You log in to your portal. Click over to your test results. You take a deep breath and… You passed! Congratulations rockstar, you can now add “BCBA” to the end of your name because you are officially board certified. It’s a great feeling and reflects all the hard work that you’ve put in. But now another question remains… what next? Professional growth and mentoring is a core part of our philosophy here at Verbal Beginnings and having a large number of BCBAs who have been down the “what do I do next” path before, we decided to ask them to give us their best advice for folks just starting out as newly-minted BCBAs. So, without further ado, here is some advice straight from our team for all the new BCBAs out there. Congrats!
“Don’t rush yourself. When newly certified, we can feel like we need to go from student to master in a few weeks. Instead of trying to conquer the world at day one, develop a plan for professional growth that will allow you to play on the strengths that you already possess as a clinician while providing you with a supportive network for development over time.” – Shanna Reese, Ph.D., BCBA, LPC, LBS, Clinical Coordinator
“Learning is a journey that never ends. Embrace it and get your bearings on where to go to learn and who to learn from.” – Diana Wolf, MA, BCBA, LBA, Founder and Co-CEO
“Be organized in the way that works best for you. Have a work life balance. You are never going to be done working, because you will always think of something to help out your clients. Schedule in ‘you time’ or ‘you activities’ into your week so you have time to take care of yourself.“ – Nicole Brown, BCBA, LBA Clinical Supervisor
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help! ! I think that people feel like they should know everything because they got the certification and that is certainly not the case. Always be willing to learn and keep your mind open!” – Alexis Laws, BCBA, LBA, Clinical Supervisor
“I would say don’t worry about not knowing everything! After my exam I was surprised how much I still had to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it!” – Anonymous
“One piece of advice I would give to a new BCBA is not to be discouraged if a family does not take you seriously right away. Take time to get to know the family and show them what you know before diving straight into family training!” – Heather Gambacorto, BCBA, LBA, Clinical Supervisor
“You learn a lot of book knowledge in class, but it is hard to learn real life applications and problem solving unless you have had a really strong practicum. Remember that you are not alone in this. Ask questions, reach out to others; it is a learning experience, and it will all come together.” – Sarah Berline, BCBA, LBA, Clinical Supervisor
“My advice would be to be prepared to test out a number of strategies and methods before finding your groove.” – Emily Summers, BCBA, LBA, Clinical Supervisor
“I would encourage new BCBAs to seek help when you need it; you don’t have to know everything just yet!” – Tara Edgens, BCBA, LBA Clinical Supervisor
“Once you get your BCBA certification and licensure it can be an exhilarating time. Remember that you are new to this and expertise comes with practice. Start with skills you are familiar with and rely on your education/training to see you through.” – Ted Hastings, M.Ed, BCBA, LBA, Director of Social Beginnings
“Use your resources, be confident in your skills, and never stop asking for guidance and collaboration!” – Shannon Fitzpatrick, BCBA, LBA, Clinical Supervisor
“Ask questions!! I have grown tremendously as a BCBA by learning from my peers. Additionally, when at all possible, collaborate with your fellow BCBA’s on programming. Two, or better yet three heads are always better than one!” – Rebecca Larson, BCBA, LBA, Clinical Supervisor
“Don’t forget to always read journal articles and books because the learning does not stop when you pass the boards.” – Erica Simmons, BCBA, LBS, Clinical Supervisor
Want to be part of our people-first culture? Join the Verbal Beginnings team and find out how to get the mentorship, training, and career opportunities you’ve been looking for and have a great time along the way. Take a look at all our BCBA, Clinical Coordinator, and other career opportunities here on our site.