If you’re interested in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and are seeking a career that involves closely working with clients and patients in the field of developmental behavior therapy, you should consider the job profile of a behavioral technician.
A paraprofessional certification, RBT, or Registered Behavioral Technician comes under the scope of behavioral analysis. An RBT works under the supervision and direction of an RBT Supervisor or an RBT Requirements Coordinator and helps deliver services on behavior analysis.
This article will help you understand what a registered behavioral technician’s job entails and what the benefits are.
What Does a Registered Behavioral Technician Do?
A Registered Behavior technician is a field executive who employs behavior analytic protocols in service to patients and clients under the close supervision of a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), Assistant BCBA’s, and Florida Certified CBA’s.
Their work involves providing mental health services to patients suffering from various behavioral problems due to post-traumatic stress disorders, substance abuse, physical and/or emotional abuse, and a range of psychiatric disorders.
Behavior technicians do not develop assessment or treatment plans. They carry out the plans and assist CBA’s with the treatment. Their duties and responsibilities are determined by their supervisors (CBA’s) and generally include the following:
• Working closely with doctors and nurses to administer the treatment.
• Looking after patients and making sure they attend their group counseling and therapy meetings as scheduled.
• Delivering medications at the right times.
• Assisting patients facing difficulties in simple everyday skills such as eating, dressing, exercising, etc.
• Establishing a dialogue with patients to learn about their struggles and making them feel safe.
Why Become a Registered Behavior Technician?
I’ve often found that many psychologists actually tend to feel short-handed when dealing with patients with serious mental health concerns. This makes it tricky to implement plans no matter how well they’re thought out because patients can become incredibly difficult to deal with at times.
Behavior technicians, on the other hand, have on many occasions shown better foresight when it comes to implementing treatment plans and understanding the patient’s psychosis by closely observing how it manifests. This should come as no shock because by virtue of their job profile they end up spending the most face-to-face time with the patients. This makes them better empathizers, more patient, and compassionate.
If you’re a new psychology major without experience, I think it would make a lot more sense for you to start out as a behavior technician for the first few years. You may have read up a lot about mental illnesses but dealing first hand with someone suffering from mental disorders will give you a completely new perspective.
How Much Does a Behavior Technician Make?
Well, that depends on several factors like the place where you’re working, the kind of patients you primarily deal with, and the amount of experience you have.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2019, salaries of registered behavior technicians mostly ranged from USD 23,440 to USD 62,120 annually.
Entry-level behavior technicians can expect to earn between USD 20,000 and USD 30,000 while behavior technicians with 10-19 years of experience generally earn north of USD 40,000. It also depends on the type of hospital/clinic/mental health facility you work at too.
Here is the annual mean wage of some of the top-paying industry profiles for this occupation:
• Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals – $52,480
• State Government, excluding schools and hospitals (OES Designation) – $48,740
• Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals – $39,390
• Home Health Care Services – $38,610
• Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools – $38,200
How to Become a Registered Behavior Technician
Becoming a registered behavior technician may not require a college degree but there are some formal prerequisites and training programs you’ll need to complete before you can obtain certification. The following are the specific eligibility requirements candidates need to meet before they can bear the credential of a registered behavior technician (RBT):
• Age and Education: You must be over 18 years old and have a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate.
• Background check: Applicants with any criminal history within 6 months of their application will be ruled out immediately.
• Training: Specific RBT tasks have 40-hour training programs. You will need to complete them.
• Competency Assessment: The competency assessment is supervised by a BACB. You’ll need to pass all the assessments to demonstrate your competency in several tasks before you can obtain certification.
• Examination: You will need to take the official RBT exam.
• Ethics: All applicants must meet the RBT ethics code of conduct, a responsibility to clients, and service delivery.
The Bottom Line
The exposure you’ll receive as a registered behavior technician will become a strong and reliable reference for you when you’re planning treatments yourself at some point in the future.