Day in the Life of a Registered Behavior Technician

Published On: April 26, 2021

People that work in human services find their careers challenging and rewarding. If you enjoy working with children, have a team player mentality, are patient and compassionate, you may be interested in a career as a Registered Behavior Technician®.

What is an RBT?

A Registered Behavior Technician® is a paraprofessional in the human services industry who works daily, one-on-one with patients and clients to deliver behavior analysis services under the close, ongoing supervision of a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst). The supervising behavior analyst will conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) to identify what behaviors the client would like reduced or replaced and why it is happening. The information gathered during the FBA is then used to create an intervention or behavior plan with strategies of what to do about said behavior; this is only one of many components of a behavior plan. The treatment plan may include programs for play and leisure skills, emotional development, self-management skills, communication skills, and coping skills. The Registered Behavior Technician® will then implement the treatments and teach parents and teachers how to use the strategies and interventions from the treatment plan.

Training

Training to become a Registered Behavior Technician® are as follows:

  •  Be a high school graduate.
  • Complete and pass a background check.
  • Complete a 40-hour RBT training course covering topics such as data collection and measurement, assessments, behavior reduction techniques, documentation and reporting, and professional conduct and ethics.
  • Complete a two-part competency assessment administered by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).
  • Pass the RBT exam to become certified and registered.

Once certified and working under a BCBA, you will get ongoing training from your supervisor through program modelling and feedback; the learning never stops.

Ashton College’s Registered Behavior Technician Certificate course is based on RBT Task List (2nd ed.) and is designed to meet the 40-hour training requirement for RBT certification that is offered by the BACB.

Where Do They Work?

Registered Behavior Technicians can work in a variety of settings. One-on-one sessions happen in schools, clinics, mental health centres, and in family homes. Group sessions can happen in early childhood development centres, community centres, and treatment centres.

The Day

This day is an example of what your day could be like as an RBT and to give you an overview of two types of sessions, it is not based on a real person.

Preparation

Whether I have an in-home session planned first thing in the morning or an in-school session there is always a preparation period. During preparation, I will go over notes, progress reports, and the treatment plan to determine what type of session would fit the patient – this preparation can vary depending on how frequently I visit this patient and how well I know the child’s learning style, their personal needs or preferences and how they respond to different styles of treatment. Going to an in-home session, I must always prepare my reinforcer bag to be filled with specific toys that suit the child’s learning style and reward strategies. The day begins.

Home

To start a one-on-one session, you must always greet the client/parent first and ask how the child has been so far today to get insight into the patient’s emotional state. A session with a child that has had a rough night/morning will go much differently than one who is well-rested and has been smiling all morning. Now it is time to prep for activities and stimuli that will be used for the behaviour-reduction program and grab a few toys to present to the child. Before starting any work, you must always re-establish a rapport with the child (known as pairing) and make sure they feel safe and comfortable with you. Once rapport is established and the child is giggly and smiling (hopefully), I will do a preference assessment to identify which games and toys are motivating for my patient today as it can change, sometimes mid-session! Once we finish that day’s program, I am sure to verbally let the child know we are done for the day and give the parent(s) an update sharing specific progress updates and answer any questions. Once that is done, I pull out the client binder where I calculate and graph all the data and write in my BT communication log notes and the session is complete. I say goodbye and leave.

Not all in-home sessions look like this, some may focus on for example establishing routines, self-care skills, or academic skills.

School

Now that my early session is done, I will spend the rest of the day at a school where I work three days a week with a child who has recently started mainstream education. Much of my time in the class is spent making sure the student responds necessarily in a school environment to the teacher and the other students. The morning begins with a brief discussion with the teacher comparing notes, discussing any updates about the student, and learning if there are any changes or special events that day – like a fire drill or assembly so I can prep the child. Nothing of note is happening that day, so I prepare to say hello to my patient and make sure they have had their medication if prescribed, breakfast and see how their homework went last night. I will also check in with my student to see if they are up to interacting with other students or in lessons so I can give the teacher a heads up. Today has been going well, so I spend most of my time in the back observing, writing notes, giving the child space to flourish and being proud of the progress my patient has made, but I must always be prepared to be by their side in an instant.

Other Duties

Depending on where you work other duties RBTs may have include employment training, providing family guidance, leading patients in recreational activities, and assisting in medical and personal care.

Disclaimer

The information contained in this post is considered to be true and accurate as of the date of publication. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog.

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