Mental health facilities, medical centers, school districts, and early childhood development centers often employ a team to assist individuals with basic life, social, and other daily living skills.
Part of that team includes behavior technicians.
As a whole, the field is focused on science and human behavior and how to alleviate problematic behaviors in individuals. If you have a love of psychology and behavior analysis, a behavior technician role provides a good balance of both.
What Does a Registered Behavior Technician Do?
A Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) works in clinical settings under the supervision of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) to provide treatment plans for patients like autistic children. As a behavior technician, you’ll work under a BCBA to create the most impactful changes for an individual patient.
You may also work in schools or home settings to assist patients in reducing problematic behaviors or learning daily living skills.
During the course of your day, you’ll usually see treatment components that include:
Play and leisure skills
Coping and tolerance skills
These are just a few of the treatment program elements you might see or assist with implementing while working with behavior analysts.
Additionally, as a behavior technician you may:
Assist clients in one-on-one or group settings
Share client progress with parents, caregivers, and clients
Prep client materials
Observe and record client behavior data
Follow all behavior reduction and behavior skills protocols
Behavior Technician Salary Information
Depending on where you start working, your salary range may vary. A Registered Behavior Technician salary ranges between $20,000-$45,000 yearly.
Salary will also depend on your experience. Entry-level Registered Behavior Technicians with less then a year experience can expect to earn between $20,000-$30,000 while a Behavior Technician with 10-19 years experience can earn upwards of $40,000.
Behavior Technician salary may also be determined by the environment you work in. Some technicians may work full time or part-time and because hospitals and residential facilities operate 24 hours a day, many technicians work nights, weekends, and holidays. The more flexible you are, the more should expect to make.
According to bls.gov, in May 2018, the median annual salaries for Registered Behavior Technician jobs in the top industries were as follows:
Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals; state, local, and private: $32,090
State government, excluding education and hospitals: $28,610
Residential mental health and substance abuse facilities: $26,740
Residential intellectual and developmental disability facilities: $24,290
With an increased focus on autism spectrum disorders, developmental disorders, traumatic brain injuries, and mental health conditions, there is a growing demand for Registered Behavior Technician jobs and rising salaries in the profession as a result.
Considerations of Working as a Behavior Technician
If observation of human behavior fascinates you, then you’ll always be interested in this industry as you’ll do a lot of monitoring. The work is rewarding, but it can also be challenging as you assist in addressing problem behaviors and skill deficits with clients.
Work environment - Your employer will determine which settings you work in as a behavior technician. You might work in an office or a clinical setting. Some behavior technicians work in home settings as well.
Adaptation - Because you'll be working with patients with sensitivities and/or developmental issues, you'll have to stay on your toes when it comes to your interactions. What may work one day might not work the next, and your willingness to adjust to that is important for patient success.
Commitment - Due to ongoing research in the behavior health field, protocols and procedures are subject to change. This means there will always be new and better ways of working with patients. If you’re a Registered Behavior Technician, you’ll be expected to commit to continuing education to keep up with industry trends.
What Other Skills Does a Behavior Technician Need?
Because every client is different, a behavior technician should be flexible in meeting the needs of clients each day.
Patience - You’ll need a lot of patience as you assist with teaching skills and appropriate behaviors repeatedly.
Team Player Mentality - Since you'll be working as a paraprofessional beneath a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst or Board Certified Behavior Analyst, a positive team-player attitude is a must.
A Playful Nature - When working with autistic children, for example, a playful spirit is helpful. It will also make situations lighter when you have a playful demeanor when working with particularly challenging patients.
Compassion - Patients are people with emotional needs and boundaries. By being empathetic and caring toward patients and their family members, compassionate behavior technicians can build trust and healthy patient relationships.
Find Rewarding Work as a Registered Behavior Technician
Watching the growth of patients is one of the most rewarding parts of working as a Registered Behavior Technician.
Due to the nature of consistent consultations and meetings with patients, you’ll watch inspiring development unfold.
This career takes a lot of energy, creativity, and dedication, but the reward of seeing a patient blossom under proper training is motivational. Watching a family’s relief and hope skyrocket as they see their family member progress can offer reassurance that Registered Behavior Technician jobs are right for you.
And, if you love taking part in the behavior changes, Registered Behavior Technician jobs are not the end of the road; it’s just the beginning.