Frequently Asked Questions

+What do I need to do to become a BCBA?

There are several requirements to become a BCBA, including holding a Master’s degree in an approved field, taking coursework in applied behavior analysis as part of an approved course sequence, earning 1500 supervised hours in applied behavior analysis, and passing a competency exam.

Additional requirements apply. For more information about the requirements to become a BCBA, please visit the BACB’s website: http://bacb.com/bcba-requirements/

+What is the difference between the ABA certificate and the practicum course?

The TAMU ABA graduate certificate includes the six courses that fulfill the BACB’s coursework requirement to sit for the exam. All of the courses in the ABA certificate are approved by the BACB. The practicum course offers distance supervision to individuals in order to meet the BACB’s experience requirement. Additional requirements apply. For more information about the BACB’s certification requirements, please refer to the BACB’s website: http://bacb.com/bcba-option-1/

+Can I enroll in the ABA certificate program and the practicum course if I do not want to become a BCBA?

While you are welcome to enroll in the ABA certificate program whether or not you plan to become a BCBA, the practicum course is only intended for students who plan to pursue BCBA certification.

+What can I expect in the practicum course?

Individualization: Our instructors work hard to individualize the course according to areas that you self-identify as areas in need of improvement. Within the first week of class, you will take a pre-assessment which requires you to rate your confidence and ability in each of the areas of the 4th Edition Task List. Your instructor will review your responses to the pre-assessment and design your learning activities around areas that you indicate are in need of improvement.

Twice-weekly meetings (online): Additionally, you will meet with your instructor twice a week via distance technology in individual and group meetings. The group supervision meeting is held via Blackboard Collaborate and lasts a minimum of 1 hour per week. During these meetings, you can expect to interact with your classmates (up to 7) through group discussion, topical presentations, and lectures from your instructor. In addition to the group supervision meetings, you will also meet with your supervisor for individual meetings each week. These are scheduled individually once the semester starts and are typically held via phone or Skype.

Uploading videos: Each week you will submit videos of yourself working with a client so your instructor may provide feedback on your skills. You will also gain indirect hours by completing weekly assignments based on the 4th Edition Task List. To view an example syllabus from one of our courses, please click below. Please note that this syllabus is subject to change and only provides one example of the type of activities in which you can expect to engage.

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+What are the benefits of enrolling in the practicum course?

Cost effective: Practicum results in big savings compared to independent supervised fieldwork. Students enrolled in our practicum course do not pay a supervisor; they only pay for a 3-credit hour graduate course with distance fees. Considering that students enrolled in practicum can earn up to 30 hours per week and receive over 2 hours of supervision per week in a 14-week semester, compared to independently hired supervisors who charge up to $100 per hour for supervision.

Time efficient: Students can earn their hours faster by enrolling in a practicum course. During the fall and spring semesters, we will offer practicum in the “Practicum” experience category while we will offer “Intensive Practicum” during the summer (contingent upon enrollment and availability of instructors). Supervisees do not have to earn as many hours in these experience categories because their hours count for more than they would if they were earning hours in the “Supervised Independent Fieldwork” category with an independently hired supervisor. Hours count 1.5 times their value in “Practicum” and 2 times their value in “Intensive Practicum”.

Convenient: Our practicum course is delivered 100% online, so you never have to travel to meet a supervisor nor search for a supervisor in your area. Additionally, we have several sections of practicum with different group meeting times so you can choose the one that works best with your schedule.

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+What requirements do I have to meet to enroll in the practicum course?

Students who are not currently enrolled at Texas A&M must apply and be accepted in order to enroll in the practicum course. In addition, students must (a) live in Texas, (b) work with at least one student with autism or characteristics of autism between the ages of 0-22, (c) have consent from a client to be videotaped each week, and (d) have started coursework in an approved course sequence or be enrolled in a course in an approved course sequence concurrently with practicum. This list is not exhaustive; for a full list of requirements and for application procedures, please refer to our website under “Distance Practicum Course for ABA Supervision (Online)”.

+I am interested in enrolling in the practicum course. Should I enroll in the ABA certificate program as well?

This depends on whether or not you’ve already taken the required coursework from an approved course sequence. The BACB will not start counting your experience hours unless you have started the first day of your first class in an approved course sequence. If you’ve never taken any coursework from an approved course sequence, then you would need to enroll in a class from our ABA certificate program (or another approved course sequence) concurrently with practicum.

For more information about the coursework requirement and to see if your university offers coursework in an approved course sequence, please visit the BACB’s website: http://bacb.com/bcba-option-1/

+What if I don’t work with a child with autism or characteristics of autism? Can I still enroll in practicum?

The purpose of the state grant that funds the practicum course is to improve the lives of children with autism. Therefore, only individuals who serve children with autism or characteristics of autism may enroll.

+I am currently getting supervision hours through my work. Can I still enroll in practicum?

It depends. According to the BACB, as outlined in the Experience Standards document, supervisees can only accrue hours in one experience category at a time. This means that if you are currently earning hours in the “Supervised Independent Fieldwork” category from an independently hired supervisor or through your work, then you cannot also be earning hours through a university-approved practicum course at the same time. The BACB will not count your hours twice.

However, if you are only being supervised as part of your job because you are working as an RBT or a behavior therapist and your company requires that you be supervised as a condition of your employment, but you are not earning supervision hours (in other words, your supervisor is not signing the BACB Experience Supervision Forms for you during each supervisory period), then you may enroll in practicum.

For more information, please read through the BACB Experience Standards document: http://bacb.com/experience-standards/. Supervisees are responsible for ensuring that they are following the guidelines of this document and that they are not earning hours in more than one category at a time.

+ I can’t enroll in the practicum this semester, but I am interested in the course. Can I enroll in future semesters?

Absolutely, if your application is approved and we have open spots available. We will continue offering the practicum course through Spring 2018. After that, our ability to offer the course is contingent upon the availability of funding to hire instructors. Given the intensive nature of the practicum, the number of students per section is small; thus, tuition and fees do not cover the cost of an instructor.

+How many times will I need to repeat the practicum to earn all of my supervision hours, and how many hours will I earn during the course?

The number of times you will need to repeat the practicum varies and depends on a variety of factors, including the amount of time you can commit, the number of hours you have already accumulated, and whether you will be earning independent hours in-between semesters from an independently hired supervisor. However, registration is voluntary and occurs on a semester-by-semester basis. You may enroll in practicum once or repeat the course as many times as necessary to earn all of your supervision hours. Because the course is individualized according to your needs, each time you take the practicum course you will learn and improve different skills.

The maximum number of hours that you can earn in a week in practicum is 30 (minimum is 10); however, these hours count differently depending on the experience category in which you are earning hours. During the fall and spring semesters, we will offer the course in the “Practicum” experience category, which means that for every hour you earn, you can count it 1.5x toward the required 1500 hours that you need to sit for the BCBA exam. For example, if you earn 30 hours in a week, then you can claim 45 hours (30 x 1.5) toward your required 1500. In the summer semester, we will offer the course in the “Intensive Practicum” category, meaning that you can count every hour you earn 2x toward the required 1500 hours. In the Intensive Practicum, you can earn still only earn a maximum of 30 hours per week but those 30 hours will count as 60 hours (30 x 2) toward the 1500 required hours.

Considering this information, you can earn a maximum of approximately 630 hours during the fall and spring semesters (45 hours per week x 14 weeks) and approximately 480 hours during the summer (60 hours per week x 8 weeks). If you do not have any hours already accumulated when you start practicum, you earn the maximum amount of hours possible each week, and you do not earn any hours in-between semesters from an independently hired supervisor, then you can finish your hours in as little as a year.

For more information on the BACB experience categories, please refer to the BACB Experience Standards and Forms document: http://bacb.com/experience-standards/

+How much does the course cost and is there financial aid available?

The practicum course is a 3-credit hour graduate course, with distance fees. You can find more information about the cost of the course by visiting Texas A&M’s Student Business Services website under “Tuition and Fees Information”: http://sbs.tamu.edu/accounts-billing/tuition-fees/

Financial aid is only available for students who are enrolled in a degree-seeking program (e.g., the Master’s program). Unfortunately, students who are taking only the practicum or the courses for the ABA certificate do not qualify for financial aid.

+Where can I go for more information?

For more information, you can email the Project Coordinator, Kristi Morin, at klmorin@tamu.edu. You can also check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TAMUOnlineABAPracticum/. Be sure to like it to stay up-to-date with the latest information.