RBT TURNOVER ISSUE. What’s the cause? Lack of Quality
The ABA subreddit just recently posted asking people to stop posting about quitting. That was becoming an everyday occurrence.
The reasons for quitting are varied but can be put under the umbrella of abuse. RBTs were feeling abused because they weren’t getting enough hours; they were paid poorly; they were treated poorly; they weren’t getting breaks; they weren’t receiving quality supervision; they were thrown onto cases with just 40 hours and no additional training. The list goes on and on but it’s in the same vein…
While I fully acknowledge that the common industry-wide business practice of treating RBTs/ BTs as expendable commodities and not as highly valued assets is causing this mass exodus, and we need to implement systems-level changes, I want to look for root causes.
One of the biggest issue that we’re facing is that we have people who are working in the field who should not be in the field. The barrier to entry to becoming an RBT is almost non-existent. 40 hours of training and a high school degree or equivalent is what it takes to allow these individuals to now implement ABA programs, often without any oversight.
Working with the autism population is hard. Yet the common practice is to throw these poorly trained, inadequately prepared individuals in clients’ homes without any lifeline.
No wonder there’s a mass exodus.
As a field, we MUST have a higher standard for people who are responsible for providing ABA services. 40 hours should be the bare minimum to get them familiar with the technology. Once that hurdle is passed, we need an RBT Development Plan that organizations follow to ensure that RBTs are always learning. And we must offer a way for these RBTs to access support – in real-time – so that they feel supported as they are doing the hard work of improving peoples’ lives.
The Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) isn’t even a certification. It’s called a “credential.” Why the distinction? Because true certifications are held to a higher standard.
Why don’t we hold the groups of people who are doing the most important work providing direct services to the same standard as other disciplines hold their “assistant” level professionals?
At least if we have a tiered system – RBT-C (RBT Certified), we can recognize and reward those RBTs who possess a higher level of education and training to create career mobility for career RBTs.
What am I proposing for the RBT-C Certification?
1) Minimum Associates Level or equivalent credits
2) 180 hours of training
3) Minimum 3 years of experience in a related field
What we need are dedicated career RBTs, not groups of transient workers willing to jump ship at the first challenge.
How do we reduce turnover among RBT? Change the requirements such that the RBT is viewed as a career, not a part-time job.