A Day in the Life of a Registered Behavior Technician® (RBT®)

What is it like to be a Registered Behavior Technician® (RBT®)? A Registered Behavior Technician, or an RBT, is someone who has received training and supervision on providing ethical and quality applied behavior analysis services. The job of an RBT will always involve being supported and guided by a BCBA®, who has more training and education in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Let’s explore what it’s like to be an RBT.

What does a day in the life of an RBT look like?

There are many factors that influence what RBT’s experience, including the kiddos they attend to and the company they work for. However, there are some similarities that one can expect when working as an RBT or behavior therapist.

First Few Weeks of Registered Behavior Technician (RBT)

An RBT (or behavior therapist/technician) will receive intensive training and guidance, especially in the first few weeks on the job. One of the primary goals for them, working in the ABA field, is to ensure that they develop foundational skills that will help them to provide quality care to the clients. Whether they come into the job not having much experience in ABA or with children on the autism spectrum, resources will be provided to develop and strengthen their ability to provide effective and ethical services.

Four Training Components for the RBT Position

1. RBT Training

If a therapist doesn’t have the RBT credential, they will be asked to complete the 40-hour training which is one aspect of becoming a Registered Behavior Technician. This is a knowledge-based and hands-on training that helps improve the understanding and application of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The therapist will later be assessed on their ability to apply what they have learned in this training.

2. Administrative Training

In addition to learning about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in general, administrative work will also be incorporated in the training. This may include understanding the Behavior Technician (BT) training manual, ABA software, and other company-related information like overview, employee handbook, etc., and how to work with the clients in an effective manner at the center.

3. Clinical Training

As we mentioned earlier, part of becoming credentialed as an RBT and part of providing effective and quality ABA services is to have strong clinical skills as it relates to working with clients, particularly children with autism. RBT’s receive clinical training which lets them apply ABA concepts and strategies with clients. Within the first few weeks of getting hired, RBT’s will learn and practice skills related to the following:

  • Specific strategies to build a strong relationship between the therapist and client
  • How to build a fun learning environment with effective teaching strategies that lead to optimal success
  • How to analyze the learning environment when challenging behaviors occur
  • Therapists will learn how to document progress through objective data collection that will be used to enhance learning
  • Be an integral part of a collaborative team with other center staff that focuses on improving the quality of life for the family

4. Field Training

In addition to clinical training, an RBT can also expect to shadow and observe a current employee – typically another RBT – to obtain a better understanding of the role. They will also have hands-on learning opportunities to demonstrate their ability to apply specific clinical skills. This can help the trainer ensure the RBT is developing the skills necessary to do their job effectively.

They might practice things such as:

  • Setting up for the session
  • Using ABA strategies
  • Implementing skill acquisition trials and behavior reduction programs
  • Documentation of session through Daily Progress Notes

Once a new hire training has been completed, an RBT will be able to start program implementation with clients at the center and run those sessions independently. At first, they might have a program supervisor attend sessions with them to help ensure that they are comfortable working with a client and what is expected of them during each session.

5. Ongoing Training

An RBT or Behavior Therapist at Behavioral Innovations will always have ongoing training to continuously improve the quality of services provided. They will regularly meet with their supervisors who will provide feedback and guidance. They are also included in regular staff meetings and company activities. The Behavioral Innovations RBT Career Ladder provides a path to the RBT’s to advance their career within the company.

What to expect on a day-to-day basis?

There are some things that RBT’s will do on a typical day as part of their role.

Upon arrival at a center, an RBT will prepare the materials that they need for each of the clients that they work with that day. The RBT’s will review previous data collection, upcoming session programs customized for each client by the BCBA. After reviewing they will gather materials, toys, and possible reinforcers before each session to ensure the session is prepared beforehand.

It is important for RBT’s to follow a daily schedule that is developed by the BCBA for each client. Although this might look different from one client to the next, an RBT can be expected to follow a specific order of events. Children with autism have deficits in many different areas such as communication, language, social, academics, self-help skills, etc. Every client is an individual displaying different strengths and weaknesses. The BCBA will develop a daily plan to build on their strengths. The plan is designed to address these skills systematically during a session but will look like play to a naïve observer. When the client is having fun, they are motivated to learn these difficult skills.

  • A Highly Active Job

The job of an RBT can be an active one, especially when working with younger children. For example, they need to be able to move around freely to play with a client and will be required to be quick on their feet to manage challenging behaviors.

  • Contact with Other Staff

An RBT at Behavioral Innovations has daily contact/check-ins with center administrators, clinical operations managers, and/or BCBAs. They will also have contact with other RBT’s (technicians) if the clients participate in activities together (such as group time) or if they share a client with someone else. RBT’s will frequently interact with parents or guardians, especially during pick-up and drop-off.

  • Challenging Behaviors

An RBT could experience challenging behaviors displayed by clients occasionally or frequently, depending on the severity of the condition. It is common for children with autism and other disabilities to have some sort of challenging behavior. RBT’s will receive training and support on how to handle these types of behaviors but they should be prepared so they can respond compassionately and effectively.

Most importantly, the treatment plan should be followed exactly. The plan outlines the clinical programs that were developed for everyone based on their needs. Following the treatment plan is the ethical duty of the RBT and is imperative for providing quality ABA services.

Being an RBT can be a challenging job; however, it can be extremely rewarding as well. RBT’s make real, meaningful, and life-changing differences for their clients. If you’d like to join Behavioral Innovations’ growing team, contact us at 855-782-7822 or email recruiting@bi-aba.com.

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