25 Oct Coaches Corner: Finding Time For Unrestricted Hours
Students who begin accruing fieldwork hours must earn two types of hours: restricted and unrestricted. According to the BACB, students who will be testing after 2021 must earn 2000 fieldwork hours, with at least 60% of these hours (1200 hours) being spent in unrestricted activities. Unrestricted activities is time in which a student underneath the supervision of a qualified person performs duties that are the responsibility of a BCBA. These activities include, but are not limited to, developing programming, running assessments, and training others on behavior analytic procedures.
Many students beginning fieldwork often times feel overwhelmed by their hours accrual, particularly with unrestricted activities. Trying to find time to squeeze in these hours between coursework and a job, all while trying to maintain order in their personal life can be particularly overwhelming. While frustrating, the purpose of these hours is to ensure that a student can do the work of a BCBA. The BACB is actively working to ensure that when student sits for their BCBA exam, that they are fully equipped to do the work a BCBA.
When starting fieldwork hours, it is important to develop a strong game plan in terms of how to accrue all of one’s fieldwork hours. When a student identifies their targeted test date, they should collaborate with their supervisor to identify how many restricted and unrestricted hours they must accrue in order to sit by this date. The student should then self-reflect, given all other responsibilities, are they going to be able to earn these amounts of hours, without sacrificing other priorities? From there, the student should set up a schedule for themselves to earn unrestricted hours. Meaning, a student should create calendar appointments for themselves to earn unrestricted hours and maintain these appointments.
The student should provide themselves with reinforcement for maintaining these appointments. The reinforcer should not just be completion of the activities alone, but rather be rewarded with an individualized reinforcer. Earning fieldwork hours as planned is something that should be celebrated! Reinforcement does not just work for the clients a student may work with; reinforcement works for everyone.