A nationally recognized paraprofessional qualification in behavior analysis is the Registered Behavior Technician. RBT certification is for people who work in fields that require behavior management training, such as direct-care personnel and paraprofessionals. In addition, teacher education and early childhood assistants have been recognized as eligible for the program.
The RBT Program is a collaborative effort of state licensing boards. Individuals interested in earning the RBT designation must complete training with an approved program and pass a test to be awarded the certification. Different states have different credentialing requirements, but all are jointly administered by the National Association of School Psychologists and the Association for Behavior Analysis (ABA). A member of the Association for Behavior Analysis or an equivalent professional certification, such as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB), Registered Veterinary Behavior Technician (RaVBaT) or Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT), is required to complete 40 hours of training with an accredited program.
The progression of certification programs varies by state. After earning 40 hours of training and passing the test, a candidate is eligible to apply to the state board for registration as an RBT-certified behavior technician. The national organization for RBTs can assist applicants with their application with additional training or credentialing. Many certification programs require that an individual complete a paid internship (typically one year) before earning certification (e.g., California requires 12 hours of service after completing initial training before becoming certified).
Although routine practice in schools involves many disciplines, including human resource management, program planning, curriculum design and evaluation, statistics and research methods, program evaluation, teaching methods and the like.
The minimum eligibility requirements for an application to become a certified RBT are as follows:
"He or she must complete 40 hours of training courses and pass the application for certification exam by August 1 of the year in which he/she would like to apply. The exam can be taken through either the national association or a state association. The national association offers testing dates throughout the year."
The National Registry is made up of individuals who have successfully completed a training program from one of three approved programs (AAAT, SCTS, TASK). The national registry is administered by the National Association for Behavior Analysis. RBTs must earn a passing score on an exam that is specifically created for the RBT program. While each state may have additional requirements, all states require an individual to complete 40 hours of training and pass a test to earn certification.
RBT Career Paths
RBT certification can be used in a variety of career settings but is especially useful in schools, where teachers and paraprofessionals must be able to cope with difficult behaviors that crop up every day. In addition, many schools employ behavior analysts who use a structured approach to help children with learning difficulties, behavioral issues or other challenges that may cause academic problems.
RBT responsibilities are not limited to classroom teacher or care provider tasks. Many companies have hired behavior analysts for their marketing and sales departments and management. There are also reporting, monitoring and evaluation tasks that are required of the position, as well as administrative work such as adjusting schedules and price lists to make sure all employees have the necessary hours to meet business needs.
In addition to direct-care staff, RBTs can be found in health care settings, such as schools of nursing. There is also a growing job market for RBT's in information systems, accounting, sales and marketing departments.
There are lot of opportunities as RBT. With the fast-growing population of children and adults with disabilities, it is becoming essential for school districts to employ an adequate number of individuals who have been trained in behavior management. In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 53% of the RBT labor force works in educational services, while 23% work in general medical and surgical hospitals.
Some states allow individuals to earn advanced credentials based on their experience as a RBT. For example, California allows candidates who successfully complete the advanced program requirements to be classified as a Behavior Analyst Certified Consultant (BCC).
There are many websites that provide information about a career as an RBT. One of the most popular sites is the National Association for Behavior Technician's website. The official site has information about the test and application requirements for certification. The site also provides links to other useful learning and reference materials regarding behavior analysis and applied behavior analysis.
A career as a RBT is not limited to public schools or individuals who are working with children. There is also an emerging field of dog training that is beginning to use more RBTs in their work with animals.
The average salary for RBT or Behavior Analyst varies a great deal depending on the setting in which they are employed. There are two main variables that affect salary: education and experience. Some of the highest paying states include California, Illinois, and Texas, with an average annual salary of $38K to $62K. The lowest paying area is New York City, with an average annual salary of $51K. One important thing to keep in mind is that opening your own business as a RBT can be a highly lucrative career move. For example, the state of California listed the median annual salary at around $71K, while New York listed it as around $86K.