If you’re interested in building a career in applied behavior analysis, you may want to learn more about the roles of board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) and registered behavior technician (RBT). While both roles are integral in implementing ABA therapy, and may work together in some clinical settings, they differ in multiple aspects such as education, qualifications, career track, pay rates, duties, and skills required. 

A therapist and two young children working together with building blocks.

Education Requirements 


  • Minimum requirement: Master’s degree in behavior analysis, psychology, or a related field 

  • Additional requirement: Graduate-level coursework in ABA and supervised experience 


  • Minimum requirement: High school diploma or equivalent 

  • Additional requirement: A 40-hour training course covering the RBT Task List and an assessment by a BCBA 




  • Certification: Must pass the RBT Competency Assessment and the RBT exam, also administered by the BACB 

  • Licensure: Generally, no state licensure is required 

 Career Track 


  • Progression: Often start as behavior analysts and can move up to supervisory or consultancy roles, or specialize in particular sectors like education, healthcare, or social work 

  • Continued education: May go on to pursue a doctoral-level BCBA-D designation 


  • Progression: Can move on to become a board-certified assistant behavior analyst (BCaBA) with additional education and training, or transition into becoming a BCBA 

  • Continued education: Typically requires ongoing supervision and continuing education to maintain certification 

Pay Rates 


  • Salary: Ranges from $60,000 to $100,000+ annually, depending on experience and location 


  • Salary: Ranges from $30,000 to $45,000, annually based on experience and geographic location 

 Main Duties  


  • Conduct assessments and develop individualized treatment plans 

  • Train and supervise RBTs and other staff 

  • Consult with other professionals 

  • Monitor and evaluate program effectiveness 


  • Implement treatment plans created by the BCBA 

  • Collect data on client behaviors 

  • Assist in assessments under the guidance of a BCBA 

Skills Required  


  • Strong analytical skills for data interpretation 

  • Excellent communication for training and consultation 

  • Leadership and management skills 


  • Strong communication skills to facilitate interactions with clients and reporting to BCBAs 

  • Patience and adaptability for effective implementation of ABA plans 

  • Basic data collection and observation skills 

Choosing the Career Path That’s Best for You  

Both BCBA and RBT roles are essential for effective ABA therapy but serve different functions within this system. A BCBA requires more education and assumes a leadership role with respect to assessments, supervision, and consultation. An RBT works under the guidance of a BCBA to implement treatment plans and collect data. 

Ultimately, your choice between these career paths will depend on your educational aspirations and desired level of responsibility. Whether you choose to become a BCBA or an RBT, know that both roles are highly rewarding, are experiencing exponential growth, and play an important role in supporting clients’ progress toward their goals.  

Cortica is actively hiring Behavior Interventionists and BCBAs across the country. Please head to our careers page to see a list of open roles near you: https://www.corticacare.com/careers