This guide will teach you what it takes to complete and pass the RBT competency assessment. The guide will review details such as:


What is the RBT Competency Assessment?

The RBT competency assessment is one required component to become a registered behavior technician (RBT) through the behavior analyst certification board (BACB). The purpose of the competency assessment is to demonstrate that you understand and can accurately perform the tasks required of an RBT.


What Items are Assessed on the RBT Competency Assessment?

The RBT competency assessment covers 20 task items across four domains: measurement, assessment, skill acquisition, and behavior reduction, and professionalism.


Three of the tasks in the competency assessment cover measurement. For each of these tasks, you will need to demonstrate with a client, through role-play or interview.


Measurement competencies assessed include:

    • Continuous measurement (i.e., frequency, duration, etc.)
    • Discontinuous measurement (i.e., partial and full interval recording)
    • Enter and update graphs


Two tasks are assessed under the assessment domain. For each of these, you will need to either demonstrate them with a client or via role-play with your assessor. 


Assessment competencies assessed include:

    • Preference assessments
    • ABC data

Your competency assessment must be completed after your 40-hour training has been completed.

Skill Acquisition & Behavior Reduction

Ten tasks are assessed under the skill acquisition and behavior reduction domain. These tasks make up a large portion of an RBTs typical job duties. At least three of these tasks must be demonstrated with a client. The remaining tasks can be demonstrated via role-play with your assessor.


Skill acquisition and behavior reduction competencies assessed include:

    • Discrete trial teaching (DTT)
    • Naturalistic teaching
    • Chaining
    • Shaping
    • Discrimination training
    • Stimulus control transfer
    • Prompting
    • Token systems
    • Crisis procedures
    • Antecedent interventions, differential reinforcement, or extinction


For the last task under skill acquisition and behavior reduction, you only need to demonstrate one of the three, not all of them. Your assessor may instruct you on which one, or they may allow you to choose. However, it’s a good idea to be prepared to demonstrate any of those.




The final section in the RBT competency assessment is professionalism, which covers five tasks. Most of these tasks are completed in an interview format, with the exception of session notes. Writing objective session notes can be demonstrated with a client or via role-play.


Professionalism competencies assessed include:

    • Session notes
    • Client dignity
    • Professional boundaries
    • Supervision requirements
    • Clinical direction

Assessment Structure Details to Know



The location of your RBT competency assessment may vary. Because you need to demonstrate at least three tasks with a client, your competency assessment is likely to be completed in a client’s home, in a clinic, or at a school. Some people also complete their assessment, or portions of their assessment, remotely via two-way video communication (i.e., Zoom).


Test Administration

A BCBA most often administers the competency assessment. Sometimes an assistant assessor will conduct the assessment under the supervision of a BCBA.


Competencies are evaluated in different ways. Some competencies are assessed by observing you perform them with a client. Others can be assessed via role-play with your assessor acting as the client. Some competencies are also completed via a live interview. A minimum of three tasks, all from the skill acquisition and behavior reduction domain, must be demonstrated with a client.



Your assessor will document task completion via an initial competency assessment form. On this form, they will mark their initials under each task as they observe you demonstrate them accurately. In addition to their initials, they will check off the box that indicates whether the task was observed with a client, via role-play, or in an interview format. Once all competencies have been completed, your assessor will sign and date the final attestation. You will submit your completed assessment to the BACB when completing your exam application.



Your competency assessment must be completed after your 40-hour training has been completed. You cannot complete your competency assessment more than 90 days before submitting your RBT certification application.


The amount of time a competency assessment takes can vary. However, it is most often completed in 1 to 3 hours. If you do not successfully complete all tasks on your competency assessment, another observation or meeting will be required to reassess those tasks.


What to Expect After the Competency Assessment

Upon demonstrating all 20 tasks in the competency assessment, your assessor will sign off on your assessment, confirming successful completion. The next step after the competency assessment is to prepare for the RBT certification exam.


The RBT exam is the final component required to become certified as a registered behavior technician.

RBT Competency Assessment FAQs

The RBT competency assessment covers 20 tasks across four domains. There is no time limit for completing the assessment. You can expect to spend 1-3 hours on your competency assessment.

A BCBA or qualified assessor will administer the competency assessment with you. Often this is completed with someone at your job. However, if you are not yet working in the ABA field, you may find a BCBA privately to administer your assessment. Your assessor will direct you through the steps and provide feedback as you work through the assessment together.

You need to demonstrate competence in 100% of the tasks to pass the assessment. If you make an error in any of the tasks, your assessor will provide corrective feedback and allow you another chance to demonstrate on another date. Before your assessor signs off on each task, you need to demonstrate full competence.

To prepare for the RBT competency assessment, start by reviewing the RBT Initial Competency Assessment Packet. Knowing exactly what you’ll be assessed on will guide you in preparing. Review your notes from your RBT 40-hour training, focusing on areas that will be evaluated during the competency assessment.

Additional Resources

Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) certification

If you haven’t yet completed your 40-hour RBT training, you’ll need to do that before completing your competency assessment. CentralReach’s 40-hour RBT course covers all requirements for the BACB’s 2nd edition task list. With ABA Knowledge Builder, you have access to over 750 mock exam questions with unlimited attempts, to help you prepare for the RBT credentialing exam.