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20 Best Online ABA Programs for Master’s Degree 2022

Badge for our ranking of top master's in ABAIn this article, we profile the 20 best online ABA master’s programs from accredited colleges and universities.

An applied behavior analysis (ABA) or applied behavioral psychology master’s program is designed to address concepts and methods associated with behavior. Few accredited ABA master’s programs exist, and even fewer lead to Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification. Those that provide curricula leading to certification will offer the approved course sequences that are required to sit for the certification examination.

All of the schools in this ranking offer ABA master’s programs online. This gives great flexibility for those with busy schedules, or those who are wondering, “Where can I find ABA programs near me?” In a sense, all of the programs included here answer that question, because a student in an online program does not have to relocate to continue their education. They can simply enroll wherever they are and learn with one of these ABA master’s programs online.

Ranking the Best Affordable Online ABA Programs

For the purpose of this list, we looked at approximately 28 regionally and nationally accredited colleges and universities that offer online ABA programs. We chose accredited online ABA master’s degree programs with graduate tuition (inclusive of fees) of less than $40,000 per year. We selected only programs that prepare students to take the exam to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts. We then ranked the schools according to affordability.

20. Western Connecticut State University 

Master’s in ABA

Danbury, Connecticut 

Website

western-connecticut-state-university

Western Connecticut State University’s online masters in ABA provides a flexible, rigorous online education!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $26,477

The online master’s in ABA from Western Connecticut is one of the best online BCBA master’s programs available. It requires 30 credits. Students must submit an online application, a professional resume, and an essay, as well as having a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, an official transcript, and a minimum 2.8 GPA. Courses in this program include introduction to applied behavior analysis, behavior assessment, behavior change procedures, ethics and professional issues, and assistive technology for applied behavior analysis. The course sequence is approved by the Association for Behavior Analysis International, meaning that it contributes to the requirements for the BCBA exam. Western Connecticut State University ranks with U.S. News and World Report among top public schools, best regional universities North, and top performers on social mobility.

19. Oregon Institute of Technology

Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Klamath Falls, Oregon

Website

Oregon Institute of Technology - 10 Online ABA Degree Programs (Bachelor's) 2020

BCBA course sequence followed! Oregon Institute of Technology’s online ABA master’s degree program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $24,315

The Oregon Institute of Technology offers an online master’s in applied behavior analysis. This fully online program prepares students to meet national certification and Oregon licensure requirements. Following the BCBA course sequence, graduates meet the eligibility requirements to take the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst exam. Students take twelve BCBA courses and additional electives. Some of the possible electives you might see within the program include ABA and education, ABA and health, clinical behavior analysis, community behavior analysis, and organizational behavior management. In addition to accreditation, OIT ranks with major publications like U.S. News & World Report. 2022 rankings include #2 in top public schools and #10 in best regional colleges in the West.

18. Texas A&M University

Online M.Ed. in Special Education: Applied Behavioral Analysis

Online M.S. in Special Education: Applied Behavioral Analysis

Brazos County, Texas

M.S. Website

M.Ed. Website

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Two different options to study ABA online!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $24,106

Texas A&M University offers two online options that are similar to online ABA programs. These are the Master of Science in Special Education with the Applied Behavior Analysis concentration and the Master of Education in Special Education with the Applied Behavior analysis concentration. The Master of Education requires 36 credits for completion of the degree. The Master of Science degree requires 32 credits for their thesis option, and 36 credits for their non-thesis option. Completion of these degrees can lead to a certificate in ABA. The ABA certificate at Texas A&M University prepares the student to take the BCBA exam. According to U.S. News & World Report, Texas A&M University tied for #26 in top public schools, as well as ranking among most innovative schools and best national universities. This is one of the best options for those seeking online ABA programs. 

17. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Chicago, Illinois

Website

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology - 20 Best Online ABA Master's Degree Programs 2020

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s online masters in ABA is part-time, online, and requires just 28 months of study!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $23,918

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers both an online master’s in ABA and a master’s in psychology with an ABA concentration. The online master’s in ABA offers the course sequence that is needed to take the BCBA exam, and is approved by the Association for Applied Behavior Analysis International. The program is 28 months long. The program covers topics such as instructional design, precision teaching, and verbal behavior. Admissions requirements include resume or curriculum vitae, an essay, official university or college transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. This is among the top schools for online ABA programs. 

16. SUNY Empire State College

Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Saratoga Springs, New York

Website

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SUNY Empire State College offers one of the most affordable online ABA graduate certificate programs!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $23,660

SUNY Empire State College earns a spot on our list of online ABA master’s degree programs. The program consists of 30 credits, and it serves as preparation and qualification to sit for the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification exam. Courses include functional behavior assessment, developing & increasing socially significant behaviors, ethics in applied behavior analysis, and supervision and staff training. SUNY Empire State College ranks with U.S. News & World Report among top regional universities North, and tied for #50 in social mobility.  

15. Northeastern University

Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

Northeastern University - 10 Best ABA Master's Degree Programs 2020

Northeastern University’s online master’s in applied behavior analysis is accredited and affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $23,510

This online master of science in applied behavior analysis is offered through the Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. The program prepares students for several career options. They may choose to fill supervisory roles as behavior analysts, but they will be equally well-prepared to work as independent consultants. The program should take 18-24 months, and the website describes it as a part-time commitment. An optional two-semester intensive practicum course allows students to complete the hours of supervised experience that they need in order to sit for the BCBA exam. Northeastern University ranks with U. S. News & World Report among best value schools. 

14. University of South Florida

Online MA in ABA

Tampa, Florida

Website

University of South Florida Logo

The online ABA program at University of South Florida is one of the top accredited ABA master’s programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,126

This online MA in ABA is available from the University of South Florida. Classes are delivered fully online. This program, one of the best online programs available, offers several unique features. Practicum Seminars are available for the students who plan to complete their supervised experience and sit for the BCBA exam. The seven classes needed for that exam are “embedded within the program,” according to the website. Also, independent study helps students develop research skills, and all courses are taught by doctoral-level behavior analysts. In addition to online ABA programs, USF also offers an MS program in ABA, which takes place on campus. 

13. Saint Joseph’s University

Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Website

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Graduate in 30 credits from the online ABA master’s program at Saint Joseph’s University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $38,850

The online master’s in ABA from Saint Joseph’s University prepares graduates to take the BCBA exam. The program requires 30 credits, which are taken at a rate of six to nine per semester for a full-time student and three or less for a part-time student. This program offers fall, spring and summer start dates. Work experience is not technically required for admission to the program, but is recommended. Saint Joseph’s University also offers a 4+1 program, in which students who are earning a bachelor’s in autism behavioral studies or in psychology can begin earning their credits for the master’s early. This way, after they have earned their bachelor’s degree, it only takes them one year to earn their online master’s in applied behavior analysis. Saint Joseph’s University tied for #8 in regional universities North, according to U.S. News & World Report, and ranks #3 in best colleges for veterans. This is one of the best online ABA programs

12. Cairn University

Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Langhorne, Pennsylvania

Website

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A ranked and accredited online ABA program – Cairn University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,596

Cairn University offers an online master’s in applied behavioral analysis that consists of 30 credits and takes a little over 20 months to complete. The program is designed to equip professionals with teaching and intervention skills based on ABA principles. Intensive practicum courses have earned verification from the BACB and meet the experience requirements necessary to sit for the BCBA exam. The courses are delivered asynchronously over the course of seven-week terms. In addition to accreditation, Cairn ranks with U.S. News & World Report among the best universities in the North and top performers on social mobility.             

11. University of North Texas

Master’s in Behavior Analysis Online

Denton, Texas

Website

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Earn an accredited online master’s in ABA at University of North Texas!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,870

University of North Texas, with this master’s in behavior analysis online, prepares students to take the exam to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts. Also, it prepares them to work with patients in healthcare institutions, people with intellectual/developmental disabilities, and children who have been diagnosed with autism, among others. All classes are completed online, with no scheduled meetings; students can complete coursework any day of the week, at any time of day. BCBA coursework is also available as a separate certificate. University of North Texas offers one of the best online BCBA master’s programs available.

10. Bowling Green State University

Online Master of Education in Special Education – Applied Behavior Analysis Specialization

Bowling Green, Ohio

Website

Bowling Green State University’s online, accredited ABA master’s programs are certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,825

Bowling Green State University offers a degree that is very similar to online ABA programs, and prepares students to take the BCBA exam. The degree is technically a master’s in education in special education, with a concentration in ABA. This versatile degree could serve as a supplement to a teaching career, giving the teacher knowledge of applied behavior analysis to be used in the classroom. On the other hand, the student in this program could choose to go into ABA and primarily be a behavior analyst, in which case what they have learned about teaching in the classroom would be a useful supplement to their education. No matter what career the student chooses, we have included this master of education in special education degree in this listing because of its versatility and because it prepares students to take the BCBA exam.

9. National University

Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis

San Diego, California

Website

Study ABA online at National University!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,480 

The ABA master’s online offered at National University can be completed 100 percent online. Throughout that ABAI-approved curriculum, students focus their skills in all areas of the highly specialized field. The 10-course sequence includes eight courses that go towards preparation to sit for the BCBA exam. National University teaches the fundamental principles of radical behavioralism as it applies to behavior analysis, as well as integrating the Code of Ethics into learning and behavior assessment. National University tied for #68 in top performers on social mobility, according to U.S. News & World Report.

8. Capella University

Online Master’s in ABA – Organizational Behavior Management, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or Behavior Analysis in Education

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website: 

MS-ABA: Organizational Behavior Management

MS-ABA: Autism Spectrum Disorder

MS-ABA: Behavior Analysis in Education

A logo for Capella University for our ranking of the top 10 online bachelor's in applied behavior analysis

3 options from Capella University for an ABA master’s online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,784

Capella University offers not one, but three options for online master’s in applied behavior analysis programs. One option is the online master’s in ABA: behavior analysis in education. This program prepares students to use behavior analysis in the context of K-12 and university education. The online master’s in ABA: autism spectrum disorder could be a highly useful degree for those who are interested in ABA, since behavior analysts often work with clients who have been diagnosed with autism. Finally, the third ABA master’s online from Capella University is the online master’s in ABA: organizational behavior management. This takes a unique angle on applied behavior analysis to allow it to be applied to solving issues in the workplace. All three of these ABA programs online prepare students to take the BCBA examination. 

7. Saint Cloud State University

Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Website

Saint Cloud State University - 10 Best ABA Master’s Degree Programs in the West

St. Cloud State University’s online master’s in applied behavior analysis is BACB-approved.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,415

Saint Cloud State University offers one of the best ABA programs online on our list. The online applied behavioral analysis master’s is both accredited and BACB-approved. In fact, the program is one of the few online ABA-accredited programs in the world. All courses are led by PhD-level instructors. Some of the courses include advanced applied behavior analysis, behavioral applications, experimental analysis of behavior, and behavioral assessment. Students may choose between a graduate plan that requires a thesis and one that requires a comprehensive exam. St. Cloud ranks with U.S. News & World Report as having tied for both #85 in social mobility and #29 in top public schools.

6. Mary Baldwin University

Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Staunton, Virginia

Website

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One of the most affordable online ABA master’s degree programs on our list is offered by Mary Baldwin University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,170

One of the most affordable online ABA programs on our list is offered by Mary Baldwin University. Students work closely with professors to ensure they are getting the one-on-one attention that they need, and they may choose to complete the program either 100% online or 100% in-person. Registered Behavior Technicians get a 10% discount on the program. The program is BACB-approved and meets the requirements necessary to sit for the certification exam. Mary Baldwin is ranked by U.S. News & World Report, and this is one of the top ABA master’s programs available.

5. Endicott College

Online M.Ed. in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis, Severe or Moderate Concentrations 

Online MS in Applied Behavior Analysis

Beverly, Massachusetts

Website

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100% online – Endicott College’s online M.Ed. in autism and ABA.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,746

Endicott College offers a 100 percent online master’s in ABA for students wishing to meet the needs of this population. This program requires no GRE for admission and offers small class sizes. Coursework is delivered online, and classes are flexibly designed to accommodate working professionals. There is more than one degree available. Available programs are the Master of Education in Special Education and ABA – Moderate; Master of Education in Special Education and ABA – Severe; and Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis. See program website for more information on these programs. 

4. National Louis University

MS in Applied Behavior Analysis

Chicago, Illinois

Website

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National Louis University’s online master’s in ABA aligns with the BACB standards.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,096

National Louis University offers this high-quality ABA master’s online. Students in the online ABA program take courses like ethics in applied behavior analysis, concepts and principles of behavior analysis, and experimental analysis of behavior. Admission requirements include a written statement of professional goals, two professional letters of recommendation, and submission to review by faculty. Students must complete Thesis Capstone courses and graduate from all classes with a grade of “B” or higher to graduate with a master’s in ABA. This program prepares students to sit for the BCBA examination. 

3. Southeast Missouri State University

Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Website

Southeast Missouri State University - 20 Best Online ABA Master's Degree Programs 2020

Southeast Missouri State University offers this affordable online master’s in ABA.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,593

Southeast Missouri State University’s affordable online master’s in applied behavior analysis can be completed in two years. Not only is the degree program affordable, it is entirely online, meaning that students will not need to travel to campus to learn. Students learn when it’s convenient for them. This means holding a job is possible while earning an online ABA master’s at Southeast Missouri State. Courses offered include conceptual topics in behavior analysis; ethics, disciplinary systems, and professionalism in applied behavior analysis; and methods for studying the behavior of individuals. Southeast Missouri State ranks among best value schools and best colleges for veterans, according to U.S. News & World Report.

2. Purdue University Global

Master’s in Psychology Online with Applied Behavior Analysis Concentration

West Lafayette, Indiana

Website

Purdue University Global - 10 Online ABA Degree Programs (Bachelor's) 2020

Earn an online master’s in ABA at Purdue University Global.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,582

Purdue University Global, known for its online degree programs, offers this master’s in psychology online. However, unlike other master’s in psychology programs, this program offers an ABA concentration for those who are interested in using the study of behavior to improve the lives of others. The program is designed to help students prepare for the BCBA examination. According to the program’s website, the faculty of this program have experience in the real world, as well as the required academic credentials. The course is given in 10-week terms, and typically takes two years to complete. Purdue University ranks with U.S. News & World Report, coming in at #5 in Top Public Schools.

1. Arizona State University Digital Immersion

Online Master’s in Special Education – Applied Behavior Analysis

Tempe, Arizona

Website

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#1 most affordable! Arizona State University offers online ABA master’s degree programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,982

Ranked #1 on our list of best online ABA master’s programs, Arizona State University’s ABA program equips students with the skills needed for a successful career. This 30-credit, 10-class program pairs research and hands-on experience to prepare students to work in professional settings with special needs patients. Classes run seven and a half weeks in length and cover topics like behavior analytic assessment, behavior change procedures, concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis, ethics of applied behavior analysis, and philosophical foundations of applied behavior analysis in educational settings. In addition to affordability and accreditation, ASU ranks with U.S. News & World Report as #117 among best national universities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a master’s in applied behavior analysis?

There are multiple career opportunities for someone with a master’s in ABA. Drexel University’s website lists several options; we describe a few of them below. 

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Typically, someone with a master’s in ABA will seek certification with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). Then they will practice applied behavior analysis, whether this is in a private practice, with a school, or in some other situation. They will use the study of behavior to improve the lives of their clients. Often, those with a master’s will be in a supervisory role. This might include making long-term plans for a client, as well as interacting with clients’ parents or teachers. 

  • Social Worker

Social work is another area in which someone with an ABA degree could find employment. Skills that are taught in a master’s in ABA program, as well as knowledge of human behavior, could be useful for someone who is interested in social work. Social workers work with those who have unmet needs. This could be those who are ill, children in foster care, adults who are going through divorce, or those with special needs, among other circumstances. This is a career option for those who want to make a difference in the lives of others. 

  • Wellness Coach

A wellness coach is a professional who helps their clients to better understand how to achieve their goals, whether these are professional goals, health goals, or other lifestyle goals. Applied behavior analysts can use their knowledge of behavior to help motivate their clients to apply themselves to their goals. This is a unique career option for those with a master’s degree in ABA. 

What steps should I follow to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)?

According to the BACB website, a BCBA “is a graduate-level certification in behavior analysis.” The first step is to meet eligibility requirements. There are four pathways. These pathways are: successful completion of an ABAI-accredited degree, behavior-analytic coursework, faculty teaching and research, or postdoctoral experience. Having completed one of these pathways, students must apply and then take and pass the BCBA exam. Once someone is officially a BCBA, they must maintain their certification by complying with ethics requirements, continuing their education, and re-certifying every two years. 

What is the difference between licensure and certification? 

Certification, in the world of ABA, refers to being certified by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB), while licensure is the process of being allowed to practice in a certain state. Some states have no licensure requirements at all. Others require only that a behavior analyst be board certified in order to practice. Still others require a different test for those who wish to be licensed; someone who is licensed is known as a Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA). There is an ongoing debate as to whether licensure should be federally regulated, state-regulated, or regulated only by the BACB. States keep adding licensure requirements; the latest state to require licensure was Wyoming, in 2022. Due to the constantly changing nature of these requirements, it is very important to research the licensure requirements for each state. The BACB website provides details about the requirements for each state; the article can be found here.

How is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst different from a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst or a Registered Behavior Technician?

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is someone who has earned a graduate-level degree in ABA and been certified by the BACB. A BCBA is usually in a supervisory position; this may include assessment of clients’ needs, making long-term goals, and interacting with the clients’ parents. A Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) is the bachelor’s-level equivalent of this certification; as the name implies, these individuals act as assistants to BCBAs. Becoming a Registered Behavior Technician, or RBT, requires only a 40-hour training course and a high school diploma. RBTs often have a great deal of interaction with clients, as well as keeping records and performing other duties to assist the BCBA.  

Why earn an online master’s? What is it like to study online?

There are several advantages to earning a degree online. The first advantage that comes to mind is location independence. An online degree can be earned from whatever location is convenient. This means that those who are already employed can continue their education without having to stop work. In addition, those with family or other responsibilities will not have to abandon these in order to earn their master’s degree. Another advantage to earning an online degree is cost. According to Affordable Colleges Online, online degrees cost significantly less on average than in-person degrees. 

Online degrees offer scheduling freedom as well, especially schools that offer asynchronous classes. Asynchronous means that there is no specific time at which school work must be completed; students complete the work at their own pace. Often, this work comes in the form of required reading and a written response to be turned in. Professors may also ask for video presentations or other assignments that can be turned in online. This method works well for those who are self-motivated and able to stay on top of things. 

Synchronous classes offer the chance to interact with the professor, as well as other students, usually over a video call. Online classes delivered this way offer slightly less freedom as far as time goes, but they have the advantage of motivation. It is easier for some to stay motivated when there is a required time that they must log in. 

There can be challenges to earning an online degree. Since the degree is online, students spend a lot of time alone in front of a computer. It can be difficult to remain motivated and complete coursework entirely online. Also, some courses, especially the more practical courses, are simply easier to complete in person. However, online master’s in ABA programs have come up with innovative solutions to help students complete coursework online. 

In the end, it is up to each student to decide what works for them. Some may decide that it is too difficult for them to earn an online degree. However, for some, independence of location, lower cost, and scheduling freedom make earning a degree online the best choice.

Related Resources:

ABA Staff

June 2022

This concludes our ranking of the top 20 online ABA master’s programs.