What is an RBT?

Learn what is an RBT, what they do, and more in this guide.

steven zauderer
Steven Zauderer
November 10th, 2022
min read

What is an RBT?

An RBT is a registered behavior technician. RBTs have numerous responsibilities in the field of ABA therapy. Keep reading.

what is an rbt

There are not a lot of people who want to work with people on the autism spectrum, but for those that do, a registered behavior technician (RBT) is a professional that is capable of doing so consistently.

However, RBTs are not capable of creating ABA treatment plans for the people they work with.

This has to be done by a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA). On the other side, RBTs tend to spend more time working directly with the autistic person to who they are implementing the ABA treatment plan than a BCBA.

So, if your passion is to work directly with people who suffer from autism, then being an RBT might be more fulfilling than becoming a BCBA.

What is RBT certification and what does it allow you to do?

Once you have decided that you want to work with people with autism, it is time to start looking into RBT certification.

This certification is required for you to hold a position as an RBT.

The certification process can take as little as a month, but this time frame can vary based on the area where you live and the ABA therapist that you will be working with. One of the best things about RBT certification is the requirements are not hard to meet.

Requirements For RBT Certification

Unlike many jobs and certifications in the field, RBTs do not require any higher-education degrees to get started. The first requirement you must meet before becoming an RBT is you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school degree or a GED.

This is excellent for young people who are just getting out of high school and know that they want to work with people who are autistic.

Once the age and education requirement is out of the way, you will need to be able to pass a background check. Now, it is important to know that there are different degrees and types of background checks available.

The background check that you will need to pass for RBT certification is the one that is comparable for people who are going to work as teachers, home health aides, and caregivers.

After passing your background check, you will be able to start the 40 hours of required training you will need for the certification.

These hours have to be done under a BCBA, and in these hours you will learn the skills you need to be an effective RBT and start learning the guidelines you must follow as a certified RBT. During your training hours, you will have to complete an initial competency assessment.

This is when someone will come in and monitor some of your sessions with your clients to see how you interact and perform when working with people.

If this cannot be scheduled during your training hours, you might be given a verbal assessment through role play means that will allow you to demonstrate how you would respond in various scenarios.

Throughout your training hours, you will have to complete the hours and pass your competency assessment to qualify to take the board certification exam.

However, this exam cannot be taken until you have completed the total 40 hours, even if you pass the initial competency assessment mid-way through your training.

Finally, once you have completed the training and competency assessment, you will be allowed to apply and sign up to take the RBT certification exam.

There are two fees that you need to be prepared for at this requirement phase.The following fees could change, but the current rate is a $50 application fee to take the exam, and then you will need to have $45 for the actual exam. Once you have passed the certification exam, you will be certified and allowed to apply for RBT jobs.

Maintaining Your Certification

RBT certification only lasts for one year, and it has to renew every year after that for you to remain RBT certified. The time on your certification starts the day that you pass your exam.

For now, there is a $35 renewal fee that you will be required to pay every year to keep your certification, but this amount is always subject to change.

Make sure that you keep up with the guidelines throughout the year. This will help to ensure you are ready to renew your certification every year without any hiccups that could cost you your RBT certification. Here are the three things you need to keep in mind for your RBT certification per the current guidelines:

  • You must be under the supervision of a BCBA.
  • You must always adhere to the established ethical guidelines set.
  • Finally, you have to pay the renewal fee and complete the renewal certification form every year before your certification expires.

How Do You Get Started With The 40 Hours Of Required RBT Training?

Once you are through with the background check and pass it, you will want to start looking for an RBT training program in your area.

Generally, there are three places where you can find an ABA training program. Each place has pros and cons, but they can help you get the training hours your need for your certification.

1. You could ask your current employer if they have an RBT certification program.

Most places that deal with special education and work specifically with children and people who are on the autism spectrum will often provide RBT programs to help get their employees certified. Some examples of these jobs include:

  • Clinical psychology offices that work with people with autism
  • Schools or daycare centers that deal with special needs children, like with autism

Other job locations might have a training program. You will just need to speak with your boss to find out.

2. Many local colleges and universities will provide training for different ABA therapy techniques, like RBT training.

You need to ensure the college you find has been approved by the Association of Behavior Analysts International (ABAI), and they should meet all accreditations for providing national degree standards.

3. There are training companies for RBT certification.

If you choose to go through a training program, they will help to place you in a place where you can work directly with an ABA-certified therapist.

With a training company, you will be able to go more at your own pace, which is good for someone who is already working.

Not to mention, many training companies will have programs where those taking the program can get paid while training, and they will often help to find you a job as an RBT after you complete their training program, but this is not a guarantee.

What You Can Expect To Make As An RBT?

RBTs will make an average salary of $39,000 annually in 2022, but this number could vary depending on the area where you live and work.

Generally, RBTs will make more money in a larger city, but there are still plenty of RBT opportunities in smaller areas, as well. However, there is room to grow as an RBT.

If you work hard and establish positive relationships with your clients and the ABA therapist you work with, you could make over $50,000 per year.

Types of Jobs You Can Get As An RBT Certification

Many people have the misconception that RBT certification is only good if you want to be an RBT, but this is not true.

There are many jobs in various fields that being RBT certified can help. It can help you get jobs, but it can also help you get promoted in your current job.

For instance, if you are a teacher, and you want to start working with the special needs program at your school, you could go through RBT certification to add to your resume to get a new position that you want. Another example of a job where RBT certification can be useful is being a child services agent.

Although all of your cases might not involve people with autism or disabilities, being RBT certified could allow you to get a higher salary quote from a position because you can do this where a lot of others do not.

So, when you start looking into RBT certification, it is important to remember that you do not have to work directly as an RBT for the certification to be useful to you in your chosen career path.

What does RBT stand for?

RBT stands for a registered behavior technician, but what does this intel? ABA therapy is a common practice for people who suffer from autism.

Autism has various degrees of capability ranges, but usually, people who suffer from autism have behavioral issues that need to be sorted out. ABA therapy should always be performed and run by an ABA-certified therapist, but the RBT job position was created to help people with autism regularly during ABA therapy.

The registered behavior technician's job is to work directly with the autistic person on the plan that was created by the parents/caregivers and ABA therapist to help with the behavioral problems.

When you look at it, an RBT is one of the most important people in the field to help with implementing ABA therapy plans and strategies because they are always upfront and working on a one and one aspect with the person with autism.

steven zauderer

CEO of CrossRiverTherapy - a national ABA therapy company based in the USA.

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