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RBTs: Who, Why, How?

Updated: May 18

Are you passionate about working with individuals with special needs and making a positive impact on their lives? If so, becoming a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) could be a fulfilling career choice for you! In this blog post, we'll explore what an RBT does and how to pursue this meaningful work.


So, what is an RBT? An RBT is a highly valued and trained direct therapist who assists in providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. Under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA), RBTs implement behavior intervention plans, collect data, and provide support in teaching new skills and reducing challenging behaviors. RBTs work in a variety of settings, such as schools, clinics, homes, and community-based programs, and play a crucial role in improving the lives of those they serve.


Who should become an RBT? If you are passionate about helping others, have a genuine interest in working with individuals with special needs, and possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills, then you may be a good fit for becoming an RBT. RBTs need to be patient, empathetic, and skilled at building rapport with individuals of all ages and abilities. They should also be comfortable working in a team and following behavior plans created by BCBA or BCaBA supervisors. RBTs work with diverse populations, and cultural sensitivity and inclusivity are essential in this role.


An RBT providing home-based services works closely with individuals with developmental disabilities in their own homes, implementing behavior intervention plans designed by a BCBA. This may involve implementing strategies to improve communication skills, social skills, and daily living skills, as well as reducing challenging behaviors. The RBT provides direct one-on-one support, collects data on progress, and collaborates with the BCBA and other team members to continuously assess and modify interventions.

Pros of working as an RBT in home-based services:

  1. Opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in a familiar and comfortable environment.

  2. Ability to build strong rapport and relationships with clients and their families, as the RBT works directly with them on a regular basis.

  3. Opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience implementing behavior intervention plans and working as part of a team alongside BCBAs and other professionals.

  4. Flexibility in scheduling, as home-based services may offer more flexible hours compared to other settings.

  5. Opportunity for ongoing professional growth and development, with access to supervision and training from BCBAs.

Cons of working as an RBT in home-based services:

  1. Can be physically and emotionally demanding, as RBTs may need to engage in physical interventions or manage challenging behaviors in a client's home.

  2. Potential for limited social interaction, as RBTs primarily work one-on-one with clients in their homes, which may not offer the same level of socialization as other settings.

  3. Need for flexibility and travel, as RBTs may need to commute to different client homes throughout the day or week.

  4. Reliance on effective communication and collaboration with remote supervision from BCBAs, which may require strong organizational and communication skills.

  5. Potential for variability in work hours and availability of clients, depending on the location and demand for home-based services in a particular area.

If this sounds like the path for you, here's how to get started! The first step is to complete an RBT training program, which consists of at least 40 hours of instruction that covers the principles of ABA, ethics, and practical skills. Once you complete the training, you will complete a competency assessment with a BCBA. After which, you will need to pass the RBT certification exam, which assesses your knowledge and competence in implementing ABA techniques. Upon passing the exam, you can apply for the RBT credential through the BACB, and with the RBT credential, you can start your rewarding career as an RBT.


In conclusion, becoming an RBT can be an incredibly fulfilling career for those who are passionate about helping individuals with special needs. While there are challenges and cons to consider, the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of others is immeasurable. If you want to learn more let us know!


The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (“BACB”) does not sponsor, approve or endorse Positive Behavior Change, the materials, or information identified herein.

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