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A registered behavior technician® (RBT®) is a paraprofessional who works in the applied behavior analysis (ABA) field delivering behavior analytic services under the director and supervision of an RBT® supervisor. This role requires certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc® (BACB®).

 

According to the RBT Handbook, to become an RBT, you must:

 

• Be at least 18 years old
• Hold a minimum of a high school diploma or GED
• Pass a criminal background check as well as an abuse registry check
• Complete a 40-hour RBT training course
• Pass a competency assessment
• Apply and be approved by the BACB to sit for the final exam
• Pass the RBT exam

 

Read on to explore the role of a behavior technician and learn tips for landing an RBT job.

 

What is it Like to Be a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT®)?

Certification as an RBT makes for an enriching career for those who finds fulfillment in helping learners achieve socially significant goals and improve their quality of life. The majority of RBTs, about 85%, work with children or adults who received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Behavior Analyst Certification Board, n.d.). They can work in a clinical setting, client’s homes, daycares, schools, or other community settings.

 

No day as an RBT is same, always bringing new challenging and new things to teach and learn. Behavior technicians work with learners of varying ages, abilities, and needs. They conduct skill acquisition programs to teach new skills and they also implement behavior support plans (BSPs) to reduce behaviors interfering with learning. Their work assists in improving a learner’s quality of life beyond the clinical context.

 

RBTs can support their learners in developing a wide range of skills, including:

 

  • Communication and language skills
  • Social skills
  • Play and leisure engagement
  • Functional or daily living skills
  • Problem solving and perspective-taking
  • Academics (if working in schools)
  • And more!

The board certified behavior analyst® (BCBA®) or the board certified assistant behavior analyst (BCaBA®) are responsible for creating each learner’s treatment goals and acting as the RBT supervisor. The behavior technician is responsible for implementing those goals and recording data. As ABA is a data-driven field, recording data is essential for programming success. The clinician or case supervisor uses the data to monitor the learner’s progress and make changes as necessary. Ongoing guidance and supervision from a qualified behavior analyst (i.e., BCBA or BCaBA) equips RBTs with the skills needed to provide high-quality and staying compliant with ethical and professional standards.

 

To learn more about a typical day in this job, read through Day in the Life of a Registered Behavior Technician.

 

Are Behavior Technicians and Registered Behavior Technicians the Same?

A behavior technician (BT) and a registered behavior technician (RBT) are both entry-level positions providing ABA therapy. The difference is that RBTs have completed the certification process with the BACB® which means they have met the stringent requirements set forth by the certification board, including the 40 hours of behavior analytic training content, demonstrated competency via an assessment, and passed the exam. Completing these requirements demonstrates they understand and can apply behavior-analytic concepts and strategies.

 

Some states and funders (i.e., client’s insurance companies) mandate that all behavior technicians obtain the RBT® certification, but many areas do not hold this standard. Therefore, it is common for companies to hire behavior technicians and provide the training required to earn RBT credentials.

 

What Should You Put on Your Resume to Get the Job?

A strong resume is the first step to standing out against the competition. If you are already certified as an RBT, be sure this is clearly included in your resume by adding to the title at the top of the resume and under the certifications section. If you are not yet registered, do not represent yourself as an RBT on your resume, as the BACB strictly prohibits this. Ensure your resume is a truthful representation of yourself and previous experience.

 

Include the skills you possess that make you an excellent fit for the role. Highlight the hard and soft skills that allow you to provide high-quality care.

 

Here are a few skills you may consider adding to your resume if they apply to you.

 

  • Effective written and verbal communication skills
  • Compassionate and empathetic
  • Strong time management
  • Highly adaptable to change and flexible
  • Accurate data collection abilities
  • Software proficiency (if you have experience with specific ABA data collection platforms, highlight these)
  • Attention to detail
  • Accepts and implement feedback
  • Strong understanding of ABA concepts and common practices (e.g., DTT, NET, reinforcement strategies, etc.)

 

If you can communicate in multiple languages, including American Sign Language (ASL), be sure to include that! Being multilingual in this field is incredibly valuable.

 

How to Nail the Interview?

Getting an interview call can be exciting and a little nerve-wracking. However, try to remember that an interview is a two-way street. It’s an opportunity for a company to determine if someone is a good fit for their organization but also an opportunity for the individual to evaluate whether the company fits their career aspirations, values, and preferences.

 

Here are a few tips for nailing a behavior technician interview:

 

  1. Research the company
    Take some time to look into the company you are interviewing with. Check out their website and social pages to learn about the types of services they offer and the clients they serve. Try to get an idea of the workplace culture they promote. Prepare notes with any questions that come up and plan to ask them during the interview as this shows interest.
  2. Research the field and the role
    If you haven’t worked in ABA before and haven’t taken the 40-hour training, your knowledge of behavior analytic concepts and therapy practices may be limited. That’s okay! Many people begin a career in this field with minimal pre-existing knowledge of ABA. However, be sure to dedicate time to understanding the role of a behavior technician and the basic principles of ABA. This is important to ensure it’s a good fit for you. You can also gather additional questions to ask during the interview process.
  3. Highlight your experience
    Even if you don’t have experience in ABA, emphasize previous related or beneficial experience. For example, if you have worked in a group home, as a babysitter, or in another helping profession, be sure to discuss that.
  4. Exemplify a growth perspective
    Be honest about your previous experience. If your experience in ABA is minimal, discuss this while highlighting your desire to learn and grow alongside the BCBAs. If you have experience, share any areas where you want to improve or expand your knowledge.
  5. Demonstrate professional communication
    Communicate respectfully with the interviewer. Whether the interview is in person or remote, dedicate your full attention to the person conducting it. Pay attention to your body language and tone of voice and speak clearly and confidently.

 

Do I Have to Obtain a State License to Practice as an RBT®?

Most states do not require licensure to practice as an RBT®. However, a few states require behavior technicians to be licensed in their state.
States that require a license include:

 

  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Washington

 

It is important to note the difference between certification and licensure. RBT® certification is granted by the BACB® upon completion of the requirements, as indicated at the start of this article. The RBT certification is recognized nationwide across the US and in other countries, including Australia, Canada, and the UK. Some states require behavior technicians to be licensed to provide ABA therapy in their state. This licensure is granted by the state licensing board.

 

What Is the Job Outlook for a Behavioral Technician?

Demand for behavioral health professionals has grown substantially in the last decade. The job outlook for behavior technicians is positive, with growth expected to continue. The majority of behavior technicians work within the autism population. The current prevalence is 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with autism (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023). With this increasing prevalence, there is a greater need for qualified behavioral health technicians to support these children in developing vital, lifelong skills.

 

While the BACB does not share job demand for RBTs, their US Employment Demand for Behavior Analysts report shows continued job growth for behavior analysts. In 2022, demand rose by 23%. Thus, it is reasonable to expect similar growth for behavior technicians.

 

Conclusion: How to Become a Behavior Technician?

Pursuing a career as a behavior technician is a rewarding journey. RBT requirements include 40 hours of coursework, a competency assessment, and an exam to ensure candidates are well-prepared for the role. Behavior technicians provide vital services that improve the quality of life for children with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Bierman Autism Centers offers a comprehensive 40-hour RBT training program designed to prepare behavior technicians for the RBT certification exam, and ranked in the top 10% for RBT pass rates in 2021. Our high-quality training program includes hands-on learning experiences, mentorship from experienced BCBAs, and access to a vast library of resources to ensure one is well-prepared for the exam.

 

At Bierman, we understand the importance of career advancement. That’s why we provide clear paths for professional growth from behavior technician to registered behavior technician and beyond. Our internal promotion rates and support for continuing education reflect our commitment to your professional development.

 

Interested in joining our team? Learn more about our unique training programs, exam preparation support, and career paths, and apply to an open position today!

 

References

Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (n.d.). BACB certificant data. Retrieved from https://www.bacb.com/bacb-certificant-data/#demographic_data
Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (n.d.). Registered Behavior Technician Handbook. Retrieved from https://www.bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/RBTHandbook_231228-a.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023). Data and statistics on ASD. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

Author

  • Simone Palmer, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA

    Simone started working with behavior analytic interventions in Brazil, where she is from. She has been working in the field for more than 15 years. Throughout her career, she has implemented interventions based on the principles of behavior analysis to individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, as well as anxiety, depression, ADHD, hearing impairments, among others across several settings and environments. Since moving to the United States in 2010, Simone has worked with individuals age ranging from 18 months through 22 years old, and across multiple settings including: in-home, public and private schools, early intervention centers, and residential programs. Simone received her M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis through Northeastern University and recently received her Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis through Simmons University. She is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and a Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst (LABA) in the state of Massachusetts. Currently, she is also an Adjunct Faculty at Simmons University. In her time outside of work and school, she enjoys traveling, going out to restaurants, video chatting with her family, and hanging out with her husband and with friends.

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