Coaches’ Corner: Fieldwork Hours

Coaches’ Corner: Fieldwork Hours

Individuals who are interested in becoming Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) have to meet a few different requirements: 

  1. They must have a master’s degree in behavior analysis, psychology, education, or a related field. 
  2. They must have completed a coursework sequence in behavior analysis.  
  3. They must collect a certain number of fieldwork hours.
  4. They must pass the BCBA certification exam. 


Fieldwork hours is time that an individual spends underneath the supervision of a qualified person in which they apply concepts learned in their coursework with a targeted client population. This qualified person could be anyone of the following: 

  1. A BCBA who has been certified for at least a year. 
  2. A BCBA who has been certified for less than a year and is receiving monthly supervision from a BCBA who has been certified for more than a year. 
  3. A licensed psychologist in Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology. 
  4. An authorized Verified Course Sequence Instructor. 


During fieldwork hours, one has the opportunity to gain experience engaging in activities that a BCBA would. These activities include, but are not limited to, implementing programming for clients, performing assessments with clients, designing programming, as well as providing training to others.  This time is meant to prepare someone for doing the work of a BCBA, while being able to receive feedback and guidance from an already certified BCBA.   

In order to begin accruing fieldwork hours, one must be enrolled in or have completed a verified course sequence in behavior analysis.  Following meeting this requirement, the individual must obtain a supervision contract with one of the qualified personnel described above.  A supervision contract outlines the roles and responsibilities for both the supervisor and supervisee. Without meeting these requirements, one is not able to begin collecting fieldwork experience towards their BCBA certification.   

For more information on the steps to becoming the BCBA, please consider reviewing the BACB BCBA Handbook (BACB, 2021). 


Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2021, February). Board Certified Behavior Analyst Handbook. 

Written By: Lauren Broadwell, M.S., BCBA