Best Practices in BT/RBT Supervision

By Ashleigh Evans, MS, BCBA

Behavior Technicians (BTs) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) are vital for the success of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy programs. When opening a new ABA clinic or beginning a new supervisory relationship, it’s important to establish an environment with supervision dynamics that allow clients to make progress while behavior technicians grow and thrive. Let’s explore some essential BT and RBT supervision practices that will set you up for success.

Establish Clear Expectations

When developing a new supervisory relationship, the first step is to clearly define expectations for your supervisee and yourself. Outline the technician’s roles, responsibilities, and performance expectations, and detail your responsibilities as the supervisor. Clear expectations set the foundation for a mutually beneficial working relationship.

You can establish clear expectations with your behavior technicians by:

  • Writing detailed job descriptions
  • Conducting comprehensive orientation and training for new hires
  • Creating an employee handbook with written policies and procedures
  • Holding 1:1 meetings to set goals collaboratively

Setting clear expectations reduces the likelihood of mishaps as time passes. If challenges arise later, take them as an opportunity to reflect on whether performance expectations were clearly delineated.

Provide Ongoing Feedback

Ongoing feedback is necessary for an RBT’s professional growth and development. Feedback is also vital for ensuring treatment fidelity and promoting high-quality care. Feedback can sometimes be uncomfortable for both the person giving the feedback and the one receiving it. Establishing clear expectations from the start can help prepare technicians for receiving feedback. During orientation, explain the importance of feedback and discuss how they can expect to receive both positive and constructive feedback. During onboarding, you can also take the time to ask staff how they most prefer feedback. For example, some people like company-wide shout-outs, while others find that quite aversive and prefer 1:1 feedback instead.

Also, take your time to develop rapport with new BTs. A strong rapport may ease their nerves and make them more receptive to feedback.

Create a plan for providing behavior technicians with feedback across areas such as:

  • Professionalism
  • Communication
  • Accuracy and reliability of data
  • Following procedures as written
  • Writing objective session notes
  • Recognizing and honoring assent withdrawal.

Maintain Channels of Open Communication

Ensure there are open and transparent channels of communication. Encourage all staff to feel comfortable coming to you with questions and concerns. Inform them of the best ways to reach you and your general availability.

Also, establish opportunities for RBTs to provide anonymous feedback. Feedback should always go both ways. While staff should be encouraged to offer feedback, they are often less likely to do so directly due to the power dynamics. Instead, provide a channel for anonymous feedback. Creating a Google Form that allows anonymous feedback is one easy way to set this up. Send the link to new staff upon hire and include it in your email signature for easy access when needed. 

Support Professional Development

It is natural to crave growth. While many technicians are comfortable staying in their roles, others will likely want to experience career growth. By investing in professional development, you can show your staff that you value their career growth and contributions to your organization.

Some ways you can support your RBT’s professional development include:

  • Offer ongoing training, workshops, and continuing education opportunities
  • Allow staff to pursue their interests and passions within the field by systematically developing new roles
  • Implement RBT leveling systems with additional training and responsibilities at each higher level
  • Hold roundtable discussions with technicians taking turns running them
  • Offer fieldwork supervision for staff who wish to pursue BCaBA or BCBA certification
  • Create professional development plans to outline staff’s career goals and action steps for achieving them

Reflect on your Own Supervision Practices

Section 4.10 of the BCBA Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts requires BCBAs to actively and continuously evaluate their own supervisory practices. Develop plans to self-evaluate your supervision. You can do this by seeking and reflecting on feedback from your staff and clients. You can also self-assess your supervisory practices by evaluating the progress your clients and staff are making toward their individualized goals. Through self-evaluations, you can identify whether your supervisory practices are having a positive impact and develop plans for modification if they are not.

Cultivate a Culture of Support

To run a successful ABA organization, you must foster a culture of support and collaboration where staff feel valued, respected, and empowered. Without the dedication of behavior technicians, your learners would not make progress, and your organization would not thrive. You can create a positive, empowering environment by establishing clear expectations, providing and accepting feedback, ensuring open communication, and supporting professional development. Take care of your staff first. Then, they will take care of your clients.


Sellers, T. P., Valentino, A. L., & LeBlanc, L. A. (2016). Recommended Practices for Individual Supervision of Aspiring Behavior Analysts. Behavior analysis in practice, 9(4), 274–286.

Sellers, T. P., Alai-Rosales, S., & MacDonald, R. P. (2016). Taking Full Responsibility: the Ethics of Supervision in Behavior Analytic Practice. Behavior analysis in practice, 9(4), 299–308.

About the Author

Ashleigh Evans, MS, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has been practicing in the behavior analysis field for over 13 years and opened her own independent practice in early 2022. Her experience has been vast across different age groups, diagnoses, and needs. She is passionate about improving the field through education, reformative action, and better supervisory practices, leading her to create content and resources for families and ABA professionals which can be found on her website,

This entry was posted in ABA by Different Roads to Learning. Bookmark the permalink.

About Different Roads to Learning

Our Difflearn blog was created specifically for sharing. Here, we’ll collaborate with trusted professionals and parents to share experiences, concerns, new and exciting products and events and best of all, our collective treasure of information. It is our hope that you will find the information posted here helpful, practical, and interesting and that it will help all of us – especially our children – learn and grow. And this is just the beginning…We hope that professionals and parents who have advice, information or a story to share will contact us and submit thoughts and ideas for blog posts. We intend for this to be a true community and all who are interested in the education of our ASD children are invited to participate.