A student’s practicum placement is one of the most important parts of his or her path to becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). It is where a student will gain practical experience in implementing the strategies and skills that he or she will learn during coursework. The University of Washington ABA On Campus Program offers a practicum that meets the BACB requirements for an Intensive Practicum experience.
The ABA On Campus Program Intensive Practicum requires that students complete 25 hours per week of practicum experience in a special education related environment that facilitates the implementation of behavior analytic methods during the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters for a total of 750 experience hours. Students receive direct individual and group supervision from university affiliated BCBAs. For more information on BACB requirements for Intensive Practicum experiences, please visit BACB.com.
Intensive Practicum Placement
Due to the importance of developing a contextually relevant understanding of behavioral principles, it is essential that students have an appropriate practicum placement. Most students report that the ideal experience is to have more than one practicum placement, because different placements often offer very different experiences.
Students who are not currently working at an appropriate site will need to find a suitable practicum placement. University of Washington ABA program faculty will assist students in identifying an appropriate practicum placement if needed. Many students are able to find paying positions, but this is not guaranteed. If a student wishes to uses a current work site as a practicum placement, that placement must be approved by the UW ABA faculty prior to the beginning of the school year.
Practicum Placement Requirements
It is essential that students have an appropriate practicum placement. Students who are not currently working at an appropriate site will need to find a suitable placement. UW ABA faculty can often help students find a practicum placement, particularly in Washington State. Students are both allowed and encouraged to have multiple practicum sites during their practicum.
An appropriate practicum site must serve individuals with disabilities and must be able to provide the following for the UW ABA student:
- 25 hours/week of work, of which no more than 12 hours is spent implementing behavioral programs directly with clients. The remainder of the hours provided by the practicum site should be spent in indirect activities, such as assessment, data collection, program writing, and coaching others.
- A limit of practicum hours to no more than 30 hours/week (on campus students only)
- Supervision by an onsite BCBA at least once every two weeks, unless approved by ABA Program faculty
- The opportunity to work with multiple students/clients over the course of the practicum
- The ability to video record work and share weekly recordings with UW supervisor
- The opportunity to work 1:1 with students on a weekly basis
- The ability for UW supervisor to conduct live observations (local students only)
In order to meet the competencies of the UW ABA Practicum, students will also need the following opportunities:
- The opportunity to assess students/clients
- The opportunity to observe students/clients
- The opportunity to use a variety of behaviorally based strategies to teach students/clients
- The opportunity to collect data and use data-based decision making in teaching students/clients.
- The opportunity to coach/teach others on behavioral strategies
Students will need to get a form signed by their supervisor or principal agreeing to these conditions.