People with special medical conditions can often result in peculiar behavior patterns. These can be a problem for understanding and learning new things since it affects your cognitive skills. For that, registered behavior technicians, or RBT, can help you in the process.
RBTs provide mental health services for different diagnoses. Some are natural, like people with autism, while others can happen spontaneously, like having post-traumatic disorder. Their job is to help you face the world and correct some destructive behaviors you may have.
If you want to become a registered behavior technician, you will need to know the requirements and the application process. Being a certified RBT is not an easy task; you will need to pass a test to become one.
What Does a Registered Behavior Technician Do?
They cover the behavior-analytic aspect of people. Their purpose is to support patients with mental disorders, and they have to adapt to their patient’s necessities. Sometimes you will need to go to their home if they cannot go to a hospital or your office.
However, an RBT is a paraprofessional; in other words, your job is to assist a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) or a board-certified assistant behavior analyst (BCaBA). A registered behavior technician will only be able to work under the supervision of one of these analysts.
Then what can you do? First and foremost, you must observe and talk with the patient about how their behavior affects their life and what is affecting them. After doing so, you provide the data acquired to the BCBA or BCaBA, and they make a plan to execute.
Once your superiors know how to assess the situation, you may work with them, but you must follow the routine planned for the patient.
Maybe you will also be told what the plan is, and you will support them on the sidelines, gathering information about the patient’s case and improvement and also communicating with families.
Either way, you need to organize yourself and be patient since it can be challenging to treat patients. Communication is essential in this job, and you must know how to adapt to improve and reduce harmful behaviors.
To become an RBT, you must fulfil some basic requirements and simultaneously do some training before applying. You must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a high school diploma or an equivalent
- Pass a criminal background check and an abuse registry check
- Fulfill 40 hours of a training program specifically for RBTs
Once you complete the 40 hours, you must pass the RBT Initial Competency Assessment. It is like a test overseen by a BCBA or BCaBA. You will have to perform a series of tasks to demonstrate your qualifications for the job.
There are a total of 20 tasks and are divided into different groups regarding:
- Skill acquisition and behavior reduction
- Professionalism and requirements
Each task can be evaluated differently depending on the assessor. There are three different types of assessment evaluation that you must perform:
- With a client: you must do the tasks assigned to a client, providing mental and behavioral healthcare services
- Role-play: when a client is not available, you will perform the task with another person or the assessor as if they are the client requiring medical assistance
- Interview: your assessor will interview you via an online or in-person meeting and ask you about the different tasks in the Initial Competency Assessment, and you must provide examples (if any)
Once you submit the payment for the RBT Certification Application, you must complete this competency assessment within 90 days. If not, you would have to do the process all over again.
How much does RBT training cost?
Most people think that getting into an RBT training course costs a lot, but in reality, it is pretty affordable. Some courses can be found online for a couple of hundred dollars, but there are other places where you can get training.
For instance, you should check with training companies; most offer this field of work in their programs. If not, try through university coursework; they offer training for new RBTs and also a certificate of completion.
Do you need a degree to become an RBT?
No, with a high school diploma or an equivalent, you are meeting one of the requirements to become a registered behavior technician. A degree will only be more helpful in finding a job easier within a healthcare agency.
On the other hand, with a bachelor’s degree, you can apply to become a BCaBA, though the process is more complicated.
How to apply to become an RBT
Now that you fulfilled all the requirements above, you must proceed to apply to become a Registered Behavior Technician. The process is done through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), where RBTs, BCaBA, and BCBA get certified.
Firstly, you must create a BACB account. Click here to log in or create the account. You must provide your full name and a personal email address and follow the prompts.
Afterward, you must complete the certification application. Log in to your newly created account, and on the RBT tab, select “Apply for RBT credential.” Then, you must upload these documents:
- The RBT 40-hour training certificate of completion
- A copy of your high school diploma or equivalent
- The completed RBT Initial Competency Assessment
Once uploaded, you will have to select an RBT supervisor or RBT requirements coordinator to confirm some of the requirements for you. They will confirm that you are over 18 years old, you passed the background check, and they are willing to provide ongoing supervision.
When the supervisor finishes this, you will be emailed with instructions to proceed with the payment and agreements. You should wait at least two weeks for the BACB staff to process the application.
If approved, you will receive another email detailing the process for the RBT certification examination schedule. However, if negated, the process will need to be done all over again within 90 days of submitting your application. You will receive an email with feedback on what you still need to improve and what to do to fulfill the requirements.
How much does RBT certification cost?
You have to pay $50 to the BACB in order to process your certification application, and then you will have to pay $45 to Pearson VUE for the examination appointment.
Finally, after you meet the requirements and get approval for your application, you will have to take and complete the Registered Behavior Technician certification examination. This is made to determine that you know everything it takes to be an RBT.
The examination consists of 85 multiple-choice questions. These are divided into six different categories; some have more questions than others. Only ten questions do not have value towards your final result.
After you finish the in-person or online examination, you will receive the results as soon as possible. Around 1 or 2 days, you will receive an email with the certificate detailing your RBT certification with a certification number and expiration date.
You can read the Registered Behavior Technician Handbook for more details about what to expect on the examination, terms and conditions, guidelines, appeals, and retakes. You can click here to download it or go to the BACB website.
What Do I Need to Do to Maintain My Certification?
Your RBT certification lasts one year, so if you want to keep providing healthcare services, you must renew it. There is an RBT renewal application that you must fill out, as well as complete a renewal competency assessment and pay a $35 renewal fee online or with a check.
If you want to download the application, you can click here and provide all the information. Keep in mind that you must complete the renewal application and assessment 45 days before the expiration date.
And suppose you want to maintain your RBT certification during the year. In that case, you must adhere to the RBT Ethics Code (2.0) and Self-Reporting Requirements and receive ongoing supervision for ABA service delivery.
Start Treating People With Your Registered Behavior Technician Certification
While it is true that RBTs need to work under supervision, they still get to help people with behavioral problems. With a certification, you can work without worrying about any issues that could arise during your daily routine.
You only need to remember to renew your certification every year. There are fees for late renewals, and if by any chance you do not follow the Ethics Code, your certificate can be taken away by the BACB. So, always follow the rules and keep supporting patients.