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Behavior Technician Career 


What Is a Behavior Technician? 


A behavior technician (BT) works under the supervision of a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) and is often the frontline implementer of ABA therapy. They play an essential role in delivering individualized therapeutic interventions designed to improve social, communication, and learning skills in individuals with behavioral issues, often in the context of autism spectrum disorders.

BTs work in various settings, including clinics, schools, and homes, collecting data on client progress and responding adaptively to everyone's needs based on that data. Through ABA therapy, they contribute to meaningful changes in behavior, equipping individuals with the tools to achieve a better quality of life and more independent function within society.


What Does a Behavior Technician Do?

A behavior technician has various daily responsibilities. Most notably: 

  • Implementing behavior intervention plans: Technicians work under the guidance of an analyst to implement behavior intervention plans (BIPs). These plans are designed to address specific behavioral challenges and involve various strategies for teaching and reinforcing desirable behaviors.
  • Collecting data on client progress: Much of a BT's role involves monitoring and documenting clients’ progress. BTs meticulously record data during therapy sessions, which is later used to measure the effectiveness of interventions and adjust the BIPs as needed.
  • Assisting with functional assessments: BTs assist BCBAs by collecting information for functional behavior assessments (FBAs). This process helps the BCBAs identify why certain behaviors occur, which informs the development of effective strategies for behavior management.
  • Providing direct support and therapy: Direct one-on-one therapy sessions with clients form the core of a BT's working hours. During these sessions, BTs use ABA techniques to help clients develop necessary life skills and diminish problematic behaviors.
  • Engaging in skill acquisition and socialization: BTs also focus on teaching clients new skills that can benefit their social and functional development, ranging from communication skills to self-care and social interaction strategies.
  • Educating and supporting families: A BT often has the chance to advise families on how to continue therapeutic practices at home, enhancing the overall support system of the client and ensuring consistency across different environments.
  • Collaborating with multidisciplinary teams: BTs regularly collaborate with other professionals such as teachers, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists to provide holistic support to clients.


How Do I Become a Behavior Technician?

To begin, you’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent. While some positions may not require further formal education, many employers prefer or require candidates with a bachelor's degree in psychology, education, or a related field. Prospective behavior technicians should focus on coursework that covers psychology, developmental disabilities, and ABA principles.

Obtaining a certification such as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) certificate can enhance your credentials significantly. This certification involves completing an accredited training program—a 40-hour course covering ABA principles—and passing a competency assessment under a BCBA. Individuals must then pass a national exam and fulfill additional state-specific requirements to earn this certificate.

Most of all, hands-on training is essential for understanding ABA therapy in the real world. Many employers offer on-the-job training programs to help new technicians become proficient.

Best Degrees for a Behavior Technician

Health & Nursing

Psychology – B.S.

An online psychology program for students who want to make a difference in...

An online psychology program for students who want to make a difference in their life, and the lives of others.

  • Time: 95% of students finish similar programs in less than 4 years.
  • Tuition: $4,085 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 34 total courses in this program.

Skills for your résumé included in this program: 

  • Social psychology
  • Consumer psychology
  • Adult psychology
  • Mental health awareness
  • Psychopathology

This degree allows you to gain valuable knowledge and experience in the field of psychology and can prepare you for additional certifications or careers.

Health & Nursing

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner – Post-Master's Certificate

This program is for current RNs who already have earned an MSN and are...

This program is for current RNs who already have earned an MSN and are wanting to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner through a post-master's certificate program.

  • Locations: Due to the clinical requirements of this degree program, the PMHNP post-master's certificate program at WGU is currently NOT open to students who have a permanent residence in the following states: Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.
  • Time: This program can be finished within 1.5 years, depending on transfer credit and how quickly you move through core coursework. Please note the clinical components of this program are set. 
  • Tuition and fees: $6,625 per six-month term.
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program.

This program is for current RNs who have earned their MSN but are wanting to add a specilization to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. This post-master's certificate program is only available in select states.

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program:

  • Advanced Pathophysiology 
  • Assessment and Diagnostics
  • Behavioral health
  • Advanced Pharmacology

Students must have a permanent and active license from a state that is not listed above, must complete the internships in that state, and intend to obtain initial APRN licensure in that state. See more state-specific information related to nursing licensure. Compact licenses must be endorsed by your state of residence. More about compact licenses.

How Much Does a Behavior Technician Make? 


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for a behavior technician is $37,380. Technicians with additional credentials such as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) certification often see increased earning potential. 

What Is the Projected Job Growth? 


The BLS notes that the employment of technicians is expected to grow by 9% from 2022 to 2032. This positive trend reflects increased insurance coverage for ABA services and a societal shift towards early intervention and personalized treatment plans. 


What Skills Does a Behavior Technician Need? 

By developing the following skills, technicians will be well prepared to impact the lives of those they serve: 

  • Observation skills: A BT must be highly observant and capable of noticing subtle changes in a client's behavior and environment. This skill is essential for accurately gathering data and measuring therapy effectiveness.
  • Data collection and analysis: Recording and analyzing behavioral data to track progress is a cornerstone of ABA therapy. As a technician, you'll need to be detail-oriented to ensure that the data is accurate and informative in order to develop or modify treatment plans.
  • Patience and compassion: Working with clients with behavioral issues requires endless patience and compassion. Sessions may sometimes go differently than planned, and progress can be slow. Deep patience and empathy help create a supportive environment conducive to learning and growth.
  • Conflict resolution: The ability to defuse tense situations and resolve conflicts is essential when working with clients who may exhibit challenging behaviors. Behavior technicians should employ empathy and problem-solving skills during such instances.
  • Behavior modification techniques: Understanding and implementing various techniques is integral to the role. This includes reinforcement strategies, prompting, fading, and shaping.
  • Communication skills: Clear, concise, and effective communication with clients, families, and supervisory staff is critical. Behavior technicians should be adept at understanding and explaining complex concepts and be active listeners.
  • Flexibility and adaptability: Behavior plans often require adjustments, and technicians must be flexible and creative when changing approaches. This skill also extends to adapting to different clients and environments—because no two cases are exactly alike.
  • Time management: Sessions with clients are often scheduled back-to-back. Managing time effectively ensures that each client receives their entire session and that goals are progressively met.

Where Does a Behavior Technician Work?

Behavior technicians often work in specialized ABA therapy centers designed to provide structured learning environments. Some behavior technicians provide services directly in clients' homes, delivering personalized care and integrating therapy with the client’s daily routine. In addition, they can be found supporting students in school settings, collaborating with teachers and special educators to create educational pathways that facilitate learning and social interaction. 

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No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!

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Interested in Becoming a Behavior Technician?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.