hiring registered behavior technicians

What We Look for When Hiring Registered Behavior Technicians for Akron ABA Therapy

The demand for hiring registered behavior technicians has never been higher. In fact, it’s estimated the profession with have a growth rate of between 12 to 17 percent nationally over the next decade, according to the BACB Board.

Registered behavior technicians – better known as RBTs for short – are providers of Akron ABA therapy, as overseen by “BCBAs,” which are board-certified behavior analysts. ABA (applied behavior analysis) is the gold standard treatment for kids with autism spectrum disorder, as well as some conditions like Down Syndrome and ADHD and ODD.

In Ohio, the BACB reports the number of job listings for hiring registered behavior technicians went from 304 in 2020 to 590 in 2021 – almost double. Same story with BCBA certification hiring in Ohio – 20 job postings were reported in 2020, which jumped to 46 in 2021. In the two years since, those of us in the Northeast Ohio ABA therapy field have only seen this trend soar higher.

What’s the Difference Hiring a Registered Behavior Technician Versus a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst?

When it comes to administering effective ABA therapy for kids with autism and other conditions associated with communication and behavior challenges, there are two primary professionals responsible: The BCBA and the RBT.

The simplest way to put it is that the BCBA develops and oversees the plan, while the RBT implements it in regular 1-1 sessions with the child. A BCBA can also implement 1-1 therapy with a child, albeit without oversight, though RBTs are generally relied upon because of the growing need for these services and the extensive education and training it takes to become a BCBA.

To become a BCBA, one must obtain a graduate degree (Master’s level) from an accredited program in an area of study such as behavior analysis, education, or psychology. The BACB then offers courses that one must complete to become certified. The certification process requires a set number of supervisory hours with a fully-certified BCBA. Then there is a BCBA exam one must pass before they can legally practice.

For RBTs, the requirements are less rigorous. One must be at least 18-years-old with a high school diploma or equivalent. Registered behavior technicians in Ohio must also complete a 40-hour training course (which can be completed online), after which they must pass the RBT Competency Assessment as well as criminal background checks. Lastly, they must pass the final RBT exam.

Traits We Look for When Hiring RBTs in Akron, Cleveland, Brecksville

There are things that can be taught in a classroom, and then there are character traits that are either innate or acquired /refined with life experience. Among these:

  • Compassion. Working with children on the autism spectrum and other challenging conditions need to be caring and genuinely like helping kids. Problem behaviors can be upsetting, frustrating, and concerning. Treatment is effective, but it takes time, energy, consistency, and an ABA therapy team that cares. It’s important to approach treatment with understanding and knowledge, but also compassion.
  • Patience. The most effective RBTs are those who recognize progress isn’t happening overnight. They maintain the patience to come back day after day, week after week, month after month – recognizing that it’s all about baby steps, and milestones are going to take time.
  • Temperance. Many children with autism and other disabilities tend to have big reactions to small problems. But the adults in the room – particularly those administering treatment – need to recognize this and maintain control of their own emotions. The most effective therapists are those that can remain composed and cool-headed – and be ready and willing to move on amiably from outbursts or episodes.
  • Adaptability. Treatment plans are meticulously-designed, but flexibility is critical. Sometimes, you have to be ready to just go with the flow. ABA therapy is child-led, meaning that we seize on whatever the child is interested in to guide us in which games or activities or themes we can use to help them reach their goals. But just like adults, a child’s preferences & interests shift and change – sometimes suddenly. Sometimes a strategy that seemed to be working really well suddenly isn’t effective anymore. RBTs have to be willing to make adjustments on-the-fly.

If you’re a parent looking for ABA therapy services for your child, or an RBT looking for an employer that values and invests in their team, Therapy & Wellness Connection looks forward to hearing from you!

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides ABA therapy to children in Akron, Cleveland, Brecksville-Broadview Heights and surrounding communities. We also offer occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

U.S. Employment Demand for Behavior Analysts: 2010-2021, BACB.com

More Blog Entries:

How Long Will My Child Need to Be in Cleveland ABA Therapy? Dec. 23, 2022, Akron ABA Therapy Blog