30 Best Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis Online Programs

People facing challenging circumstances often struggle with everyday life skills. For those with autism, PTSD, addictions or dementia, applied behavior analysis can provide a pathway toward success. Specialists in this field help others improve their lives through behavior modification.

behavioral psychology building on college campus

Specialists in applied behavior analysis receive the satisfaction of knowing that their efforts make a real difference in people’s lives. Plus, they’re highly employable; this field is expected to grow 22% from 2018 to 2028.

To pursue a career in behavioral science, consider earning your master’s degree in applied behavior analysis.

Online Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis Overview

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a branch of psychological study that deals with behavior modification. As an expert in ABA, you can help people curb their undesirable behaviors and choose positive actions.

ABA relies on evidence-based practices and scientific principles. This type of therapy is often used for people with autism and other developmental disorders. The concepts can also be applied in classrooms, dementia care and personal relationships.

To learn ABA principles, get your master’s degree in this field. Your studies will equip you with skills, knowledge and practical tools that you can use when working with clients, students or employees under your supervision.

Graduate-level studies are required before taking the exam to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Your master’s program can provide the necessary credit hours, but additional fieldwork may be required after graduation.

As a BCBA, you’ll be able to apply behavior-modification concepts in clinical and counseling settings. You could also pursue an ABA master’s to improve your skills as a teacher, a healthcare provider or a public health worker.

Admissions Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is an essential prerequisite for all ABA master’s programs. Other admissions requirements vary among schools but may include:

  • Completed application
  • Personal essay
  • Previous transcripts
  • Recommendation letters
  • Resume
  • Test scores

Although some schools require GRE test scores from applicants, many offer no-GRE master’s programs. Even schools that ask for scores may grant waivers on the basis of GPA or professional experience.

Curriculum

A master’s degree in this field may be an MS in Applied Behavior Analysis or an MS in Psychology with an ABA concentration. Alternatively, some students choose to earn education degrees, such as a Master of Education or an MA in Special Education, with ABA concentrations. Whichever path you choose, your coursework will prepare you to better understand human behavior and thinking. You’ll learn how to help people adjust their behaviors so that they can become more successful in their daily lives.

The following overview provides a general idea of the sort of classes you can expect in an ABA master’s program:

Assessment Methods:

  • Practitioners must use tests, data collection and other forms of assessment to identify deficiencies or problems that can be addressed through ABA principles. In this class, you’ll learn to conduct such assessments and incorporate your findings into effective intervention strategies.

Behavior Interventions:

  • ABA focuses on reducing negative behaviors and increasing positive ones. Intervention strategies are the means of effecting such changes. You’ll learn how to create intervention plans, put them into practice and evaluate their effectiveness. You may also discuss supervising practitioners as they implement behavior interventions.

Data Analysis and Research:

  • Across disciplines, master’s students must be skilled at gathering scientific information and applying it to their research. This class will develop your skills at designing experimental tests and collecting measurable data.

Ethical Practice:

  • Everyone who works in this field should adhere to the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. In this class, you’ll explore the standards set forth in that code, and you may also discuss legal issues related to your professional practice. Your coursework may involve case studies and real-world examples.

Foundations of Applied Behavior Analysis:

  • Your master’s program will likely begin with a general overview course that introduces you to the basic concepts of ABA. You’ll learn the principles involved in this branch of psychology and study their various applications.

Human Development:

  • Helping people change their behavior requires an understanding of how humans typically grow and develop. You’ll study physical, cognitive and psychological changes through the years to help you identify normal and abnormal development.

Some schools also require capstone classes and projects before graduation as a way to synthesize students’ learning experiences over the course of the program. Other schools may have a practicum component in which students gain field experience and carry out related projects. The practicum hours may count toward requirements for BCBA certification.

ABA Masters Careers & Salaries

behavior analyst meeting with client

Many master’s graduates choose to pursue clinical work as counselors in private practices, medical centers, community agencies or rehabilitation facilities. Others use their education as behavioral experts in healthcare, education or social-service settings. Those with a particular interest in autism and other developmental disorders may want to work with special-needs populations in therapeutic, healthcare or research roles.

You could consider the following ABA careers after earning your master’s degree:

Addiction counselor:

  • Help people with their substance abuse problems and any co-occurring mental health disorders. The average annual pay is $44,630.

Educational consultant:

  • Evaluate how well schools are doing at providing disability services and suggest methods of improvement. Annual pay may range from $35,550 to $101,500.

Mental health therapist:

  • Focus on helping clients with mental health disorders modify their behavior. Your annual earnings could range from $26,950 to $70,100.

Rehabilitation counselor:

  • Earn approximately $35,630 per year as you equip people with skills for independent living.

Social worker:

  • Help people work through challenging life circumstances. Common job settings include community agencies, healthcare facilities, and schools. The average annual pay is $49,470.

Sociologist:

  • Earn around $82,050 each year as you study human behavior among individuals and groups.

Special education teacher:

  • Work in the school system with students who have disabilities. You may earn $59,780 per year.

Earning your ABA master’s degree can prepare you for a fulfilling career in which you help others along a path toward success. Not only can this be personally satisfying, but it can also mean that you have in-demand, professional skills that are applicable in many fields.

Accreditation

Reputable colleges are accredited by one of the regional accrediting associations that are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). These include the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Attending a regionally accredited school is important if you want to transfer credits or qualify for financial aid.

Some schools also carry national accreditation that applies to their specific style of education. For an online ABA master’s degree, you may want to look for a school approved by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

Program-specific accreditation indicates that specific degree programs meet accepted industry standards. For an ABA degree, this type of accreditation is granted by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Although you can take the BCBA exam after graduating from a non-accredited school, earning your degree from an approved program is more likely to fully prepare you for the test.

Financial Aid

To help you afford the cost of a master’s degree program, look into your financial aid options. Submitting the FAFSA is a great first step as it will outline what federal resources are available to you. These might include loans, grants or Federal Work-Study.

Your state may have similar resources to assist with your tuition. As with federal financial aid, your FAFSA details may be used to determine your eligibility for state programs.

Scholarships and fellowships often come from private sources, such as universities and community organizations. You may be eligible based on your accomplishments, personal characteristics or financial need.

frequently asking questions behavioral psychology degree

Can I Get a Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis Online?

Online study is a common approach to getting a master’s degree in this field. You’ll take similar classes to the ones offered in campus-based programs, and you will complete comparable assignments. Just be sure to choose an accredited college.

How Long Does It Take to Get A Master’s Degree in Behavior Analysis Online?

The average length of an ABA master’s program is two years. You may be able to speed up your studies with transferred credits, accelerated schedules or self-paced studies. Full-time programs are quicker than part-time ones, but practicum requirements can add to the length of a program.

What are the Requirements for an Online Master’s in Behavioral Psychology Degree?

Studying for a master’s in this field requires that you take classes in human development, psychology, data analysis, interventions, and research. Many schools expect students to submit a capstone paper or project before graduation. Others have students engage in fieldwork and carry out research or a project in that setting.

What Certifications and Licenses Does A Masters in Behavior Analysis Online Prepare You For?

Master’s in ABA programs typically meet the educational requirements for the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam. Sitting for this test also requires logging fieldwork hours, which may need to be earned outside of the master’s program. If your state has additional licensing requirements, look into whether your program fulfills them.

What Is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)?

Board Certified Behavior Analysts are professionals who help others replace negative behaviors with positive ones so they can live life to their full potential. Through study and certification, BCBA professionals have earned the right to practice independently, and they may also be able to supervise others.

Does a BCBA Require a Master’s in Behavioral Psychology?

To become a BCBA, you must hold a related graduate degree at the masters or doctoral level. In general, your graduate studies must include classes specifically related to ABA, but some exceptions are made for college faculty and post-doctoral researchers.

 What is the Format of the BCBA Exam?

The BCBA examination is a multiple-choice test with 150 questions. Just over half of the test is dedicated to Basic Behavior Analytic Skills, such as procedures and systems used in this field. The rest of the exam focuses on Client-centered Responsibilities, including ethical behavior and the implementation of interventions.

What Jobs Can You Get with a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis Online?

You may have your sights set on clinical practice and earning a master’s degree and BCBA certification will prepare you to work as an independent practitioner. You can provide services for people with behavior disorders and developmental disabilities in private practices, healthcare organizations or community agencies.

Not all ABA professionals choose to work in counseling settings. Others may work with people with disabilities in schools or residential facilities. You could also pursue employment as a social worker, a behavioral consultant or an addiction specialist. Research is another career path that may be open to you.

Can You Get into Masters in Behavioral Science School Without GRE Scores?

GRE results are not always a requirement for grad school. Many ABA programs do not ask for any test scores during the application process. Others allow waivers for qualified candidates, such as those with high undergrad GPAs or previous graduate studies.

How is Applied Behavior Analysis Connected to Autism?

Scientific research has demonstrated that applied behavior analysis is an effective approach for working with people with autism. For example, ABA therapy may help individuals improve their social or language skills. In fact, autism treatment is one of the most common applications of ABA practices.

Conclusion

A fulfilling career as an expert in behavior modification is waiting for you. To become a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst who helps others improve their lives, enroll in an ABA graduate program. Your expertise will make an important difference for people with autism, addictions and other life challenges.

If you’re ready to gain the in-demand skills that you’ll need as a BCBA, it’s time to start filling out applications for applied behavior analysis master’s programs.

List of Universities Offering Applied Behavior Analysis Masters Degree Online

Rank University Featured Image tbl-programs Location mdgtbl-description
1 Arcadia University
GRENo
LOCATIONPennsylvania
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
Arcadia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Master’s in Education – Applied Behavior Analysis
2 Arizona State University
GRENo
LOCATIONArizona
ACCREDITATIONHLC
ASU has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1931.
  • Master’s in Special Education – Applied Behavior Analysis
3 Ball State University
GRENo
LOCATIONIndiana
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Ball State‘s continuing institutional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission was reaffirmed on January 14, 2014, following a two-year self-study process. The university is now accredited through 2023–24.
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis – Autism
4 Bay Path University
GRENo
LOCATIONMassachusetts
ACCREDITATIONNECHE
Bay Path is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
5 Brandman University
GRENo
LOCATIONCalifornia
ACCREDITATIONWSCUC
Brandman is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Master’s in Special Education – Behavior Analysis
6 Cairn University
GRENo
LOCATIONPennsylvania
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
Cairn is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
7 California University of Pennsylvania
GRENo
LOCATIONPennsylvania
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
Cal U is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Master’s in Education – Applied Behavior Analysis (Autism)
  • Master’s in Education – Applied Behavior Analysis (General)
8 Capella University
GRENo
LOCATIONMinnesota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Capella is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Master’s in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis
9 Drexel University
GRENo
LOCATIONPennsylvania
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
Drexel is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
10 Endicott College
GRENo
LOCATIONMassachusetts
ACCREDITATIONNECHE
Endicott is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
  • Master’s in Education – Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Master’s in Education – Applied Behavior Analysis
11 McNeese State University
GREYes
LOCATIONLouisiana
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
McNeese is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, bachelor, master, and specialist degrees.
  • Master’s in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis
12 Monmouth University
GRENo
LOCATIONNew Jersey
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
Monmouth is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Master’s in Special Education – Autism/Applied Behavior Analysis
13 National University
GRENo
LOCATIONCalifornia
ACCREDITATIONWSCUC
Since 1977, NU has been accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
  • Master’s in Applied Behavioral Analysis
14 Northeastern University
GRENo
LOCATIONMassachusetts
ACCREDITATIONNECHE
Northeastern University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC).
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
15 Nova Southeastern University
GRENo
LOCATIONFlorida
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
NSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s, educational specialist, doctoral, and professional degrees.
  • Master’s in Counseling – Applied Behavior Analysis
16 Penn State World Campus
GRENo
LOCATIONPennsylvania
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
Penn State World Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
  • Master’s in Special Education – Applied Behavior Analysis
17 Pepperdine University
GRENo
LOCATIONCalifornia
ACCREDITATIONWSCUC
Pepperdine is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges—Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
18 Purdue University Global
GRENo
LOCATIONFlorida
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Purdue University Global is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • Master’s in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis
19 Regis College
GRENo
LOCATIONColorado
ACCREDITATIONNECHE
Regis is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
20 Saint Joseph’s University
GRENo
LOCATIONPennsylvania
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
SJU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Master’s in Special Education – Applied Behavior Analysis
21 Simmons University
GRENo
LOCATIONMassachusetts
ACCREDITATIONNECHE
Simmons is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and by national and regional discipline-specific agencies in the health care field.
  • Master’s in Behavior Analysis
22 Southeast Missouri State University
GRENo
LOCATIONMissouri
ACCREDITATIONHLC
SEMO is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
23 St. Cloud State University
GRENo
LOCATIONMinnesota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
St. Cloud is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
24 The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
GRENo
LOCATIONIllinois
ACCREDITATIONWSCUC
The Chicago School has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) since 2011.
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
25 The Sage Colleges
GRENo
LOCATIONNew York
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
The Sage Colleges is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis & Autism
26 University of Cincinnati
GRENo
LOCATIONOhio
ACCREDITATIONHLC
UC and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • Master’s in Foundations in Behavior Analysis
27 University of Dayton
GRENo
LOCATIONOhio
ACCREDITATIONHLC
UDayton is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
28 University of Kansas
GRENo
LOCATIONKansas
ACCREDITATIONHLC
KU has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1913.
  • Master’s in Applied Behavioral Science
29 University of Nevada – Reno
GREYes
LOCATIONNevada
ACCREDITATIONNWCCU
UNR is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • Master’s in Psychology – Behavior Analysis
30 University of South Florida
GREYes
LOCATIONFlorida
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
USF is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, specialist and doctorate degrees.
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
31 University of Southern Maine
GRENo
LOCATIONMaine
ACCREDITATIONNECHE
USM is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
  • Master’s in Educational Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis
32 University of Washington
GREYes
LOCATIONWashington
ACCREDITATIONNWCCU
UW is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and is a member of the Association of American Universities.
  • Master’s in Special Education – Applied Behavior Analysis
33 Walden University
GRENo
LOCATIONMinnesota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Walden has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1990.
  • Master’s in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis
34 Western Connecticut State University
GRENo
LOCATIONConnecticut
ACCREDITATIONNECHE
WCSU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
  • Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

 

Accelerated Degree logo
This article is brought to you by
Hannah Davis
Hannah Davis
Editor
Isaac Collins
Isaac Collins
Author