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ABA Therapy

ABA Therapy Basics: What Is An RBT And How Do They Help Children With Autism?

For a parent whose child just received an official autism diagnosis, the future can seem overwhelming and uncertain. They may wonder: What treatment options does my child with ASD have? Will my child with autism have a chance at living an independent and fulfilling life?

Since every person’s journey with autism is unique and personal, it’s difficult to provide a general answer to these questions that can be applied uniformly. For many children diagnosed with autism, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy can help develop the skills they need to master daily living tasks, become more confident in social situations, and reduce maladaptive behaviors.

Parents considering ABA therapy can rest assured that sessions be conducted by well-trained and highly-motivated healthcare providers dedicated to improving the lives of children with ASD.

What Is an RBT?

ABA therapy is conducted by a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) and supervised by a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). The RBT provides direct care to the child with autism, while the BCBA oversees each case and helps create a treatment plan for the child.

Depending on the type of case and services offered by your autism therapy agency of choice, RBTs could provide ABA therapy in several kinds of environments, including

  • In a client’s home

  • At an autism therapy center

  • In a school system

  • In real-world settings, like at parks or shopping malls

Click here to see what the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) says about obtaining and maintaining an RBT certification.

What Does an RBT Do Each Day?

Every day can look a little different for a Registered Behavior Technician, but typically, an RBT can expect to:

  • Prepare for a session – From reviewing the previous day’s session data to gathering together materials and games, getting ready before sessions start maximizes the amount of time spent doing therapy.

  • Follow a daily schedule – A BCBA will create an individualized daily schedule so that a child with ASD can achieve certain goals or learn specific skills. Whether it’s engaging in Discrete Trial Training (DTT) or playing a memory game, each activity or exercise is intended to help clients achieve goals in the treatment plan laid out by a BCBA.

  • Communicate progress – It’s critical for an RBT to take time to consult with the child’s family about how their child is doing. The RBT will also update their assigned BCBA about the advancement of their client.

As a child with autism progresses through therapy, there may be times when they are unable to express themselves appropriately or become overstimulated. When this occurs, the child may exhibit challenging behaviors. RBTs are thoroughly trained on how to handle these kinds of behaviors in a compassionate and effective way.

What Does It Mean?

The work of an RBT can seem confusing if you don’t know much about ABA therapy. So we’ve put together a short fictional example below.

RBT Pay and Career Outlook

Becoming a Registered Behavioral Technician means making a tangible and direct difference in the lives of children with ASD. RBTs often work flexible hours – letting providers maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Being an RBT also means that people interested in working in the mental health field have the chance to learn valuable skills and advance their careers.

Careers in the ABA field are projected to grow significantly over the next ten years. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment of psychiatric technicians (which include roles like Registered Behavior Technicians) is expected to grow by 9% between 2021 and 2031: this increase is considered faster than the average for all occupations.

The median average pay of a psychiatric technician typically falls around $36,230 per year, according to the BLS, but RBTs can earn more depending on their credentials, experience, and work history.

How Do I Become an RBT?

Becoming an RBT requires candidates to:

  • Be at least 18 years of age

  • Finish a 40-hour online training course

  • Complete a competency assessment performed by a BCBA

  • Submit an RBT certification application

  • Pass an RBT examination

Are you trying to find information on how to earn your RBT certification? The Earn your RBT Program at Applied ABC is a no-cost pathway to earning your RBT credential in select states and can be completed in less than two months.

Applied ABC will cover the following costs – with an estimated $1,050 value – as you work to earn your RBT credential:

  • BACB enrollment costs

  • RBT 40-hour course

  • RBT study materials

  • BCBA assessment

  • RBT exam fees (first attempt only)

Click the button below to learn more about the Earn Your RBT Program.

Other articles

ABA Therapy Basics

Examples Of ABA Therapy

How ABA Therapy Works At Applied ABC

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