What is a Registered Behavioral Technician?

Registered Behavioral Technician

An individual who is interested in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and aspires to work with clients and patients in need of developmental behavior therapy may choose to become a Registered Behavioral Technician. Working as a registered behavioral technician can help an individual obtain experience working with clients suffering from a variety of behavioral issues, yet it does not require spending years in college to earn high-level degrees. Learn more about registered behavioral technicians, how to become one and what the career entails.

What is a Registered Behavioral Technician?

A Registered Behavior Technician™ (RBT) is an individual who implements behavior-analytic services to patients and clients under the close supervision of a BCBA, BCaBA or FL-CBA. Behavioral technicians provide mental health services to patients struggling with various behavioral problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, physical and emotional abuse, psychiatric disorders and substance abuse. RBTs do not develop assessment or intervention plans but are responsible for implementing and assisting with implementing the treatments. Their job duties are determined by their supervisor but usually include the following:

  • Collaborating with nurses and doctors on treatment plans
  • Helping patients participate in group counseling sessions and meetings
  • Administering medications.
  • Assisting patients with eating, dressing and similar daily living skills
  • Communicating with patients

How to Become a Registered Behavioral Technician

To become a registered behavioral technician requires completing training and obtaining certification. The path towards this career is typically the same for all candidates. There are specific eligibility requirements that must be met before the candidate can wear the credential of Registered Behavior Technician™ (RBT).

  • Age and Education – Applicant must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or an equivalent.
  • Background Check – Applicant must pass a criminal background check within the past six months.
  • Training – Applicant must complete a 40-hour training program specific to RBT tasks.
  • Competency Assessment – Applicant must successfully pass the competency assessment, which is administered by a BACB. To successfully pass the assessment, the candidate must prove competency in all required tasks.
  • Examination – Applicant must pass the RBT exam. Before being eligible to take the exam, the candidate must show proof that all previous requirements have been met.
  • Ethics – Applicants must satisfy the RBT Ethics Code, which includes three areas: Responsible Conduct, Responsibility to Clients, and Competence and Service Delivery.


The final step towards becoming an RBT is obtaining certification, which requires passing the competency assessment according to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. It can be completed in person, through recorded videos or live on the internet and can be completed in more than one session. There are 12 different categories or “tasks” that must be satisfactorily completed and verified by an assessor.

Career Outlook

Registered Behavioral Technicians earned an average annual wage of $31,249 as of a December 2018 report by PayScale. The RBT wages ranged from $25,035 to $45,023 with the average hourly wage at $15.90. RBTs who have experience with data collection and autism often find the best career options and have better wage potentials. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that registered behavioral technicians should see an employment growth of 6% during the 2016-2026 decade.

Related Resource: 10 Best Online RBT (Registered Behavioral Technician) Training Programs

Because RBTs are not required to spend several years in college, this is an job for a person who feels they have what it takes to work with developmentally and behaviorally challenged individuals but aren’t sure if they want to make a career out it. The upside of this job choice is that the RBT can use the training and experience towards a degree in this field if he or she finds the job rewarding and wants to advance to a higher position.

Related Resources: