By Emily Mandel, M.S., BCBA
bSci21 Contributing Writer
In-home behavior consulting is an increasingly common form of service delivery within the field of ABA. Though it is an incredibly rewarding and often very fun job, there are some aspects of being an in-home therapist that are not components of most other ABA jobs. These include factoring in travel time while making sure you are working the required minimum billable hours. If you are considering pursuing a job as an in-home therapist, be sure to ask potential employers the following questions prior to accepting a position:
- What will my caseload be like?
- In most cases, agencies will give a BCBA a relatively manageable caseload (fewer than 15 clients). However, some may require a BCBA to take on more clients than they can handle, which can limit the clinician’s ability to deliver the most consistent and effective treatment. Be wary if an agency says your caseload will be larger than 15-20 clients or if they do not give you a clear answer.
- How much travel is required?
- In-home behavior therapy often requires a great deal of travel time. Make sure that the cases you are assigned are within a reasonable distance from each other.
- Will I be reimbursed for travel?
- In-home therapists spend at least 25% of their work day traveling, which can add up financially. Be sure that you receive some form of reimbursement for the time you spend traveling, whether through a monthly stipend or by the mile.
- How much support will I receive from my supervisor and my team?
- In-home behavior consultants spend most of their time on their own in the field. Make sure that the company is willing to provide adequate support, whether from a supervisor or from a team.
- What are the hours of operation?
- Many agencies operate Monday through Friday during the day. However, visits are planned around the schedule of the client and you may be required to work some nights and weekends.
- What are the billable hours required?
- In-home behavioral service agencies almost always have a required minimum number of billable hours. These hours consist of services for which clients or their insurance companies are billed directly (such as direct service, graphing, treatment planning, etc.). Typically, billable time is between 20 and 30 hours per week.
In-home behavioral consulting is a wonderful job within the field of ABA, and has many benefits including flexible hours and the ability to work directly with the client’s family. However, being an in-home consultant is different from other jobs in the ABA field and requires additional considerations. Let these questions serve as a guide when deciding on a company. Good luck and safe travels!
Let us know your experiences with in-home ABA in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!
Emily Mandel, M.S., BCBA, is a behavior clinician who works with children on the Autism Spectrum in the Greater Boston Area. She has over 3 years of experience delivering therapeutic services both in-home and in the public school system. Though she is predominantly focused on the utilization of Applied Behavior Analysis in treating individuals with disabilities, Emily enjoys examining topics such as religion, medicine, politics, and social constructs, through a behavioral lens. You can contact her at email@example.com.