An applied behavior analysis certificate can be an educational step on the path toward a profession in which behaviors are reviewed, assessed, analyzed, and modified.
Earning a graduate certificate in ABA can be a strategic step in many professions, including education, corporate behavior analysis, mental health, and speech pathology.
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An applied behavior analysis graduate certificate can also help you work toward Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification. An ABA certificate can be earned on its own or in conjunction with a masters program.
Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate Online Programs
Earning your online graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis can be an essential step toward becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). This designation is bestowed on those who have specifically passed the BCBA exam.
The coursework involved in an online ABA certificate program can count toward the classroom hours required to sit for the BCBA exam. A graduate certificate program can also help you prepare for work in a variety of fields.
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The purpose of an applied behavior analysis certificate is to help students understand how to observe, analyze, assess, and change behavior. Behavior analysis professionals can create interventions and learning paths that can change the world of the children, adults, senior citizens, and even communities for which they work.
Throughout your coursework, you will focus on topics such as:
- How to create policies and procedures that address behavioral concerns
- Using behavioral analysis techniques and observational methods to track patterns
- How to implement interventions that can improve quality of life
- Understanding and optimizing behavior
The ABA certificate is helpful for professionals who work with a variety of individuals. Some work as educators for children with autism spectrum disorder. Others work in special education classrooms or as school counselors.
Education is not the only field for ABA certificate holders. Many work as therapists or counselors in sectors such as speech pathology, behavioral disorder, or rehabilitation. In fact, many professionals find that understanding and being able to evaluate behavior can be helpful in nearly every field.
The type of positions you can qualify for may depend on your prior education and experience. If you’re earning your certificate in conjunction with a masters, then the focus of your graduate degree may impact your career path as well. It’s important to consider what you can do with a masters in applied behavior analysis versus a certificate in the field.
Applied Behavior Analysis Careers and Salaries
Some individuals pursue an applied behavior analysis online certificate to give them an extra boost in their current career. Understanding the behavior of individuals and groups can be beneficial in many fields.
The type of positions you can qualify for will also depend on your prior education and experience. Some roles, such as educators and counselors, require additional licensure as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some of the career paths associated with applied behavior analysis, along with their median salaries.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Social and Community Service Managers||$74,000|
|Special Education Teachers||$61,820|
|School and Career Counselors and Advisors||$60,510|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||$48,520|
|Preschool and Childcare Center Directors||$47,310|
Many of the careers selected by those who have completed ABA programs center around helping others learn, grow, and thrive in their environments, thanks to intervention or adaptation. Popular career options involving applied behavior analysis include social worker, sociological researcher, counselor, or educator.
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Many professionals work within schools and mental health facilities to help people of all ages with behavioral issues. Additionally, educators may wish to earn their ABA certificate to help them understand and provide meaningful assistance to students with learning or social disabilities.
Behavioral Analysis Certificate Curriculum & Courses
The courses you encounter as part of your applied behavior analysis online certificate program can differ from school to school.
Here are a few examples of the types of core classes many programs offer:
- Concepts and Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis: This course will introduce the basics of applied behavior analysis so that you can become familiar with the processes involved.
- Philosophical Foundations of Behavior: In this course, you’ll learn popular understandings of how behavior is formed and why individuals behave in certain ways.
- Behavioral Interventions: Interventions are used to modify or change behaviors, and this course examines how to create and implement interventions.
- Applied Behavioral Ethics: In this course, you’ll explore the ethical and professional concerns of your actions.
- Analysis and Assessment of Behavior: You’ll learn how to accurately analyze and create action plans based on what you have observed.
- Experimental Design: This course teaches you how to safely and correctly design experiments to help you understand how certain situations may impact an individual’s behavior.
- Social Skills and Development: In this course, you’ll learn how social skills are impacted by various stages of development and disruptions therein.
- Autism Advocacy: Autism spectrum disorder is a common field among those who study for an ABA certificate, and courses such as this one can help you gain insight into associated behaviors.
- Measuring Behavioral Changes: It’s important to understand how and in which way interventions create change, as you’ll learn in this course.
- Research and Skills Assessment: This course prepares you for the research you may complete in the field as well as how to frame research without bias.
You may also wish to take specialized courses that directly reflect your chosen career path or goals.
How to Become a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst)
Becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) includes a variety of steps.
Here’s what the path toward BCBA certification typically looks like:
- Earn your bachelor’s degree. Many students earn their bachelor’s in a related field, such as psychology.
- Complete approved graduate coursework. It’s necessary to complete graduate coursework as outlined by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). You can achieve this through one of two possible paths:
- Complete an ABAI accredited graduate program, which requires 18 semester credit hours through an accredited graduate school program.
- Complete coursework through an ABAI Verified Course Sequence, which may or may not be part of a graduate school program.
- Complete supervised fieldwork hours. You’ll typically complete either 2,000 supervised fieldwork hours or 1,500 hours of concentrated supervised fieldwork in conjunction with your graduate-level behavior-analytic coursework.
- Pass the BCBA exam. This exam is 4 hours in length and judges competency through 160 questions related to applied behavior analysis.
- Apply for state licensing. This process may vary depending on your home state.
The certification process is designed to help students truly immerse themselves into the science and philosophy of applied behavior analysis before they start their professional career.
Exact admissions requirements often vary from school to school, but you’ll likely be asked to complete an online application, which may have an associated application fee.
For a graduate certificate program, you may also be asked to submit:
- GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require them)
- Bachelors degree
- Official transcripts of all prior education
- Personal statement
- Letters of recommendation
It’s helpful to take a close look at each school’s admissions and application notes. You can also contact an admissions counselor for more details regarding your chosen school’s application process.
When researching schools that offer an online graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis, you may wish to concentrate on schools that are regionally accredited.
Reputable regional accrediting organizations are recognized by CHEA, or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. A school that has received regional accreditation has been reviewed for academic excellence. As a result, some employers and professional organizations place extra emphasis on candidates who have completed an accredited program.
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An accredited education is also essential for students who plan to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Students who are interested in need-based financial assistance may wish to complete and submit the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is the first step for those who wish to receive a student loan or other forms of federal aid to help with school costs.
Many schools also offer academic scholarships or grants to students based off of academic merit or their chosen field of study. You can check with each of your prospective schools to determine what financial assistance or tuition discounts are available.
Your current employer may also offer educational assistance or tuition reimbursement. This could be especially helpful for people who are earning their certificate in ABA to advance their current career.
What Can You Do with a Graduate Certificate in Behavior Analysis?
Earning an applied behavior analysis online certificate can help you learn about reviewing, analyzing, and helping intervene in the behaviors of children, adults, families, and communities.
The skills learned in applied behavior analysis programs can help prepare professionals for skilled assessment of a variety of behaviors and situations. Professionals may use this graduate-level training to complement their current field or prepare for new roles. Some behavior analysis professionals work as educators, social workers, mental health workers, or researchers.
An ABAI accredited graduate certificate program in applied behavior analysis can also help you work toward professional certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate?
Due to the variety of programs offered, there is no standard schedule for earning an ABA graduate certificate online. Some online applied behavior analysis programs have fieldwork and practicum requirements in conjunction with the BCBA certification process.
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Most programs are designed so that students complete between 21 to 32 total credit hours. Depending on the program, students may be able to earn their graduate certificate in 1 year to 2 years. The amount of field hours that must be logged may extend the amount of time it takes to earn your certificate. In addition, part-time enrollment often takes longer than full-time enrollment.
What’s the Difference Between an ABA Certification vs. Certificate?
An online graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis is an academic accomplishment, while ABA certification refers to being professionally certified in the field.
An ABA graduate certificate program:
- May provide the classroom hours required for sitting for the BCBA exam
- May include fieldwork opportunities
Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA) certification indicates:
- Completion of required coursework and fieldwork
- Successfully passing the BCBA exam
Once you have passed the BCBA board exam, you may also be prepared to pursue your state’s licensing requirements.
What’s the Difference Between a BCaBA vs. BCBA Certification?
Two common certifications and positions in the field of applied behavior analysis include Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA).
|Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)||Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA)|
For some, becoming a BCaBA is a step in the process of earning BCBA credentials.
Is an ABA Certificate Worth It?
Yes, an ABA certificate is worth it for many professionals. Earning an ABA certificate can help you develop valuable insight in understanding why others behave the way they do.
There are a variety of professions that apply behavior analysis skills, including speech pathologists, special education teachers, and counselors. An ABA graduate certificate could also help you prepare for certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors are expected to see 22% job growth over the next ten years, which is much faster than average.
Universities Offering Online Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Arizona State University offers an Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate that can be earned online. The program requires the completion of 7 classes for a total of 21 credit hours. Each class is 7.5 weeks long. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam. Students can typically earn the certificate in 5 semesters.
Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Ball State University’s Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis is available online and requires the completion of 15 credit hours. Coursework may be able to be counted toward a master’s degree in special education. Online students at Ball State have weekly assignment deadlines but can otherwise work according to their own schedules.
Ball State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Fitchburg State University offers an online program for a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam. It consists of courses such as Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis, Behavior Change Procedures, and Identification of the Problem and Assessment. To earn the certificate, students must complete 21 credits.
Fitchburg State University is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.
George Mason University offers a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis that can be earned 100% online. To earn the certificate, students must complete 21 credits.
The curriculum is designed to prepare students for the Behavior Analyst Certification Examination. It consists of courses like Philosophical and Conceptual Issues in Behavior Analysis, Applied Behavior Analysis: Applications, and Ethical and Professional Conduct for Behavior Analysis.
George Mason University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Pennsylvania State University offers a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis that seeks to prepare students for the BACB exam. It requires a total of seven courses, six of which are online and one of which is on campus. Courses in the program may count as professional development courses for Pennsylvania educators.
Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Arizona offers an online program for a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis. To earn the certificate, students must complete 21 credits.
The program typically takes 16 months to complete and is designed to prepare students for the BCBA exam. The curriculum consists of courses such as Behavior Principles and Disability: Assessment and Intervention, Advanced Positive Behavioral Support, and Issues in Applied Behavior Analysis.
The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Cincinnati offers an online program for a Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate. This 21 credit program is designed to help prepare students for the BCBA exam. Past students in the program have had a high pass rate on the exam. All courses are asynchronous, and students can enroll full-time or part-time. The program can typically be finished in 1 year.
The University of Cincinnati is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Arkansas offers a flexible online program for a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis. It requires the completion of 21 credit hours and can typically be completed in about 1 year. The program offers the opportunity to participate in a clinical practicum as well. GRE scores are not needed to apply.
The U of A is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Massachusetts—Lowell offers a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis that can be earned online. The program is designed to prepare students for the BCBA certification exam. Prospective students can apply to begin at any time and can typically finish in 1 year. Some courses may be counted toward an MS in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Studies.
The University of Massachusetts – Lowell is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.
The University of North Dakota offers an Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate that can be earned online. The program requires the completion of 22 credit hours, and students may also enroll in a 15 hour practicum. The courses are offered in an asynchronous format. The certificate can typically be earned in 1 to 1.5 years.
The University of North Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis Online
If you are looking to enhance your understanding of human behavior, you might consider earning your graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis online.
The skills learned through an ABA certificate program can prepare you to observe and analyze a variety of behaviors in many different settings. Behavior analysis professionals can have a significant impact in the lives of clients and communities.
An ABA graduate certificate program can also help you prepare for Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification. Completing graduate-level coursework in applied behavior analysis is one of the requirements for taking the BCBA exam.
You may want to check out some of the ABA programs offered by accredited schools to determine which ones best meet your professional goals.