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

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is becoming a popular and rewarding field, and many aspiring ABA professionals wonder if it’s possible to earn a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis online. The great news is that it’s not only possible to earn a master’s in ABA master’s degree online, but that many colleges offer this program through distance learning.

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Applied Behavior Analysis is a type of therapy that deals with the science of learning and behavior. By studying an individual’s behavior, the ABA therapist can understand how an individual works, how his or her behavior is affected by the environment and how the individual can be taught to behave differently.

As opposed to traditional therapy, which tries to determine what in the individual’s past caused the behavior, ABA looks for ways to replace the behavior with more appropriate behavior. ABA therapy helps patients with communication, language, attention, social skill, focus, memory and behavior problems. Each patient is treated differently because they each have their own issues.

What is the Online ABA Program Like

Online ABA programs are very similar to on-campus programs in terms of curriculum. The main difference is that online students complete their courses over the internet at their own pace. A typical master’s degree program requires the student to complete about 36 credits. Most of the courses can be completed online, but there may be a couple of courses that require face-to-face participation.

Depending on the school, many of the programs may not require GRE scores. The online students may also be required to complete a supervised internship at an approved facility. The student will usually have to find an internship. Most accredited online ABA graduate degree programs prepare students to take the ABA certification exams.

Careers Possible for Graduates

The most common career choice for graduates of an ABA program is counseling, but there are various other careers available to graduates. Although someone with an undergraduate degree in applied behavior analysis can work as a board-certified assistant behavior analyst or a registered behavior technician, the candidate must have a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis to obtain certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Here are a few careers possible for a graduate of an applied behavior analysis master’s degree program.

• Applied Behavior Analyst

• Counselors

• Psychological Assistant

• Special Education Assistant

• Social Work

• Health Coaches

• Personal Health and Wellness Trainers

• Licensed Psychologist

• Animal Behavior Consultant

• Clinical Research

Career Outlook

Graduates of applied behavior analysis programs generally have good career outlooks and wage potentials. Applied behavior analysis may be grouped in the category of substance abuse, behavior disorder, and mental health counselor as well as that of psychologists. Both of these careers are predicted to have good job growth.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that substance abuse, behavior disorder, and mental health counselors should see a job growth of 23% between 2016 and 2026 while psychologists should see a job growth of 14%. PayScale reports that Board Certified Behavior Analysts earned an average annual wage of $57,988 as of November 2018.

Related Resource: 10 Best ABA Master’s Degree Programs

Some positions in the ABA field are not possible without a graduate degree. Being able to earn a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis online allows undergraduate students to work and gain experience while earning the master’s degree. This is extremely beneficial because many jobs require work experience as well as the degree.