How To Find A Great BCBA Supervisor?

Finding a supervisor who is knowledgeable, supportive, and invested in your professional development is essential for a successful career in applied behavior analysis (ABA).

Published on
March 2, 2024

How To Find A Great BCBA Supervisor?

The Importance of a BCBA Supervisor

A BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) supervisor plays a crucial role in the professional development and success of individuals pursuing a career in applied behavior analysis. They provide guidance, support, and mentorship to BCBA candidates as they navigate their journey towards certification. Understanding the role and benefits of a great BCBA supervisor is essential for those seeking to find the perfect fit for their supervision needs.

Role of a BCBA Supervisor

A BCBA supervisor serves as a mentor and guide for BCBA candidates, helping them develop the necessary skills and knowledge required to become competent and ethical behavior analysts. Some key responsibilities of a BCBA supervisor include:

  • Providing direct supervision to BCBA candidates, which involves reviewing and providing feedback on their work, conducting assessments, and guiding them through the process of creating behavior intervention plans.
  • Offering ongoing training and professional development opportunities to enhance the candidate's understanding of behavior analysis principles and practices.
  • Ensuring adherence to ethical guidelines and professional standards set forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).
  • Collaborating with BCBA candidates to create individualized supervision plans that address their specific needs and goals.
  • Monitoring the progress of BCBA candidates and providing support and guidance to help them overcome challenges and obstacles.

Benefits of Having a Great BCBA Supervisor

Having a great BCBA supervisor can significantly impact the professional growth and success of a BCBA candidate. Some of the key benefits of having a supportive and knowledgeable BCBA supervisor include:


Enhanced Skill Development: A great BCBA supervisor can provide valuable feedback, guidance, and resources to help BCBA candidates refine their skills and become more proficient in behavior analysis techniques.

Increased Confidence and Competence: Working with a competent and experienced supervisor can boost the confidence of BCBA candidates, allowing them to practice their skills with assurance and handle complex cases effectively.

Expanded Knowledge and Perspective: A knowledgeable BCBA supervisor can introduce BCBA candidates to new research, techniques, and perspectives within the field of behavior analysis, broadening their understanding and enhancing their ability to provide effective interventions.

Ethical Guidance: A great BCBA supervisor ensures that BCBA candidates adhere to ethical guidelines and professional standards, instilling a strong ethical foundation and promoting responsible practice.

Professional Networking: BCBA supervisors often have extensive professional networks, which can provide BCBA candidates with opportunities for collaboration, mentorship, and career advancement.

Understanding the pivotal role and benefits of a great BCBA supervisor is crucial for BCBA candidates seeking to find the right individual to guide them on their professional journey.

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Characteristics to Look for in a BCBA Supervisor

When searching for a BCBA supervisor, it's important to consider certain characteristics that can greatly impact your professional development and overall experience. Here are three key qualities to look for in a BCBA supervisor:

Relevant Experience and Expertise

One of the most crucial aspects to consider is the supervisor's relevant experience and expertise in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA). A supervisor with extensive experience working with individuals with similar needs and goals as yours can provide valuable insights and guidance. Look for supervisors who have a proven track record of success in areas relevant to your practice, such as autism, developmental disabilities, or behavioral interventions.

It can be beneficial to review the supervisor's credentials, certifications, and professional affiliations to ensure they possess the necessary qualifications and ongoing commitment to professional growth. Consider their years of experience, the types of clients they have worked with, and any specialized training they have received. This information can help you assess whether their expertise aligns with your specific needs.

Strong Communication Skills

Effective communication is vital in any professional relationship, and it is particularly important between a BCBA and their supervisor. Look for a supervisor who demonstrates strong communication skills, both in verbal and written forms. They should be able to clearly convey expectations, provide constructive feedback, and address any concerns you may have.

A supervisor with excellent listening skills can better understand your unique challenges and provide tailored guidance. They should be receptive to your questions, concerns, and ideas, fostering an open and supportive environment for collaboration.

Supportive and Collaborative Approach

A supportive and collaborative supervisor is essential for a positive and productive supervisory relationship. Seek a supervisor who values your growth and development, and who is committed to helping you achieve your professional goals. A supportive supervisor will provide guidance, encouragement, and constructive feedback to help you navigate challenges and enhance your skills.

Collaboration is also key, as it allows for shared decision-making and problem-solving. A supervisor who values your input and actively involves you in the decision-making process can foster a sense of ownership and increase your overall satisfaction with the supervisory experience.

Characteristic Description
Relevant Experience and Expertise Look for supervisors with experience and expertise in your specific area of practice, such as autism or developmental disabilities. Review their credentials and professional affiliations to ensure their qualifications align with your needs.
Strong Communication Skills Seek supervisors who demonstrate clear and effective communication, both in verbal and written forms. They should be able to convey expectations, provide feedback, and address concerns in a supportive manner.
Supportive and Collaborative Approach Choose supervisors who are supportive of your professional growth and development. They should provide guidance, encouragement, and constructive feedback. Additionally, look for supervisors who actively involve you in decision-making and problem-solving, fostering a collaborative environment.

By considering these characteristics when selecting a BCBA supervisor, you can increase the likelihood of finding a supervisor who will support your professional journey and help you reach your full potential in the field of applied behavior analysis.

Where to Find Potential BCBA Supervisors

Finding a great BCBA supervisor is a crucial step in your professional journey. To expand your options and increase your chances of finding the perfect fit, consider exploring the following avenues:

Professional Networks and Associations

One of the best ways to find potential BCBA supervisors is by tapping into professional networks and associations. These platforms provide opportunities to connect with experienced BCBAs who may be seeking supervisory roles. Attend conferences, seminars, and workshops related to behavior analysis to network with professionals in the field. Engaging in discussions and sharing your aspirations can lead to valuable connections and recommendations.

Online Platforms and Job Boards

The internet offers a wide range of online platforms and job boards that can help you find potential BCBA supervisors. These platforms allow you to search for supervisors based on location, experience, and specialization. Upload your resume or create a professional profile to showcase your skills and attract the attention of qualified supervisors. Regularly check these platforms for new listings and respond promptly to any opportunities that align with your needs.

Referrals from Colleagues and Mentors

Don't underestimate the power of referrals from colleagues and mentors in the field of behavior analysis. Reach out to trusted individuals who have experience with BCBA supervision and seek their recommendations. They may be aware of supervisors who are not actively advertising but are open to taking on new supervisees. Personal recommendations can provide valuable insights into a supervisor's communication style, approach, and expertise.

When searching for potential BCBA supervisors, it's important to consider your own requirements, such as location, availability, and the specific areas in which you need guidance. Take the time to explore different avenues and make connections, as finding the right BCBA supervisor can contribute significantly to your professional growth and success.

Evaluating Potential BCBA Supervisors

When searching for the perfect BCBA supervisor, it's essential to evaluate potential candidates thoroughly. This process involves reviewing their credentials and certifications, conducting interviews and assessments, and seeking feedback from references. By following these steps, you can make an informed decision and find a BCBA supervisor who aligns with your goals and needs.

Reviewing Credentials and Certifications

Before considering a BCBA supervisor, it's crucial to review their credentials and certifications. Look for individuals who hold a valid certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). This certification ensures that the supervisor has met the necessary educational and experiential requirements to provide effective supervision.

Here are some key credentials and certifications to look for:

Credential/Certification Description
BCBA Board Certified Behavior Analyst
BCBA-D Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral
BCaBA Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst

By verifying their certifications, you can ensure that the potential supervisor has the necessary qualifications to guide you on your BCBA journey.

Conducting Interviews and Assessments

Interviews and assessments play a crucial role in evaluating potential BCBA supervisors. During the interview process, ask relevant questions to assess their expertise, experience, and approach to supervision. Some topics to cover in the interview include:

  • Their experience working with individuals with similar needs or in the same field of interest.
  • Their knowledge of evidence-based practices and the ability to implement them effectively.
  • Their approach to providing feedback and addressing challenges.
  • Their strategies for promoting professional growth and development.

Additionally, consider conducting assessments or case studies to further evaluate their skills and expertise. This can involve presenting hypothetical scenarios or real-life cases and assessing their problem-solving abilities and decision-making skills.

Seeking Feedback from References

Gathering feedback from references is an essential step in the evaluation process. Contact individuals who have worked with the potential BCBA supervisor in the past, such as colleagues, employers, or previous supervisees. Ask about their experiences working with the supervisor and inquire about their professionalism, communication skills, and overall effectiveness as a supervisor.

Consider asking the following questions when seeking feedback:

  • How did the supervisor contribute to your professional growth and development?
  • How did the supervisor address challenges and provide support during difficult situations?
  • Was the supervisor responsive and communicative?
  • What were the strengths and weaknesses of the supervisor's supervisory approach?

By seeking feedback from references, you can gain valuable insights into the potential BCBA supervisor's supervisory style and determine if they are the right fit for your needs.

Evaluating potential BCBA supervisors requires careful consideration of their credentials and certifications, conducting interviews and assessments, and seeking feedback from references. By following these steps, you can make an informed decision and find a BCBA supervisor who will provide the guidance and support necessary for your professional growth.

Making the Right Choice

When it comes to finding the perfect BCBA supervisor for your professional journey, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. Making the right choice requires thoughtful reflection on your personal goals and needs, open communication about expectations and boundaries, and the establishment of a positive and effective supervisory relationship.

Consider Your Personal Goals and Needs

Before selecting a BCBA supervisor, take the time to consider your personal goals and needs. Reflect on what you hope to achieve in your career and the specific areas in which you would like to grow. This self-reflection will help you identify the qualities and expertise you require in a supervisor.

Personal Goals and Needs

  • Career advancement
  • Specialized knowledge
  • Skill development
  • Research opportunities

Discuss Expectations and Boundaries

Effective communication is essential in any supervisory relationship. Once you have identified potential BCBA supervisors, have open and honest discussions about your expectations and boundaries. Clearly communicate your goals, preferred communication methods, and any specific areas of focus you would like to address during supervision.

Expectations and Boundaries

  • Frequency and duration of supervision meetings
  • Methods of communication (in-person, online, phone, etc.)
  • Areas of focus and specific goals
  • Boundaries for personal and professional interaction

Building a Positive and Effective Supervisory Relationship

Establishing a positive and effective supervisory relationship is crucial for a successful professional journey. Here are some key aspects to consider when building this relationship:

  • Trust and Respect: Trust and respect are the foundation of any effective supervisory relationship. Foster an environment of trust by being reliable, transparent, and respectful in your interactions.
  • Open Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with your BCBA supervisor. Regularly share updates on your progress, ask for feedback, and address any concerns or questions you may have.
  • Support and Guidance: A great BCBA supervisor provides support and guidance throughout your journey. They should be available to answer your questions, provide resources, and offer constructive feedback to help you grow professionally.
  • Professional Development Opportunities: Seek a supervisor who encourages and provides opportunities for professional development. This may include attending workshops, conferences, or engaging in research projects.

By considering your personal goals and needs, discussing expectations and boundaries, and actively working towards building a positive and effective supervisory relationship, you can make the right choice when selecting a BCBA supervisor. Keep in mind that finding the perfect supervisor is a collaborative process, and it requires ongoing communication and effort from both parties involved.


What should I do if I can't find a supervisor with experience in my area of interest?

While it's ideal to find a supervisor who has experience in your area of interest, don't be discouraged if you can't. Instead, look for a supervisor who is willing to learn and grow with you. A great supervisor will be open to new ideas and approaches and will work collaboratively with you to achieve your professional goals.

Can I have more than one BCBA supervisor?

Yes, you can have more than one BCBA supervisor. In fact, many BCBAs choose to have multiple supervisors throughout their career to gain different perspectives and experiences. However, make sure that all of your supervisors are aware of each other and that they are all invested in your professional development.

How often should I meet with my BCBA supervisor?

The frequency of meetings with your BCBA supervisor may vary depending on your needs and schedule. Some BCBAs meet with their supervisors weekly, while others may meet bi-weekly or monthly. Discuss your availability and preferences with your supervisor to determine the best meeting schedule for you.

What should I do if I'm not happy with my current BCBA supervisor?

If you're not happy with your current BCBA supervisor, it's important to address the issue as soon as possible. Schedule a meeting with your supervisor to discuss any concerns or issues you may be having. If the issues cannot be resolved, consider finding a new supervisor who is a better fit for you and your career goals.

Can I switch BCBA supervisors during my supervision period?

Yes, you can switch BCBA supervisors during your supervision period if necessary. However, make sure that any changes are approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and that your new supervisor meets all the requirements for supervision.


In conclusion, finding a great BCBA supervisor is crucial for your professional development and success in the field of ABA. By considering factors such as the supervisor's experience, availability, investment in your growth, personality, and willingness to answer questions, you can find a supervisor who is the right fit for you.

Remember that it's okay to have multiple supervisors throughout your career and to switch supervisors if necessary. Keep in mind that a great supervisor will support and guide you as you work towards becoming an effective behavior analyst. Good luck with your search!