25 Mar Coaches’ Corner: Valuable Experiences to Have as a Student of Behavior Analysis
Being a student who is seeking to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) can be overwhelming. Between coursework, working as an RBT, and completing fieldwork hours, it is sometimes hard to find time to get everything done. However, the time as a student is invaluable, as it is time when one is learning how to be a proficient and effective BCBA. As such, there should be some experiences one should seek to have. These include, but are certainly not limited to:
Attending Group Supervision
Group Supervision is a fieldwork experience opportunity in which anywhere from 2-10 students engage in behavior analytic activities under the supervision of a BCBA. According to the BACB, group supervision cannot account for more than 50% of a student’s supervision time. However, there are multiple benefits to attending group supervision. Some of these benefits include the development of feedback delivery skills, problem-solving and decision-making skills, public speaking skills, as well as being able to learn to collaborate with others (Valentino, LeBlanc, & Sellers, 2016). These skills are vital to becoming a behavior analyst.
Attending a Behavior Analytic Conference
Across the country and world, dozens of behavior analytic conferences are hosted each year. For BCBAs, conferences serve as an opportunity for networking, gaining Continuing Education credits, expanding their behavior analytic knowledge, as well as opportunities to share the work they have been doing with the behavior analytic community. Students are able to attend behavior analytic conferences as well and gain some of the same benefits as a BCBA. Students can learn how to navigate a conference and learn how to get the most out of a conference, without the pressure of worrying about Continuing Education credits. Additionally, students can meet others in the field of behavior analysis as well as present their work, through events like poster presentations.
Practice in Training Others to Implement Behavior Analytic Procedures
Being a BCBA is much more than being able to understand, design, and implement behavior analytic procedures. A BCBA in a tiered service delivery model is also responsible for supervising and training RBTs, in addition to engaging in parent training. As a student, it is crucial to gain opportunities to train others in behavior analytic procedures. By gaining experience supervising others as a student enables opportunities to receive feedback to shape this skillset, prior to being responsible for managing a caseload of RBTs and families, so that on Day 1 as a BCBA, the student is fully equipped for their new role.
By: Lauren Broadwell, MS, BCBA