Practicum Frequently Asked Questions


How many practicum hours do I need to take the BCBA exam?
1,000 hours at the hosting agency
75 supervised hours

How are the practicum hours distributed throughout the program?
ABA-510: 17-20 hours per week at hosting agency for the entirety of a 15 week semester, and exactly 18 individually supervised hours (1 visit per week). Two (2) additional supervision hours will be obtained via online group supervision. Total: 255 practicum hours and 20 supervised hours.
ABA-511: 17-20 hours per week at hosting agency for the entirety of a 15 week semester, and exactly 18 individually supervised hours (1 visit per week). Two (2) additional supervision hours will be obtained via online group supervision. Total: 255 practicum hours and 20 supervised hours.
ABA-512: 17-20 hours per week at hosting agency for the entirety of a 15 week semester, and exactly 18 individually supervised hours (1 visit per week). Two (2) additional supervision hours will be obtained via online group supervision. Total: 255 practicum hours and 20 supervised hours.
ABA-513: 17-20 hours per week at hosting agency for the entirety of a 15 week semester, and exactly 18 individually supervised hours (1 visit per week). Two (2) additional supervision hours will be obtained via online group supervision. Total: 255 practicum hours and 20 supervised hours.

I work far more than 17 hours at my hosting agency. Can I account for all of them?
BACB and Sage requirements will only allow a student to account for 250-255 hours per semester. This will ensure that you receive the proper 7.5%-10% of the total hours as supervised hours and stay on track with practicum assignments. You may not get ahead in supervision hours, including group supervision, each semester. No matter many how many total hours are logged, only 17-20 hours per week will count toward your practicum requirements, without exception.

Can I do the practicum coursework and worry about the hours later?
No. All practicum hours and supervised hours must be completed simultaneously in order to receive a passing grade in each of four practica. Your agency representative will submit verification of  your practicum hours and your BCBA supervisor will submit evidence of your supervised hours.

Can I take the practicum sequence in any order I choose?
No. The practica are designed to introduce concepts to students in a particular order that is beneficial to their performance and learning experience. Students will only be allowed to register for ABA-510 for the first practicum and in numeric order until reaching ABA-513.

How many hours of group supervision can I obtain?
Some BCBAs will supervise many students simultaneously. Because Sage provides two hours of group supervision per semester, students will only be allowed to accumulate an additional 8 hours of group supervision per semester. BACB rules will not allow for more than 50% of the total number of hours to be in a group setting; therefore failure to follow this rule will make the extra group supervision hours void.

What criteria must a hosting agency possess?
A hosting agency must practice the principles of ABA. Please visit the BACB website for in-depth and current information.

I currently work at a school/agency that practices ABA. Can I use my job as my practicum placement?
Yes, as long as it meets all criteria set forth by the BACB and The Sage Colleges. Please visit www.bacb.com for current requirements. You may also begin by asking these questions of your chosen agency:
1. Does this agency serve clients diagnosed along the Autism Spectrum Disorder or with other severe disabilities?
2. If you answered “No” to question one, does your agency service clients with whom behavior analysis services are appropriate? (Yes must be the answer yes to at least one of the first two questions.)
3. Will the candidate have the opportunity to work with at least 5 clients during the practicum experience?
4. Does the agency employ a BCBA who is able to provide supervision, or will the agency allow for the candidate to participate in compliance with the BACB’s practicum regulations by consenting to the presence of a BCBA supervisor that is not employed by the hosting agency?
5. Will the agency allow one or more of these forms of supervision by their own BCBA employee or by a Sage approved BCBA supervisor? (Face-to-Face is the preferred method of supervision.):

  • Face-to-face supervision in which the supervisor is physically present at the agency to observe the candidate while working with clients
  • Distance supervision in which a web camera and the internet are used to provide real time observation the candidate while working with clients
  • Distance supervision in which a combination of real time supervision using a web camera and/or video camera footage is used to provide a means of observing the candidate while working with clients when 100% real time means are not possible.

6. Will the agency allow the student to participate in these types of activities?

  • Conducting assessment activities related to the need for behavioral interventions;
  • Designing, implementing and monitoring behavior analysis programs for clients
  • Overseeing the implementation of behavior analysis programs by others;
  • Other activities normally performed by a behavior analyst that are directly related to behavior analysis such as attending planning meetings regarding the behavior analysis program, researching the literature related to the program, talking to individuals about the program; plus any addition activities related to oversight of behavioral programming such as behavior analysis supervision issues, or evaluation of behavior analysts’ performance. The supervisor will determine if activities qualify. (www.bacb.com)

7. Does the agency understand that these activities are not appropriate for practicum experience?

  • Attending meetings with little or no behavior analytic content
  • Providing interventions that are not based in behavior analysis
  • Doing non-behavior analytic administrative activities or any other activities that are not directly related to behavior analysis. (www.bacb.com)

8. Will a qualified member of this agency accurately report the student's practicum hours to Sage at the end of the practicum?

My Nephew is Autistic. Can I work with him to complete my practicum hours?
No. Under no circumstances are students allowed to use their relatives as clients.

One of my Employees is a BCBA. Can he/she be my practicum supervisor?
No. Your BCBA supervisor cannot be your subordinate.

I know someone with a Ph.D. in psychology, but s/he is not a BCBA. Can s/he supervise me?
No. You supervisor must have a current and valid Certificant ID # from the BACB.

I live in a very remote area, and I can’t find a BCBA to supervise me. Can I apply for/remain in the practicum program?
Yes, you will still have the opportunity to apply for or remain in the practicum program. Face-to-face supervision is the preferred method, but this isn’t always possible for some students. Many BCBAs are pleased to have the opportunity to provide distance supervision. This means that the student and supervisor will need to use real time digital media and/or video footage for the supervisor to observe the student’s work. Video supervision would require the student to videotape interactions with clients and send the videos to their supervisor to be observed and critiqued.

Can I use more than one agency per semester to fulfill my practicum obligations?
No. Varying settings and clients across semesters is encouraged, but you should immerse yourself into one setting at a time and maintain that setting for a whole semester.

I have done BCaBA independent fieldwork in the past. Can I apply those hours toward the 1,000 I need for the practicum track program?
No. Sage does not accept BCaBA hours. All practicum track students must be prepared to immerse themselves in the practicum experience, which differs from the independent fieldwork that most students completed for their BCaBA requirements.