role of fieldwork supervision is critical. Supervision shapes your practical skills and professional ethos, however, it’s often difficult to find supervision. Either you don’t have access to a clinical setting, or you don’t have a BCBA in your school district, and if you do, there might not be supervision available. This is where remote supervision can play a key role in making quality supervision more widely available. This guide will navigate you through the process of finding the right online supervisor for your BCBA fieldwork, highlighting the unique benefits that such a mode of supervision offers.
The Rising Trend of Online Supervision in BCBA Fieldwork
After the world embraced remote work during the pandemic, online supervision in BCBA fieldwork is gaining traction for its flexibility, accessibility, and innovative approach to learning. It breaks geographical barriers, connects you with expert supervisors from around the globe, and offers a dynamic learning environment that can be tailored to your specific needs. After all, with today’s technology, your physical location in the world shouldn’t be the limiting factor to your education and impact in the field. A lot of supervisees want the option of keeping their full-time job while seeking supervision.
Key Benefits of Online Supervision
- Accessibility to Expertise: Online supervision opens doors to a broader range of experienced BCBAs, irrespective of geographical location.
- Flexibility and Convenience: It offers the convenience of scheduling sessions that fit your lifestyle and commitments.
- Innovative Learning Tools: Leverages technology for enhanced learning experiences, including virtual observations, study resources, and interactive sessions.
- Flexible clientele: Flexibility to choose clients such as neighbors, prior students, or current clients who would benefit from ABA interventions.
Steps to Finding the Right Online Supervisor
1. Conduct Thorough Research
Start by exploring providers, like ReadySetABA, that specialize in online BCBA supervision. These platforms often have detailed profiles of supervisors, including their areas of expertise, experience, and reviews from past supervisees. You can also search the BACB certificate registry for available candidates.
2. Align with Your Learning Style and Goals
Reflect on how online learning aligns with your style and professional aspirations. Are you comfortable with virtual interactions? Do you seek specialization in a specific area of ABA? Online platforms often provide diverse expertise that can cater to niche areas in behavior analysis. In addition, they typically include resources and curriculum to walk you through goals and milestones while incorporating the 5th edition task list.
3. Verify Credentials and Experience
Ensure your potential online supervisor meets all BACB requirements. Providers like ReadySetABA typically vet their supervisors, providing an additional layer of assurance regarding their qualifications and standing with the BACB.
4. Utilize Virtual Interviews
Conduct virtual interviews to gauge compatibility, discuss their supervisory approach, and understand their expectations. This is also a chance to experience the technology and communication tools that will be used during your supervision.
5. Clarify Practical Details
Discuss the logistics of online supervision, including session scheduling, platforms used, and any associated costs. Ensure these align with your preferences and needs.
6. Ask about Study Resources
Ask about what study materials are offered towards the end of supervision. For example, ReadySetABA offers a full practice test, study calendar, and ebook to help prepare students for the exam.
Making the Most of Online Supervision
Online supervision requires proactive participation – you will get out of it what you put into it. Engage actively in sessions, ask questions, and utilize digital platforms for continuous learning and interaction.
Maintain open lines of communication with your supervisor. Regular feedback and discussions are vital for a fruitful online supervisory relationship and always ask your supervisor about monthly goals to be sure you are meeting milestones.
Address Challenges Promptly
If you encounter challenges, address them directly with your supervisor. Open communication is key to resolving issues and enhancing the online supervision experience.
Document Your Supervision
Keep thorough records of your online supervision sessions. This not only helps track your progress but is also crucial for meeting BCBA certification requirements.
Online Supervision Meets You Where You Are
Online supervision in BCBA fieldwork, as provided by platforms like ReadySetABA, offers a modern, flexible, and effective pathway to obtaining your certification. By carefully selecting the right online supervisor, you can enjoy a host of benefits that enhance your learning experience. Embracing online supervision is a step toward innovative, accessible, and quality education in the field of behavior analysis, paving your way to becoming a successful and well-equipped BCBA.
Fieldwork is one of the most critical steps in becoming a BCBA, a phase that not only enhances your understanding of behavior analysis but also prepares you for real-world application. However, we know it can be a bit confusing, so let’s break down the requirements and the hours needed to fulfill this crucial step.
Understanding the Fieldwork Requirements
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) stipulates specific fieldwork requirements that candidates must complete to be eligible for the BCBA examination. The fieldwork is an experiential learning process, designed to give you hands-on experience in applying ABA skills under the supervision of a qualified BCBA. This component of your training is essential in bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application.
Types of Fieldwork
There are two primary types of fieldwork: supervised independent fieldwork and concentrated supervised fieldwork. Each type has its own set of requirements:
- Supervised Independent Fieldwork: This option requires you to complete 2000 hours with 5% supervision. It offers more flexibility and is often chosen by individuals who are working professionals or have other commitments.
- Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork: Requiring 1500 hours, this option involves more intensive supervision and is designed for those who can dedicate more time to their fieldwork experience, requiring 10% supervision.
Regardless of the type chosen, the fieldwork must be completed within a 5-year period and is intended to develop both your practical skills and ethical professionalism.
The BACB mandates that during your fieldwork, you must receive regular, ongoing supervision from a qualified BCBA. The amount of supervision varies depending on the type of fieldwork:
- For supervised independent fieldwork, you must receive supervision for at least 5% of the total hours you spend in fieldwork each month.
- For concentrated supervised fieldwork, this requirement increases to 10%.
Supervision includes observation, feedback, and guidance on your practice and is crucial for your professional development. It’s important to choose a supervisor who is not only qualified but also a good fit for your learning style and professional goals.
The Fieldwork Hours: Breaking It Down
BCBA fieldwork hours are more than just a checkbox on your certification journey; they are an opportunity to apply and refine your skills. Let’s break down these hours to understand them better.
Direct and Indirect Hours
Fieldwork hours are categorized into direct and indirect hours:
- Restricted Hours: These involve working directly with clients, and implementing behavior-analytic services. This hands-on experience is vital for understanding client interaction and the practical application of ABA principles. Restricted hours should make up no more than 40% of your total hours.
- Unrestricted Hours: These include activities such as data analysis, report writing, research, and attending supervision meetings. Indirect hours are crucial for developing a broader skill set in behavior analysis. Talk to your BCBA about which activities count towards unrestricted hours. Unrestricted should make up at least 60% of your total hours and can be more than 60%.
Log and Track Your Hours
The BACB no longer requires specific forms and systems to document your hours. However, it is vital to log and track your fieldwork hours meticulously. We recommend using Ripley’s Fieldwork tracker – it’s free. Accurate record-keeping ensures that all your hard work is accounted for when you apply for the BCBA examination.
Maximizing Your Fieldwork Experience
Starting your fieldwork is a milestone phase in your journey to becoming a BCBA. It’s a unique opportunity to transform theoretical knowledge into practical skills. Here’s how you can maximize this invaluable experience:
1. Seek Diverse Experiences
- Explore Different Settings: Explore the options of working in different environments such as schools, clinics, community centers, or in-home settings. Each setting offers unique challenges and learning opportunities.
- Work with Varied Populations: Try to gain experience with different age groups and types of clients. Working with a diverse client base can broaden your understanding and adaptability in applying ABA principles.
- Involved in Different Types of Interventions: Engage in a range of behavior-analytic services, from assessment and intervention planning to implementation and monitoring. This variety will enhance your versatility as a behavior analyst.
2. Be Proactive
- Initiate Learning Opportunities: Don’t wait for experiences to come to you. Be proactive in seeking out learning opportunities, volunteer for projects, or ask to observe other professionals.
- Ask Questions: Curiosity leads to deeper understanding. If something isn’t clear during your fieldwork, ask. That’s what your supervisor is for and this shows your commitment to learning and growth.
- Seek Feedback Regularly: Regular feedback is essential for improvement. Request feedback from your supervisor not just in formal evaluations.
3. Reflect and Learn
- Journal Your Experiences: During your fieldwork, your supervisor should set goals. Keep a reflective journal on your fieldwork experiences so you can manage your progress. Write about challenging cases, your responses, and what you learned from them.
- Analyze and Adapt: After each experience, think about what went well and what could be improved. Use these reflections to adapt your approach in future sessions.
- Learn from Mistakes: Mistakes are inevitable and are powerful learning tools. Reflect on them to understand what happened and how similar situations can be handled better in the future.
4. Build Professional Relationships
- Network with Professionals: If you are able attend conferences, workshops, and local ABA meetups. Networking can lead to mentorship opportunities and future career prospects.
- Collaborate with Peers: Engage with your peers during fieldwork. Sharing experiences and insights can lead to a deeper understanding and can help you reflect on your own practice.
- Seek Mentorship: A mentor outside of your supervisor can provide guidance, support, and insight from their own experiences. Don’t hesitate to reach out to experienced BCBAs who you admire and respect.
5. Embrace Technology and Innovation
- Use Technology: Familiarize yourself with the latest technology and software used in the field of behavior analysis. This can range from data collection tools to telehealth platforms.
- Stay Updated with Research: Regularly read up on the latest research in behavior analysis. Applying current best practices ensures that your fieldwork is aligned with the most recent scientific findings.
6. Balance and Self-Care
- Maintain Work-Life Balance: Fieldwork can be demanding. It’s important to balance your professional responsibilities with personal time to avoid burnout.
- Self-Care: Engage in activities that reduce stress and rejuvenate you. Whether it’s exercise, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones, self-care is crucial for maintaining your well-being.
- Seek Support When Needed: If you find yourself struggling, reach out for support. This could be from your supervisor, peers, or even professional counseling services.
Keep it Proactive
Navigating BCBA fieldwork requires a clear understanding of the requirements and a proactive approach to fulfilling these hours. Stay growth centered and you will not only meet the necessary criteria but also develop into a well-rounded, skilled behavior analyst. Remember, the fieldwork is not just a phase in your certification process; it is the foundation upon which you will build your professional career.
What is BCBA®/BCaBA® Supervision Like with Us
At ReadySetABA, you will receive individualized supervision that includes monthly goals, assignments for unrestricted activities, performance monitoring and feedback, study preparation, and real-life experiences. We strive to provide supervision based on the following guidelines:
- Establish clear communication
- Create individual monthly goals
- Deliver positive reinforcement and feedback
- Provide examples of templates, assignments, and other documentation
- Prepare supervisee for exam
Establish Clear Communication
We refer to the Supervision Training Outline from the BACB website to structure our supervision.
Individual Monthly Goals
Just how we individualize goals for our clients, we individualize goals for our supervisees. We allow for our students to collaborate with us as supervisors to help set personal goals each month to reach the terminal goal of learning about each of the items of the task list and of course, being a competent behavior analyst.
Deliver Positive Reinforcement and Feedback
Similar to how we individualize monthly goals, we individualize our feedback to our students. We believe that preference assessments are good for everyone, not just our clients. We strive to provide our students with actual reinforcement for their hard work. We want the future frequency of their responses of completing their supervision hours with us to increase in the future. We provide positive reinforcement for our students and encourage them to take control of their supervision time with us.
Provide Real-Life Examples
Here at ReadySetABA, we believe in pairing what we are teaching and supervising to real-life examples that we all experience every day. We believe in making our supervision as hands-on as possible. We want our students to get a real understanding of the “why” behind the analytical decisions that they are making, and in order to do that, we believe that we must help them generalize the science from their fieldwork setting to their worlds.
Prepare for Exam
Instead of cramming for the exam after completing supervision hours, we encourage our students to study for their exams as they move through supervision. We provide students with slides, flashcards, a study plan, and practice questions along the way so they can feel well prepared by the time the test rolls around.
Templates for ABA Library
We provide our students with a number of templates that you can practice using and save for future usage. These include but are not limited to BIP, toilet training, evaluation reports, assessment forms, FBA forms, graphs, and more.
Here at ReadySetABA, we KNOW that the best part about supervision is YOU! Please feel free to contact us with any questions and to sign up today! We look forward to supervising you!
How to Find the Supervisor that is Right for You:
Finding a supervisor that is the right fit for you can be challenging. You may have questions such as, “How will supervision be structured? Does my job offer supervision? How long will it take? Will this supervision prepare me for the test and the ABA world?”
There are a few questions to ask yourself when searching for the right supervisor.
Does my current job offer supervision?
- If you are working in an ABA clinic, your job might include supervision as a part of your benefits. If they do, make sure you ask the right questions about supervision to ensure you are getting quality supervision.
- If you are working for the school system, you may not have access to a supervisor. In this case, you may need to search for a local or remote supervisor.
Remote or in person-supervision?
- Remote supervision is a convenient way to obtain supervision hours while working in your current job.
- Remote supervision includes videos, weekly video calls, and sharing documents.
- In-person supervision can be great if you can find a local supervision near you. Here is where to search for local supervision: BACB Supervision Search
- Check out this link if you are interested in remote supervision to see if I have openings and to see if we are a good match: Remote Supervision
How will supervision be structured?
- The supervision structure is determined by your supervisor. Ultimately, they can choose how to set up meetings and work through concepts. I recommend establishing goals each month to stay on track and ensure you are getting the most out of your supervision.
- Here is a sample of goals you and your supervisor could write together:
|ABA overview; 7 dimensions; 6 attitudes of science; ABC data
Assignments: ABC data collection, pairing protocol, preference assessment
|The Student will understand the foundational knowledge of ABA to begin to apply these concepts to the clinic/school setting.
|Functions of behavior: Assignments: FBA, ABC data continued, QAFB, measurement, data recording, what problem behaviors to consider?
|The student will identify the functions of behavior based on ABC data collection and determine which plans would be appropriate to track in a behavior intervention plan.
Now, let’s talk about quality supervision
Here are a few things that define quality supervision:
- Quality supervision should incorporate applied experiences, task list examples, and ethical considerations that prepare you to pass the test and prepare for the field.
- This supervision should include goals, expectations, and clear guidelines
- You should have the opportunity to practice behavior analytic procedures
- Your supervisor should provide you with unrestricted tasks that fill your unrestricted hour requirement. These include podcasts, assignments, research articles, etc.
- I highly recommend study prep included in your supervision so you don’t have to cram!
- Here are some topics that are not limited to but should absolutely be included in supervision:
- BIP writing
- VBMAPP assessment
- Writing evaluations
- FBA practice (ABC data collection, QAFB, FAST etc.)
- Parent training information
- Writing reauthorization reports
- Protocols (potty training, token economy system etc)
- Intake process
- Test prep!!!
I wrote this blog to help others find the applied experience they need in order to be successful BCBA/BCaBA’s in the future and pass the test in order to get there! I wish someone would have guided me through the process. Email me with questions!
Katherine Kellogg, M.Ed., BCBA
What’s the difference between unrestricted and restricted experience hours for BCBA and BCaBA supervision?
Before beginning supervision, it is important to understand the nature of supervision including the difference between unrestricted, and restricted experience hours. It can be tricky to understand until you relate it to your applied setting. This post will give you an overview of experience hours and provide examples of unrestricted and restricted activities. I wish I had this type of breakdown when I began! I hope this helps.
What are unrestricted activities?
Unrestricted activities are those that resemble what a BCBA does on a day to day basis. These unrestricted activities include a variety of tasks such as observation and data collection, training staff and caregivers on behavior-analytic programs or content, conducting assessments such as the VB-MAPP, FA, preference assessments, meeting with clients and families about behavior-analytic progress, graphing, and researching the literature relevant to a current client’s programming. See the BACB 2022 Eligibility Requirements for the most current guidelines.
You cannot count school assignments, conferences, university courses, meetings, or any other workshops unrelated to ABA.
What are restricted activities?
Restricted hours are the delivery of direct therapy and instruction procedures with clients. Basically, anytime you are with your client directly and are not participating in unrestricted activities like analyzing data or researching literature.
How much of each do I need?
If you are applying to test under the 4th edition task list (Before December 31st, 2021), at least 50% of total supervision experience hours must be unrestricted activities. If you are applying for the exam under the 5th edition task list (After January 1st, 2022) you must acquire at least 60% unrestricted hours of your total supervision. There is no limit to unrestricted activities, technically, you could have all more if you wanted to but typically students find it easier to work in an ABA agency to balance both restricted and unrestricted. There are no minimum restricted hours, however, no more than 50% (4th) and 40% (5th) can be restricted or direct therapy hours.
Click here for our quick guide to supervision.
What are the acceptable activities for experience standards?
For the 4th edition exam, at least 50% of total experience hours must be composed of the following unrestricted activities. For the 5th edition exam, at least 60% of your hours must be unrestricted. 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
- Communicating with caregivers and other professionals
- Attending planning meetings, researching literature that is relevant to current client’s programs
No more than 50% (4th) 40% (5th) of total experience hours can be restricted
- Direct therapy/working directly with clients
How does this apply to my current setting?
In the school setting, there are many opportunities to gain unrestricted hours under the direction of your BCBA supervisor. Here are a few ideas for gaining unrestricted hours in the classroom setting:
- Observation and data collection on problem behavior
- Composing a behavior intervention plan with ABA principles for a specific student
- Conduct a preference assessment for a student and take data, graph and analyze
- Graph behavior data and analyze
- Research literature for problem behaviors you are seeing from students in your classroom
- Train paraprofessionals on ABA strategies, treatment plans, and oversee these programs being implemented
- Write transition summaries related to ABA
- Meet with parents and train on specific ABA topics
If you work in an in-home setting as an ABA therapist, here is a list of unrestricted activities that you could participate in to gain the indirect hours all under the direction of your BCBA supervisor.
- Train parents and caregivers on specific ABA intervention
- Conduct FBA or parent and caregiver interviews to evaluate the function
- Observe the caregiver implementing a strategy and record data, graph and analyze
- Write clinical notes, treatment plans, or progress summaries
- Research literature related to home-based services specific to your client’s behaviors
- Graph behavior data, and analyze trends
- Compose and/or edit behavior intervention plans with your BCBA
There are numerous ways to gain unrestricted hours if you work in a clinic setting. From my experience, the clinical setting provided me with the most options for unrestricted activities. Here is a list of unrestricted activities to do in the clinical setting:
- Create task analyses, preference assessments, behavior tracking sheets, or other data collection sheets for acquisition targets
- Conduct a preference assessment
- Assist in the implementation of the VB-MAPP
- Conduct an FBA with caregivers, other therapists, and analyze the hypothesized function
- Train new hires on ABA principles
- Research literature related to specific clients
- Meet with parents, caregivers, and teachers and train on behavior-analytic programs
- Assist with progress reports, reauthorization reports, and treatment plans
- Observe other staff members implementing specific ABA interventions and provide feedback
How do I track supervision?
The BACB provides an excel experience tracking form that you will utilize to help track unrestricted/restricted activities. I would also recommend watching the 30-minute video on how to track supervision before beginning.
Here is another resource from the board answering frequently asked questions on the monthly tracking system.
Feel free to reach out with any questions!
Let’s Learn Together!
Fill out the form below to get more details about getting supervision or tutoring with ReadySetABA.
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!