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In the field of ABA, we’re at a crossroads—how do we cultivate a dedicated, skilled team and keep our brightest stars? It’s a tough question, but after years in the trenches of ABA and drawing on my experiences, I’ve realized it all comes down to a strategy that values our people as much as our profits. This isn’t just about compensation; it’s about creating a culture of growth, learning, and ethical practice.

Compensation Philosophy
We need to ensure that our compensation structure is not only competitive, but fair, recognizing the diverse skills, education, and certifications our BTs and RBTs bring to the table.

Compensation Transparency
A clear, understandable pay scale shows the path from BT to RBT (and levels), valuing certification and education’s role in delivering top-notch ABA services. Let’s not delude ourselves. Regardless of policy, staff will share compensation information. All the time.

Rewards for Growth and Excellence
We live in the world of ABA. Positive reinforcement works. Apply your knowledge of ABA to create incentive compensation programs that celebrate skill enhancements, certifications, but most of all, client outcomes.

Personalized Benefits
Benefits programs should recognize the unique needs of people at different stages in their lives and careers. You may be wasting money on offering a “one size fit all model.” Find out what matters and provide options.

Offer Career Growth
Clear, defined advancement opportunities ensure that BTs and RBTs are always able to reach for something that is attainable but longer-term. A career BT/RBT should have a path to grow and contribute without having to become a BCBA.

Quality Education:
Invest in top-notch training and education. I understand that finances matter but do you really want your BTs to just pass the RBT exam or actually learn something?

Exceptional Supervision:
Ethical supervision seems to be in short supply these days. Be the exception and make supervision count. More than anything else, offering quality supervision has the greatest ability to increase retention.

Investing in Our Future Together
Supporting the professional development of BTs and RBTs is essential for an organization’s stability and growth; we need to build a culture where everyone feels valued and engaged to combat burnout.

Why This Matters
This strategy isn’t just about fair pay; it’s about recognizing the individual expertise, enhancing job satisfaction, and fostering a culture of growth and ethical practice to drive better client outcomes.

By integrating fair compensation, robust training, and a culture of support, we’re not just solving retention challenges; we’re building a future where our BTs, RBTs and clients can learn, grow and thrive together.

What is YOUR organization doing to recruit, retain and promote BTs and RBTs?

If you want to form a thinktank email me: kchung@special-learning.com.

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Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

Mother Child
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