Within the past decade, the science of behavior change has been steadily on the rise. Colleges and universities have been offering various degrees in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis and schools have been hiring professionals in the field to assist them in catering to children with behavioral challenges. Much of the new development within the behavioral needs field has come from the work and research done which shows that the root of addressing challenging issues within the school population lies within targeting the function of problem behavior, creating replacement behaviors which cater to the child’s needs and empirically measuring success to determine if more needs to be done.
The duties and role of the professionals who undertake catering to the behavioral challenges of the student population is one which requires meticulous documentation and research. It cannot be done by one person alone. A team consisting of the behaviorist, school principal, teachers, guidance counsellors, and parents may come together to ensure the success of any behavior intervention plan. Shadows and registered behavior technicians are also liaisons or stakeholders within this undertaking, if you may.
Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) do much of the paperwork and groundwork to assist the registered and licensed behaviorist within a school setting. Many of the duties he or she may undertake include measuring behavior quantitatively and qualitatively, investigating functions, antecedents and other initial observations of problem behavior, interviewing parents, teachers and other stakeholders, administering questionnaires, observing environments in which problem behavior occur, writing up a behavior intervention plans, documenting graphical representations of observations and assisting the BCBA or BcaBA in executing the written intervention plan. It should be noted that diagnosing and determining the specifics of an intervention plan are not within the scope of a registered behavior technician.
Registered Behavior Technicians are directly under the authority of the BCBA or BCaBA, who are tasked with the main responsibility of executing a successful and enduring behavior intervention plan. Within a mainstream school, you may find one or two of these professionals, however within a special needs education center, it is very likely several of these professionals are present, depending on the size clientele the school serves. Furthermore, because this role is fairly a new and upcoming career, not many nations may have these professionals in their school system. Countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia are the leaders currently in the field and as such, these professionals are present there more than other countries.
Qualities which prove very valuable in an RBT include patience with children, a high tolerance for stressful situations, a keen eye for detail, sharp analytical skills, a vast knowledge of disabilities and emotional disturbances, professionalism and a sincere and genuine passion for helping children who are challenged with various disabilities and deficits. Many schools which offer complete training in Applied Behavior Analysis also offer the RBT Certificate, which requires 40 hours of practical work along with theoretical training. This certification takes less time to get than the official Board Certified Behavior Analyst Certification which requires a Bachelors and Masters Degree.
Being a registered behavior technician can be used as a stepping stone to garner experience and insight into the special needs and psychology field before determining which official degree you wish to pursue. As such, you may want to consider this route as this profession is becoming increasingly in demand.
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