It doesn’t take long to become an RBT. You must complete a 40-hour training course and then pass the RBT exam. Many people complete this process in less than a month.

A registered behavior technician (RBT) works directly with clients, often children on the autism spectrum, and sometimes directly with their parents. RBTs do not create the treatment plan, and they must be supervised by an ABA therapist, but they implement the plan directly and get to see the outcomes firsthand.

Requirements to Qualify for RBT Training

There are a few basic requirements to be eligible for an RBT training program. These include:

  • Being at least 18 years old.
  • Completing a high school diploma or GED.
  • Passing a background check.
  • Completing the training.
  • Completing a competency assessment.
  • Passing the RBT exam.
  • Maintaining certification.

You must legally be an adult and have passed at least high school or the equivalent. You can also have completed some higher education, like an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. If you have further training in a field related to ABA therapy, this can only benefit your future clients. If you meet the training application requirements, you can begin your continuing education.

RBT Training

The 40-hour training is the most important component of becoming an RBT, second only to the certification examination. There are a few ways that you can get accredited training.

  • From your agency: If you already work in a clinic, school, or private therapy business that specializes in ABA therapy, you can ask your employer about RBT training programs. Many companies are willing to help you find and pay for this training because better-trained employees are wonderful additions to their workforce.
  • Through a training company: Regardless of whether you already work for an ABA therapist, you can find training opportunities through a qualified training company. Many of these companies now offer convenient online courses, both in real time or ones you can complete at your own pace. These allow you to work or continue another degree program while you undergo this training.
  • Through university coursework: If you are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a field like education or psychology, your school may offer a related course track that provides RBT training hours. Once you complete this course, you can sign up for the board certification exam, although you may need to complete the rest of your degree before taking the exam.

Your training must be overseen by a qualified ABA therapist, typically someone who is a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA).

Once you complete this training, you will need to undergo an initial competency assessment. This can be conducted in one session or more than one session, depending on what you need. The assessment is often conducted in person, but increasingly, these assessments are available online, using video conference software.

Initial Competency Assessment & Board Exam to Become an RBT

During your initial competency assessment, you will be tested on your skill with clients.

  • With a client: If you already work with people on the autism spectrum in a setting where an ABA therapist oversees your work, an assessor may sit in on one of these sessions to evaluate your training.
  • Roleplaying exercises: One of the safest ways to evaluate your training, especially if you do not have a work history with people on the autism spectrum, is for the evaluator to oversee a roleplay scenario between you and a trained actor playing a client.

You will also be interviewed by the assessor, either in person or virtually, so you can explain your training and answer their questions regarding tasks and approaches. You will be able to explain concepts based on provided examples, so the assessor can understand how you will work with clients in the future.

You will also be tested on documentation, which is a crucial part of ABA therapy. This approach to treatment requires measurable steps in the treatment plan, and as an RBT, you will be taking these measurements as you work with clients.

After you register and pay for your RBT certification, you must pass a background check. You have 180 days, or six months, to complete the background check. This ensures you can safely and legally work with people who have a disability, children, or others who are at risk.

RBT Certification Opens Employment Opportunities

Typically, you will take your examination in a controlled location on a specific day, but in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, some facilities are providing socially distanced locations or online examinations. While this is not very common, it may remain an option in the future.

If you are intending to study to become an RBT now, it is important to find the nearest exam location to you so you can register when you are ready. If you need to cancel or reschedule, there is a small fee associated with this, but you can adjust your exam date if a personal emergency comes up.

You will receive your pass or fail notification on the same day you take your exam, at the exam center. When you leave, you will know if you have qualified to become an RBT and start helping people. Within 24 hours, you will receive an email with your official certification attached, which you can use as part of your future job applications.

Elemy has launched Ecademy: a fully-paid, 3-month, training-and-certification program for registered behavior technicians (RBTs).

References

Registered Behavior Technician (RBT). Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Registered Behavior Technician Handbook. (2020). Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

RBT Initial Competency Assessment Packet: Requirements. (October 2019). Behavior Analyst Certification Board.