What are Registered Behaviour Technicians? – Find out in this Q&A with Kara Cole-Rajotte, RBT
Guest Blog – A Q&A with Kara Cole-Rajotte, Registered Behaviour Technician
Registered Behaviour Technician is a new profession starting to be seen in special education settings committed to evidence-based approaches worldwide. Green Light’s senior behaviour analyst and research assistant Ioanna Konstinidou is preparing to pilot an RBT training specifically tailored to adult autism service provision.
Wanting to know more about this role, we reached out to Kara Cole-Rajotte (RBT) who qualified as an RBT in 2019.
Kara is an ABA tutor with the Teaching and Learning Collaboration (TLC), an interdisciplinary team of professionals dedicated to providing individualised, effective and high quality services to families, schools and other organisations.
What is an RBT?
An RBT (Registered Behaviour Technician) is a tutor that implements consultant’s behaviour plans when working directly with clients. RBT’s receive supervision from RBT supervisors. RBT’s have had specific training that means they are more qualified and confident to provide effective support.
How did you hear about the role of RBT?
I work for ‘The TLC’- I was lucky enough to hear about the training from them and receive support from my supervisor.
Why did you decide to become an RBT?
I enjoyed working directly with my clients, being responsible for skill-acquisition plans and collecting data. I loved establishing and maintaining rapport with my clients and seeing my clients grow skills others may not have expected they could have. Because of this, I wanted to enrich my understanding of behaviour science and gain a nationally recognised professional accreditation so that I could improve my teaching and advance my career.
How did you become an RBT?
I had an initial background check and created a BACB account to upload my documentation, which was signed off by my supervisor. I then completed a 40-hour online training course with Florida Tech University, which consisted of video lectures and mini-quizzes for 18 interesting modules. From this, I completed an initial competency assessment with my Supervisor, which involved role-play, observation and verbal questioning and feedback. I then sat a multiple choice, 90 minute exam at an exams centre. Following my accreditation, I also adhere to receiving supervision for a minimum of 5% of the RBT hours I work, as well as a renewal application and renewal competency assessment.
What previous experience or qualifications are needed to become an RBT?
You need to be 18 years of age and above and have qualifications from secondary school. You need to pass the criminal background check. You can become an RBT even if you have had no ABA experience, although if you have some this is a big help!
What kind of things do you get to do as an RBT?
All kinds of things- anything from teaching someone how to brush their teeth, to helping them access community events or teaching them how to read. It is a great job because it is so varied and is different every day depending on who you work with!
Are there any continuing professional development requirements relating to the role of RBT?
You need to have supervision for at least 5% of the RBT hours you work- these are always great chances to learn and to reflect and grow. You also need to re-do your competency assessment each year, so that keeps your skills up to date. It is also good to keep up with ABA articles, podcasts and online lectures on topics relevant to the field.
What qualities do you need to be a good RBT?
You need to enjoy helping others, be compassionate and strive to practice ethically, as well as being able to think on your feet, maintain professionalism and communicate with others.
What is the most rewarding part of being an RBT?
You get to see how someone grows skills that enhance their quality of life. You get to be the first one to be there when a client learns or masters something for the first time- that is truly precious!
What are the challenges of being an RBT?
You are part of a team but often work in isolation, which means you need to be organised and communicate well to ensure the intervention is working. Sometimes clients may find the interventions difficult, so you need to be patient and understanding and not take behaviours personally. You also need to maintain your accreditation, which means committing to supervision and professional development opportunities, so you need to consider your time-management.
What professional opportunities come from being an RBT?
It is a nationally recognised qualification, which means that lots of organisations hire RBT’s to work with their clients. This covers a wide range of settings, from nurseries and schools to families in home settings. There is always lots of work on offer, and lots of varied opportunities. It is also a great stepping stone to furthering your career in ABA if you want to become a consultant/supervisor. I also think it gives you transferable skills to other caring professions.
What would your advice be to those considering becoming an RBT?
If you are passionate about helping people, then go for it! Becoming an RBT will teach you so many skills to best help others and make a difference. You can do it!
Big thank you to Kara for sharing her experience with us!
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