Registered behavior technicians (RBTs) are predicted to see a 12% to 17% job growth rate in the coming years. As the need for behavioral analysts rises across the country, RBTs are in greater demand.

RBTs can expect entry-level salaries, though pay is predicted to increase as the demand for skilled behavior technicians in the U.S. rises.

The Introduction of Registered Behavior Technicians

Since the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) formalized the registered behavior technician (RBT) credential in 2014, the role has become increasingly accepted and in demand in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA).

RBTs serve as the entry-level position in the chain of ABA professionals. As such, they are instrumental in supporting board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) in their everyday work with clients.

RBTs provide direct ABA therapy to clients, and they must always work under the direct supervision of a BCBA. BCBAs rely on RBTs to meet their own client needs.

Why RBTs Are Currently in Demand

Over the past decade, the U.S. has experienced a significant increase in demand for behavioral analysts. Between 2010 and 2018, the demand for BCBAs across the country increased 1,942%. Likewise, the demand for board certified assistant behavior analysts (BCaBAs) increased 1,098%.

Unfortunately, with the relatively new creation of the RBT certification, little historical data is available on the demand for RBTs specifically.

The primary role of an RBT is to support BCBAs and BCaBAs in their behavior analysis and intervention work. RBTs implement the intervention plans that BCBAs create. As a result of the significant increase in demand for BCBAs, RBTs are also in greater demand.

RBT Job Growth Predictions

As the field of ABA experiences a boom in job growth, so does the RBT role. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 12% job growth rate by 2029 for psychiatric technicians and aides, which hold similar credentials and positions as RBTs. Likewise, social and human service assistants, who also need a high school diploma like RBTs, have a 17% projected job growth rate.

By 2029, the average job growth rate for all occupations is predicted to be about 4%. Therefore, the job growth rate for supportive roles, such as RBTs, is projected to climb much faster than the national average.

Expected RBT Salary

RBTs make entry-level ABA salaries, though you can expect your salary to increase the longer you work in the field. The average RBT salary in the U.S. is just over $34,000 per year or $17.02 per hour. Salaries reported to PayScale start as low as $23,000 per year and go as high as a $44,000 base annual salary.

On average, hourly wages for RBTs increase as follows:

  • Just starting out: $16.21/hour
  • Early career: $17.18/hour
  • Mid-career: $18.11/hour
  • Later career: $18.84/hour
  • Over 20 years of experience: $20/hour

Other than time in the field, certain skills and areas of experience can increase the salary of an RBT. Professionals with experience in these fields can expect to make more:

  • Crisis intervention
  • ABA
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Data analysis
  • Childhood education

As you gain experience as an RBT, you can expect your salary to increase accordingly. While it takes an investment of time and financial resources, you may also consider pursuing further educational degrees and BACB certifications if you wish to advance your career and earning potential in the field of ABA.

Finding a Job as an RBT

Many RBTs start working at their place of employment as unregistered behavior technicians before they become RBTs. That experience helps to build skills that make you more valuable to your organization and familiarizes you with the work and theories of ABA. Most organizations are also highly supportive of their employees pursuing further certifications.

Organizations frequently offer on-site training opportunities or pay you to attend outside courses focused on professional development or continuing education. As all RBTs are required to work under the supervision of BCBAs, it is also important to join a company that has BCBAs available for supervision.

However you begin in the field, committing to a career as an RBT is sure to be personally and professionally rewarding, especially as the job market for RBTs continues to expand.

References

Average Registered Behavior Technician Hourly Pay. (June 2022). Payscale.

Concerns About the Registered Behavior Technician in Relation to Effective Autism Intervention. (June 2017). Association for Behavior Analysis International.

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Psychiatric Technicians and Aides. (September 2020). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Social and Human Service Assistants. (September 2020). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

US Employment Demand for Behavior Analysts: 2010-2018. (April 2019). Behavior Analyst Certification Board.