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Best Online Master’s Degrees in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Best Online Master’s Degrees in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

With a master’s in ABA online, you’ll be equipped with tools to transform the lives of people who have developmental disabilities. Discover how these flexible programs elevate your career so you can make a meaningful impact.

Earning a master’s in applied behavior analysis (ABA) online prepares you to work with people of all ages, with a goal of helping them overcome behavioral challenges to improve their quality of life. You’ll gain the skills to observe and measure human behavior, design intervention plans, make data-driven decisions, and reduce problematic behaviors. With a master’s in ABA online, graduates transition to careers as clinical supervisors, program directors, or consultants who mentor other behavior analysts.

The demand for ABA professionals will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. As a graduate of a master’s program in ABA online, you’ll benefit from long-term career stability and the flexibility to work in various settings, such as in schools, clinics, healthcare facilities, rehabilitation centers, and even private practice. Graduates report high job satisfaction, knowing that their expertise helps clients lead happier, more fulfilling lives.

To help you make an informed decision about the best master’s programs in ABA online, here’s what you need to know to apply, get accepted, and graduate.

Program Spotlights: ABA Master’s Degrees Online

ABA-certified professionals command higher salaries compared to those with only a bachelor’s degree in psychology. This increased earning potential can have a significant impact on your long-term financial stability and career satisfaction. The trick is to find a master’s in ABA online program that fits your schedule and allows you to keep up with both your studies and your family and work commitments.

Let’s explore three exceptional institutions that offer online master’s degree programs in applied behavior analysis. While these programs vary in goals, outcomes, and courses, they all meet the crucial standard of regional accreditation, which guarantees educational quality.

Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University’s master’s degree in applied behavior analysis online prepares you to become a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA). This program equips you with the skills and knowledge to work with people from diverse backgrounds and in settings from education to rehabilitation. 

Highlights of the program include:

  • Curriculum: Offers in-depth coursework covering behavior analysis, assessment procedures, and clinical intervention strategies for behavior change. 
  • Learning Outcomes: Graduates are prepared to work with people with autism, developmental disabilities, and those needing residential support. You’ll help patients develop skills for functioning in educational, family, social, and work roles.
  • Career Outcomes: Upon completion of the program, you’ll be eligible to take the BCBA exam or work in educational and clinical settings.
  • Standout Student Services: Pepperdine offers convenient student support services to assist online learners. Mentorship is also available, which includes personal assistance from faculty practitioners. The Pepperdine Careers Center offers advising and access to the alumni network. 
  • Admissions Requirements: No GRE is required but you must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. You must reside in the United States while applying and throughout the program’s duration. Various start dates are offered.
  • Tuition Costs: The average annual cost for tuition and fees is $69,375 with a per-unit tuition rate of $1,875. Pepperdine offers a tuition calculator to help you get a better understanding of the total cost of your degree.
  • Program Duration and Credit Requirements: The curriculum requires five to seven sessions, 37 units, and six units of supervised field placement. The program can be completed in one-and-a-half to three years, depending on the pace of coursework. 
  • Financial Aid Opportunities: Financial aid opportunities are available for students, who can use military education benefits, employer tuition assistance, federal student loans, private loans, or scholarships to defray program costs. 
  • Accreditation Status: The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified that students are eligible to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst examination.

To learn more about the curriculum, visit the Pepperdine University program page.

University of Washington

The University of Washington ABA online master’s program is a consistently highly ranked program in the US. This top program in Applied Behavior Analysis provides students with coursework for the BCBA exam and an optional master’s degree in special education. 

Highlights of the program include:

  • Curriculum: In-depth coursework focusing on behavior modification and intervention to prepare behavior analysts to work with people who have developmental disabilities and their families.
  • Learning Outcomes: This program prepares you to take the BCBA exam to earn a master’s degree in special education, or you can choose just the ABA course sequence. Graduates are prepared to become competent and ethical behavior analysts who work with people with developmental disabilities.
  • Intended Career Outcomes: Graduates can pursue careers as BCBAs with an optional specialization in special education.
  • Standout Student Services: The University of Washington offers the latest interactive educational technology to provide a learning experience similar to being on campus.
  • Admissions Requirements: Candidates must have experience working with people with disabilities and at least one year of direct work as an ABA tutor, paraeducator, or teacher using ABA methodology. Applicants choose an MEd in Special Education or pursue only the ABA course sequence. Candidates must submit a statement of purpose, unofficial transcripts from all schools they’ve attended in the last five years, a resume, two letters of recommendation, and, for some international applicants, TOEFL scores. 
  • Tuition Costs: The typical cost for a master’s program at the University of Washington is $6,528 quarterly for residents and $11,784 quarterly for nonresidents. For the 2023 school year, the ABA program cost is $589 per credit. 
  • Program Duration and Credit Requirements: The master’s in ABA online program can only be started during the fall quarter. The program can be completed in one-and-a-half to three years depending on the student’s pace. 
  • Financial Aid Opportunities: Federal financial aid and general merit-based scholarships with a preference for underrepresented racial/ethnic communities are available. Selection is based on a personal essay; two $8,000 scholarships are available for incoming graduates.
  • Accreditation Status: The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified that students are eligible to take the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst or Board-Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst examination. 

Discover more about the curriculum on the University of Washington’s program page.

Capella University

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Capella University offers a top-notch online master’s degree in ABA. The program provides students with knowledge of behavior and social skills to assist people of all ages. 

  • Curriculum: The master’s in applied behavior analysis online program focuses on three specializations, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Behavior Analysis in Education, and Organizational Behavior Management. 
  • Learning Outcomes: You’ll learn the skills to help those with autism and other intellectual disabilities. Begin with foundational coursework and then move into choosing your specialization to advance toward your final project.
  • Intended Career Outcomes: Explore employment in health care, social assistance, and professional, scientific, technical, and educational services. 
  • Standout Student Services: Capella offers experienced scholar-practitioner faculty, a curriculum based on nationally recognized standards, and coursework that fulfills PhD and PsyD doctoral study programs.
  • Admissions Requirements: Applicants must submit a bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by the U.S. Department of Education or an internationally recognized institution, official transcripts with a minimum grade point average of 2.3 or higher, a government-issued form of identification, and a $50 nonrefundable fee to cover administrative costs. 
  • Tuition Costs: The typical out-of-state and in-state annual tuition is $14,148. The ABA online master’s degree program has an estimated annual tuition cost of $30,600, which breaks out to $510 per credit and 60 total quarter credits required. 
  • Program Duration and Credit Requirements: It typically takes one-and-a-half to three years to complete the master’s in ABA online program. Sixty credits are required to complete the program, including ten core courses and two specialization courses. 
  • Financial Aid Opportunities: Capella Progress Reward scholarships for $2,500, $5,000, or $15,000 are available to eligible students. Employer and association discounts are also available, along with other financial aid options.
  • Accreditation Status: Capella is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, and other professional organizations. 

Visit Capella University’s program page for more information on the master’s in ABA online degree program.

What to Expect in Your Online Master’s Degree Program in Applied Behavior Analysis

In the master’s in ABA online degree program, you can expect a flexible schedule that allows you to meet all fieldwork and academic requirements to become a board-certified behavior analyst, clinical supervisor, program director, or even special education teacher upon graduation.

Curriculum and Topics: The master’s in applied behavior analysis online degree program covers behavior analysis, assessment, and intervention and gives you the essential skills to be prepared to take the BCBA exam. You can also explore elective specializations such as special education to customize your degree.

Online Learning Experience: Online classes offer flexibility, allowing you to study at your own pace. You’ll communicate with professors and peers through the latest online tools and technology, making your education accessible and convenient. Online master’s in ABA students are typically required to complete a specified number of hours of supervised fieldwork in addition to their courses. 

Common Online ABA Courses

Here are some common courses you might encounter in your master’s in ABA online degree program:

Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis

This foundational course in your master’s in ABA online offers an in-depth exploration of the core principles and techniques of ABA. Students gain a comprehensive understanding of the foundational behavioral principles for ABA, setting the stage for advanced coursework. Topics include reinforcement, punishment, shaping, and functional assessment.

Behavior Assessment

In this online master’s in ABA course, students learn the critical skill of behavior assessment. You’ll understand how to systematically collect and analyze data to assess behavior patterns. Through hands-on exercises and case studies, students develop proficiency in identifying target behaviors, defining them operationally, and selecting appropriate assessment methods.

Intervention Strategies

This course equips students with a diverse toolkit of intervention methods used in ABA practice. Students explore evidence-based strategies for behavior change, such as positive reinforcement, behavior reduction techniques, and skill acquisition procedures. Practical applications and real-world scenarios provide students with the skills needed to design and implement effective interventions.

Ethics and Professional Conduct

Ethics plays a central role in ABA practice. This online master’s in ABA course addresses the ethical considerations and guidelines that behavior analysts must follow. Students examine issues related to client confidentiality, informed consent, cultural competence, and professional integrity. The class emphasizes ethical decision-making and responsible conduct within the field.

Research Methods

This course in your master’s in ABA online helps you develop the research skills necessary to contribute to the field of ABA. You’ll explore research design, data collection, and statistical analysis techniques specific to ABA research. Students may engage in research projects, applying their knowledge to practical situations and contributing to the evidence base of ABA interventions.

How Much Does an Online Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis Cost?

Tuition is a significant portion of the overall expenses of a master’s in applied behavior analysis online. Costs vary significantly depending on the institution, its location, and whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student. Typically, online programs offer a per-credit tuition rate, which ranges from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars per credit hour. The number of credits required to complete the program also impacts your total tuition costs.

Many students rely on financial aid to help cover the costs of their master’s degree. This can include federal financial aid, student loans, grants, and scholarships. It’s advisable to explore these opportunities and apply for scholarships whenever possible to reduce your financial burden. Some employers offer tuition assistance or reimbursement programs for employees seeking advanced degrees. If you’re currently employed, check with your human resources department to see if these benefits are available to you.

To provide you with a more concrete understanding of the costs associated with master’s in ABA online degree programs, we’ve compiled a table below. You’ll see the number of credits required and the cost per credit for five reputable programs. Keep in mind that these costs are subject to change, and it’s essential to verify the most up-to-date information on each program’s official website. 

How Much Your Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis Could Cost

SchoolNo. of CreditsCost per CreditTotal Tuition
Ball State University30$451 in-state; $676 out-of-state $13,530 in-state; $20,280 out-of-state
Endicott College40$662$26,480
George Mason University30$840$25,200
University of Cincinnati30$746 in-state; $761 out-of-state$22,380 in-state; $22,830 out-of-state
University of West Florida30$385$11,550

Please note that tuition rates vary, so it’s essential to visit each program’s official website for the most up-to-date information. This table offers a snapshot of the costs associated with each program, allowing you to compare and evaluate the financial aspects of pursuing a master’s in ABA online degree program.

Careers with a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis

A master’s in applied behavior analysis online program not only gives you advanced expertise in the field but also opens the door to a wide range of rewarding career opportunities. ABA professionals are in high demand across various sectors, making this degree a valuable asset for those seeking to make a meaningful impact. 

Here are three potential career paths that you can pursue with a master’s in ABA online degree program:

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

A BCBA is a specialized professional in the field of behavior analysis. With an online master’s degree in ABA, your primary focus will be helping individuals overcome behavioral challenges through evidence-based interventions. You’ll conduct comprehensive assessments, design behavior intervention plans, and collaborate with clients, families, and other professionals to implement effective strategies. 

BCBA certification is recognized and respected worldwide, making it a credential of high value in the field. BCBAs can work in diverse settings, including schools, clinics, hospitals, and private practice. With the increasing awareness of the effectiveness of ABA, the demand for BCBAs is expected to continue rising, offering excellent long-term career prospects.

10th PercentileMedian Annual Pay90th Percentile
$48,010$85,330$141,910

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Special Education Teacher

A master’s degree in ABA also equips students with the knowledge and skills to excel as special education teachers. Special education teachers are critical in supporting students with unique learning needs, including those with disabilities or developmental challenges. With a background in ABA, you can provide specialized instruction, develop individualized education plans, and implement behavior intervention strategies personalized to each student’s needs. You’ll have the opportunity to make a profound impact on the lives of your students, fostering their growth, development, and academic success. Your ability to apply ABA techniques in the classroom can create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment.

10th PercentileMedian Annual Pay90th Percentile
$45,780$62,950$102,450

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Clinical Supervisor

Clinical supervisors play a foundational role in therapeutic settings, program development, data analysis, and quality assurance. They also oversee the work of behavior analysts and ensure the highest standards of care for clients. Clinical supervisors provide guidance, mentorship, and supervision to behavior analysts, helping them develop their skills and deliver effective interventions. They play a crucial role in ensuring that clients receive the best possible care. 

With a master’s in ABA online, you’ll possess the knowledge and expertise needed to excel in this leadership role. As a clinical supervisor, your expertise and leadership can have a ripple effect, positively impacting the lives of clients and the careers of fellow professionals.

10th PercentileMedian Annual Pay90th Percentile
$64,100$104,830$209,990

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

FAQs About Online Master’s Programs in Applied Behavior Analysis

As you navigate your master’s degree in ABA online, you may have questions about the structure of programs and how they align with your goals. Here are answers to the most common questions that prospective students have about this degree program:

  • Are online master’s degree programs in ABA fully online?

    Online ABA programs are intentionally designed to offer maximum convenience and accessibility. Typically, these programs are entirely online (although some offer hybrid online/in-person approaches), allowing students to engage in coursework, interact with faculty, and access resources without the need for on-campus attendance. This flexibility is particularly valuable for individuals seeking to balance their education with work, family, and other commitments.

  • What does the admissions process look like for this degree?

    Admissions requirements for online master’s programs in applied behavior analysis vary from one institution to another. However, there are common elements in the admissions process that prospective students should be prepared for. These usually include:

    • Bachelor’s Degree: Applicants are typically required to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. The field of study for the bachelor’s degree may vary by program.
    • Transcripts: Transcripts from previous academic institutions are commonly requested as part of the application. These transcripts help admissions committees assess an applicant’s academic background.
    • Letters of Recommendation: Applicants may need to provide letters of recommendation, usually from professors or professionals who can speak to their qualifications and potential for success in the program.
    • Personal Statement: A personal statement or statement of purpose typically is required. This document allows applicants to explain their motivations for pursuing a master’s degree in ABA online and their career goals within the field.
    • Standardized Test Scores: While some programs require standardized test scores such as the GRE, others don’t have this requirement. Check the specific admissions criteria for each program. 
  • How long does it take to complete a master’s degree in ABA online?

    The duration of an online ABA master’s program is based on several factors. Most programs offer flexible scheduling options to accommodate the diverse needs of students. Full-time students typically complete the program in approximately two years, while part-time students take longer, depending on their course load and individual pace. Additionally, some programs offer accelerated options for those who wish to expedite their degree completion.

  • What academic and career support services are available to online students earning their master’s in ABA?

    Online students pursuing a master’s degree in ABA have access to a comprehensive range of academic and career support services. These services are designed to facilitate a successful online learning experience and help students achieve their educational and professional goals. Support services available to you might include virtual tutoring, online libraries with extensive research resources, career counseling to explore job opportunities, and networking opportunities to connect with peers and professionals. Many institutions prioritize providing 24/7 support for their online learners.

  • Can I work while pursuing an online master’s in ABA degree?

    Yes, one of the primary advantages of pursuing an online master’s degree in ABA is the flexibility it offers. You can maintain your current job while completing your degree, making it possible to balance your educational pursuits with your professional responsibilities and other commitments.

  • Are hybrid programs common in ABA master’s degrees?

    While fully online ABA master’s programs are prevalent and offer the convenience of remote learning, some institutions also offer hybrid options. Hybrid programs combine online coursework with occasional in-person components, such as workshops or seminars. The availability of hybrid programs varies by institution, so it’s essential to research individual programs to determine the delivery format that best suits your needs.

Other Master’s Degree Options in Psychology

If you’re interested in a master’s degree in psychology but are unsure about the specialization to pursue, consider exploring these additional options:

Master’s Degrees in Psychology – Forensic Psychology

Master’s Degrees in Psychology – Organizational Psychology