You studied, learned and practiced to obtain your RBT certification nearly a year ago. Now you received an email notification telling you it’s time to renew. Many direct care jobs now require certification. Especially when working in the field of ABA. To keep your job, you must keep your certification current.
Whether you plan to pursue a more advanced degree and certification in the field, you must maintain your RBT credential until you finally achieve a higher level certification if you want to continue with direct service. Allowing your RBT certification to lapse may put your position at risk until you achieve a more advanced certification. Maintaining the RBT certification requires 5 important steps. Let’s take a closer look at them here.
The RBT Handbook now offered by the BACB provides answers to many questions you may have about renewing your certification. Use this as a tool for maintaining your certification.
1. Receive Ongoing Supervision
The Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) certification requires continuous supervision to maintain your certification. You must retain documentation of this supervision, but you do not need to submit this documentation to the BACB when you renew your certification.
In November of 2019, the BACB released significant changes to the supervisor requirements for RBTs. Previously, an RBT required that 5% of his time spent performing behavior analytic tasks was supervised by a higher level certificant (BCBA or BCaBA). These supervisors were called the responsible certificant.
With the changes, the BACB required that all RBTs have an RBT Requirements Coordinator who is a BCBA or BCBA-D. The RBT may also have an RBT supervisor who provides the 5% direct supervision who does not maintain one of these certifications. This change opens the door to certificates who previously struggled to find a BCBA who could provide an adequate amount of supervision. Do you need an RBT Requirements Coordinator? Our article: 3 Steps to Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) Certification provides directions on how to find a BCBA willing to offer supervision.
2. Adhere to Ethical Standards
The BACB has high standards for ethical conduct. During your initial application for certification, your Requirements Coordinator or Responsible Certificant attested that you passed a background check to reveal criminal activity that would prohibit you from working in the field with vulnerable individuals. During the reapplication process, you do not need to renew this background check, but the BACB does require that you self-report violations of the ethics code.
They also require that you self-report within 30 days of you becoming aware of potential ethical violations. These violations include legal actions, fines and even mental health conditions so make sure you know what you need to self-report. For more information, download the Considerations for Self-Reporting from the BACB. Failure to self-report may result in the loss of certification if the BACB becomes aware of violations.
3. Pass the Renewal Competency
In November 2019, the BACB released a separate renewal competency for the RBT certification. Download your copy of the Renewal Competency Assessment Packet from the BACB to make sure you know what they require. This assessment must be overseen by a qualified assessor (BCBA, BCaBA, BCBA-D who meets supervisor requirements) but may be completed by an assistant assessor.
As the RBT certificant, it is your responsibility to ensure that the assessment is conducted in an ethical manor. Busy supervisors may be tempted to overlook the assessment and simply sign off, especially if they have observed you performing many of these tasks throughout the year. When you submit the assessment to the BACB, you become responsible for its authenticity. Make ethics an everyday practice.
4. Complete the Application
The RBT Renewal Application available on the BACB website takes you step by step through attesting that you understand the requirements of being an RBT. The BACB does not allow ignorance of the requirements to pass as an excuse for violations. Again, the BACB places high value on ethics. This application ensures that you know the requirements for your certification.
Once you complete the application, check all the necessary boxes and sign the document, you need to upload it to your BACB Gateway account.
5. Pay the Fee
Although the amount of the fee may change over time, failure to pay the fee on time results in immediate suspension of your certification and a late fee should you submit it after it’s due. The BACB currently accepts payment online and by check via the mail.
Some employers that require RBT certification will pay or reimburse the application fee, but many don’t. The RBT certification belongs to you. Should you leave your current employer, the certification remains yours as long as you find another RBT Requirements Coordinator and Supervisor. For this reason, many employers believe maintaining certification is the responsibility of the RBT.
What if I Don’t Renew?
For many reasons, you may choose not to renew your certification when it’s due. Choosing not to renew automatically revokes your certification, yet this might be the right choice for you. Do any of the following situations apply to you?
- Don’t currently practice as an RBT and may not return to the field
- Are a full-time student in a BCBA track program, don’t currently practice as an RBT and will sit for the certification exam prior to returning to work in the field
- Took significant time off from work due to illness or family needs and are not current lying practicing as an RBT
If any of these situations apply to you, then you may decide not to renew or to delay your renewal. If you attempt to renew after your certification expiration date, the BACB will charge you a late fee. To avoid this, the BACB offers the option to register a Voluntary Inactive Status.
Voluntary Inactive Status
The BACB allows RBTs to file for inactive status for up to 2 years. As listed above, there are many reasons you may choose to delay renewing your certification. Filing for Voluntary Inactive Status will keep you listed in the BACB registry without having to complete the renewal process. Download the RBT Application for Voluntary Inactive Status through the BACB website. Submit this application during your renewal window to avoid accruing late fees. Although there is a fee for this application (currently $25) it is much lower than the fee for renewal.
Completing your first renewal cycle may feel daunting, but taking it step-by-step allows you to complete the process with no stress. Get started with step 1 today!