An online masters degree in applied behavior analysis allows practitioners to obtain additional education and certification needed to effectively meet diverse behavioral needs. Earning a masters degree in ABA provides a level employment stability based on projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics which expects to see a growth in the field of 33% by 2020. Applied behavior analysts are in high demand by organizations specializing in work with individuals on the autism spectrum and those with developmental disabilities. Graduates are also able to find employment in areas of education, business, social service.
Below we list the top BCBA online programs. Programs selected for inclusion in this list offer a fully online masters degree either in, or with an emphasis available, applied behavior analysis. These programs also offer the approved six course sequence needed to sit for the Behavior Analysis Board Certification exam. Programs who met these criteria were awarded points based on graduate in-state tuition costs, student/faculty ratio and the availability of a concentration. Data for this list of online ABA programs was obtained from College Navigator, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board website and individual school websites.
Ranking is as follows:
12:1 or less- 3 points
13:1 to 19:1- 2 points
20:1 and above- 1 point
Less than $13,000- 3 points
$13,000 to $20,000- 2 points
Greater than $20,000- 1 point
Option for a concentration:
Yes- 2 points
No- 1 points
#10 -The Chicago School of Professional Psychology- Online MS in Applied Behavior Analysis
The online masters degree in applied behavior analysis utilizes a natural science approach to behavior analysis. Students are exposed to principles and practices of clinical psychology in addition to ABA to be able to effectively work in clinical and business settings. Students interested in experimental research or continuing on to doctoral study can complete an Advanced Applied Project to gain supervised research experience.
#9 -Northeastern University- Applied Behavior Analysis Program
The online masters program in applied behavior analysis is a 30 credit hour program. In lieu of a thesis, students complete a professional portfolio Six courses prepare students for their BACB exam and the four remaining courses are related to clinical procedures and research supporting their use. Courses are offered in either an online or hybrid format and utilize the latest in virtual learning technology. Students wanting to earn their BACB can complete the required supervised experience hours through the Learning Partnership Program.
#8 -Arizona State University-Curriculum and Instruction: Applied Behavior Analysis (MED)
Arizona State University offers an online M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in applied behavior analysis. Students gain the education and insights needed to be successful working with individuals with challenging behavior in a variety of settings. Coursework is pre-approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and students are eligible to sit for the exam after the completion of the coursework sequence.
#7 -University of West Florida- Online Master’s Degree in Exceptional Student Education
The University of West Florida offers an online master’s degree in applied behavior analysis that utilizes a cohort model. Students can select from five different start dates during the year. Classes meet virtually and faculty are experienced as both educators and practitioners. Students in the masters program are able to get an out of state tuition waiver which makes the program very affordable. The program is accredited by SACS and NCATE and offers the BACB approved six course sequence to sit for the exam and earn the credential.
#6 -Saint Cloud State University- Master’s Program in Applied Behavior Analysis
St. Cloud, Minnesota
The online ABA program at Saint Cloud University boasts the highest BCBA exam pass rate of any online applied behavior analysis program in the country. Those seeking certification as Board Certified Behavior Analysts will be able to complete the BCBA approved course sequence online. Students in the program benefit from PhD level professors who work closely with students on their educational and professional goals. Saint Cloud offers our #6 ranked BCBA online program.
#5 -Western Connecticut State University- The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis
Western Connecticut State University offers a 30 credit hour MS in ABA degree program. Students will learn to effectively quantify and measure behavior in order to make effective changes that will improve overall behavior of an individual, group or organization. The program utilizes advanced virtual technology to make the online program highly interactive. Students are able to complete the six course sequence toward earning their BCBA certification, but the experience hour requirement must be done outside of the program. WCSU is our #5 ranked online ABA master’s program.
#4 -University of Southern Maine- MS in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis
The University of Southern Maine offers students the ability to complete the six course sequence to sit for the BCBA exam and earn their masters degree through the MSEPAB degree program. Program graduates are able to teach and articulate best practices in behavior analysis by completing coursework in areas such as effective interaction and consultation methods. The program is 36 credit hours of coursework. To be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam, students will need to complete 1500 hours of supervised experience outside of the program. University of Southern Maine offers our #4 ranked online BCBA program.
#3 -Drexel University- M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis
The online masters of science degree in applied behavior analysis from Drexel University gives students the opportunity to analyze, understand and implement positive behavioral changes using a scientific approach. Students can complete coursework online or on campus and have the option to complete their practicum at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute or in regional provider agencies. An optional concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder is available. Graduates are prepared to become senior clinical directors, interventionists, program coordinators and professional behavior analysis. This is our #3 best online master’s degree in behavior analysis.
#2 -Pennsylvania State University- Master of Education in Special Education Emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
University Park, Pennsylvania
Penn State World Campus offers an online Master of Education in Special Education program for teachers and other educational professionals. Students learn from faculty using evidence-based methods to help individuals with special needs. Students are able to select from three different focus areas including Academic and Behavioral Supports; Applied Behavior Analysis; or Autism. Those looking to earn their BABC certification will benefit from 18 credit hours of approved coursework needed to sit for the exam.
#1 -Ball State University- Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with an Emphasis in Autism
Ball State University offers a unique online masters degree in applied behavior analysis with an emphasis in autism. Ball State was the first institution in the state to offer an online master’s in behavior analysis. The program is 30 credit hours and is offered entirely online. The program is open to those of different educational and career backgrounds including psychology, criminal justice and social work. Graduates are prepared to work in many different settings including schools, hospitals, mental health and behavioral settings. Ball State is our #1 ranked online ABA master’s program.
- Top 20 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Programs
- Top 20 Online Applied Behavior Analysis Bachelor’s Degree and BCaBA Coursework Programs
About the Author
Kelley Jacobs is a midwest business consultant and former program evaluator. Past experience includes qualitative and quantitative reaseach, survey development and statistical analysis. With 15 years in social service, Kelley is passionate about helping others and giving back to the community.