Can an RBT Become a BCBA? (The Requirements)

Photo of author


Posted On

Working with children is a rewarding and popular profession in the United States, yet it can be challenging for parents to find trained professionals who are qualified. Can you become an accredited behavior analyst without formal training? The answer may surprise you!

In order to become a BCBA, an individual must have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or related field and be licensed by the state. They must also pass a comprehensive exam and meet continuing education requirements. Read more in detail here: aba vs rbt.


Although you may desire to pursue a career as an ABA therapist, becoming an RBT may seem to be the most practical alternative. Because there are less prerequisites for becoming an RBT than for becoming an ABA therapist, you may enter this field considerably more quickly and simply.

You may work as an RBT for a period before becoming a BCBA. This will need you to return to school.

Registered Behavior Technicians & Board Certified Behavior Analysts

A registered behavior technician (RBT) is a paraprofessional who assists ABA therapists in the implementation of treatment programs. These strategies are designed to assist customers who are dealing with developmental issues, such as autism.

Under the guidance of an RBT supervisor or a board certified behavior analyst, RBTs work directly with clients (BCBA). The RBT job was developed by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) to make ABA treatment more accessible to persons with autism and other developmental problems.

RBTs are incredibly significant professionals in the field of ABA treatment, yet they are also entry-level positions. While a master’s degree is required to become a BCBA, an RBT simply needs a high school diploma.

BCBAs must complete several hours of supervised instruction and pass a 90-minute test.

Requirements for RBTs & BCBAs

While both RBTs and BCBAs offer ABA services, the criteria for each post are vastly different.

RBTs are required to:

  • You must be at least 18 years old to participate.
  • A high school diploma is required.
  • A background check must be passed.
  • Take a 40-hour certification course.
  • Complete the RBT test and competence assessment.

You will submit your application and get information about the day and venue where you will take the test after you satisfy the prerequisites to sign up for the competence assessment. You will be registered with the BACB for one year and will be able to take the RBT test up to eight times during that period. You will get your certification through email after you have passed the exam.

If you wish to work as an RBT, you must keep your certification current. This implies you must be supervised by an RBT supervisor or BCBA on a regular basis, follow the code of conduct, and maintain your certification with updated continuing education every year.

BCBAs, on the other hand, are ABA-trained therapists, physicians, or educators. They specialize in assisting persons with autism and other developmental issues, and they design treatment programs for their clients.

A person may acquire a BCBA in one of three ways:

  1. Coursework in behavior analysis begins with a graduate degree from an approved university in a relevant discipline. Then you must finish appropriate behavior analysis graduate curriculum and a specified quantity of supervised experience. Depending on how extensive the monitoring procedure is, this might vary from 750 to 1,500 hours.
  2. Faculty teaching and research: If you choose this path, you’ll need a master’s degree in a relevant topic that will lead to a full-time faculty post in a teaching institution such as a university. You must teach behavior-analytic curriculum to graduate students, have at least two peer-reviewed publications, and be familiar with the behavior therapy process. Once you’ve completed these steps, you may apply to the BACB for supervised experience and certification in ABA treatment.
  3. Postdoctoral experience: To receive ABA treatment certification on this route, you must have a postdoctoral degree in behavior analysis, psychology, or education from a recognized institution earned at least 10 years ago. You must have used this degree for at least 10 years in accordance with appropriate state requirements, such as a license to practice treatment, or a national professional certification. During this period, you may have a variety of credentials, including RBT. After that, you must complete at least 500 hours of supervised training.

Although BCBAs must achieve many more criteria than RBTs, you may still start as an RBT and work your way up to become a BCBA. Although you are unlikely to have both certificates active at the same time, one route does not exclude the other.

Begin as an RBT and work your way up to BCBA.

In the area of ABA treatment, RBTs are paraprofessionals and BCBAs are professionals. If you’re certain you want to work in ABA treatment, you may start as an RBT and work your way up to becoming a BCBA.

This implies that you must first get an undergraduate degree before pursuing a graduate degree or meeting the BACB’s educational criteria. This program lasts many years, so you may work as an RBT to get ABA treatment experience while you study.

In addition, you must pass the BCBA certification test. You may email all of these material to the BACB and seek an examination time after you have completed your higher degree, taken the appropriate training in ABA specifically, and completed the required supervised hours. In order to register for the test, you must also pay the exam fee.

You will know if you passed or failed the exam immediately after the examination, just like you did with the RBT exam. You will get your certification by email if you pass.

It is not possible to use your RBT qualifications toward getting a BCBA. You must get a higher education from a recognized or authorized school.

Considering Your Alternatives

Becoming an RBT may give you a taste of ABA treatment and help you figure out what kind of work environment you want to work in. As an RBT, you might work at a clinic, a school, or as an ABA practitioner in your own home. As you finish your graduate education and work toward becoming a BCBA, decide which path appeals to you the most.


The “aba vs bcba salary” is a question that many people have been asking. This article will answer the question and give you some insight into what it takes to become an RBT.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whats higher than a RBT?

A: A RBT is a red-headed stepchild.

What is the difference between ABA and BCBA?

A: ABA stands for Accelerated Ball Bearing Assembly and BCBA is a 1-way clutch system, which is known as the band brake assembly.

Related Tags

  • rbt career path
  • bcba requirements 2021
  • what does an rbt do
  • bcaba vs bcba
  • how long does it take to become a bcba