Applied Behavior Analysis Degree Programs Online

A Guide to Professional Credentialing in Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based approach to understanding and modifying behavior. It is widely recognized as the gold standard treatment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. As the prevalence of ASD rises, so does demand for qualified ABA practitioners.

Top Affordable Behavior Analysis Programs Online

Schools are listed by their in-state graduate tuition (or overall tuition when in-state is not specified) from lowest to highest, along with their out-of-state tuitions. Student-to-faculty ratios and the percentage of first-time candidates passing the BCBA exam were also used to create the initial list of affordable online behavior analysis degree programs.

  • Montana State University – Billings, Montana
    • In-state: $5,878/year
    • Out-of-state: $19,542/year
  • University of West Florida – Pensacola, Florida
    • In-state: $7,088/year
    • Out-of-state: $22,166/year
  • Western Connecticut State University – Danbury, Connecticut
    • In-state: $7,674/year
    • Out-of-state: $19,768/year
  • University of Southern Maine – Portland, Maine
    • In-state: $7,776/year
    • Out-of-state: $21,888/year
  • Saint Cloud State University – St. Cloud, Minnesota
    • In-state: $8,009/year
    • Out-of-state: $12,229/year
  • University of South Florida – Tampa, Florida
    • In-state: $8,350/year
    • Out-of-state: $19,048/year
  • Purdue University Global – Indianapolis, Indiana
    • Overall: $8,730/year
  • Ball State University – Muncie, Indiana
    • In-state: $9,482/year
    • Out-of-state: $25,938/year
  • Arizona State University – Scottsdale, Arizona
    • Overall: $9,774/year
  • University of Massachusetts Global – Irvine, California
    • Overall: $12,240/year
  • Endicott College – Beverly, Massachusetts
    • Overall: $12,746/year
  • George Mason University – Fairfax, Virginia
    • In-state: $13,035/year
    • Out-of-state: $34,347/year
  • University of Cincinnati – Glenside, Pennsylvania
    • In-state: $13,224/year
    • Out-of-state: $24,966/year
  • Florida Institute of Technology – Melbourne, Florida
    • Overall: $16,128/year
  • University of Washington – Seattle, Washington
    • In-state: $16,605/year
    • Out-of-state: $29,763/year

Applied Behavior Analysis Guide

This guide will clarify the various ABA certifications and the path to becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

The Importance of ABA in Treating Behavioral Disorders

ABA utilizes techniques grounded in scientific research to assess problematic behaviors and replace them with more functional skills. Discrete trial training, pivotal response training, and verbal behavior therapy are commonly used in ABA interventions.

Beyond autism, ABA can effectively treat conditions like ADHD, OCD, anxiety, ODD, and bipolar disorder. It is also applied in addiction treatment, stroke rehabilitation, and Alzheimer’s care. The wide scope of ABA makes certified practitioners highly versatile.

Understanding the Different Levels of ABA Certification

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) oversees ABA credentialing in the United States. They offer four levels of certification:

Registered Behavior Technician (RBT): RBTs have a high school diploma and complete a 40-hour training program and exam. They work under the supervision of a BCBA or other qualified professional.

Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA): BCaBAs hold a bachelor’s degree, complete coursework, supervised field experience, and an exam. They practice under BCBA supervision.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA): BCBAs have a graduate degree, coursework, 2,000 hours of supervised fieldwork, and exam passage. They can practice independently.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D): Equivalent to BCBA certification with a doctorate degree and some additional requirements.

Why is BCBA Certification the Pinnacle?

Earning BCBA certification demonstrates extensive expertise in ABA therapy. It meets requirements for state licensure and independent practice rights. BCBAs enjoy the highest salaries in the field, averaging over $100,000 annually.

BCBA certification sets practitioners apart by verifying:

  • Relevant graduate degree
  • Completion of required ABA coursework
  • 2,000 hours of supervised field experience
  • Ethical practices and conduct
  • Ongoing continuing education

This exhaustive process ensures BCBAs have the knowledge and skills to provide ABA therapy effectively.

BCBA Certification Step-by-Step

Earn a qualifying master’s degree: Programs in behavior analysis, education, or psychology that incorporate the BACB’s verified course sequence meet requirements. Online options offer flexibility.

Complete coursework: 315 hours of study in ethics, assessment, interventions, research methods, and more. Aligned with BACB standards.

Gain supervised experience: 2,000 hours of hands-on fieldwork under an experienced BCBA supervisor. Recent allowances for telehealth widen access.

Pass the exam: Demonstrate competency across three domains – basic behavioral analysis, client-centered responsibilities, and foundational knowledge.

Maintain certification: Renew every two years through continuing education, ethics adherence, and meeting BACB standards.

Alternative Pathways to BCBA Certification

Individuals with a graduate degree and extensive experience may qualify to sit for the exam without completing other requirements. Those with doctorates and post-doctoral experience in ABA can also pursue certification.

Launch Your ABA Career

Once certified, BCBAs enjoy fulfilling careers improving lives through ABA therapy. Employment settings include:

  • Schools
  • Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Private practice
  • Corporations

A BCBA credential demonstrates your expertise and ethical grounding in ABA, making you eligible for state licensure. By dispelling confusion surrounding ABA certification, you can chart your path towards this rewarding and impactful career.

Choosing the Right ABA Certification Program

When researching ABA certification programs, it’s important to ensure they meet BACB standards and requirements. Look for programs that offer:

  • Graduate degrees in behavior analysis, education, or psychology
  • Coursework aligned with the BACB’s verified course sequence
  • Opportunities for supervised field experience under qualified BCBA supervisors
  • Preparation for the BCBA certification exam
  • Flexible delivery formats like online, hybrid, or accelerated options

Reputable programs should be transparent about curriculum, fieldwork, timeline, and costs. Accreditation by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) is ideal.

Thoroughly vetting programs will help you select one that provides the education and training needed to succeed as a BCBA.

Tips for Maintaining BCBA Certification

Once you’ve earned your BCBA certification, upholding BACB standards is paramount to renewing it every two years. Useful tips include:

  • Complete all required continuing education units on schedule
  • Carefully review and adhere to the BACB’s ethical code
  • Document any necessary supervisory experience if overseeing trainees
  • Report any concerning certification issues promptly and honestly
  • Keep meticulous records of activities related to renewal
  • Schedule renewal dates on your calendar to stay on track
  • Remain current on evolutions in ABA research and best practices

Meeting recertification requirements demonstrates your ongoing competence and commitment to the highest professional standards in applied behavior analysis.

BCBA Certification Opens Doors

By dispelling confusion surrounding the various ABA credentials, it becomes clear that BCBA certification represents the pinnacle for aspiring behavior analysts. It requires dedication through graduate studies, extensive training, and upholding ethical standards. The result is the ability to improve lives through ABA therapy in educational, clinical, corporate, and private practice settings. If your passion is helping individuals reach their full potential, the BCBA path can lead to an incredibly meaningful career.

Applied Behavior Analysis Degree Programs FAQ

What is the Fastest Master’s in ABA Program?

Simmons University in Massachusetts offers an online Master of Science in Behavior Analysis that can be completed in around 20 months. This rigorous 40-credit program combines theoretical coursework with hands-on practical training to prepare students for careers as behavior analysts.

Graduates of Simmons’ online ABA master’s program have a 75% first-time pass rate on the BCBA exam, surpassing the 60% national average.

What is the Fastest Master’s in ABA Program Online?

The University of Dayton offers an online Master’s in ABA that prepares bachelor’s degree holders to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) in as few as 24 months. This 33-credit program does not require GRE scores for admission. It incorporates the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) verified course sequence, practicum fieldwork, and prep for the BCBA exam.

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