Registered Behavior Technician

A registered behavior technician (RBT) is a paraprofessional who assists in delivering behavior analysis services and practices under the direct supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). RBTs implement individualized treatment plans developed by the BCBA, collect data on client behaviors related to those plans, and provide feedback to the BCBA. They must demonstrate competency in principles of behavior and pass an independent certification exam to receive their credentialing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022), registered behavior technicians, classified as psychiatric technicians and aides, are expected to grow nine percent from 2021 to 203, adding 12,500 new positions. While a college degree is not required for RBTs, all behavior techs must possess a GED or high school diploma.

Working with special education teachers and childcare administrators, and applied behavioral analysts, a registered behavior technician helps a team create and provide treatment plans for children with autism, OCD, ADHD, or other behavioral disabilities to make their lives healthier, safer, and more fulfilling. As a result, RBTs have the unique opportunity to make a lasting impact on people’s lives, whether it be in their homes or at clinics. Furthermore, they can assist with diagnosing children’s behavioral issues and consulting families about providing adequate care- all necessary steps for helping guide these kids towards bright futures. 

Learn more about becoming a registered behavior technician, including certifications, training programs, career outlook, salary, and career opportunities. 

Registered Behavior Technician Specializations

No advanced degree is needed to become an RBT. Instead, aspiring RBTs need a high school diploma or a GRE. As being an RBT is often considered a first step into deeper portions of the medical and childcare field, those who are studying to become an RBT might consider focusing on these specializations: 

  • Child care
  • Nursing 
  • Psychiatric care
  • Residential mental health care

Admission Requirements for Registered Behavior Technician Programs

Aspiring RBTs must meet the following requirements to earn an RBT credential from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB): 

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Background check
  • Complete a 40-hour training
  • Complete an initial competency assessment

Candidates can apply to take and pass the RBT certification exam with these materials. 

Registered Behavior Technician Program Accreditation

Accreditation verifies that educational programs, degrees, and institutions meet established standards and are of high quality. There are two types of accreditation: programmatic and institutional. 

Programmatic Accreditation

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) is committed to providing quality professional certification programs and has taken the necessary steps to ensure public safety by obtaining accreditation from NCCA. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), a body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), provides third-party assessment for RBT training programs.

To uphold those standards across all its programs, regular reviews are conducted on examination content, and eligibility requirements are set forward by subject matter experts within that field.

Please note: the BCBA approves but does not accredit registered behavior technician programs. 

Institutional Accreditation

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) approves organizations that provide third-party accreditation of higher education institutions. Here are the seven organizations recognized by CHEA:

  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

It’s important to note that RBTs do not need to attend an accredited program to take the RBT exam. However, those attending a BCBA-approved or institutionally-accredited program can know they are receiving an education that is of the highest-quality, eligible for student loans, and will prepare them for the RBT exam.   

On-Campus Registered Behavior Technician Programs

University of Michigan Dearborn – Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) 

University of Michigan Dearborn offers an intensive Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) Training program to help students gain the requisite certification and experience. Applicants must be over 18, possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and pass a background check. 

This specialized training course will take place on Fridays across six weeks at the Dearborn campus and amounts to 40 hours of supervised instruction for those seeking RBT status.

  • Location: Dearborn, MI
  • Duration: Two months
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $225 total

Harcum College – Registered Behavior Technician (RBT)

This 45-hour remote learning program prepares students to understand evidence-based Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) principles and strategies for assisting individuals with cognitive differences. 

In a respectful environment, participants will learn critical techniques through lectures, readings, group activities, and independent tasks, including prompting, modeling, and redirecting behavior. Upon successful completion of the lecture portion of the program – which comprises 40 hours – trainees can proceed towards taking the competency assessment exam over three weeks before earning a certification that they are eligible to sit for the RBT examination.

  • Location: Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Duration: One semester
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) 
  • Tuition: $860 total

College of Southern Nevada – Registered Behavior Technician

The College of Southern Nevada offers a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) Skills Certificate as an initial requirement for RBT certification through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. 

This 40-hour training course can be used to gain employment opportunities in applied psychology and education or serve as standalone credentials. Upon completing this certificate, students can apply for RBT positions; additional requirements from BACB, such as background checks, assessment, and examination, must also be satisfied before full credentialing is granted.

  • Location: Multiple campuses in Nevada
  • Duration: One semester
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Tuition: $124 per credit

Online or Hybrid Registered Behavior Technician Programs

Verbal Behavior Institute – Registered Behavior Technician 

Verbal Behavior Institute offers an online, interactive video-based training program to help aspiring RBTs prepare for the BACB exam. Approved by the board and based on Task List 2nd Edition, this 40-hour course provides a comprehensive understanding of all aspects necessary to pass the exam. Students must complete the course within three to six months. VBI has both a referral program and an external site for supervised training. 

  • Location: Online
  • Duration: Three to six months
  • Accreditation: Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)
  • Tuition: $99 total

Carroll Community College – Registered Behavior Technician

In response to a growing need for trained professionals in this field, Carroll Community College in Westminster, Maryland, offers an intensive 40-Hour Training program. This Registered Behavior Technician curriculum meets BACB standards and allows students to achieve nationally-recognized paraprofessional certification in their examination process.

  • Location: Westminster, MD
  • Duration: Two months
  • Accreditation: Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)
  • Tuition: $550 total

Florida Tech University – Registered Behavior Technician

Florida Tech University provides its registered behavior technician (RBT) Essentials program to ensure a user-friendly and seamless experience. It includes interactive video lectures, demonstrations, exercises with questions, and practice activities. 

Additionally, fluency-building vocabulary flashcards are available along with quizzes for students of the course—all based on the RBT Task List 2nd edition that meets the 40-hour training requirement mandated by the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BACB). 

  • Location: Melbourne, FL 
  • Duration: One semester
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) 
  • Tuition: $149 total

How Long Does It Take to Become a Registered Behavior Technician? 

Becoming a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) typically takes two to four years, including completing high school or a GED.

How To Become a Registered Behavior Technician – Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Graduate from High School or Complete a GED (Four Years)

High school graduates and GRE score holders looking to become registered behavior technicians should pay special attention to math, science, and related courses such as sociology, psychology, or medicine. 

Step 2: Apply for RBT Training (Timeline Varies)

Registered behavior technicians would have various online and hybrid programs to choose from, but more than the time commitment is at stake. Prospective RBTs should consider a program’s networking opportunities and its degree of flexibility when exploring options. 

Step 3: Complete an RBT Training (3-6 Months)

The journey toward becoming an RBT requires a dedicated and comprehensive approach. Therefore, it is not only necessary to complete theoretical courses but also crucial for students to take notes in-depth, participate in mock exams and reach out actively for networking opportunities – these are vital steps that can make all the difference when it comes time to apply for jobs.

Step 4: Contact a BCBA Supervisor (Timeline Varies)

To ensure adequate preparation for the RBT Exam and successful job search activities, finding a certified Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Supervisor nearby is essential. Google searching alongside one’s desired location can provide appropriate results, which should be narrowed down by scheduling conversations with each candidate and interviewing them. This is an excellent opportunity to gain advice from experienced individuals that could assist on how best to maximize outcomes involving becoming an RBT.

Step 5: Complete a Competency Assessment (Timeline Varies)

Once all the necessary information has been collected, individuals must complete a competency assessment to evaluate their skills and abilities. The time needed for this step will vary depending on each individual’s unique circumstances.

Step 6: Apply for Jobs (Timelines Vary)

After passing the RBT exam, it’s encouraged to contact previous teachers and administrators for advice and possible job placement opportunities. 

Step 7: Renew RBT Certification (Every Year)

Renewal of Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) certification requires individuals to review the RBT handbook, complete a renewal competency assessment, a renewal application and pay a $35 annual fee. RBTs are strongly encouraged to renew within 45 days of the expiration of their credential.

What Do Registered Behavior Technicians Do?

A typical day for an RBT involves meeting with patients, taking notes that will influence action plans, and collaborating with other professionals. Additional responsibilities include the following: 

  • Implement individualized treatment plans developed by the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
  • Collect data on client behaviors related to those plans
  • Provide feedback and guidance to the BCBA on client progress
  • Ensure that behavior analytic services use scientifically validated and effective interventions
  • Follow ethical, legal, and professional standards of practice
  • Maintain records of client progress and related activities

Registered Behavior Technician Certifications & Licensure


The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BCBA) offers three credentials for professionals: 

  • BCBA: Board Certified Behavior Analyst: A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is a professional specializing in the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
  • BCaBA: Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst: A Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) is a paraprofessional who assists the BCBA in designing, implementing, and supervising a range of ABA services.
  • RBT: Registered Behavior Technician: Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) are paraprofessionals specifically trained to support BCBAs and BCaBAs in providing ABA-based behavior interventions.

As mentioned above, to qualify for the RBT credential, candidates must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have completed high school (or the equivalent)
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Get 40 hours of qualifying training
  • Complete an RBT Competency Assessment
  • Pass the RBT examination


Applied behavior analysis is a quickly-evolving field and is highly regulated at the state level. As a result, each state has unique requirements for professional licensure. For example, the Washington State Department of Health requires certified behavior technicians to complete an attestation for application or continuing education, complete a background check, and pay an application fee. 

Some states do not require RBTs to hold state licensure, but it is essential to research this before accepting a job. The BABC has an updated list of states and their regulating bodies that have requirements for licensure for all applied behavior analysis professionals.

How Much Do Registered Behavior Technicians Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2021), 93,410 psychiatric technicians, a similar occupation to RBTs, earned $38,00 per year on average. Salaries vary based on education, experience, and location. Here are the salary percentiles for psychiatric technicians (BLS May 2021): 

  • 10th percentile: $26,980 per year 
  • 25th percentile: $29,210 
  • 50th percentile (median): $36,570
  • 75th percentile: $45,620
  • 90th percentile: $56,380

Salary data from (2023) shows that BACB-certified RBTs earn $36,623 per year on average, based on 3,431 self-reported salary profiles.

Registered Behavior Technician Career Alternatives

Becoming a registered behavior technician (RBT) is an entry-level career in behavioral health. It is a perfect starting point for those pursuing other behavioral health careers, such as Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), Board Certified Assistant Behaviour Analyst (BCaBA), or other allied health professions. 

Here are three alternatives to becoming an RBT. 

Become a Childcare Worker

Childcare workers work alongside children in several different environments to help foster healthy learning habits. This work requires no college degree and is a prevalent job in the United States, with nearly a million people in this field in 2021. 

  • Typical Education: High school diploma 
  • Licensing or Certifying Organization: Council for Professional Recognition

Become a Home Health and Personal Care Aid

Home health and personal care aides help those with chronic disabilities that hamper them from some daily activities. Some states require home health aids to be licensed or certified.  

  • Typical Education: High school diploma 
  • Licensing or Certifying Organization: Some hospice agencies require workers to pass exams; CPR, and basic first aid through the American Red Cross

Become a Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse

Practical and vocational nurses provide nursing care from doctor’s offices to hospice work in schools. This will require a diploma or associate of science in nursing in addition to state licensure requirements.

  • Typical Education: Postsecondary diploma or associate degree
  • Licensing or Certifying Organization: State Boards of Nursing (SBONs)
Nathan Stevens

Nathan Stevens


Nathan Stevens is a reporter, musician, and native Texan living in Austin. He received his degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and has worked in broadcast for over a decade. His website,, is a collection and retrospective of the best music of the 21st century.

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