Pediatric Therapeutic Services

Review What You Must Do to Become an RBT

Your Quick Guide to RBT Training, Assessment, and Testing

When students’ behaviors impede their own or their peers’ learning, behavioral health experts can help; these include the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®), the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® (BCaBA®), and the Registered Behavior Technician® (RBT®).

The RBT is a paraprofessional who works one-on-one with students receiving Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to implement intervention plans. RBTs don’t design these plans independent of the BCBA or BCaBA, but work under their close supervision to carry them out.

RBT training prepares you to make an immediate positive difference in students’ lives. And, once you finish your training, Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS, Inc.) will assist you during every stage of your career journey!

Review What You Must Do to Become an RBT

In order to receive your RBT credential, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Hold a high school diploma. Pass a background check (within 180 days of paying for your completed RBT Certification Application).
  • Complete 40 hours of RBT training.
  • Complete the RBT Initial Competency Assessment.
  • Take and pass the RBT certification examination.
  • Abide by the RBT Ethics Code.

Meet the 40-Hour Training Requirement

You can complete your 40-hour RBT training course in person or online. Female Registered Behavior Technician sits in chair in school therapy room, observing elementary school child playing on floor.

The RBT training program is based on the RBT Task List (2nd edition). This list outlines six categories of primary tasks technicians are likely to perform with clients:

  • Measurement
    You’ll master multiple ways (including continuous and discontinuous measurement and permanent-product recording procedures) to record and report observable data about behavior and environment.
  • Assessment
    You’ll learn how to conduct preference assessments as well as assist with individualized and functional assessment procedures.
  • Skill Acquisition
    You’ll practice implementing procedures—discrete trial teaching, analyzed chaining, stimulus control transfer, prompting and fading, and more—to help clients gain and strengthen new skills.
  • Behavior Reduction
    You’ll know how to implement modifications and differential reinforcement and extinction procedures to lower the incidence of and eliminate undesired behaviors.
  • Documentation and Reporting
    You’ll be able to seek clinical direction from and communicate with supervisors, generate objective session notes, and comply with all relevant requirements.
  • Professional Conduct and Scope of Practice
    You’ll gain a clear understanding of your role in the service delivery system as well as issues affecting your clients’ dignity and shaping your professional identity.

 Your course must also include at least three hours’ training in ethics and professional conduct and ongoing supervision. A BCBA, BCaBA, or a BCBA-D (a BCBA who holds a doctorate) must lead your course. 

Complete Your Competency Assessment and Pass Your Exam

After you meet the 40-hour training requirement, two additional requirements remain: passing both the RBT Initial Competency Assessment and the RBT Exam.

You may complete your assessment in one or more sessions, in person, live online, or through recorded videos specifically created for this purpose. Your assessor can be either a BCBA, a BCaBA, BCBA, or BCBA-D (PTS can provide a BCBA to administer the assessment.)

You’ll have the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to perform each task in one of three ways, depending upon instructions and circumstances, which include:

  • With a client.
  • In a role-play, with a person acting as the client.
  • Accurately describing the relevant concept in a live interview, and providing examples.

The RBT certification board exam will assess your knowledge of the RBT Task List. You’ll have 90 minutes to answer 85 multiple-choice questions (though 10 are not scored). You’ll be familiar with this content from your training course, but you’ll also want to brush up!

You must complete the exam in person at a Pearson VUE, Inc. testing center. Pearson VUE’s website offers additional information and a computer-based testing tutorial to help you prepare.

PTS provides final testing supervision as well as ongoing supervision after you pass your exam.

If you’ve checked all the boxes on the requirements list, congratulations—you’re a certified Registered Behavior Technician!

The next step is finding the right position to start your school-based career.

PTS Sets You Up for Success as a School-Based RBT

Despite your clear qualifications, you may have questions about working with students in school-based therapy.

PTS has a program designed to meet the needs of professionals like you who are new to the field: our School-Based Academy.

During these sessions, clinical experts will guide you through the dos and don’ts of your practice, how to build lasting professional relationships, the most efficient ways to collect data, and more.

PTS is also committed to making perfect matches between our clinicians and our clients.

Our Therapy Achievement Approach is our comprehensive, five-step placement process in which we get to know you and your goals and help you transition to a new school district. Our clinical directors take an active role in ensuring you feel happy and fulfilled in your new work environment!

If you want to know more about beginning your career as a school-based RBT, grab your free copy of our eBook, A New Grad’s Guide to Landing the Right School-Based Therapy Job.

Whether you’re fresh out of school or about to finish up your RBT training requirements, it will give you concrete and practical tips for finding and landing exactly the right position for you!

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