If you enjoy working in the field of behavior analysis and wish to further your career, a certification as a registered behavior technician (RBT) may be the right move for you. In order to become certified, you must complete a 40-hour training before sitting for the national certification exam.

RBT training courses are offered through reputable organizations across the country. You may be able to receive training through your current place of employment, or you may prefer to attend a formal course. Community organizations and educational institutions offer board-certified RBT training programs, both online and in person.

There are pros and cons to both online and in-person courses, so you can select a program that best meets your needs. When selecting a program, always make sure that it has been certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board to meet the requirements necessary to become an RBT.

Registered Behavior Technician Requirements

A registered behavior technician (RBT) is a paraprofessional who undergoes formal training and passes a national certification exam. Once certified, RBTs work under the close supervision of board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) to deliver behavior analysis services, primarily to people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

There are a number of requirements set forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) in order to become a qualified RBT. Before applying to become an RBT, you must meeteligibility requirements. You must:

  • Be 18 years old.
  • Have a high school diploma.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Complete a 40-hour training course.
  • Complete an initial competency assessment.

Once the above requirements have been met, you can apply to the BACB to be allowed to take the RBT exam. After you are accepted, you can take the national certification exam.

After passing the RBT exam, you must maintain your certification through ongoing supervision, adhering to the BACB ethics code, and renewing your certification annually.

RBT Training Programs

The 40-hour RBT training is designed to equip individuals with the skills they need in order to be competent practitioners in the field of behavior analysis. Completing an RBT program helps ensure that you have the knowledge and skills necessary for delivering safe and effective behavior analysis services.

Completing an RBT training program is one of the essential requirements for becoming an RBT. The BACB does not provide training courses itself, but courses are offered through various avenues, including:

  • Your place of work. If already employed at an agency that provides behavior analysis services, your agency or supervisor may provide in-house RBT trainings that meet BACB standards.
  • A training company. Companies across the country offer 40-hour RBT training courses online or in person.
  • Universities. RBT coursework that meets the 40-hour requirement is often included in university programs focused on behavior analysis.

No matter where you choose to complete the 40-hour RBT training, it is important that the course you take is designed to meet BACB requirements. When you apply for RBT certification, you must include a copy of your 40-hour training certificate to demonstrate that you completed the training requirement.

Finding an RBT Program

If you are already employed by a behavior analysis organization, you may begin your search for a training program by speaking with your supervisor about any in-house training opportunities. Many organizations encourage professional development through training workshops for employees.

If your employer does not offer a program that meets the requirements for the 40-hour RBT training course, there are many online and in-person training programs available to you. Here is a selection of reputable training programs:

  • Elemy Ecademy: A fully-paid, 3-month, training-and-certification program for registered behavior technicians (RBTs).
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio: A five-week online course is offered for $349. The virtual classes meet once a week for two hours. There are also eight hours of homework a week, a mix of video modules and exercises designed to meet the RBT training requirements.
  • University of Nebraska: This free 40-hour online training course has multiple start times throughout the year. With a self-directed schedule, students are able to work the training around their work schedules. It’s open to Nebraska residents, or those working in Nebraska.
  • University of Oklahoma: An entirely online RBT training program is offered that consists of 48 training hours and ongoing supervision from a BCBA. The program must be completed in under 180 days and concludes with the competency assessment. The program can be taken as part of undergraduate degree work or as a separate eight-week RBT class.
  • University of West Florida: Available to degree and non-degree students, an online RBT training course allows students to take courses while working in the field of behavior analysis. The 40-hour training course meets all requirements to allow students to sit for the RBT exam.
  • University of South Florida: This online course is comprised of 10 online modules with a short exam at the end of each module. The cost is $200 per person, and the course must be completed within 180 days of registering for it.
  • University of Kansas: One of the top behavior analysis schools in the country, the University of Kansas offers an entirely online RBT training course. It is self-paced, costs $149, and prepares students to sit for the RBT exam.
  • Meredith College: For students completing the Meredith Autism Program, the school offers an option to earn the RBT credential. A specific course sequence must be completed to fulfill the RBT training requirement. 
  • Florida Institute of Technology: This fully online, self-paced training course is offered via interactive video lectures. Students receive immediate access to the course once they register and must complete the training within 180 days. The cost of the course is $149.

Online vs. In-Person Programs

The decision to complete an online or in-person training program depends on your personal needs and goals. There are pros and cons to both methods of training delivery, but overall, they can both be effective ways to learn the essential information you need to become an RBT.

Online programs typically offer more flexibility for when you can complete your coursework. Many online programs are self-paced and only require that you complete your work within a designated timeframe. If you work or have other studies and family obligations, this option can work well.

Online programs are generally more affordable than in-person programs as you have no face-to-face interactions with instructors. You may be able to interact via email, but the majority of learning will take place on your own.

While in-person programs may be more expensive, they offer invaluable experience from certified practitioners who lead each class. In-person programs must adhere to more rigid schedules, but they often keep students more focused on progressing through the coursework and meeting their training goals in a timely manner.

Both online and in-person programs offer reputable ways to complete the RBT training. It’s ultimately up to you to decide which environment best supports your learning process. If you struggle with motivation and time management, an in-person course will likely work best for you. If you like to learn at your own pace and are looking to save some money on tuition, an online course might work better.

At the end of whichever type of training program you select, you will receive a certification of completion that qualifies you to sit for the national RBT exam. As long as you complete a course that has been certified by the BACB and meets RBT training course requirements, you should be prepared for RBT certification.

The Value of RBT Training

RBT training courses are designed for the professional development of people hoping to become credentialed behavior technicians, but they can benefit anyone who wants to learn more about the field of behavior analysis. Anyone working with children with autism can benefit from gaining skills in the field of behavior analysis. 

Since they are relatively inexpensive and short, RBT training courses offer opportunities for paraprofessionals, teachers, and parents to develop more effective skills for encouraging positive behavior development in their students, children, and clients. Professionals in related fields, such as psychologists, counselors, nurses, and occupational therapists, also frequently add the RBT certification to their skillset to make them more effective practitioners in their fields.