How Much Do Applied Behavior Analysts Make?

How much applied behavior analysts make in wages is often a large concern for individuals considering a career in applied behavior analysis. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a form of therapy that focuses on improving certain behaviors by determining what causes the behaviors and replacing them with other behaviors. An applied behavior analyst’s wages vary by many things. Here is an overview of the career and the wage potentials.

What Factors Determine Wages?

Someone interested in pursuing a career as an applied behavior analyst may get general wage information. While some might be accurate, other wage information might be inaccurate because it’s factor-related. In other words, the applied behavior analyst’s wages can be affected by various factors.

• Education Level – Although applied behavior analysts are only required to have a bachelor’s degree, many have master’s or doctoral degrees. The higher the education level, the better the wage and career opportunities. PayScale reports that applied behavior analysts with bachelor’s degrees earned an average yearly salary of $47,581, while ABAs with a master’s degree earned about $55,862 an increase of more than 17 percent.

• Experience – As is the case with most work, the more experience the analyst has, the better the wages. Applied behavior analysts with starting entry-level positions earned wages ranging from $32,000 to $43,000 annually, while those five to 10 years of experience earned $45,000 to $55,000. ABAs working for more than 10 years earned from $50,000 to $65,000 or more.

• Location – Where the applied behavior analyst works plays a large role in potential wages because some areas are more competitive or may have higher costs of living. The top-paying cities for ABA therapists are New York, NY, Boston, MA, Los Angeles, CA, San Francisco, CA, and San Antonio, TX. The lowest-paying cities for ABA therapists are Greenville, NC, Houston, TX, Indianapolis, IN, Philadelphia, PA and San Diego, CA.

• Certification – Applied Behavior Analysts who are board-certified typically earn much higher wages. Many Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA®) earned wages that ranged from $75,000 to $145,000 or more.

Average Wages for Applied Behavior Analysts

The increasing awareness of its use as a successful treatment for autism has made applied behavior analysis recognized as a treatment for several other disorders. This recognition and respect have increased the career outlook and wage potential for applied behavior analysts. The wages for ABA therapists can vary by who is reporting the information as well. The average annual wage for applied behavior analysts was $33,898 as of a June 2018 wage report by PayScale. Wages ranged from $24,820 to $49,098. The average hourly rate was $15.77.

How to Become an Applied Behavior Analyst

Becoming an applied behavior analyst requires earning at least a master’s degree in behavior analysis, education or psychology. In addition to the graduate degree, candidates should have work experience obtained through fieldwork or a supervised practicum or internship. Obtaining national certification is also a requirement in many areas.

States differ in their licensing requirements, so candidates pursuing careers as ABAs should check with their state’s licensing board for requirements. Applied behavior analysis is still relatively new in many states, and these states have included specific wording into their medical insurance laws requiring that ABAs have master’s degree and certification or equivalent education.

Applied behavior analysts are therapists who are in positions to help adults and children with various health-related disorders and issues, which can be rewarding and satisfying. They work in homes, schools, clinics and various other settings. By gaining experience and keeping up with education, applied behavior analysts can make the best possible wages.

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