How To Become A Behavior Technician?

Explore 'how to become a behavior technician?', from training to certification, and kickstart your career.

judah schiller
Judah Schiller
June 18, 2024
Published On
June 18, 2024

Becoming a Behavior Technician

Embarking on the journey of becoming a behavior technician involves meeting certain requirements and understanding the role's responsibilities. This career path is a rewarding one, offering the opportunity to make a significant difference in people's lives.

Requirements for Registered Behavior Technicians

Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) require specific qualifications and training. According to Brighter Strides ABA, individuals seeking this role must complete a 40-hour training course, pass a competency assessment, and hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Additionally, the training must be based on the RBT Task List (2nd ed.) and be overseen by a BACB certificant (BCBA, BCaBA, or BCBA-D). This training should be completed within a 180-day period but in no less than 5 days [1].

Requirement Description
Training 40-hour training course based on the RBT Task List (2nd ed.)
Oversight Supervision by a BACB certificant (BCBA, BCaBA, or BCBA-D)
Duration Training must be completed within a 180-day period but in no less than 5 days
Education High school diploma or equivalent
Assessment Pass a competency assessment

Role of a Behavioral Technician

Behavior technicians work in various settings such as homes, schools, clinics, or community-based programs. They undergo specialized training to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to work effectively with clients. This includes learning about behavior assessment, behavior reduction strategies, and skill acquisition procedures.

As a behavior technician, they collaborate with behavior analysts and other professionals to develop and implement behavior intervention plans. They play a crucial role in helping individuals improve their quality of life by supporting them in learning new skills and reducing problematic behaviors. The impact of a behavior technician can be seen in the progress of the individuals they work with, making this profession a rewarding and fulfilling career choice.

Responsibilities of a Behavior Technician

When considering how to become a behavior technician, it's crucial to understand the responsibilities and day-to-day tasks that come with the role. This section will explore two key aspects of a behavior technician's job: assisting behavior analysts and collaborating with doctors.

Assisting Behavior Analysts

A primary responsibility of a behavioral technician is to assist behavior analysts with the implementation of treatment plans. These plans are designed to either strengthen or reduce certain patient behaviors that may impair daily life activities. As such, behavioral technicians play a pivotal role in helping patients with various behavioral problems, such as psychiatric disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse.

The key tasks of a behavioral technician in this regard might include:

  • Implementing and monitoring the effectiveness of behavior intervention plans
  • Collecting and recording data on patient behavior
  • Assisting with functional behavior assessments
  • Providing direct patient care and support

These tasks require a mix of technical skills and personal attributes, including dedication, compassion, and the ability to work closely with patients who have behavioral issues.

Collaborating with Doctors

Behavioral technicians also collaborate closely with doctors to carry out treatment plans for individual patients. They assist with day-to-day tasks to ensure patient health and well-being, serving as a first line of defense for patients as they regain control of their life.

In this capacity, behavioral technicians might be involved in:

  • Regularly communicating with doctors about patient progress
  • Implementing doctors' recommendations for treatment adjustments
  • Assisting with the management of medication schedules, under the direction of a medical professional
  • Ensuring the physical well-being of patients by monitoring vital signs and overall health

In essence, behavioral technicians play a crucial role in the healthcare team, working alongside behavior analysts and doctors to provide comprehensive care for patients with behavioral issues. They are an essential part of the process of helping individuals regain control of their lives and achieve their potential.

Training and Certification for Behavior Technicians

For those interested in how to become a behavior technician, it's crucial to understand the training and certification process. This journey involves dedicated training, competency assessments, and continuous learning opportunities.

Training Process for RBTs

The first step towards becoming a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) involves completing a 40-hour training course. This training is based on the RBT Task List (2nd ed.) and must be overseen by a BACB certificant (BCBA, BCaBA, or BCBA-D) [4]. The training period must occur within a 180-day period but should not be less than 5 days.

In addition to completing the training course, individuals must also pass a competency assessment. This assessment ensures that prospective RBTs have mastered the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively provide services.

It's worth noting that to become an RBT, one must hold a high school diploma or equivalent [5]. Once certified, RBTs typically provide services in various settings such as homes, schools, clinics, or community-based programs.

Advancement Opportunities for RBTs

Once certified, RBTs have several avenues for career advancement. These include pursuing higher education, moving into supervisory and leadership roles, specializing in autism consulting and advocacy, pursuing research and academia, or even starting their own entrepreneurship and private practice [5].

The highest-paying career paths for RBTs include roles such as Clinical Supervisor, Program Manager, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), Behavior Consultant, and Education Consultant. These roles not only offer lucrative salaries but also present opportunities for professional growth and advancement.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of behavior technicians, including RBTs, is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is primarily driven by the increased recognition of the effectiveness of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy in addressing behavioral issues and developmental disabilities [2].

In summary, becoming an RBT is a rewarding journey that offers a variety of professional growth opportunities. With the right training and a commitment to continuous learning, individuals can advance their careers and make a significant impact in the field of behavior analysis.

Career Path and Salary Information

This section provides information about the career path, average salaries, and job outlook for those considering how to become a behavior technician.

Average Salaries for RBTs

The average salary for a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) in the United States is around $36,218 per year, while the average salary for a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is approximately $68,554 per year [5]. Salaries may vary based on factors such as location and years of experience.

According to CentralReach, the average annual compensation for salaried RBTs in the United States is around $54,000, with entry-level salaries starting at around $47,000 per year. More experienced RBTs have a higher earning potential, with some salaries exceeding $66,000 per year.

Title Average Salary
Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) $36,218
Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) $68,554
Entry-Level RBT $47,000
Experienced RBT $66,000

Job Outlook for Behavior Technicians

The field of behavior analysis is growing at a rapid pace. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, RBT jobs are projected to grow 9% from 2021 to 2031, indicating a strong demand for RBTs in the job market.

The demand for trained and certified RBTs and BCBAs has increased dramatically in recent years, with significant growth of 5,852% between 2010 and 2021, indicating a favorable job market for individuals who hold these certifications [5].

Furthermore, The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of behavior technicians, including RBTs, is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is primarily driven by the increased recognition of the effectiveness of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy in addressing behavioral issues and developmental disabilities.

Overall, the career path for behavior technicians, particularly RBTs and BCBAs, offers promising opportunities in terms of salary and job prospects. For individuals passionate about helping others and interested in the field of behavior analysis, a career as a behavior technician can be both rewarding and lucrative.

Path to Becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

For those interested in advancing their career in behavior analysis, achieving the status of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is a significant milestone. This title carries with it significant prestige and responsibility, and opens the door to a broader range of professional opportunities.

Educational Requirements for BCBAs

To become a BCBA, individuals need to meet specific educational requirements. As outlined in the BCBA Handbook, these requirements include a significant foundation in behavior analysis and related disciplines. The specifics of the educational requirements can be found in the BCBA Handbook on the BACB website.

The educational journey to becoming a BCBA is rigorous and comprehensive, designed to ensure that certified individuals are well-equipped to provide high-quality behavior-analytic services. This journey involves a combination of coursework and fieldwork, all of which must meet the standards set by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

Certification Process for BCBA-D Designation

For BCBAs with doctoral or postdoctoral training in behavior analysis, there is the option to apply for the BCBA-D designation. This is not a separate certification but rather a designation that acknowledges the individual's advanced level of education. Individuals with the BCBA-D designation can function in the same capacity as a BCBA, providing behavior-analytic services [6].

The application process for the BCBA-D designation involves the submission of an application, provision of supplemental documentation, and payment of a $105 fee. There are different application options available, based on whether the applicant has completed an ABAI-accredited doctoral program or a doctoral program from a qualifying accredited institution.

BCBA-D Application Requirements Details
Application Form Must be filled out and submitted
Supplemental Documentation Must be provided to support the application
Application Fee A fee of $105 must be paid

Once the application and fee are submitted, the review process can begin. The BACB offers a range of resources and documents to assist BCBA professionals throughout their career, including information on coursework, fieldwork, verification forms, supervision, continuing education, examinations, and administrative appeals.

The path to becoming a BCBA is a rewarding one, filled with opportunities for growth and development. It requires dedication, commitment, and a passion for the field of behavior analysis. However, for those who embark on this journey, the potential to positively impact individuals and communities is immense.

Field Experience and Continuing Education

Pursuing a career as a behavior technician is a rewarding choice, but it requires not just academic knowledge, but also practical field experience and continuing education. The journey involves a series of steps, each playing a crucial role in shaping a successful career in this field.

Fieldwork for Behavior Analysts

For those aspiring to become a Behavior Analyst, completing fieldwork is an essential requirement. According to the Drexel University School of Education, candidates must complete either 2,000 hours of supervised coursework or 1,500 hours of concentrated supervised fieldwork, in addition to the required coursework. These hours provide invaluable experience, allowing aspiring analysts to apply learned theories and principles in real-life settings, while under the guidance of a supervisor.

This fieldwork involves working with students who need services, offering a firsthand opportunity to understand the challenges and rewards of the job. Those enrolled in Drexel's MS in Applied Behavior Analyst program can even complete the required field experience hours while taking courses online.

Requirement Hours
Supervised Coursework 2000
Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork 1500

Recertification and Maintenance of Certification

Once an individual becomes a Behavior Analyst, the journey doesn't end there. It's vital to maintain the certification, which involves recertifying every two years.

The recertification process ensures that certified Behavior Analysts stay updated with the latest developments in the field. To be eligible for recertification, they must complete ongoing education requirements, comply with ethics set by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), and submit a recertification application before their current certification expires.

Recertification Requirement Detail
Ongoing Education Must be completed
Compliance with BACB Ethics Required
Recertification Application Submit before current certification expires

In summary, the path to becoming a behavior technician involves not only meeting academic prerequisites and passing the BCBA exam but also gaining practical experience through fieldwork. Moreover, maintaining the certification requires ongoing education, adherence to professional ethics, and timely recertification. This continuous learning process helps ensure that Behavior Analysts can offer the best possible support to those they serve.