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Home » Pro » Reflections on Applied Behavior Analysis » How to Become a Registered Behavior Technician


with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

How to Become a Registered Behavior Technician

How do you become a registered behavior technician, also known as an RBT? This credential was developed by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). An RBT is a professional who works one on one with an individual providing applied behavior analysis (ABA) services. The RBT works under the supervision of a BCBA, BCaBA, or BCBA-D. Basically the RBT implements the treatment plans that are designed by the supervisor.

The requirements to become an RBT can be explored in more detail at the BACB website on the Registered Behavior Technician page. In summary, the things that an individual must do to become an RBT include being at least 18 years old, having at least a high school diploma or something equivalent, completing 40 hours of training in applied behavior analysis including ethics, completing a background check, and completing the RBT Competency Assessment (which is done with a supervisor or someone at the level of a BCaBA, BCBA or BCBA-D). Lastly, the individual working toward becoming an RBT must pass the RBT exam.

The RBT competency assessment is an assessment tool used to evaluate an RBTs knowledge and skill set in the behavior analytic field. This assessment may be completed by an assistant assessor who is not credentialed by the BACB. However, there must be a primary assessor who is responsible for the assessment and who will sign off on the required documentation.

It is important to remember that the RBT competency assessment must be completed only after the RBT 40 hour training is complete and also not more than 90 days before applying to take the RBT exam.

The RBT competency assessment may be completed in person, live via video conferencing, or via recorded video of skill implementation designed for the purpose of the assessment. Be sure to obtain consent from clients when recording video even for the purpose of RBT credentialing.

The RBT competency assessment lists a variety of skills that the RBT needs to be competent in utilizing. The supervisor will observe the RBT in a learning opportunity designed to implement the skills. The supervisor will evaluate whether the RBT candidate is competent and able to display the identified skills. The assessed situations may include real time clinical sessions or may be in role-play situations with or without a client.

Once each item on the competency assessment is observed, the supervisor will determine whether the RBT candidate is competent in that area. If the RBT candidate has not displayed the skill to the degree of competency that is deemed necessary by the assessor, the assessor will give feedback and reassess that skill area on another day to ensure the RBT is able to master all required areas of behavior analysis implementation.

The RBT competency assessment will include evaluation of various skills in the field of applied behavior analysis including measurement, assessment, skill acquisition, behavior reduction, documentation and reporting, and professional conduct and scope of practice. These are all categories that are addressed on the RBT Task List, a document designed by the BACB which lists the basic skill areas that a behavior technician may be expected to utilize in practice.

To review the basic ABA concepts that you will be evaluated on during the RBT Competency Assessment and that you may encounter on the RBT exam, you may want to check out our RBT Study Topics series. Below are some of the articles for your reference.

RBT Study Topic: Measurement

RBT Study Topic: Assessment

RBT Study Topic: Skill Acquisition Part 1

RBT Study Topic: Behavior Reduction Part 1

RBT Study Topic: Documentation and Reporting Part 1

RBT Study Topic: Professional Conduct Part 1

You can also check out the following book for additional study material to help you on the RBT competency assessment and RBT exam.

RBT Credential Workbook (TrainABA Supervision Curriculum) (Volume 3)

How to Become a Registered Behavior Technician

APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2019). How to Become a Registered Behavior Technician. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 19, 2019, from https://pro.psychcentral.com/child-therapist/2019/03/how-to-become-a-registered-behavior-technician/