By ABAP Staff
December 2018

Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide - Top Online Degrees-01

Applied behavior analysis is a type of therapy that focuses on increasing positive behaviors and decreasing negative behaviors. Applied behavior analysis skills are especially important in schools or when working with individuals on autism spectrum. Earning an online master’s degree in applied behavior analysis (ABA) allows practitioners to obtain additional education and certification needed to effectively meet diverse behavioral needs.

Below we list the top applied behavior analysis online programs. At the master’s level, completing a graduate program with an embedded course sequence in ABA is one of the first steps to earning certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Programs selected for consideration in our ranking offer a fully online master’s degree either in, or with an emphasis available, applied behavior analysis and include the approved six course sequence needed to sit for the Behavior Analysis Board Certification exam. Programs that met these criteria were awarded points based on average graduate in-state tuition costs, student/faculty ratio and the percentage of first time candidates who passed the BCBA exam.  Data for this list of top online ABA programs was obtained from College Navigator, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board website and individual school websites.

Student to Faculty Ratio

  • 12:1 or less= 3 Points
  • 13:1 to 19:1=2 Points
  • Greater than 20:1= 1 Point

Average Graduate Tuition Rate

  • Less than $13,000 per year= 3 Points
  • $13,000 to $20,000 per year=2 Points
  • More than $20,000 per year= 1 Point

Percentage of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam

  • Less than 25% or N/A-1 point
  • 26% to 75%-3 points
  • Greater than 75%-5 points

#15 -Monmouth University – West Long Branch, New Jersey

Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis

More Info
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $25,124/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: N/A
Points: 3
Monmouth University features a 39 credit hour online MSEd Autism track with six courses in applied behavior analysis. This innovative program is housed in the School of Education. Students move through the program as a cohort, networking with like-minded peers. The curriculum is rigorous, covering areas like:

  • advanced learning instruction
  • assessment and intervention for individuals with autism
  • managing challenging behaviors

Graduates have found success working in both private practice and community settings.

#14 -Drexel University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Online Program

Website
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $33,156/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: N/A
Points: 4
The top online master’s in applied behavior analysis at Drexel University gives students the opportunity to analyze, understand and implement positive behavioral changes. It used a hands-on learning approach. Students have access to the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, the first such institute to use a public health perspective in the study of autism. Drexel offers an Autism Spectrum Disorders Concentration and a Practicum Concentration. Online students have the opportunity to publish research projects with the support of a mentor. They work with an advisor to ensure that they are meeting their personal and professional goals through the program.

#13 -The Chicago School of Professional Psychology – Chicago, Illinois

Online Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis Degree Program

More Info
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $27,048/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: N/A
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: 71%
Points: 4
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology features a top online master’s in ABA taught by practitioner faculty. Students take coursework in areas like:

  • science and human behavior
  • measurement and design in behavior analysis
  • behavior assessment

Students get hands-on experience through either an advanced research project or an advanced applied project. Online students access coursework, interact with peers, and answer questions from their instructors through a Global Student Dashboard.

#12 -Capella University – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $14,365/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 22:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: N/A
Points: 4
Capella University is a leader in online education. It features a top online master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with no on-campus residency requirements. The program is comprised of four core courses, seven specialization courses, and one integrative project. Coursework covers areas like:

  • behavior analytic interventions
  • supervision and management in ABA
  • measurement and research

Throughout the program, students will learn behavioral modification techniques that they can use immediately to increase socially desirable behavior. The capstone experience is specifically designed for ABA professionals and prepares students for a career as a BCBA.

#11 -Arcadia University-Glenside, Pennsylvania

M.Ed. with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis


Website
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $28,488/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: 32%
Points: 7
The School of Education at Arcadia University features a fully online top master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). This 36 credit hour program helps students learn how to apply solid behavior principles to a variety of clientele. Courses are available in:

  • behavior change
  • ABA in child development
  • behavior consultation
  • ethics and professionalism

Students can choose elective coursework focused on:

  • autism spectrum disorders
  • positive behavioral approaches
  • disability studies

In the final program semester, students complete a culminating master’s project preparing students for professional growth in their career.

#10 -University of West Florida-Pensacola, Florida

Online Masters in Exceptional Student Education

Website
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $7,088/year in-state and $22,166/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 21:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: 63%
Points: 7
The University of West Florida offers an online master’s degree in Exceptional Student Education. It includes the BACB verified course sequence needed for BCBA certification. Classes meet virtually and faculty are experienced as both educators and practitioners. Students in the master’s program are able to get an out-of-state tuition waiver which makes the program one of the most affordable in the country. Comprehensive course offerings cover areas like:

  • positive behavior supports
  • ethics, and behavior assessments
  • interventions

The program is accredited by both SACS and NCATE.

#9 -Arizona State University – Scottsdale, Arizona

Online Master of Arts in Special Education (Applied Behavior Analysis)

Website
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $6,144/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 23:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: 65%
Points: 7
Arizona State University offers an online master’s in Special Education with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. This 30 credit hour program is comprised of 10 classes, each lasting 7.5 weeks. Courses cover areas like:

  • behavior change systems
  • ethics
  • ABA in exceptional populations
  • behavior assessment

Coursework is verified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Students can arrange BCBA supervision hours separately from their ASU coursework.

#8 -Texas A&M University – College Station, Texas

Online Master’s in Special Education-Applied Behavior Analysis

Website
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $5,941/year in-state and $18,461/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 21:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: 57%
Points: 7
The top online master’s in Special Education  at Texas A&M University is a two-year program designed for students with experience in the field. Students will learn proven ABA principles and strategies from faculty with experience in special education and ABA. Coursework covers areas like:

  • program development for students with behavior problems
  • assessment in school settings,
  • behavior management

Students can complete their degree in just two years of online study without the need to come to campus!

#7 -Endicott College – Beverly, Massachusetts

Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis (M.Ed.)

Website
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $11,835/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: 73%
Points: 8
Endicott College offers a 100% online master’s in Autism and ABA which includes the course sequence needed to sit for the BACB national examination. This 39 credit hour program is designed for working professionals and provides state-of-the-art training in both Autism Spectrum Disorder and ABA. Class size is kept small, giving students the benefit of a personalized experience. There are no GRE requirements for admission and tuition is affordable.

#6 -Brandman University – Irvine, California

MA in Special Education, Behavior Analysis Online

Website
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $11,520/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: 40%
Points: 8
Brandman University offers the online master’s in Special Education. It focuses on behavior analysis, preparing students to be effective teachers and advocates for individuals with disabilities and unique needs. This top master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) online prepares students to:

  • measure and assess behavior
  • apply best practices for gathering and analyzing data
  • appropriately address behavioral needs

As an added bonus, the curriculum aligns with the Council for Exceptional Children’s Advanced Content Standards!

#5 -Purdue University Global – Davenport, Iowa

Online Master’s in Psychology with a Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis

Website
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $10,128/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: 35%
Points: 8
The online master’s in ABA at Purdue Global prepares students to use behavioral concepts and theories to serve a variety of clientele. Students benefit from a practical approach developing assessments and effective intervention strategies. Courses cover:

  • research methods
  • life span development
  • testing and assessment

The BACB has approved the coursework sequence for students who want to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination (BCBA).

#4 -Ball State University – Muncie, Indiana

Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with an Emphasis in Autism

Website
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $8,554/year in-state and $21,172/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: 62%
Points: 8
The top online master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis at Ball State University offers a unique emphasis in autism. This 30 credit hour program is offered entirely online. Most students can earn their degree in just two years. The program is open to those of different educational and career backgrounds including psychology, criminal justice and social work. Coursework covers areas like:

  • behavior consultation
  • verbal behavior
  • supervising human service staff in ABA

Students have the option to complete either a field based experience in autism or applied behavior analysis.

#3 -University of Southern Maine – Portland, Maine

MS in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis Online

Website
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $7,074/year in-state and $19,134/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: 54%
Points: 8
The University of Southern Maine offers students the ability to complete eight courses in ABA to sit for the BCBA exam and earn their master’s degree educational psychology with a concentration in applied behavior analysis. 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 comprised of 12 courses, or 36 credit hours.

#2 -Western Connecticut State University – Danbury, Connecticut

The Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis Online

Website
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $6,757/year in-state and $18,102/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: 50%
Points: 8
Western Connecticut State University offers a 30 credit hour MS in ABA degree program as well as an ABA certificate through the Education and Educational Psychology Department. Students will learn to effectively quantify and measure behavior to help make effective changes that will improve overall behavior of an individual, group or organization. Students are able to complete the six course sequence toward earning their BCBA certification. Coursework is available in areas like:

  • behavior change systems
  • measurement
  • intervention and behavior change considerations.

#1 -Saint Cloud State University – St. Cloud, Minnesota

Master’s Program in Applied Behavior Analysis

Website
Average Graduate Student Tuition: $7,668/year in-state and $11,650/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 21:1
% of First-Time Candidates Passing the BCBA Exam: 96%
Points: 9
Our top online accredited ABA program is offered by Saint Cloud University. SCU 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. Courses are taught by PhD level instructors who work closely with students to help them publish, present, and attain their professional goals. Coursework is both conceptual and practical. Graduates have found success helping individuals integrate into the community, develop positive behaviors, and reduce self-injurious behaviors.

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About the Author

Kelley Jacobs is a Midwest business consultant and former program evaluator. Past experience includes qualitative and quantitative research, survey development and statistical analysis. With 15 years in social service, Kelley is passionate about helping others and giving back to the community