Links and Contacts

BCBA Supervision

An integral part of the BCBA® experience is the practice of those skills learned in the academic component of the program, under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. As per the Behavior Analysis Certification Board: the student's primary focus should be on learning new behavior analytic skills related to the BCBA® Fourth Edition Task List.  Activities must adhere to the dimensions of applied behavior analysis identified by Baer, Wolf, and Risley (1968) in their seminal article Some Current Dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.  Students are encouraged to have experiences in multiple sites and with multiple supervisors. 

Appropriate experience activities include: 
1. Conducting assessment activities related to the need for behavioral interventions, 
2. Designing, implementing, and monitoring behavior analysis programs for clients, 
3. Overseeing the implementation of behavior analysis programs by others, 
4. Other activities normally performed by a behavior analyst that are directly related to behavior analysis such as attending planning meetings regarding the behavior analysis program, researching the literature related to the program, talking to individuals about the program; plus any additional activities related to oversight of behavioral programming such as behavior analyst supervision issues, or evaluation of behavior analysts' performance.  The supervisor will determine if activities qualify.

Categories of Supervised Experience:  While the BACB recognizes several categories of Supervision; The Institute for Behavioral Studies supports only Supervised Independent Fieldwork.  Supervision may be face-to-face or a combination of face-to-face and distance.

Supervised Independent Fieldwork

Students must complete 1500 hours of Supervised Independent Fieldwork in behavior analysis.  The distribution of Supervised Independent Fieldwork hours must be at least 10 hours per week, but not more than 30 hours per week, for a minimum of 3 weeks per month. 

Amount of Supervision Required:  Applicants must be supervised at least once every 2 weeks for 5% of the total hours they spend in Supervised Independent Fieldwork.  Total supervision must be at least 75 hours.  A supervisory period is two weeks.



Supervised Independent Fieldwork 

Total hours required 


Supervised hours: % of total hours 


Total number of supervised hours 


Frequency of supervisor contacts 

1 every 2 weeks 


Onset of Experience: Applicants may not start accumulating experience until they have begun the coursework required to meet the BACB® coursework requirements.

Appropriate Clients: Clients may be any persons for whom behavior analysis services are appropriate.  However, the applicant may not be related to the client or the client's primary caretaker.  Applicants must work with multiple clients during the experience period.

Supervisor Qualifications

During the experience period, the supervisor must be a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in good standing.  The supervisor may not be the applicant's relative, subordinate or employee during the experience period. The supervisor will not be considered an employee of the applicant if the only compensation received by the supervisor from the applicant consists of payment for supervision.

Contractual and Ethical Considerations 

The supervisor and applicant should execute a contract prior to the onset of the experience that states the responsibilities of both parties, delineates the consequences should the parties not adhere to their responsibilities (including proper termination of the relationship), and includes an attestation that both parties will adhere to the BACB® Guidelines for Responsible Conduct.  The parties should pay particular attention to Sections 1, 2, and three of the Guidelines and consider the supervisor to be the client of the applicant except as noted above.

Nature of Supervision

The supervisor must observe the applicant engaging in behavior analytic activities in the natural environment at least once every two weeks.  The supervisor must provide specific feedback to applicants on their performance.  During the initial half of the total experience hours, observation should concentrate on applicant-client interactions.  This observation may be conducted via web-cameras, videotape, videoconferencing, or similar means in lieu of the supervisor being physically present.  Supervision may be conducted in small groups of 10 or fewer participants for no more than half of the total supervised hours in each supervisory period.  The remainder of the total supervision hours in each supervisory period must consist of direct one-to-one contact.  Supervision hours may be counted toward the total number of experience hours required.

Documentation of Supervision 

Supervisors are responsible for providing documentation for each supervisory period on a feedback form provided by the BACB®.  The feedback form will require documentation of number of hours of experience, number of supervised hours, feedback on the applicant's performance, the supervisor for each supervisory period, and signatures of the applicant and supervisor.  The supervisor must review the completed feedback forms with the applicant and provide a copy for the applicant each supervisory period.  The supervisor and the applicant are responsible for retaining their copies of the forms (in the event of a disagreement regarding experience, the BACB® will need documentation from each party).  The BACB® reserves the right to request this documentation at any time following an individual's application to take the certification exam.  In addition, the supervisor will be required to verify the applicant's supervision on the Experience Verification Form that is provided within the application for examination.

Print Friendly and PDF