Registered Behavior Technician-A complete guide

Registered Behavior Technician: Job description, salary, and duties

If you wish to go into the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, one of the steps you will need to take is to become a Registered Behavior Technician. 

In this article, we explain in detail what this field of study is about, the duties performed by its professionals as well as the amount they earn, among other things.

So read to find out all you need to know about Registered Behavior Technicians

Who is a registered behavior technician?

The field of Applied Behavior Analysis is also referred to as behavioral engineering, and it entails the utilization of scientific tools to develop a child’s social, communication, and even academic skills.

It is also the field of study that seeks to improve positive behaviors and lessen any challenging pattern of behavior through the teaching of these skills and it is under this field that you’ll find registered behavior technicians.

As a member of a subclass of the ABA field, a registered behavior technician is a paraprofessional position that requires the trained individual to assist personalized capacity persons who are undergoing an Applied Behavior Analysis therapy. 

A registered behavior technician who is also known as RBT is not responsible for formulating or evaluating any ABA therapy plan. Rather, they work in tandem and under the direction of a certified Behavior Analyst to implement the plans. 

What this means is that the registered behavior technician must comply with the behavioral health plans which the behavioral analyst or another mental health professional must have designed.

Registered behavior technicians therefore aid behavioral analysis specialists in assessing the mental health of their patients or clients over a period of time. They do this by having probing sessions with each patient either at their home or at a healthcare facility.

From these sessions, they get enough data with which they write a report to pass on to a superior professional in the mental health field.

Becoming an expert registered behavior technician takes more than just becoming proficient in the specialized position and executing the duties outlined in the job description. 

An adept registered behavior technician must, in addition to their professional role, recognize and appreciate how the fundamentals of Applied Behavior Analysis permeate the services offered by the RBT.

It is through this that they can help the client or patient change behavioral patterns and enhance the quality of life they live. 

A registered behavior technician can therefore be defined as a person who has fulfilled the necessary coursework needed to qualify as an RBT and has successfully acquired the certification to become a behavior therapist. They typically function in a mental healthcare capacity or in the field of education. 

This function is performed by applying behavioral analysis techniques to modify or improve the behavior of their student or patient.

The professional ranking of behavioral analysts and other mental health professionals is a reflection of the stringent requirements that have to be met at different levels.

To be higher on the spectrum means that you must have gone through a training process that surpasses what others have had to go through.

In the case of registered behavior technicians, qualifying to be an RBT requires first and foremost, a high school diploma followed by a Registered Behavior Technician training which must cover a certain number of hours before finally being certified. 

Contrast this with the qualifications required for a Board-Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst who must get an undergraduate degree.

The registered behavior technician also undergoes strict supervision under a certified behavior therapist to ensure that the client or patient is given the highest care possible. 

This is especially the case where care is required in school-based settings. In all situations, however, it is important that the key principles of Applied Behavior Analysis are thoroughly comprehended by the registered behavior technician. 

Applied Behavior Analysis therapy utilizes structural maneuvering of the habitat to change the behavior of the intended person.

Customarily, a behavior-modification strategy is employed that entails the analysis of the ABC’s of behavior which comprises of the following:

  • Antecedent: which can be defined as the catalyst that precedes the behavior in question
  • Behavior
  • Consequence: which can also be said to be the outcome of the behavior in question and can be either positive or negative.

There are typical Applied Behavior Analysis tools that can also be utilized by registered behavior technicians and they include:

  1. Shaping: This means getting a measure of the preferred behavior before the subject can then exhibit the taught behavior as a means of teaching it to the subject.
  2. Positive Reinforcement: As implied, this technique is all about giving the subject some form of reward when they demonstrate the preferred behavior.
  3. Naturalistic Teaching: With this technique, the subject is instructed to demonstrate the preferred behavior when the occasion calls for it in the course of the established daily routine.
  4. Prompting and Prompt Fading: This technique plays out by giving the subject suggestions to carry out the preferred behavior and then slowly reduce the rate of the suggestions until the subject can perform said preferred behavior without needing the suggestions.
  5. Chaining: Employing this technique means instructing the subject in interconnected yet distinct steps of the chronology of the desired behavior and proving the necessary support as the subject grasps each step.

These Applied Behavior Analysis intervention tactics prove useful to the registered behavior technician when dealing with the subject.

 The RBT will only be in charge of implementing the tactics chosen by the supervising behavior analyst.

Skill Requirements

The skills required for an RBT certification cover a broad range of expertise. The requirements of these are crucial as the RBT will have to work with subjects who are usually children and who experience difficulties in communicating exhibit behavioral problems.

These children go through difficulty in the mastery of self-sufficiency skills and may have trouble keeping pace with the rest of their class with regards to the academic requirements. 

Some responsibilities are specific to the position of a registered behavior technician and are often included in the job description.

They include:

  • The collation of information about the behavior of the subject through direct observation. The collated data should be regularly updated.
  • Acting as aids to Board Certified Behavior Analysts who direct the RBTs in behavior moderation evaluations and plans for skill acquisition.
    RBTs are also required to assist the BCBAs with all/any evaluation procedures which can differ based on each subject’s needs.
  • Stimulating the subjects’ social skills in a bid to boost them. The RBT is required to design an acquisition plan for the needed skills and ensure to implement the reinforcement course of action.
  • Conveying the results of the behavioral mediation to the parents or caregivers of the subject.
    The RBT must, at every point in time, maintain clear channels of communication and ensure to relay any feedback from the certified supervisor to enhance their professional conduct.
  • Ensuring proper documentation and reporting mechanisms. Each report must comply with all regulatory and legal requirements, as well as other health variables and observations.

Requirements for an RBT Certification

To acquire the certification necessary to be a Registered Behavior Technician, the following requirements must be fulfilled:

  1. Age: you must be a minimum of 18 years old to qualify.
  2. Education: the required educational qualification is a high school diploma.
  3. Training: you must undergo and complete the mandated forty hours of training overseen by a certified behavior analyst which can either be a BCBA, BCaBA, or a BCBA-D.
  4. Background check: a background check is required within 180 days once an RBT certification application form is completed and submitted.
  5. Competency Assessment: an RBT Competency Assessment which assesses the performance of the tasks by the RBT is carried out under the evaluation and observation of an assessor.
  6. The completion of and satisfactory performance in the RBT exam which consists of 75 multiple-choice questions and appraises the level of the applicant’s comprehension of the TBT task list.
  7. Observation of the RBT Ethics code. 

Registered Behavior Technician Salary

The annual average income of an RBT in the US as of 2021 is $41, 366 per annum, which is about $19.89 per hour.

The annual pay of RBTs can range from $31, 000 to $50,500 to $54, 000 which depicts a great variation in the salary due to skill level, location, or the number of years of experience. 

To calculate the range of annual income for RBTs as precisely as possible, the table below outlines ten cities where the pay for Registered Behavior Technicians is higher than the provided national average, pointing to the financial benefits an RBT may enjoy by moving from one location to a better one.

CityAnnual payMonthly payWeekly payHourly pay
Lakes, AK$49,683$4,140$955$23.89
Pleasanton, CA$49,493$4,124$952$23.79
San Francisco, CA$49,062$4,088$943$23.59
San Leandro, CA$48,979$4,082$942$23.55
Santa Clara, CA$48,814$4,068$939$23.47
Washington, DC$48,314$4,026$929$23.23
Los Angeles, CA$47,816$3,985$920$22.99
Fremont, CA$47,166$3,931$907$22.68
Green River, WY$46,940$3,912$903$22.57
San Buenaventura, CA$46,855$3,905$901$22.53
Registered Behavior Technician-A complete guide

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