2022 Best Online Graduate Certificates in Applied Behavior Analysis

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An applied behavior analysis certificate can help you work toward professional certification and either begin or advance a career in this sector.

Best Online Graduate Certificates in Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a specialized branch of psychology that involves helping individuals increase positive behaviors while reducing harmful behaviors.

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Read on to get a better understanding of applied behavior analysis programs, possible course offerings, and potential career paths.

Online Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate Programs

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Applied behavior analysis graduate certificate programs allow you to take behavioral science courses that specifically apply to ABA practices and careers.

Some common subjects that may be studied as part of ABA certificate programs include:

  • Psychology
  • Data assessment
  • ABA procedures and practices

Most professionals in the ABA field pursue industry certification. Those with a masters degree may qualify to become a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA). Bachelor degree holders may qualify to pursue certification as a board certified assistant behavior analyst (BCaBA).

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In order to qualify for either certification examination, it’s necessary to complete acceptable coursework in behavior analysis. Most ABA graduate certificate programs are designed to help you meet the coursework requirements for this type of professional certification. Some graduate programs help you work toward the supervised fieldwork requirement as well.

An ABA graduate certificate could be a benefit for several different career fields that involve assessing behavior. Common career paths in the ABA sector include:

  • Behavior analyst
  • Special education teacher
  • Human resources specialist
  • Behavioral therapist or counselor

Many of these career paths require industry certification. Individuals with ABA training often help others by providing behavioral support and finding solutions specific to clients’ needs.

Applied Behavior Analysis Careers & Salaries

Applied Behavior Analysis Careers & Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some potential career paths that are related to applied behavior analysis.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Speech-Language Pathologists $79,060
Market Research Analysts $63,920
Human Resources Specialists $62,290
Special Education Teachers $61,820
Training and Development Specialists $61,570
School and Career Counselors and Advisors $60,510
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $60,250
Social Workers $50,390
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $48,520
Preschool and Childcare Center Directors $47,310

A number of these roles require professional certification or licensure. Salaries for positions in the ABA sector widely vary depending on the career path you choose, where you are located, and how much experience you have in the field.

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Obtaining a higher level of education, such as a graduate or doctoral degree, may increase your job opportunities in the ABA field.

ABA Graduate Certificate Curriculum & Courses

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ABA graduate certificate coursework can help you build a foundation in understanding applied behavior analysis concepts and practices. Some courses may be optional and focus on more field-specific practices and procedures.

Here are some examples of the courses you may come across in an ABA graduate certificate program:

  • Concepts and Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis: This is a foundational prerequisite course that can introduce you to the basic concepts and principles of behavior analysis.
  • Philosophical Underpinning: The purpose of this course is to give you background knowledge on applied behavior analysis philosophies.
  • Measurement and Experimental Design: This course can help you learn the measurement methods and experimental design practices that are commonly used for research in the ABA field.
  • Behavioral Assessment: Understanding how to assess specific behaviors is an important part of becoming a behavior analyst. This course can help you learn about the different types of assessments used in ABA practices.
  • Behavior Change Procedures: This course can help you understand and implement different behavior change procedures that are commonly used in ABA.
  • Professional and Ethical Issues in Behavior Analysis: This course can help you understand the professional and ethical guidelines within the ABA community when dealing with legal issues.
  • Implementation and Supervision Practices in Behavior Analysis: This course can teach you about supervising and managing other workers in the ABA sector.
  • Behavioral Consultation: This course is designed to help you understand how to consult with individuals needing behavioral support and how to implement solutions in various settings.
  • Behaviorism: This course can help you get a better understanding of various types of behaviors that are acquired in different environments and conditions.
  • Preparation for Practicum in Applied Behavior Analysis: This course can help prepare you for the fieldwork component of your graduate certificate program.

The courses you’ll be required to take will depend on your specific certification program. Some courses may be supplementary, depending on your focused career path in ABA.

Admission Requirements

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If you’re pursuing an applied behavior analysis graduate certificate, you may be asked to submit the following materials:       

  • Official undergraduate or graduate transcripts
  • Resume or CV
  • Minimum GPA (generally 3.0 or higher)
  • GRE test scores (if required)
  • Letters of recommendation

Admission requirements vary depending on the university or program you may be applying to. If you have your eye on a certain program, it’s helpful to check their specific admission requirements.

ABA Certificate Programs Accreditation

university campus offering Certificates in Applied Behavior Analysis

Regional accreditation is important in the ABA sector to establish credibility. When a school or program is accredited, it means that it has been monitored by a third-party organization to ensure it is meeting or exceeding established standards.

In order to receive a valid certificate in applied behavior analysis, the certificate program you choose may need to be accredited or recognized by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). Courses and programs that are accredited or recognized by the ABAI may help establish your credibility in the ABA field.

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If you intend on pursuing board certification, an accredited ABA program can also help you work toward meeting the qualifications to become a BCBA.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

 Financial aid for students taking Certificates in Applied Behavior Analysis
Some universities offer special scholarships for ABA certificate programs. You can also search for scholarships offered by private or public organizations.

You can see if you’re eligible for federal student aid as well. To find out if you are able to receive need-based aid, you can submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form through the US Department of Education. Certain states also offer financial aid and grants to students who qualify.

Some employers even offer employment-sponsored scholarships or tuition assistance to employees who are furthering their education.

What Degree Do You Need to Be a Behavior Analyst?

Speech-Language Pathologists and a girl doing mouth exercise

A board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) is required to hold a masters degree. You may start off your ABA journey by getting a bachelor’s degree in special education, psychology, or a behavioral science-related field.

You could then pursue a masters degree in behavioral science. If you choose to get a graduate degree in another related field, an ABA graduate certificate program could help you meet the coursework requirements for a BCBA credential.

Professionals with a bachelors-level education may choose to pursue certification as a board certified assistant behavior analyst (BCaBA).

What Can I Do with a Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis?

school advisor guiding her student
Professionals with an ABA certificate can work in a variety of fields that pertain to collecting and assessing data and helping others through behavioral management strategies.

For instance, some graduates pursue work in education, counseling, or marketing. Others may work in organizational management in business and healthcare. After completing a certificate in ABA, many graduates go on to pursue industry certification as a board certified behavior analyst. Those with a bachelors-level education may start out as assistant behavior analysts.

How Long Does It Take to Get an ABA Certificate Online?

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It often takes as little as 1 year to complete a graduate ABA certificate online with full-time study. The amount of time it takes to receive an ABA certificate online ultimately depends on your enrollment status and the ABA program you intend to pursue. Part-time enrollment will often extend your time to completion.

Graduate certificate programs also vary in the number of credits they require. Some ABA programs offer more courses and additional semesters in order to help students qualify to take the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination.

What’s the Difference Between Graduate Certificates in ABA vs. BCBA Certification Programs Online?

Here are some key differences between an ABA graduate certificate program and a BCBA certification.

ABA Graduate Certificate BCBA Certification
  • Academic non-degree program
  • Requires at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Consists of graduate-level coursework on applied behavior analysis
  • Can help prepare you for professional certification exams
  • Board certified credential
  • Requires a master’s degree
  • Requires the completion of approved coursework and supervised fieldwork
  • Allows you to work as a behavior analyst and supervise assistant analysts

An applied behavior analysis (ABA) graduate certificate can be earned at a school or university. On the other hand, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is a professional credential issued by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

Is an Online Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis Worth It?

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Yes, an online graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis is worth it for many students. Multiple ABA career fields are experiencing faster than average job growth.

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For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 23% job growth for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors over the next ten years. An ABA graduate certificate can help you enter the behavioral analysis sector, and it can also be supplemental to positions in the education and human resources field.

Universities Offering Online Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Ball State University

Ball State University

Ball State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Fitchburg State University

Fitchburg State University

Fitchburg State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

George Mason University

George Mason University

George Mason University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University

The Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Truman State University

Truman State University

Truman State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati

UC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Kansas

University of Kansas

The University of Kansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Massachusetts – Lowell

University of Massachusetts Lowell

The University of Massachusetts Lowell is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Getting Your Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate Online

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A graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis can help you develop in-demand knowledge and skill sets that can be applied in several industries.

If you have a passion for helping others improve and meet their goals, you might find an ABA career rewarding. A graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis can also help you work toward professional certification. There are a number of accredited schools and universities that even offer graduate certificate programs in applied behavior analysis online.

If you’re ready to begin or advance your journey in the ABA field, you can start exploring available graduate certificate programs today to find the one that best aligns with your goals.

Ready to start your journey?
Amy Hayes
WRITTEN BY
Amy Hayes
Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Old Dominion University, with a minor in English. She previously worked as an educator before starting her career as a writer. Amy spends much of her time researching and writing, with the goal of sharing valuable information with readers.