MSBP Field Hours FAQ

Field Hour Requirement FAQ

Why are the number of hours of supervised clinical training requirements changing?
Due to consumer requests for more rigorous training for behavior analysts and a growing behavior analytic workforce, the Board Analyst Certification Board (BACB) committee has decided that trainees need more supervised experience and guidance from supervisors.

Anyone applying for BCBA certification after January 1, 2022, must meet the new supervision requirements; the final BCBA exam offered under the previous requirement will be in November 2021.

What type of supervision is offered in the OnlinePsychology@Pepperdine program?
The level of supervision varies depending on the field site and the supervisor, and how much time they can dedicate in a given month. You may experience both concentrated and regular supervision throughout your experience. Concentrated supervision hours are weighted at 1.33:1, and regular supervision is weighted at 1:1. Total hours will range between 1,500 and 2,000 depending on the supervision you receive.

Why 600 hours of supervised clinical training?
The 600 hours required by OnlinePsychology@Pepperdine meets the 40 percent maximum requirement of restricted hours as required by the BCBA under the concentrated supervision model. 1,500 hours x 40 percent is 600 hours of restricted supervised hours.

How do the new requirements benefit me?
The total number of experience hours needed to take the BCBA exam (1,500–2,000) give you more hands-on training and a greater network of professionals to better prepare for a successful career in ABA.

Pepperdine’s decision to require 600 hours to be completed as part of the graduate program ensures that you are able to balance field experience with your graduate studies. It also ensures that you receive the appropriate amount of restricted hours and supervision needed to adequately work as a behavior analyst.

Do I get to customize the 600 hours with my practicum site or are certain hours dedicated to unrestricted and restricted?
No. All trainees will complete restricted hours to start. The determination of how many restricted hours you will need is dependent on your experience and ability to fulfill the competencies outlined by the BCBA. Your field supervisor and professor for the PSY 620 course will determine when you can move into unrestricted hours.

Is there a chronological order to restricted and unrestricted hours, or can they be completed simultaneously?
All trainees must complete restricted hours before transitioning to unrestricted hours.

Who makes the decision of my preparedness to transition into unrestricted hours?
Your on-site supervisor and your practicum instructor will work together to evaluate your competencies to make the determination of whether or not you are ready to move to unrestricted tasks.

Am I under supervision the entire time when collecting hours?
No. The type of fieldwork completed (supervised or concentrated supervised) will dictate how many hours need to be in supervision. Students completing concentrated supervised fieldwork must spend 10 percent of their total time in supervision each month; students completing standard supervised fieldwork must spend 5 percent of their time in supervision each month.

If my practicum site agrees, can I gather more than 600 hours during the program?
Yes. You are welcome to clock more than the 600-hour requirement if your practicum site agrees. The placement team cannot guarantee supervision beyond 600 hours, but we encourage students to speak with their practicum supervisor if this is something they are interested in.

What happens if I finish my 600 hours early? Do I just attend the class?
You will need to be working at a practicum site while enrolled in PSY 620 regardless. You can complete hours in excess of 600 while enrolled in the program, if your practicum site agrees. 600 hours is the minimum required for graduation from the MSBP program.

I’d like to learn more about the updated requirements. Where can I find more information?
This October 2017 newsletter published by the BCBA is a good reference on the latest fieldwork requirement changes. You can also learn more about fieldwork requirements here, and you can always visit the BCBA website for the most up-to-date information.

Placement FAQ

When would I start working at the ABA site if I’m new to the field?
Our most successful students will start working in an ABA position at least one term (90 days) before starting their official supervised hours for the Practicum. This trial period is often requested by ABA agencies before they assign their BCBAs to invest their time and effort into providing supervised hours to graduate students who are new employees. This will also give you time as an ABA professional to acclimate to the ABA field and test out your newly acquired skills before your official supervision begins.

To clarify, I’ll actually be working at an ABA job during Practicum? Will my Practicum experience be paid?
Yes. This field is unique in that individuals providing ABA services, even under BCBA supervision, are typically paid. These are not considered “internship” positions at the fieldwork sites; you’ll be an employee. The pay and benefits for the Practicum position will vary from site to site.

What happens if I don’t get the job after an interview?
You will continue working with our placement team to find another site for an interview. If you do not secure a site by the term before you are supposed to start your Practicum, you will need to put off registering for Practicum for another quarter, which could delay your graduation date. It’s in your best interest to start searching early and take an active role with our support teams to get your ABA position secured with time to spare.

Can I start clocking my hours early if I already work in the field OR get a job in the field before the official Practicum terms start?
You may begin to accrue hours toward your BCBA exam before the final three terms of the program begin if you have a contract with an agency; however, these hours would not contribute toward the required 600 practicum hours over three terms needed for graduation from our program. Since this early experience will not be overseen by our program, it is up to you to secure your contract with a supervisor and ensure that the additional hours meet BACB requirements. It’s recommended that you connect with your Placement Specialist as soon as possible to discuss your specific situation if you are admitted and enroll in our program.

After graduation, can I stay on with my practicum site?
It depends on the site and its specific needs.