The Registered Behavior Technician plays the most critical role (in my opinion) in the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy service delivery model. The RBT is assigned to work one on one with clients daily and implements programs for the client to acquire new skills, maintain skills, and decrease problem behaviors. The RBT is juggling many tasks-data collection, providing reinforcement, planning out work sessions and various other tasks throughout their session. RBTs are the critical piece to client progress. In many online forums, I've seen RBTs who are unclear and ask questions about their certification and role, so I decided to create a blog post so that all RBTs have a little more knowledge about their credential.
1. Your RBT credential belongs to you.
Once you earn your RBT Credential, it is yours. You are responsible for ensuring that you know your responsibilities as a certificant and how to maintain your certification. Your certification is not agency specific. You can take it with you to a new company.
2. Your credential needs to be renewed annually.
Know your renewal date and submit needed paperwork atleast 2 weeks in advance. When you renew, you will need to submit a competency assessment and pay the renewal fee to the BACB.
3. Use your personal email address to create your BACB account.
Your personal email address should be used to create your BACB account. Do not use a company email address to create or manage your account. You should be the person in charge of your BACB account. If the employment relationship ends for any reason, you want to have access to and control of the email address that was used to create your BACB account.
4. Supervision should be tracked by you, monthly.
It is your responsibility to track your supervision. Each day that you work, make sure that you are tracking your hours and how much supervision you receive. Request supervision when you need it to remain in compliance.
5. Five percent of your hours should be supervised.
The BACB guidelines are very clear that RBTs should be supervised for 5% of the hours that they provide ABA Therapy. For example, if you work 100 hours per month, you should be supervised for a minimum of 5 hours for that month.
6. Keep your supervision documentation for 7 years.
You need to keep your supervision papers for 7 years. The BACB can audit your supervision paperwork at any given time. You want to make sure that you can account for it. The best way to store supervision documentation is to scan it to yourself and save it to an electronic file. When you are audited by the BACB, you have 7 days to submit your supervision documentation.
7. You can not be an independent contractor.
RBTs do not meet the IRS guidelines to work as independent contrators. RBTs are provided direction and work under the supervision of a BCBA or BCaBA. RBTs are only permitted to work as a W2 Employee and will have taxes withdrawn from their checks.
8. You should not purchase program materials/supplies.
As an employee, your employer should provide you with the tools that you need to complete your job. These tools include reinforcers, program stimuli, data collection sheets (printing, copy paper, ink) and pens/pencils. If you do have to purchase reinforcers or program materials, the cost for these items should be reimbursed to you.
9. You should be trained in crisis management procedures.
RBTs who work with aggressive clients should not wear bruises or injuries as a badge of honor. This should specifically not be the case if these injuries were caused due to no crisis management training being provided by the agency who placed you with the aggressive client. A Behavior Plan is not enough if a client displays behaviors that are a threat to themselves, others in the environment, destroys property, or who elopes. For client and RBT safety, behavior plans for target behaviors that involve a risk to personal safety should have some form of physical management training requirement for the RBT.
10. You should be reimbursed for mileage between clients.
If you are using your personal vehicle to drive between clients, your company should reimburse you mileage for driving. If your company does not reimburse for driving, you are still able to record miles you have driven and write them off on your taxes each year.
As a Registered Behavior Technician, you are changing lives and affecting positive change. Make it a priority to learn and to grow as much as you can in your role. An added bonus (#11) is that there is a career path you can follow as an RBT into becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst or a Board Certified assistant Behavior Analyst. For more information about your RBT role or a career path in behavior analysis, go to www.bacb.com.
Nikki Gray is a Board Certified and licensed behavior analyst. As the CEO & Founder of The Indiana Institute for Behavior Analysis, Nikki oversees and guides clinical and administrative procedures in order to ensure that clients receive the best care and that employees are supported and trained.