Identifying the Changes in the RBT Task List from the BACB

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) publishes a Task List for all levels of certificants. Recently, the BACB announced changes for the RBT Task List. This Task List identifies critical skills a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) likely performs with many, but not necessarily all, clients.

Changes for the RBT Task List went into effect as of November 1, 2019. Both supervisors and professionals pursuing a credential as an RBT need to be aware of the impact of these changes. The task lists changes from time to time and staying current with these updates is critical for certification.

Follow along by downloading the RBT Task Lists: First Edition and Second Edition from the BACB website.

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Impact of Changes to the RBT Task List

With such small changes to the Task List you may ask why you need to know about them. Let’s take a look at some of the ways these changes impact your practice.

  • The BACB published a new RBT Competency Assessment that follows the new Task List which supervisors must begin using November 1, 2019 as the changes to the Task List become effective.
  • RBTs require ongoing supervision related to the items on the Task List.

RBT candidates who submit Competency Assessments in the old format will not be approved to take the exam (read our post 3 Steps to Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) Certification to learn how to complete your certification). Additionally, the BACB has published a separate document for re-assessment when the RBT seeks to renew their certification (read our post How to Renew Your RBT Certification for more on renewing your certification). Both the supervisor and the professional pursuing a certification as an RBT must ensure they know of this expectation.

Ignorance of the changes may result in a delay of certification or renewal. A delay in renewal could result in a lapse in an RBTs ability to provide services and in some situations an agency may be unable to bill for services provided by the technician.

Changes in the RBT Task List

In general, the changes to the RBT Task List are minor. The structure of the Task List remains the same and many of the individual items are unchanged. However, professionals must ensure they know of the changes and alter their practices accordingly.

A. Measurement

The first section in the Task List identifies skills needed for accurate measurement. The only change appearing in this section occurs as the BACB moved “Describe behavior and environment in observable and measurable terms” from the Assessment section to the Measurement section. This provides for an easier correlation between definition and measurement.

B. Assessment

One minor change appears in this section, the removal of “Describe behavior and environment in observable and measurable terms.” All other items remain unchanged.

C. Skill Acquisition

The BACB removed “Implement stimulus fading procedures” and added “Implement token economy procedures.” It’s possible the BACB decided that supervisors cover stimulus fading procedures when covering stimulus control transfer procedures or another item in the section. Although the BACB left the item: “Use contingencies of reinforcement (e.g., conditioned/unconditioned reinforcement, continuous/intermittent schedules),” they created a separate item for token economy. Perhaps this occurred to highlight the utility of this intervention as it specifically relates to skill acquisition.

D. Behavior Reduction

No changes appear in this section. Each of the 6 items in this section remain consistent from the First Edition to the Second Edition.

E. Documentation and Reporting

Changes in this section reflect an emphasis on communicating effectively with a supervisor. The item “Effectively communicate with supervisor” became “Effectively communicate with a supervisor in an ongoing manner.” Additionally, the BACB moved this task from E-03 to E-01 further highlighting the importance of this skill.

The BACB included several other important changes to this section, including combining E-04 and E-05 and adding “Actively seek clinical direction from supervisor in a timely manner.” This addition further emphasizes the importance of the RBTs relationship with the supervisor.

F. Professional Conduct and Scope of Practice

The final change to the Task List appears in F-01 where the BACB added “Describe the BACB’s RBT supervision requirements.” This change asserts the importance of the RBT accepting accountability for their supervision. While the supervisor must ensure quality supervision, the supervisee must also ensure that supervision meets the minimum standards.

Using the RBT Task List for Supervision

The BACB provides the Task List as a guide for supervision. If quality service for clients of ABA is the destination, then the Task List is the roadmap. Use the tools created by the board to develop your practice and supervision.

Use the Task List to conduct ongoing competency checks in order to ensure that you (if you are the RBT) or your supervisee (if you are the supervisor) maintain the skills needed to provide quality services. Routinely read through the Task List. During direct service observation, look for each of these items to be demonstrated with fidelity.

Provide ongoing feedback regarding the skills listed on the Task List. Both corrective and positive feedback support the maintenance of these vital skills. Stay current as the BACB shapes the RBT Task List to reflect changes occurring within the field of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Changes in the BACB Task List for BCaBA and BCBA

Similarly, the BACB has made changes to the task list for the BCaBA and BCBA levels. Our post Identifying Changes to the BACB Task List for the BCaBA/BCBA Level goes into these changes.

Not sure what certification is right for you? Read our post What Certification do I Need to Work in ABA? to learn more!