While salary averages vary slightly by state and greatly by education and certification level, the average annual salary for a certified behavior analyst in the United States is approximately $60,000.
Behavior analysts with a graduate degree have the highest earning potential. Bachelor’s-level assistant behavior analysts earn less. Those who work as registered behavior technicians earn even less, as they don’t need any college education.
No matter where you live, you can increase your earning potential as a behavior analyst. Obtaining further education, getting a higher behavior analyst credential, and gaining years of experience all contribute to higher salaries.
Investing in a career in behavior analysis may be a wise choice, as the job outlook for this field is strong and the demand for certified behavior analysts has been growing every year since 2010.
Behavior Analyst Careers
Behavior analysts have challenging and rewarding careers. They help their clients develop socially appropriate behaviors to enable them to live more independent and successful lives. Behavior analysts are formally trained in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA).
ABA is most commonly known for its application to children and adults with autism, but behavior analysis can be used successfully in many different contexts. Behavior analysis influences socially significant behavior for many groups of people.
Career sectors for behavior analysts include:
- Organizational behavior management (working with employees).
- Brain injury patients.
- Behavioral gerontology (working with seniors).
- Behavioral pediatrics (working with children).
- Behavioral sport psychology (working with athletes).
- Behavioral health and fitness.
- Treatment of substance use disorders.
- Environmental sustainability (increasing awareness of sustainable practices).
Average Behavior Analyst Salaries
The average behavior analyst salary varies by certification level.
The most common type of behavior analyst, a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA), has a graduate-level degree and the highest level of behavior analyst certification. Assistant BCBAs (BCaBA) have a bachelor’s degree and national certification. Registered behavior technicians (RBTs) have a high school diploma and national certification.
The average nationwide salaries for applied behavior analysis professionals are as follows:
- BCBA: $60,632 per year, or $38.44 per hour
- BCaBA: $43,646 per year, or $24.49 per hour
- RBT: $33,833 per year, or $16.31 per hour
Each type of behavior analyst position will see some pay difference according to location. Large cities and metropolitan areas are likely to pay more than more rural locations. Likewise, some states offer higher salaries for behavior analysts than others.
Each type of behavior analyst shows an increase in wages with years of experience. As you gain experience in the field, focus on a specialization, expand your skillset, and potentially earn higher credentials, average reported salaries increase steadily.
Best States for Behavior Analysts
A study of behavior analyst jobs from 2010 to 2019 showed an increased demand for BCBAs and BCaBAs across all states every year. Even if your home state is not among the top five in demand for behavior analysts, there is likely still a great need for ABA services in your area.
As of March 2020, the five states with the highest demand for behavioral analysts, in order of greatest to least demand, are:
According to recent data collected by Salary.com, the average salary of behavior analysts across all 50 states is as follows:
- Alaska: $66,432
- Alabama: $55,528
- Arkansas: $54,654
- Arizona: $58,590
- California: $66,195
- Colorado: $59,083
- Connecticut: $64,120
- District of Columbia: $65,916
- Delaware: $62,224
- Florida: $56,298
- Georgia: $57,335
- Hawaii: $62,177
- Iowa: $56,713
- Idaho: $55,932
- Illinois: $60,861
- Indiana: $57,898
- Kansas: $56,239
- Kentucky: $55,765
- Louisiana: $56,772
- Massachusetts: $64,476
- Maryland: $61,102
- Maine: $57,128
- Michigan: $59,308
- Minnesota: $60,624
- Missouri: $56,476
- Mississippi: $51,557
- Montana: $53,720
- North Carolina: $56,535
- North Dakota: $55,646
- Nebraska: $54,342
- New Hampshire: $60,150
- New Jersey: $65,519
- New Mexico: $54,165
- Nevada: $60,743
- New York: $63,587
- Ohio: $57,862
- Oklahoma: $55,705
- Oregon: $59,024
- Pennsylvania: $59,142
- Rhode Island: $62,461
- South Carolina: $55,468
- South Dakota: $50,727
- Tennessee: $53,839
- Texas: $58,193
- Utah: $56,146
- Virginia: $58,905
- Vermont: $57,068
- Washington: $63,291
- Wisconsin: $58,372
- West Virginia: $52,505
- Wyoming: $52,742
Nationally, the average behavior analyst salary is just under $60,000 per year. The lowest 10% report earning just over $45,000, while the top earners report getting nearly $70,000 per year. If you wish to earn more as an ABA professional, aim to boost your resume through more education and higher certifications.
Top Companies to Work for as a Behavior Analyst
Behavior analysts work in a wide variety of settings. Anywhere that behavior analysis and intervention could be of benefit is a potential work environment for BCBAs.
Common work environments for BCBAs include:
- Hospitals and community clinics.
- Schools and other educational facilities.
- Nonprofit organizations.
- Mental health centers.
- Government agencies.
- Private practice.
According to PayScale, these are the most popular companies for behavior analyst positions:
- The Center for Autism and Related Disorders
- Center for Autism and Related Services
- The May Institute, Inc.
- Applied Behavior Consultants
- Devereaux Foundation
- Butterfly Effects
- Early Autism Project
- Behavior Intervention Services
- Autism Treatment Center
Behavior Analyst Benefits
Most companies that hire full-time behavior analysts offer comprehensive benefits packages. In addition to looking for an appropriate salary, confirm that companies you are looking at offer benefits.
A selection of benefits offered by top job listings on LinkedIn include:
- Medical insurance.
- Dental insurance.
- Vision insurance.
- Life insurance.
- Paid vacation.
- Paid sick days.
Additional benefits that top employers offer include:
- Professional liability insurance.
- Mileage/travel reimbursement.
- Cellphone plan reimbursement.
- Paid trainings.
- Professional development opportunities.
- Regular social and company events.
One of the nicest benefits that top employers offer is control over your own caseload. You get to be in charge of how many clients you see and have the ability to schedule them yourself. The right company should also provide an environment that will allow you to develop professionally.
Job Outlook for Behavior Analysts
The job outlook for the field of behavior analysis is strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 22% job growth rate for behavioral counselors from 2018 to 2028, in comparison to a 5% growth rate for all jobs in the United States.
Behavior analysis is the primary approach to working with children and adults with autism. Currently, 1 in 54 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This number has nearly tripled since 2000, when 1 in 150 children was diagnosed with ASD.
As the number of autism diagnoses continues to rise across the country, so does the need for qualified behavior analysts. ABA professionals work with people who have a range of behavioral and developmental disorders. With such growth in this area, a career in behavior analysis presents a lot of promise for those interested in the field.
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- Average Board Certified Behavior Analyst Salary. (April 2020). PayScale.
- Average Registered Behavior Technician Hourly Pay. (April 2020). PayScale.
- BCBA in United States. LinkedIn.
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- Data & Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder. (March 2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Careers in Applied Behavior Analysis are Vast and Growing. (January 2020). Purdue University Global.
- Learn About Being a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Indeed Career Guide.
- Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors. (April 2020). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- US Employment Demand for Behavior Analysts: 2010-2019. (March 2020). Behavior Analyst Certification Board.