Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) guide to success

April 30, 2022

A Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) is a paraprofessional in behavior analysis. RBTs work directly with patients under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA).

Who is a Registered Behavior Technician?

Under the supervision of a BCBA or BCaBA, a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) provides services in behavior analysis to families and clients.

  • BCBA: An acronym representing Board-Certified Behavior Analyst, requiring completion of a master's degree program, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) coursework, and passing of a national board examination.
  • BCaBA: A bachelor's-level qualification that stands for Board-Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst.  They must complete a bachelor’s degree, ABA coursework, and pass a national board examination.

A registered behavior technician needs to be able to learn, adapt, and be professional under pressure while exemplifying compassion, empathy, patience, dedication, and perseverance.

What is the role of a Registered Behavior Technician?

A RBT's job is to help with the administration and monitoring of behavioral support services for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and/or other behavioral, social, and/or communication challenges. The RBT works under the supervision of a BCBA, BCaBA, or other certified supervisors, providing guidance and training to registered behavior technicians and behavior therapists to enhance behavioral, social, communicative, functional, and educational programs. 

Collaboration with families, team members, and connected service providers is a requirement of the job as Registered Behavior Technicians serve patients with a variety of behavioral issues, such as PTSD, trauma, ASD, and other behavioral delays and disorders. 

Making a care plan necessitates studying the patient and determining what is causing their behavioral issues. Although the RBT does not design the plans, they do play a significant role in their implementation. The BCBA or BCaBA will then devise a strategy to address these issues. 

Depending on the BCBA or BCaBA’s character or leadership style, a registered behavioral technician may be informed of the plan after it has been developed or be included in the design process.

RBTs are responsible for a variety of tasks, including:

  • Providing one-on-one or group therapy to clients
  • Following the behavioral skill acquisition and behavior reduction regimens outlined by a BCBA or BCaBA
  • Data collection and recording
  • Communicating with clients, parents, and caregivers about plan progress
  • Assisting behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts with skill acquisition and behavior reduction assessments
  • Aiding BCBAs and BCaBAs with client materials preparation

How to become a Behavioral Technician (RBT)

To become an RBT you must first complete training and then acquire certification. For the most part, all candidates follow the same path to this position. Before a candidate may earn the credential of Registered Behavior Technician, they must meet strict eligibility conditions.

  • Age and education: Applicants should be at least 18 years old and possess a high school diploma or a GED. The average age of an employed behavior technician is 35.
  • Background check: The applicant must have cleared a background check within the last six months. The background check is regarded as a failure if there is any criminal past.
  • Training: The applicant must finish a 40-hour RBT-specific training program.
  • Competency evaluation: The applicant must pass the BACB-administered competency assessment. To succeed in the assessment, the applicant must demonstrate competency in all of the essential tasks.
  • Examination:  The candidate must produce confirmation that all preceding prerequisites have been met before being allowed to take the exam.

Ethics: Applicants must adhere to the RBT Ethics Code, which is divided into three sections: ethical conduct, customer responsibility, and competence and service delivery.

What are the challenges faced by RBTs?

RBTs are in a unique position to have the greatest impact on the clients they serve since they are the primary individuals implementing daily care and behavior plans. To promote maximum change for their clients, an RBT must have a true understanding of the therapeutic approaches they are implementing. Children benefit from consistency and regardless of the child's age, this is the most important aspect throughout the day-to-day application of therapy. 

Daily work stresses and flexibility expectations within the world of ABA can be demanding, regardless of staff level or role. Finding a work-life balance that allows the therapist to step away from the demands of the job to meet their own needs can be a challenge. Going home and leaving incomplete responsibilities back at work is an aspect in which many supervisory personnel struggle. During periods when employees are not on duty, families of clients served may still require guidance. Setting limits on when you are and are not accessible to respond to work-related texts, emails, and voicemails is an essential skill.

The top 10% of highest-paid behavior technicians can earn up to $46,000 per year or more. However, successfully dealing with children, teenagers, and adults with autism requires flexibility and maneuverable thinking. At work, there is never a dull moment, yet the rewards far surpass the difficulties.   

Hearing a child pronounce their first word, assisting a teenager with their first application form, or witnessing an adult wash a load of clothes independently for the first time are examples of the many rewards ABA clinicians enjoy. Some may even view challenges as mere stumbling blocks on the way to greater success and immersion within the profession. If necessary, new therapists can find mentors in coworkers, especially supervisors, to provide guidance navigating processes and complicated procedures.

Conclusion

Becoming a RBT may be a good choice for someone seeking a demanding and gratifying profession. Reading RBT job descriptions will help you discover what is required to find success with this role. Each of the RBT responsibility goals can be achieved using stepping stones to build toward the expected outcome.  Once a significant number of smaller goals have been met, sights can be set on larger, more complex goals. 

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 interested in joining the team as a RBT, please reach out to us to apply.

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