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  • KU’s online registered behavior technician training program passes 500 graduates
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KU’s online registered behavior technician training program passes 500 graduates

May 13th, 2020 -- Abby Olcese
KU Professional and Continuing Education's online training program helps meet a growing need in Kansas City.
Registered Behavior Technicians use their training to help improve the lives of the people they work with.
By Abby Olcese

OVERLAND PARK (May 13, 2020) The field of behavioral health services is experiencing increased need, as well as a shortage of professionals to meet demand. One part of this field experiencing need is Registered Behavior Technicians, or RBTs. RBTs are trained to help implement behavior plans created by certified behavior analysts (certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, the profession’s governing body), who use the science of behavior across a wide variety of areas, including treating intellectual disability and mental illness.

As of April 2020, there were 104 job postings for RBTs in the Kansas City metro area, suggesting a growing need on a regional level. “Several states have reported shortages of Registered Behavior Technicians,” Juanico said. “With these shortages, fewer clients are able to receive the services they need.”

KU Professional and Continuing Education is helping meet this growing community need through its self-paced RBT training course, which recently graduated 500 participants. The course consists of 17 modules that review fundamental elements of behavior analysis, such as reinforcement, functions of behavior and data collection.

Juanico says the training, which is overseen and reviewed by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, is constantly evolving to meet the needs of students. “We continually review and enhance the training based on participants’ feedback,” Juanico said. “For example, currently we’re working to increase the variety of consumers and settings in our trainings so that participants receive a broader exposure to different situations they might encounter working in behavior analysis.”

RBTs may work as general or special education teachers, childcare administrators, reading specialists or as special needs staff or administrators, providing direct assistance to the individuals they work with.

“Registered Behavior Technicians are essential in the day-to-day delivery of behavior analytic services and practice under the close direction and supervision of a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst or Board Certified Behavior Analyst,” said Jessica Juanico, assistant professor of practice and assistant director, online programs in KU’s Department of Applied Behavioral Science. “They often work one-on-one with people seeking behavior analytic services, such as children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury, or severe problem behavior.” 

KUPCE’s training course is effectively preparing participants for this work. According to a survey conducted by KU’s Department of Applied Behavioral Science, 97 percent of respondents successfully passed RBT examination and are certified. RBT course participants have cited the program’s accessibility, flexible scheduling and practical content as elements they’ve appreciated. “We receive great feedback at the end of the course regarding its structure, ease of access, and applicability to clinical settings,” Juanico said.

Sharon Graham, assistant vice chancellor of KU Professional and Continuing Education, says the program provides a valuable resource to the region’s professional community and the people they serve.

“Registered behavior technicians play an important role in helping people lead better, healthier lives,” Graham said. “KUPCE is proud to have helped so many area professionals help make a difference in their communities.”

About The University of Kansas

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. Its mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world. The KU Edwards Campus at 127th Street and Quivira Road in Overland Park brings the high-quality academic, professional and continuing education programs as well as research and public-service benefits of KU to the Greater Kansas City community in order to serve the workforce, economic and community development needs of the region.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 5:00pm