BCBA vs. RBT: Differences & Similarities

In this article, we will explore in-depth the differences and similarities between BCBA and RBT roles, their training and certification processes, and their roles in the behavior analysis field.

reuben kesherim
Published By Ruben Kesherim
July 28, 2023

BCBA vs. RBT: Differences & Similarities

Applied Behavior Analysis is a growing field that has been gaining considerable attention over the years.

Behavior analysts help individuals with disabilities, mental health disorders, and behavioral issues to develop more adaptive behaviors and improve their quality of life.

Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) are both essential professionals in this field. However, there are significant differences and similarities between these two roles.

bcba vs rbt

Differences

The primary difference between BCBAs and RBTs is the level of education and certification required.

BCBA is a highly educated and experienced professional who has completed a graduate-level program in behavior analysis, whereas RBT is an entry-level position requiring a high school diploma and RBT certification.

Becoming a BCBA requires a Master’s or higher degree in behavior analysis, psychology, or education, and specific coursework in behavior analysis. BCBAs must also complete a supervised fieldwork experience and pass a rigorous certification exam.

In contrast, RBTs must complete a 40-hour training program, pass a competency assessment, and an RBT certification exam.

RBTs work under the supervision of a BCBA or BCaBA (Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst) and implement the behavior intervention plan developed by the BCBA.

Another significant difference between BCBA and RBT roles is the scope of practice. BCBAs have a broader scope of practice and are responsible for conducting functional behavior assessments, developing behavior intervention plans, and supervising RBTs and BCaBAs.

They work in settings such as schools, clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations.

On the other hand, RBTs have a more specific scope of practice, which involves implementing behavior intervention plans, and collecting data on the individual's progress.

They typically work in schools, clinics, and homes, where they provide one-on-one therapy to individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, or other behavioral issues.

If you got BCBA certified, then the next step is to apply for jobs in your area. Websites that list high-quality BCBA jobs throughout the U.S. are Indeed.com, Glassdoor.com, and ABATherapistJobs.com.

Similarities

Despite the differences between BCBA and RBT roles, there are many similarities. Both professionals use the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to help individuals with behavioral issues to develop adaptive behaviors.

They work with individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, mental health disorders, and behavioral issues.

Both BCBA and RBTs are passionate about helping individuals with behavioral issues to improve their quality of life. They are patient, empathetic, and committed to achieving positive outcomes for their clients.

Training and Certification

To become a BCBA, individuals must complete a graduate-level program in behavior analysis, psychology, or education, and specific coursework in behavior analysis. They must also complete a supervised fieldwork experience and pass a rigorous certification exam.

In contrast, RBTs must complete a 40-hour training program, pass a competency assessment, and an RBT certification exam. RBTs work under the supervision of a BCBA or BCaBA and implement the behavior intervention plan developed by the BCBA.

Both BCBA and RBTs must renew their certification annually, complete continuing education credits, and adhere to the ethical guidelines set by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Roles in the Behavior Analysis Field

BCBAs have a broader scope of practice and are responsible for conducting functional behavior assessments, developing behavior intervention plans, and supervising RBTs and BCaBAs.

They work in settings such as schools, clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations.

On the other hand, RBTs have a more specific scope of practice, which involves implementing behavior intervention plans, and collecting data on the individual's progress.

They typically work in schools, clinics, and homes, where they provide one-on-one therapy to individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, or other behavioral issues.

FAQs

Can RBTs become BCBAs?

Yes, RBTs can become BCBAs by completing a graduate-level program in behavior analysis, psychology, or education, and specific coursework in behavior analysis. They must also complete a supervised fieldwork experience and pass a rigorous certification exam.

What is the main difference between BCBA and RBT roles?

The primary difference between BCBA and RBT is the level of education and certification required. BCBA is a highly educated and experienced professional who has completed a graduate-level program in behavior analysis, whereas RBT is an entry-level position requiring a high school diploma and RBT certification.

How do I know if I need to work with a BCBA or an RBT?

It depends on your needs. If you require comprehensive behavior assessment and treatment planning, you may need to work with a BCBA. However, if you only need someone to implement the behavior intervention plan developed by the BCBA, you can work with an RBT.

What settings do BCBAs and RBTs typically work in?

BCBAs typically work in schools, clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations where they provide comprehensive behavioral assessments and develop treatment plans for individuals with behavioral issues.

On the other hand, RBTs typically work in schools, clinics, homes where they provide one-on-one therapy to individuals with autism, developmental disabilities or other behavioral issues under the supervision of a BCBA or BCaBA.

How can I find a BCBA or RBT in my area?

You can search for BCBAs and RBTs in your area by using the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's online registry. You can also ask your healthcare provider, school, or insurance company for referrals.

Conclusion

In conclusion, BCBA and RBT roles are both essential in the behavior analysis field. The primary difference between these two roles is the level of education and certification required.

BCBAs require a Master’s or higher degree and specific coursework in behavior analysis, while RBTs require a 40-hour training program and an RBT certification exam.

Despite the differences, both professionals use the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to help individuals with behavioral issues to develop adaptive behaviors. They are passionate, empathetic, and committed to achieving positive outcomes for their clients.