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Enhance the lives of individuals with developmental and behavioral disabilities.

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Why earn a master's degree in ABA online?

Prepare for a career in applied behavior analysis

Gain in-field ABA training that will give you the real-world expertise you need — at your own pace and without having to relocate.

Specialize to work with specific populations

Upgrade and update your knowledge and focus on the populations you want to work with, in a flexible, online format that features a blend of live classes and engaging asynchronous coursework.

Connect with like-minded peers

Find the university, the learner, and the faculty networks that align with your values — and join them from the comfort of your home or office

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What is applied behavior analysis?

Applied behavior analysis is a fast-paced career that fosters meaningful behavioral change in individuals across the lifespan. As a behavioral analyst, you will assess behavior, lead evidence-based therapy, and enhance the lives of your clients and their families. You’ll be qualified to work in diverse settings, from healthcare facilities to special education environments.

Admissions requirements for an online ABA program

Requirements and prerequisites for an online ABA program vary based on university and program. In general, most programs require:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and official college transcripts

  • A minimum GPA score

  • Standardized test scores, such as the GRE or GMAT

  • A personal essay or a statement of purpose

  • A résumé or CV

  • Letters of recommendation

Some online ABA programs no longer require GRE scores when applying. However, they may require learners to have a bachelor’s degree in ABA or another relevant field such as psychology or education. Programs might also require an academic writing sample about a field-related subject.

Applied behavior analysis curriculum

An online master’s in applied behavior analysis might take anywhere from one to four years to complete. Timelines vary depending on your program of choice as well as your preferred schedule — full time, part time, accelerated, or extended. It is recommended that ABA programs have a Verified Course Sequence (VCS) as approved by ABAI (Association for Behavior Analysis International).

When you enter your online masters in applied behavior analysis program, you will engage with multidisciplinary courses and electives that cover the spectrum of the field. These courses and electives may include:

Course examples

  • Educational research and experimental design

  • Concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis

  • Behavior analysis and principles of development

  • Ethics in applied behavior analysis

Elective examples

  • Positive behavioral approaches

  • Disability studies and special education law

  • Teaching methods for students with autism

  • Special topics in autism

Potential applied behavior analyst job titles include:

  • Substance abuse therapist

  • Pediatric behavioral therapist

  • Sports psychologist

  • Special education teacher

  • School counselor or psychologist

  • Mental health clinical director

  • Social worker

  • Brain injury therapist

  • Criminal profiler

How to become an applied behavior analyst online

Learners interested in the field of applied behavior analysis typically hold an undergraduate degree in social work, behavior analysis, education or similar degree. Many learners earn their bachelor’s degree in psychology with an ABA focus. They can choose to become a BCaBA (Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst). These professionals hold a bachelor's-level certification, and require supervision under a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst). Explore online BCBA programs here.

In order to practice without supervision, learners must hold a master’s degree or doctorate in applied behavior analysis or a related field. For instance, some ABA professionals possess a master’s in psychology. They must also pass the BACB (Behavior Analyst Certification Board) exam. Master’s-level professionals need to complete up to 2,000 hours of supervised fieldwork experience to qualify for the exam.

Find the best online ABA program for your career

Discover online ABA master’s programs that check every box. You may consider these factors when you’re evaluating which is the best online program for you:

  • School prestige: Explore top-ranked universities and ABAI-accredited programs that will train you to be an expert applied behavior analyst in the field.

  • Length of study: Choose an online master’s program with a length and flexibility of study that best suits your busy schedule: full time, part time, accelerated, or extended.

  • Behavior analysis practicums: Explore the different in-person behavioral analysis practicums required by different universities — these practicums will help you prepare for your exam.

  • Graduation rates: Review graduation and licensure rates to better understand the quality of an online master’s program.

  • Career outcomes: Learn what to expect from the job market, and research post-graduation employment rates of program alumni.

Frequently asked questions

Learners with a master’s in applied behavior analysis are one step closer to certification. They must complete any remaining field work hours prior to sitting for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Examination. There are two options: 2,000 hours of supervised field work or 1,500 hours of concentrated supervised field work. Some states may require applicants to apply for a license after the certificate is obtained. In order to be licensed, students may be required to complete additional examinations or other requirements, depending on the state they wish to practice in.

ABA, or applied behavior analysis, is the field itself. A BCaBA is a bachelor's-level certification. BCaBA professionals provide applied behavior analysis therapy under ongoing supervision. A BCBA is a master’s-level certification. BCBA professionals can practice without supervision.

An online master’s in applied behavior analysis can take between one to four years to complete. However, your chosen schedule can impact your timeline. Research your preferred university’s online master’s in applied behavior analysis program to determine when you would graduate.

Some online master’s in applied behavior analysis programs may be 100% online. However, in order to sit for the BACB exam, ABA professionals must complete up to 2,000 hours of supervised field experience.

Learners interested in non-supervised ABA practice should consider a master’s in applied behavior analysis. You’ll lead evidence-based therapy, teach life-changing skills, and reinforce positive behaviors in children and adults with developmental disorders.

Applied behavior analysts observe and treat children and adults with developmental and behavioral disorders. These professionals teach their clients essential communication and social skills, and reduce negative behavioral patterns through evidence-based therapy. They work in a range of settings, including schools, rehabilitation facilities, and mental health centers.

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