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BACB Supervision Requirements: What You Need to Know

Supervision is necessary to ensure that practitioners are correctly implementing services and are developing professionally. The Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) requires supervision for those seeking to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA). The BACB also requires ongoing supervision for BCaBAs and for Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT). To help your organization meet BACB standards, let’s review the current BACB supervision requirements.

Monthly Experience Standards System

The BCBA/BCaBA Experience Standards: Monthly System provide supervisors and trainees flexibility. Under the monthly system, supervisors and trainees can develop their own system for documenting supervision experiences. Individualized systems acknowledge that supervision experiences are diverse and therefore documentation of these experiences should differ as well. In addition to individualized systems, supervisors and supervisees must complete the BACB monthly experience form and the final experience form.

No more than half of supervision hours can be held in a group format. Trainees must also be observed working with a client at least one time during each monthly supervisory period. While in-person and on-site observation is preferred, it is acceptable to use recorded video or live video conferencing.

Supervision requirements for RBTs

Qualifications of those who can supervise RBTs went into effect January 2019. RBTs can now be supervised by a “noncertified RBT supervisor.” Noncertified RBT supervisors are licensed behavioral health providers in good standing who can document experience in ABA and who have completed the eight-hour BACB supervisor training. They must create a BACB Gateway account and complete the noncertified RBT supervisor form with attestation from their organization’s “responsible certificant.”

A responsible certificant ensures that all BACB supervision requirements are met across an organization. Currently, BCaBAs may serve in this role. Beginning November 2019, only BCBAs and BCBA-Ds may serve as responsible certificants. Responsible certificants must have client-specific knowledge so they can provide effective clinical direction. As of November 2019, responsible certificants, supervisors and RBTs should be employed by the same organization or have a contractual relationship with the RBT’s client.

8-hour supervision training

Anyone who is eligible and wishes to supervise must complete an 8-hour training based on the Supervisor Training Curriculum Outline 2.0. The current training curriculum includes content for both trainee supervision and ongoing supervision of RBTs and BCaBAs.

The latest version of the training curriculum provides explicit details of what supervisors must do in order to meet the BACB supervision requirements and create an effective supervision experience. It includes a section on preparing for supervision and information about the outcomes of ineffective supervision.

The curriculum details how to deliver effective feedback and behavioral skills training. It also lists observable expected responses from supervisees during feedback sessions that are indicators of supervision effectiveness. Specific examples of products that demonstrate a supervisee’s application of knowledge are provided within curriculum items.

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of this enhanced curriculum outline is the list of research and other resources. Behavior analytic supervision research is a newly emerging area of study, so there has not been a great deal of literature published to guide supervisors. This is beginning to change. Supervisors can look forward to more resources to use when providing both ongoing and trainee supervision.

The impact of supervision

Supervision is the process by which new professionals are ushered into the profession and those who provide direct services maintain and improve their skills and decision making. As the numbers of practitioners continues to grow, the need to clarify the definition of an effective ABA professional does also. BACB supervision requirements offer both supervisors and supervisees a better understanding of practice expectations and an opportunity to do even a better job of serving clients and their families.

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