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Role of a Lead RBT

Ethics Scenario Archive
1. Approaching Former Adult Client
2. Medical Marijuana
3. Pro Bono Work
4. Supervision Has Multiple Relationships with Family Receiving Services
5. Parent Training Concerns
6. Parents Not Implementing Procedures
7. Soliciting Parent Testimonials
8. Retaliation Towards Mandated Reporting
9. Family Rejecting Safety Measures
10. Parental Collaboration
11. Hostile Work Enviornment
12. Creating Protocol to Prevent and Treat Trauma with Limited Functional Language
13. Parent ABA Practice Questions in OT & Speech
14. Potential Gifts From Clients on Social Media
15. Helping Close Relationships With ABA Tips
16. Parent Utilizing CBD & THC
17. Client Pre-Authorization Denied For Much Needed Services
18. Supervisee Slaps Child in School Setting
19. Changing Direction of Treatment from Previous BCBA
20. BCBA Subpoenaed in Family Court
21. Terminate Services Due To Parent Behavior
22. Parents Offering Token Items During Check Out/Transition
23. Family Doesn’t Want Details Released To Funding Source Without Permission
24. Resources for IRB Approval for Independent Researchers
25. Speech Therapist Refusing To Do PECS
26. BCBA Receives Cease & Desist
27. Unlicensed, Certified BCBA Provide Supervision
28. Rapid Prompting Method (RPM)
29. Parent as Witness to Accident
30. Website Testimonials
31. Student Using Social Media Inappropriately
32. Hiring Behavior Analyst Trainees at a School District
33. College Recommendation Letter for Client
34. Connecting Families That Are Clients
35. Employer Requiring Same Number of ABA Hours for All New Clients from New BCaBA
36. Do we have any ethical guidelines regarding shared work spaces among two companies that provide similar ABA services in a private property?
37. Client Assessment & Discontinuation
38. Caseload Concerns
39. Naptime
40. Systemic Supervision Concern – Clients & RBTs
41. BCBA’s Performing Diagnostics
42. Self-Reporting DUI to BACB
43. Multiple Relationship with RBT
44. Refusal to Provide Documentation
45. Telehealth Supervision
46. Role of a Lead RBT
47. Urgent – Unsupervised RBT
48. Clinic Owner Requesting Services
49. Inadequate Case Supervision
50. Language Barrier to Services
51. Withholding Fieldwork Hours
52. Reportable Trainee Behavior
53. Treating Others with Compassion, Dignity, and Respect


“When maintaining your RBT certificate, is it against ethic code for an RBT to become a “LEAD” RBT within a company that they work for? Job duties would include: The role of the Lead RBT is to assist in the planning, development, implementation, and monitoring of behavioral supports to meet the needs of students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and/or other behavior, social, and/or communication challenges. Provide Support to fellow RBT’s while still under the direct supervision of a BCBA. To assist in New RBT’s with the 40/hour course, as well as working with a BCBA to complete direct treatment plans? Any insight on this topic would be truly helpful.”


Committee Input (e.g., considerations for pathways forward, potential barriers, potential solutions):

More information would be needed in the above submission to provide more explicit pathways for exploration.  We would encourage the person who submitted this concern to flush out the context and provide additional details if additional guidance is needed.

Many agencies may determine that a “Lead RBT” is an appropriate use of an RBT who shows high quality performance and leadership skills.  This role may be used to mentor new staff, assist with assessments and guide fellow technicians on selecting appropriate stimuli for targets.  It should be noted that no client guidance should be done without the explicit training and supervision of the BCBA assigned to the case.

To address the RBT’s concerns, some areas to orient toward in the RBT 2.0 Ethics Code are:

  • 1.03 RBTs only provide services under their RBT certification within a clearly defined role under close, ongoing supervision.
  • 1.05 RBTs do not knowingly make false, misleading, or exaggerated statements about their qualifications or behavior technician services. They provide a current and accurate set of relevant credentials to employers and supervisors upon request.
  • 1.06 RBTs provide behavior-technician services only after their supervisor confirms that they have demonstrated competence. They work with their supervisor to continually evaluate their competence. If an RBT identifies that they are being asked to do something that goes beyond the scope of their certification and/or competence, they immediately inform their supervisor or other appropriate individuals at their place of employment and document this communication.
  • 2.02 RBTs follow the direction of their supervisors, accurately implement behavior-technician services, and accurately complete all required documentation (e.g., client data, billing records).
  • 2.04 RBTs do not use unfamiliar interventions or provide services to unfamiliar client populations unless they have received proper training.

To consider the BCBA’s role, they should consider the following Ethics Code areas for Behavior Analyst’s when determining how to utilize staff for support:

  • 2.01 Providing Effective Treatment
  • 2.13 Selecting, Designing, and Implementing Assessments
  • 2.14 Selecting, Designing, and Implementing Behavior-Change Interventions
  • 2.15 Minimizing Risk of Behavior-Change Interventions
  • 2.16 Describing Behavior-Change Interventions Before Implementation
  • 3.01 Responsibility to Clients
  • 3.11 Documenting Professional Activity
  • 4.04 Accountability in Supervision

Considerations for exploration:

  • If an RBT has been asked to be a Lead Technician without explicit training in each area that involves a client, the RBT should reach out to the BCBA to discuss their role. All treatment plans fall under the BCBA’s license and require informed consent from caregivers.
  • If an RBT is asked to progress the goals from the treatment plan, the BCBA should be reviewing and approving changes or updates and providing a training on the next steps of implementation to the Lead and then checking during in-person supervision to ensure everyone on the team is correctly implementing. If the RBT is asked to add new goals or do trainings without explicit oversight, they should refrain to ensure they are not violating the RBT Ethics Code 2.0.
  • Arizona Revised Statutes dictates who can call themselves a Behavior Analyst and what is required of service provision.


Ethics Codes (specific standards that could apply to support/oppose):

  • RBT 2.0: 1.03, 1.05, 1.06, 2.02, 2.04
  • BCBA 2020: 2.01, 2.13, 2.14, 2.15, 2.16, 3.01, 3.11, 4.04
  • ARS 32-2091.3, 32-2091.4, 32-2091.5, 32-2091.12(p), 32-2091.12(q)
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