How To Become an RBT

Reviewed by:
Hannah Andreasen

May 7, 2022

Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) need a specific level of training to implement therapeutic care programs for children with autism. While anyone with an interest in the field can be eligible to earn certification, there are a few basic requirements:

  •  Be a minimum of 18 years old
  •  Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  •  Clear a background check
  •  Complete the 40-hour training course
  •  Perform successfully on the initial assessment of competency

Once the first three  requirements are fulfilled, it is possible to apply for RBT certification training. Training is supervised by a qualified BACB (Behavior Analyst Certified Board) and may be completed at any time before applying for RBT certification. However, the initial competency assessment must be completed within three months of submitting payment for the RBT certification application. After this application is approved, applicants may take the test. 

Anyone working for an organization that offers ABA therapy may ask for in-house training to pursue certification. Additionally, there are many outside training programs available through a training company or a post-secondary institution. 

Many colleges and universities offer the 40-hour training programs. This course takes place throughout different settings and time frames. For instance, some post-secondary schools might offer the training in class over eight weeks with the professor managing their own pace and structure. There are also online courses where an applicant can study at their own pace to complete all coursework. This course provides a comprehensive outline of the skills present on the BACB’s RBT Task List.

Upon completion of the 40-hour course, the applicant must work with a qualified Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) to complete their competency assessment. This is a practical assessment of the basic skills described in the RBT Task List. While different sections of the assessment offer different formats, such as role-pays and interviews, some of the skills must be demonstrated directly with a client. 

Once the competency assessment is complete, the candidate may now apply to the BACB, submitting proof of the above requirements as evidence. It can take up to two weeks for the BACB to approve the application, at which point, the candidate may sign up for the RBT exam. The applicant is finally an RBT after they score a passing grade on the exam.

What is the role of a Registered Behavior Technician?

The Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) is a professional in behavior analysis. RBTs help to deliver behavior-analytic services, practicing under the authority of the RBT Supervisor or RBT Requirements Coordinator, who is in charge of all RBT assignments. This supervisor must be a BCBA or BCaBA.

RBTs work directly with children and adults on the spectrum. ABA therapy is one of the most effective ways of reducing maladaptive behaviors and helping people with autism succeed in the world. 

RBTs help BCBAs administer a care plan for behavioral treatment. RBTs work with individual children or small groups of people with autism to provide ABA treatment. A BCBA, RBT supervisor, or other ABA specialist can manage a team of RBTs.

Some ABA providers may have Lead RBTs. The Lead RBT's job is to help with planning, development, administration, and monitoring of behavioral support for children with autism and other behavioral, social, and communication difficulties. They also provide guidance and training to registered behavior technicians and therapists to implement proactive behavioral, social, communicative, functional, and educational programs. 

Collaboration with families, team members, and connected service providers is a requirement of the job. Patients with a variety of behavioral issues, such as PTSD, physical and emotional abuse, psychiatric diseases, and substance abuse can also receive service from registered behavior technicians. 

Although RBTs do not design the plans, they play a significant role in implementation. Making a plan necessitates studying the child and determining what stimulates specific behaviors. The BCBA or BCaBA will then devise a strategy to create positive growth. The registered behavioral technician may or may not be invited to assist their superior in this process at their own discretion. 

RBTs are responsible for a variety of tasks, including:

  • Providing one-on-one and group counseling to clients
  • Following the behavioral skill acquisition and behavior reduction regimens
  • Data collection and recording based on customer behavior
  • Communicating progress to children and family members
  • Assisting behavior analysts with skill acquisition and behavior modification  assessments
  • Care plan materials preparation

Detailed information on the RBT exam

The RBT exam gauges an applicant’s ability to execute the six primary duties of a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) as specified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). The RBT online training is based on the task list, so the candidate should be familiar with the concepts and expectations.

The time allotted for completing the exam is 90 minutes. There are 85 computer-based questions on the RBT exam, 75 of which comprise the final score. The questions in the RBT exam are split into sections based on the six primary duties of an RBT. 

They are: 

  • 10 questions on measurement
  • 8 questions on the assessment
  • 24 questions on skill acquisition
  • 12 questions on behavior reduction
  • 10 questions on documentation and reporting 
  • 11 questions on professional conduct and range of practice.

They are multiple-choice questions with one correct answer. In addition, 10 “unweighted” questions assist the BACB in improving the examination in the future.

How to study for the RBT exam 

The exam mainly focuses on the RBT Task List, and the BACB doesn't provide specific study methods. Therefore, finding a universally acceptable study method is not an easy job. There are, however, RBT training programs online that simplify the process by providing guidance, support, and encouragement. 

The training itself:

  • Acts like a partner or study buddy providing preparatory quizzes before the big day
  • Provides the candidate reliable study tools like flashcards and practice exams
  • Implements discrete-trial teaching procedures and realistic teaching procedures
  • Delivers activities based on motivation, support, etc.

At the end of each training session, the instructors offer trainees feedback on how they performed. They then assist the trainee in advancing to the next session.

What is the importance of RBT certification?

RBT certification verifies that an individual can provide ABA therapy under the guidance of a supervisor or coordinator. This certification plays a significant role in providing ABA therapy. Examinees can prepare for the RBT exam during the 40-hour training course, where they learn all the information required to successfully complete the exam.


Becoming an ABA behavior technician may be a good choice for someone searching for a demanding and gratifying profession. Each RBT activity outline uses modest steps to achieve goals – once a significant number of smaller goals have been met, larger goals can be set and then achieved. Learning how to become an RBT can be a fulfilling process. Behavior analyst positions are gaining popularity and can be a great career option. Upon passing the examination, applicants can work as a certified RBT and help bring positive changes to children’s lives. 

Songbird Therapy is a technology-enabled provider setting a higher standard for children’s autism care. With a deeply passionate team and innovative technology, we’re building a world where every child can access world-class care at home, uniquely tailored to them. 

If you are an RBT looking to help provide children’s autism care, contact us to learn how you can join the team.