As the need for certified behavior therapists has grown across the country, an increasing number of online applied behavior analysis programs have been established to meet the growing demand. You have a wide array of online ABA degree programs to choose from in 2020.
Graduate-level online programs meet the educational requirements for individuals to sit for the BCBA exam, while bachelor’s-level programs are available for people who wish to become certified assistant BCBAs. For people with a high school diploma who wish to get a head start in the field of ABA, online RBT training programs are available.
Why You May Need an ABA Degree
If you want to work in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA), an ABA degree is one of the best ways to equip yourself with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in this area. There are varying positions in ABA that require different educational levels and certifications.
Board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) are the most well-known type of behavior analyst. They provide analysis and intervention services to clients, as well as supervision to assistant BCBAs and behavior technicians.
Board certified assistant behavior analysts (BCaBAs) provide ABA services directly to clients, while working under the supervision of a BCBA. Registered behavior technicians (RBTs) also provide direct clinical services and work under the supervision of a BCBA or BCaBA.
No matter which type of behavior analyst or clinical service provider you would like to become, a degree and appropriate clinical training, accompanied by passing the relevant national exam, are required to work in the field of behavior analysis.
Reputable Online BCBA Programs
As the field of ABA continues to grow in 2020 and the demand for certified behavior therapists grows with it, so does the selection of online ABA programs. Online programs are designed to meet the educational and professional needs of students while providing them with more flexibility. Online programs allow students to accomplish their educational goals while still working, caring for their families, and attending to life’s other responsibilities.
For students interested in becoming a BCBA, here is a selection of reputable online master’s-level ABA programs that meet coursework requirements established by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB):
- The Chicago School of Professional Psychology: An online Master of Science in ABA is offered that meets the requirements for students to sit for the BCBA exam. The program is designed to be part-time and completed in 28 months.
- Purdue University Global: An MS in Psychology is offered where students select from one of five concentrations to align with their career goals, one of which is ABA. Multiple start dates are offered throughout the year to accommodate students’ life, work, and education schedules.
- Arizona State University: A Master of Arts in Special Education with a concentration in ABA is offered. The program prepares students to use evidenced-based practices in their future work with clients, as well as to sit for the BCBA national exam.
- University of Washington: Voted in 2019 as one of the best online master’s degree programs in behavior analysis, the ABA Online Program offered through the University of Washington’s College of Education, features the required coursework needed to sit for the BCBA exam as well as an optional Master’s in Special Education.
- George Mason University: An online Master of Education in Special Education with a graduate certificate track in ABA is offered. Students choose between the autism disorder track and the ABA track. Standalone certificates, without the master’s degree, are also offered.
Online BCaBA Programs
For students who wish to complete a bachelor’s degree that includes relevant ABA coursework to prepare them for the BCaBA exam, there are many online programs available to suit their needs. The following programs will earn you a bachelor’s degree and meet the BACB requirements to allow you to take the BCaBA national exam.
Here is a selection of online BCaBA programs in 2020:
- Purdue University Global: A Bachelor of Science in Psychology with an emphasis on ABA is offered that prepares students to become assistant BCBAs. While earning a bachelor’s degree, students have the opportunity to also work toward a master’s degree, allowing them to complete both programs in less time and for a lower total cost.
- California State University Monterey Bay: While not a complete bachelor’s degree program, CSU Monterey Bay offers a four-course ABA program that prepares students to take the BCaBA exam.
- Clarion University: An Assistant Applied Behavior Analysis and Competent Learner Model Certificate is awarded following completion of this five-course program. The program prepares students for the national exam and is only offered online.
- University of Massachusetts Lowell: A four-course certificate program is offered to anyone who already holds a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. The Graduate Certificate Program in Applied Behavior Analysis: BCaBA Coursework Preparation is offered entirely online and meets all coursework requirements established by the BACB.
- University of Colorado Denver: An online ABA certificate is offered through the School of Education and Human Development. The certificate program is designed for teachers who want to gain skills for working with students whose behavior is negatively impacting their learning. The five-course program meets coursework requirements for becoming a BCaBA or BCBA.
Online RBT Programs
Individuals who have not yet completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree but wish to become more qualified in the field of behavior analysis can benefit from an RBT certificate. Here are some entirely online programs that qualify students to take the national RBT exam:
- Florida Institute of Technology: This self-paced 100% online program meets all RBT credentialing requirements. Students receive immediate access to the course upon registering.
- University of Kansas: Offered through one of the top ABA schools in the country, this self-paced training program results in an RBT certificate of completion. Based on the BACB RBT Task List, this program prepares students for the RBT exam and to enter the field of ABA.
- University of South Florida Tampa: This RBT training program is offered via 12 online modules that meet the 40-hour training requirement. Each module must be passed within 180 days in order to receive a certificate of completion.
- University of Oklahoma: Taught by certified BACB faculty, this online RBT training program consists of 48 hours and meets both the training requirement and competency assessment needed prior to taking the RBT exam.
- University of Nebraska: This free, self-directed online training program prepares students to obtain their RBT credential. It is offered to all Nebraska residents in search of professional development in the field of behavior analysis.
Selecting a Program: What to Look For
When selecting an online ABA program, it is important to keep a few key points in mind.
During your research, make sure you are looking at programs that meet your professional goals. If you hope to become a BCBA, you need to complete graduate coursework, while a BCaBA only requires bachelor-level coursework. Always confirm that the coursework you are registering for will meet the educational requirements for your desired certification level.
No matter what type of ABA professional you hope to become, it is also essential that your coursework is completed through a BACB-certified program. Only programs that meet the coursework requirements specified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board can qualify you to sit for each national exam. Be aware of potential scams advertising ABA programs that have not actually been certified by the BACB.
Online programs offer good options for students who need more flexibility with their studies. A variety of high-quality BACB-certified programs are available online to help you achieve your personal and professional goals.
- Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
- Online M.S. in Behavior Analysis. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
- Master Degree Psychology. Purdue University.
- Online Master of Arts in Special Education (Applied Behavior Analysis). Arizona State University.
- Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Online Program. University of Washington.
- Special Education (MEd). George Mason University.
- Behavior Analysis Program. California State University Monterey Bay.
- Special Education. Clarion University.
- Applied Behavior Analysis. University of Colorado.
- Applied Behavior Analysis Programs. Florida Tech.
- RBT Training: Online Certification Prep Course. The University of Kansas.
- Registered Behavior Technician Training Program. University of South Florida.
- Become a Registered Behavior Technician. The University of Oklahoma.
- Registered Behavior Training Online Course. Nebraska Autism Spectrum Disorders Network.
- BCBA Eligibility Requirements. Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
- Registered Behavior Technician. Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
- Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst. Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
- What Is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst? Your Guide to BCBA Requirements. (July 2017). The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
- Adding a Behavior Analyst Certification to Your Master’s Degree. Azusa Pacific University.
- What Is the Difference Between BCBA and RBT? University of Cincinnati.
- Recent and Upcoming Changes to BACB Requirements. Behavior Analyst Certification Board.