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California State University-San Marcos

California State University San Marcos is also featured in our ranking Top 20 Online Applied Behavior Analysis Bachelor’s Degree and BCaBA Coursework Programs.

California State University San Marcos began as a North San Diego County satellite of San Diego State University. After more than 20 years of planning and advocacy for a permanent campus in the area, CSU San Marcos became the first comprehensive university founded in twenty years.

CSUSM achieved an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students in 2010, its 20th anniversary year. The university received the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2015. CSUSM is also built on the tribal land of the Luiseño Indians and offers an engagement office and Tribal Initiative with 25 tribal communities in Southern California.

CSU San Marcos Applied Behavior Analysis Program

Since 2013, Cal State University San Marcos has offered a post-baccalaureate program for Applied Behavior Analysis certification through its Extended Learning Division. The program offers Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) approved coursework. In 2018, CSUSM began offering two BCBA certificate program fully-online. The certificate programs are available for post-baccalaureate and post-master’s degree applicants. The program is particularly focused on providing education for professionals seeking to work with special populations, including individuals on the Autism Spectrum, and individuals with developmental disabilities.

The ABA certificate program sequences may be completed in 12 to 18 months, according to CSUSM. Current coursework meets requirements for BACB’s 4th Edition Task List, and the program uses a cohort system which provides support among groups who enter at the same time in the course sequence. Courses are held for 11 weeks with a two-week break between each session. The CSUSM course sequences must be taken in order, and two different tracks of course sequences are offered for BCaBA and BCBA certificates. Course offerings include Applied Behavior Analysis in Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Applied Behavior Analysis Applications for Complex Procedures and Promoting Behavior Change.

The BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) program for candidates who have completed master’s degrees is an 18-unit program comprised of 6 11-week courses. The Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) program is comprised of four courses for a total of 12 units. All courses and course components are offered completely online with no in-person attendance required. The BCBA and BCaBA programs share four similar courses, beginning with Foundations and Concepts in Applied Behavior Analysis. The master’s level course sequence includes courses focusing on ABA and the Autism Spectrum, and ethics and professional matters in the field.

CSU San Marcos Applied Behavior Analysis Program Student Experience

As an all-online program, the CSU San Marcos Applied Behavior Analysis certificate programs operate differently from on-campus programs. Candidates are enrolled in cohorts which start as a group and follow course sequences for the post-baccalaureate and post-master’s level programs. Courses are offered asynchronously, which means students may log in at any time as long as they complete assignments.

The program advises that candidates will spend about 10 to 15 hours a week working on coursework and completing required reading. The time students are required to spend will vary depending on prior knowledge and experience, according to program administrators.

Each course includes lectures and videos, a study guide, a discussion forum, instructor office hours, and mastery activities. At course completion, candidates will take a proctored final exam online. The program uses the Moodle learning management system and because of the all-online course and education provision, candidates must meet minimum computer and internet system requirements.

Cal State University San Marcos Accreditation

As the 20th school in the California State University system, CSUSM is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission. Accreditation from WASC is a rigorous process involving self-study and independent accreditation visits. CSUSM was re-accredited by WASC in March 2016 for a ten-year period.

The online Applied Behavior Analysis certificate program at CSUSM is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

CSU San Marcos Applied Behavior Analysis Program Application Requirements

In order to apply for an Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate program at CSU San Marcos, candidates should visit the online application portal and create a CSU Apply account. The CSU Apply account may be used to apply for more than one university or program in the Cal State University system.

Requirements for a complete application for the BCBA certificate include:

  • A non-refundable $55 application fee.
  • The BCBA certificate program requires a minimum of a master’s degree in education, psychology, or applied behavior analysis, or a master’s degree in a related field that includes an approved sequence of ABA coursework.
  • The BCaBA program requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • English foreign language-speakers must have completed the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and have scores meeting proficiency requirements for undergraduate or graduate-level applicants.
  • After admission to the ABA program, applicants should also submit an application to and be admitted to CSUSM.

Tuition and Financial Aid for ABA Programs at CSU San Marcos

Courses offered through the CSU San Marcos ABA program are generally 3-unit, 11-week classes. The program cost is $349 per unit plus mandatory CSUSM semester fees which are approximately $812 per full semester and $130 for summer sessions. Due to the 11-week course length, no financial aid is available for the ABA program at CSU San Marcos.

Employment and Certification Options Through the Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate Program at Cal State University San Marcos

The ABA Certificate programs at Cal State University San Marcos may be completed in preparation for the certification process to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA).

According to CSU San Marcos’ ABA program, California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have the greatest number of job opportunities for certified ABA professionals. The program reports that 24 states require licensing or certification of ABAs. The BCBA credential is increasingly a job requirement, according to the CSUSM program administrators.

Established since 2013, California State University-San Marcos offers two separate Applied Behavior Analysis professional certificate program tracks that are designed to prepare candidates to become certified Applied Behavior Analysts through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), which has certified CSU San Marcos’ all-online program.