Since the creation of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)® in 1998, the number of Board Certified Behavior Analysts® has reached nearly 40,000. The growth of this profession has been unprecedented in the world of healthcare. When a field is comprised of over 53% of practitioners with less than 5 years of experience, relatively speaking, this profession is even younger than one would assume at face value. As of April 2019, there were nearly 40,000 BCBAs in the world. In 2010, there were 8,500 BCBAs. In 2015, there were 22,000 BCBAs. Soon, we will begin to see the pioneering minds in the field disappear; who’s left to fill in the gaps is yet to be defined.
The consequences and implications of this explosive growth are profound! Insatiable market demand for BCBAs has left very little time available for new BCBAs to hone their craft by being the beneficiary of extensive training, supervision, and mentoring programs available to those who joined the field when demand was more in line with supply – at least in terms of availability of funds to pay for costly ABA services. Today, we are experiencing the opposite problem. Demand and funds available to pay for ABA services have completely outstripped the supply of BCBAs. This is leading to potential supervisors with no available time to dedicate to supervision, much less the quality of supervision.
Supervision has always been at the core of the BCBA credential. In addition to the educational degrees and relevant course sequence, supervised fieldwork has been one of the primaries – some would say the most important – aspects of developing the skills and knowledge of prospective BCBAs to minimal levels of competency.
At Special Learning, we have always believed the single greatest factor in ensuring and maintaining quality in the field of behavior analysis is quality supervision! With great supervision, the profession can continue to add qualified, competent BCBAs to the field, who in turn, will continue to develop equally qualified, competent BCBAs. Conversely, those pursuing credentialing who received less than quality supervision would then themselves become supervisors and perpetuate the downward spiral in quality service provisions.
In this age of hyper-growth and severe time constraints, standardization and quality can very easily become secondary considerations. It is with this in mind, that we developed this tool. It was originally created for BCBAs living and practicing outside the U.S. without the resources available to BCBAs practicing in the U.S. However, over the past 4 years and with thousands of hours spent in development, the market dynamic has shifted to the extent that a supervision tool that establishes standardization and facilitates quality outcomes is as much needed in the U.S. as elsewhere in the world.
There is a single tenet that ALL BCBA supervisors should live by… YOU are the key to the future of the field of behavior analysis. It is through you that the quality of the field can be maintained or destroyed. It is YOUR responsibility to carry on the tradition of quality care that has been faithfully laid out by the founding fathers and mothers of the field of behavior analysis. Supervision is NOT A TASK to be performed mindlessly, rather, it is a profound obligation that YOU owe the field of behavior analysis and those lucky enough to be under your tutelage.
In your supervisees, you are leaving behind your professional legacy. Choose to make a difference – positive or negative – you will be leaving your footprint either way.
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