Top 5 Reasons to Become a Behavior Tech

Exploring job options? Want to make a difference, but not sure where to start?

Consider a position as a behavior technician in one of the fastest-growing fields in healthcare.

If you’re like many people who thrive in a job as a behavior tech, you:

  • want to do something meaningful with your life
  • care about others
  • enjoy helping children and families
  • long for a reliable job with paid training and HUGE growth opportunities

If a career as a behavior tech sounds like the right fit for you, browse our openings, and apply for a job today.

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Selecting an ABA Graduate Program

Graduate school is not something to be entered into lightly. A graduate degree is a big financial investment and requires a great deal of your time for about a 2-year period. It also prepares you for the next stage in your career. Choose your program wisely to set yourself up for success! Here are some important things to consider before you make the big leap:

1)     ONLINE OR IN-PERSON?

Do you want to take your classes online or in-person? If you prefer to take classes in-person, think about commuting time, parking logistics, and be sure to get find out their Covid-cancellation policies. If you want an online experience, inquire about whether the program is synchronous (students attend online class with the professor at a set time), asynchronous (classes can be done on your own time), or a combination of the two. Graduate school will be one or your highest priorities for a couple of years, so find a program with a format that works for your learning style.

2)     PASS RATE

Graduate programs sometimes post their “pass rates,” or the percentage of their graduates who pass the BACB exam. The pass rate is not the be-all end-all, but it’s one indication as to how effectively the program prepares graduates to take the certification exam.

3)     CLASS TIMES

When classes are in-person or synchronous, the course schedule will directly affect the times you are available to work. If you have a set schedule at work, be sure the class times won’t affect your availability. If you’re looking for a job that will help you meet the BACB experience requirements, knowing class times allows you to give potential employers accurate availability.

4)     FIELDWORK: PART OF THE PROGRAM?

In order to sit for the BACB exam, you will need a degree and a certain amount of supervised fieldwork (check the BACB website for the specifics). Some graduate programs include fieldwork supervision as part of their course of study and others don’t. Programs that don’t support fieldwork are considerably cheaper, but students should understand that they will be responsible for finding their own supervisor. This may mean paying a BCBA to provide supervision, which makes the tuition savings less significant. Before choosing a program, take time to become familiar with the BACB fieldwork requirements and understand what the graduate program does and does not provide.

5)     FIELDWORK: WHAT TYPE?

If the program you’re considering includes supervision, find out which type. The BACB allows applicants to do Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork (1,500 hours) or Supervised Fieldwork (2,000 hours), but most universities only support one of these options. Please note that these hours are subject to change per the BACB.

6)     FIELDWORK: SITE

Will the organization you work for be able to fulfill the requirements that the graduate program requires of their field sites? You don’t want to get into a graduate program only to realize it’s not compatible with where you work. Find out if any of your colleagues have gone through the program you’re considering so you can get the scoop on how well the program fits into your job site.

7)     FINANCIAL

Beyond looking at cost-per-credit and total tuition, you should also ask for cost estimates of books, materials, and fees. Keep all relevant costs of the various programs you are considering in a spreadsheet for easy comparison. Also, be sure to ask what scholarships, grants and discounts are available. At LEARN, we value our employees’ desire to pursue higher education. That’s why we’ve partnered with universities across the country to help make education for our employees more affordable and accessible.

Choosing to go to graduate school is a monumental decision that will open a lot of doors for you. Select your program carefully to ensure that it’s a fit for you and a great investment in your career!

What’s it like to be a Behavior Technician? – Vianei O. from AST

Vianei from Tempe, AZ tells us what it’s like being a Behavior Technician for Autism Spectrum Therapies.

9 Types of People Who Should Apply for an Entry-Level ABA Job

Looking for an entry-level yet meaningful and growth-oriented job? Like many, you may not know about the growing field of applied behavior analysis (ABA), a therapy based on science—and used to help people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) learn and grow. The entry-level position for ABA is called a behavior technician, and most jobs require no prior experience.

What does a behavior tech do? As a behavior tech, you would work one-on-one with children and young adults with autism to help them build skills and become more independent. You would also be part of a team of clinicians and caregivers working to help individuals achieve unique goals and reach their potential.

Are you a good fit for a job in ABA? Read on to see if you recognize yourself in any of these nine descriptions:

  1. You want to make a difference.

    New behavior technicians are often blown away by the progress their clients make. Nothing is more gratifying than knowing that your work leads to positive change in the lives of kids and families.

  2. You love children.

    Many ABA jobs involve working with children. If you love children and enjoy making them smile and seeing their progress, this might be the job for you. In most ABA jobs, your training is provided at no cost, so loving children is the only requirement.

  3. You like variety at work.

    Work as a behavior technician is never ABA positions may be located in any of number of environments, whether in an individual’s home, workplace, school, or community—or in one of our Learning Centers. For instance, you might work with a child at home to build turn-taking skills by playing a game or practice making requests through imaginary or pretend play. Likewise, you might venture to the grocery store with an older child or young adult to practice selecting food and going through the check-out line. Whatever the case, there is no end to the types of skills you may teach, from imitating words to ordering a meal and making change in a restaurant!

  4. You’re interested in special education, psychology, speech and language pathology, occupational therapy, or physical therapy.

    You don’t want to start a degree program until you’re positive it’s the field for you.  Working as a behavior tech gives you excellent experience working directly with a population of children you might encounter in any of the above fields. As a bonus, hiring managers in education and other specialty services love to see an ABA background on an applicant’s resume.

  5. You want to change your field or career.

    ABA training is provided on-the-job. In most cases, you don’t need to come in with any special knowledge or training—only a great attitude and a willingness to learn.

  6. You’re a current or former paraprofessional or instructional aide in a school.

    Some people gravitate to education but realize that working in a classroom is not for them. ABA allows you to work with fewer children more closely in a variety of settings, not just a single classroom or school. For this reason, you have more flexibility over your schedule and can often work part-time or full-time.

  7. You’re independent and enjoy a supportive work environment.

    As a behavior technician in an ABA setting, you typically receive written instructions on what to do, plus regular support from your supervisor, a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA). Most days, however, you also lead teaching sessions on your own, giving you an ideal mix of support and independence.

  8. You want to find meaning in your work.

    There is nothing more fulfilling than supporting a person in gaining independence or helping children find their voice. Behavior technicians do important, meaningful work each and every day, and often experience a strong sense of fulfillment.

  9. You’re curious and enjoy learning—and want a career with growth potential.

    Ongoing learning and problem-solving are essential parts of any ABA career, including a position as a behavior technician. As a behavior tech, you can continue in that capacity or take your career to any number of next levels, starting with a position as a managing behavior technician. From there, with a bachelor’s degree, you could become an assistant behavior analyst—and then work toward your master’s degree, while serving as a clinical fellow. Once you earned a master’s degree, you could become a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA), and work your way to a managing BCBA or even a clinical director. The sky is the limit.

As more people enter the fast-growing field of ABA, either as a behavior technician for the long-run or as a stepping stone to another professional career, ask yourself whether you fit the bill—and, if so, visit our careers page and search “behavior technician” to apply for a job today. 

What in the World Is a Behavior Tech?

Ever heard of the job behavior technician? If you like working with kids and families—and making a difference in their lives, while earning a paycheck—this might be the job for you.

A job as a behavior tech is a fairly new entry-level position that involves working with children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a developmental disability that can cause language, social, and behavioral challenges. Behavior techs (BTs) receive training to use a science-based therapy called applied behavior analysis (ABA) to help people with autism build skills in communication, socialization, self-help, and play.

If you’re still uncertain or want to learn more, read on for answers to common questions about the job.

Where do behavior technicians work?

As a behavior tech, you would work one-on-one with a client in a variety of settings, such as a child’s home, community, or school, or learning center.

Who do behavior technicians work with?

Liltle Preschooler Kid Playing With Wood Blocks And Teacher Educ

While a large number of jobs involve working with children with autism, behavior techs can work with people of any age. Most people who receive services from behavior techs have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which affects one in 54 children worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a “spectrum disorder,” ASD causes individuals to experience the signs and symptoms in various ways and to varying degrees. Most often, though, ASD can affect a child’s ability to communicate, form friendships, interact with other people, and manage emotions and behaviors in tough situations.

What does a behavior technician do? 

A large part of your job would be to follow the guidelines laid out in each client’s treatment plan, which provides specific treatment goals and information in a paper-based or digital format. Written by the behavior tech’s supervisor, who is often a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA), goals target important skills for that person to practice and develop. These can include communication skills, play and social skills, and self-help skills like tying a shoe or zipping up a jacket.

Along with each skill, the treatment plan provides specific instructions on how to teach each lesson, outlining what to do when a client responds correctly, and what to do if they need more help. Throughout the entire session, you would provide praise and encouragement, doing what you can to make the session fun and engaging. In addition, you would collect data to later use to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment and guide future treatment decisions.

What does a social skills group look like?

Some behavior techs work in small groups of children, practicing social skills or facilitating play-dates. In these situations, you would “assist” children in playing, which could involve going over skills before they play with their peers, observing them as they play, prompting when necessary, and praising any effective social skills you notice children using.

What is it like to work with adults?

Adult programs typically take place in homes or “day-habs,” which are facilities in the community that provide services to groups of individuals during weekday hours. Sessions often focus on independence in self-help skills and vocational activities. In these settings, you might help your client practice activities like grocery shopping or keeping the house clean, or improve vocational skills such as cooking or making copies. Sometimes behavior techs take on the role of job coach for adults in their workplace, supporting their success at a job or volunteer position. In this situation, the tactics are similar to working with children, but the treatment goals shift to the working adult’s unique needs.

How can I tell if my work is making a difference? 

As behavior techs practice each lesson with their client, they take data on each response the client makes, making a quick note about whether the client gets it right or wrong, or needs extra help. The data, graphed regularly and over time, form a beautiful, visual graph of the client’s learning and growth, allowing you to see progress, or the lack thereof, at a glance.

If a career as a behavior tech sounds like the right fit for you, browse our openings, and apply for a job today.

View Behavior Tech Jobs