ABA Supervision

Help! I need Unrestricted Hours for BCBA Fieldwork Supervision

What ARE unrestricted hours? What counts as an unrestricted activity? Need ideas for unrestricted hours in BCBA supervision? We can help! Let's dive in.


What are Unrestricted Hours?

So you're a trainee looking to maximize your unrestricted hours or a supervisor looking to help your trainee maximize their time. First, what ARE unrestricted hours? Per the BACB, unrestricted hours are "Activities that are unrestricted are those that are most likely to be performed by a BCBA" (BACB Handbook, 2022, p. 15). But, what does that mean?! Let's dive in.

How many do I need?

Per the changes to BCBA Eligibility Requirements that began on January 1st, 2021, AT LEAST 60% of BCBA fieldwork hours must be unrestricted.

It's important to note that the 60 % requirement:
  1. is a MINIMUM requirement, not an exact requirement. So, you could count 70%, 80%, or even 100% of your hours as "unrestricted".

  2. is for the ENTIRE duration of supervision, NOT per monthly supervisory period. So, in theory, you could have 100% of your hours be "restricted" for months, then have all of your hours be "unrestricted". But, we wouldn't recommend this. It is best to balance your restricted and unrestricted activities as you go.

  3. is designed to prepare you for the job duties of a BCBA. The minimum was introduced to ensure that trainees did not go through all of their BCBA supervision only operating as an RBT. Unrestricted hours are an opportunity to prepare you for the job you will have AFTER supervision is finished!


Want to learn more about ABA Fieldwork Requirements? Check out this FREE e-Learning module.


What counts as unrestricted hours?

Unrestricted hours are NOT determined based on whether you are 1:1 with a client, they are determined by the nature of the job you are doing. If you are simply delivering a plan, instruction, or procedures based on what someone else designed, this is RESTRICTED because you are not engaging in analysis.

If you are engaging in behavior analytic skills that require you to design materials, plans, interventions, goals, or training, you are likely engaging in unrestricted hours. If you are observing, collecting data, analyzing, collaborating with stakeholders on behavior change, researching the literature for a client's program, or training others, you are likely engaging in unrestricted hours!


I still need help!

Sometimes the nature of our jobs makes it difficult to identify or create opportunities for unrestricted hours. Our BCBA supervision curriculum has tons of structured activities to help you maximize unrestricted time, either as a trainee or supervisor. You'll also get access to our communities where you can chat with other supervisors or trainees about ideas. 

Want to start small? check out our free resource, 30 Unrestricted Hours Ideas.

Remember, you've got this!

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