This article profiles the 10 best online ABA bachelor’s degree programs. These are all from accredited colleges and universities.
Ranking the Top Online Bachelor’s in Applied Behavior Analysis Degrees
For this list, we looked at 15 regionally and nationally accredited colleges and universities. Those we looked at offer board-certified assistant behavior analyst online programs. They might also offer closely related degree programs. All but two of the ABA programs on our list meet certification exam criteria. That means these qualify as BCaBA certification programs online. In other words, the program adheres to the standards of BCBA certification. They offer the course sequence required to sit for the exam. We ranked the board-certified assistant behavior analyst online programs according to affordability. We based this on out-of-state tuition.
Master of Applied Behavior Analysis
Bachelor's holders, earn your master's in ABA in as few as 24 months with the University of Dayton's online program without taking the GRE. Through the ABAI-verified course sequence, you'll complete fieldwork practicum hours and be prepared to sit for the BCBA® exam and advance your career. Learn more.
Simmons University's Online Master's in Behavior Analysis
No GRE is required to apply to Simmons' respected, ABAI-verified MS in Behavior Analysis. Graduate in 20 months with all required supervised field hours and the knowledge to take the BCBA® exam and assume leadership roles in the growing field of applied behavior analysis.
Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis
Earn your master’s in applied behavior analysis in less than 2 years online at Pepperdine. Experience clinical training and prepare to sit for the board certified behavior analyst exam. GRE not required.
Below is our list of the 10 best online applied behavior analysis bachelor’s degrees for 2021.
10. Saint Joseph’s University
General Studies (Autism Studies Concentration)
Undergraduate Tuition: $47,940
- the causes and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder
- the needs of students with autism spectrum disorder
- how those needs can be met
- what it means to conduct themselves in an ethical and professional manner
- how to analyze and change harmful behavior
9. Mary Baldwin University
Online Bachelor’s in Autism Studies and Applied Behavior Analysis
Undergraduate Tuition: $31,110
- ABA ethics and professional standards
- behavior assessment
- behavior change procedures
- data collection and research design
- characteristics and assessment of autism spectrum disorders
- social skills instruction
8. Ball State University
Online Bachelor’s in Applied Behavior Analysis (Autism)
Undergraduate Tuition: $27,132
- the minor in autism spectrum disorders
- the applied behavior analysis specialization
- the minor in applied behavior analysis
7. University of Arizona Global Campus
Online Bachelor’s in Applied Behavioral Science
San Diego, California
Undergraduate Tuition: $12,160
- applied behavioral sciences
- introduction to applied behavioral science
- psychological assessment
- research methods
- statistics for the behavioral and social sciences
6. Central Methodist University
Online Bachelor’s in Applied Behavior Analysis
Undergraduate Tuition: $25,780
- developmental delays
- other related conditions
- behavior assessment
- behavior change procedures
- leadership and management in ABA
- research and data analysis methods
- verbal behavioral analysis
- #78 in best regional universities in the Midwest
- #15 in top performers on social mobility
5. University of West Florida
Online Minor in Applied Behavior Analysis
Undergraduate Tuition: $19,241
- BCBA certification
- BCaBA certification
- RBT certification
- functional applications of behavior analysis in health science
- health science essentials of behavior analysis
- methodology in behavior analysis in health science
- problem identification and functional assessment in health science.
UWF ranks with U.S. News & World Report as the 36th best regional university and 56th best value school.
4. Purdue University Global
Online Bachelor’s in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis
Undergraduate Tuition: $14,478
- autism spectrum disorders in young children
- clinical psychology
- exceptional needs children
- personality development
- program design and evaluation
3. Capella University
BS in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis
Undergraduate Tuition: $14,148
- evaluate behavior
- understand collected data
- identify which areas need to be changed
- plan for change
- put plans into action to help people with behavioral issues
2. Troy University
Online Bachelor’s in Psychology – Applied Behavior Analysis Minor
Undergraduate Tuition: $8,112
Troy University offers a psychology degree. It is a great option for those interested in an online bachelor’s in applied behavior analysis program. In fact, the online bachelor’s in psychology offers four minors. One of these is in applied behavior analysis. The BCaBA courses in the ABA minor meet the BCBA certification standards. This is one of the best BCaBA online programs. The program offers small class sizes and a rigorous curriculum. It is available on several campuses as a hybrid or in an entirely on-campus program. It is also available in the online format we highlight here. Troy is ranked with major publications like U.S. News & World Report. It comes in 51st among best regional universities in the South and 48th among best value schools.
1. Bellevue University
Online Bachelor’s in Behavioral Science
Undergraduate Tuition: $7,851
Bellevue University offers the most affordable degree on our list. It is not strictly an online applied behavior analysis bachelor’s degree. Also, it does not lead to certification. Still, it is a very similar degree. This is an online bachelor’s in behavioral science. In this degree program, students learn about how to analyze individuals’ behavior. They learn how to design plans to make changes take place in that individual’s behavior, and in their life. Bellevue University offers a convenient option. Someone can transfer in with an associate’s degree. Then they can earn the bachelor’s degree as part of an accelerated cohort where one course is taken at a time. Bellevue University ranks #139 in top performers on social mobility with US News & World Report. This degree comes in at #1 for top online applied behavior analysis bachelor’s degree programs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is applied behavior analysis?
Applied behavior analysis is a relatively new field. According to the BACB (Behavior Analyst Certification Board), it began in the early 20th century. It has been used since the 1950s. It has mostly been applied to help those on the autism spectrum, so it is well known in that area, but it is useful for many different problems.
Applied behavior analysis uses the study of behavior to help people stop behaviors that are harmful and gain new behaviors that are more beneficial. According to the website, thousands of scientific studies over time have determined that behavior is very much a product of circumstances, especially of what happens directly after the behavior. If the circumstances surrounding a particular behavior change, the behavior itself will often change. It is up to the behavior analyst to determine how best to accomplish this. Often, this will be accomplished by observing and collecting data, analyzing the data, coming up with a plan to modify harmful behaviors, and putting that plan into practice.
According to Autism Speaks, behavior analysts often use positive reinforcement, which connects a positive behavior with a reward of some kind. When the desired behavior takes place, the reward is given. Behavior analysts must also understand the principles of antecedent-behavior-consequence, or what leads up to the behavior, the behavior itself, and what happens after the behavior, since, as noted above, the events immediately following a particular behavior may influence whether that behavior is repeated.
For children, according to Child Mind Institute, applied behavior analysis is often play-based. That means that a child and a therapist will not be sitting at a desk, but playing with toys on the floor in a way that the child will find engaging. Often, the ABA therapist is trained to be very engaging, fun, and even silly in order to help the child enjoy their time learning new behaviors.
What is a BCaBA?
BCaBA stands for Board-Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst. According to the BACB , the BCaBA is an applied behavior analysis certification at the undergraduate level. The board-certified assistant behavior analyst always works under the guidance of a BCBA (Board-Certified Behavior Analyst.) They may, however, be supervisors of RBTs (Registered Behavior Technicians.)
How is a BCaBA different from an RBT?
RBT stands for Registered Behavior Technician. According to the BACB website, this is a paraprofessional certification. In order to qualify, you don’t need a degree, but you do need to be eighteen years old, have a high school diploma, complete a 40-hour training, and pass a background check and an initial competency assessment. Then, after taking and passing the RBT exam, you must still be supervised, meet ethics requirements, and renew every year.
How do I become a BCaBA?
To become a BCaBA, you must have earned a degree, taken the proper BCaBA coursework, and completed supervised experience. Once the requirements are met, you can apply and then, if accepted, you can take the BCaBA exam. Once you have passed the exam, you can practice as a BCaBA. As noted above, this will be under the supervision of a BCBA. However, in order to maintain your status as a BCaBA, you must continue to be supervised, meet ethics requirements, meet continuing education requirements, and recertify every two years.
How much will I make with an online bachelor’s in applied behavior analysis degree?
BCaBAs, according to Zip Recruiter, make an average of $71,738 per year. This works out to about $34 an hour. This is the national average. The website lists the highest-paying states for BCaBAs. The top 10, in order, were Washington, Maryland, Kentucky, New York, Nebraska, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, South Carolina, and Delaware. The five highest-paying cities were San Mateo, California; Berkeley, California; Daly City, California; Richmond, California; and Stamford, Connecticut.
Once I’m a BCaBA, how can I advance my career?
Usually, the next step is to become a BCBA (Board-Certified Behavior Analyst.) This will put you in a more supervisory role. This requires a master’s degree or certificate that contains the courses required by the BACB, and you must take and pass the exam to become a BCBA. Zip Recruiter lists $87,535 per year, or about $42 per hour, as the national average salary for BCBAs.
What kind of person should be a BCaBA?
According to I Love ABA, if you want to be an ABA therapist and plan to work with children, you must genuinely enjoy being around children, and you must have good interpersonal skills. You must be consistent and take your job seriously, and you must become invested in the progress of those you are helping. Also, you must continue to improve your own skills in the area. Another important factor is that you have a passion for helping others, because, at its heart, that is what this field does. You must go into the field with an understanding of its challenges, as well. ABA can have frequent setbacks and difficulties, and it is important that a prospective ABA therapist recognize this.
What jobs can I get in ABA?
Drexel University lists several jobs that are available in the field of ABA. Career possibilities include working as a board-certified assistant behavior analyst, which is described in more detail above. Another career option is to work as a special education teacher; this will require more certification. Working as a wellness coach is also an option. A wellness coach is hired to help someone get their life more in order, whether it is helping them with their work-life balance, their exercise habits, or other parts of their life that they wish to change. There are several more career options related to ABA; however, some of them require additional degrees. See Drexel University’s website for more ideas.
Is an online bachelor’s degree respected?
According to Northeastern University, bachelor’s degrees are becoming more and more popular, leading to more respect in the workplace. In addition, employers recognize that online degrees require self-discipline and self-motivation, which means that those who complete them have those skills. Employers are not likely to look down on your online degree; rather, they are likely to admire the motivation it took to earn that degree.
Updated March 2023
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