Behavior analysis is a longstanding and scientifically-validated approach to understanding how one’s actions are affected by physical and social influences. The applied branch of behavior analysis, also known as ABA, focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place in order to increase useful behaviors and reduce those that may interfere with one’s cognitive and/or social development. ABA is used to improve specific behaviors and adaptive learning skills for children and adults with psychological disorders, and is commonly practiced as an intervention for individuals with autism.
Learn more about ABA and what applied behavior analysts do.
If you want to work in applied behavior analysis, an online program gives you the flexibility to earn a master’s degree around your schedule. Instead of re-organizing your life to go back to school, an online graduate behavior analysis program molds around the responsibilities you have at work and at home.
The convenience of online education cannot be understated. When you enroll in an online Master’s of Applied Behavior Analysis degree program, you won’t have to worry about long commutes to school or being away from home every night. Access course materials on your laptop, smartphone or mobile device anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
One of the most revolutionary things about online education is that students are no longer limited to the offerings in their backyard. You can apply to online ABA master’s degree programs throughout the country, which means you can enroll in the program that best suits your interests and career goals.
What to look for in an online Master in Applied Behavior Analysis degree program
- Accreditation – If you want to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), you will need to earn your degree from an accredited university. Qualifying institutions are listed in the Council for Higher Education Accreditation database. Accreditation by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board is not required at the programmatic level, but it does look to ensure coursework and experience requirements for the BCBA credential are met.
- BCBA exam pass rate – Online Master of Applied Behavior Analysis degree programs that are accredited by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board must provide BCBA examination pass rates for first-time candidates. Although BCBA exam pass rates alone are not alone a marker of quality, they can provide some insights into how well a program prepares its graduates to sit for the BCBA exam and become independent practitioners who provide behavior analysis services.
- Practicum requirements – Practicum training provides students with hands-on, clinical experience and the opportunity to apply theories of behavior analysis through a range of settings and treatment modalities. Programs may have different practicum requirements, and some may even provide practicum placements or placement assistance.
Online ABA degree programs provide a foundation in the philosophy, science, methodology and application of behavior analysis. Graduates should be able to use analytic theory and tools to serve many different populations (i.e., children, adults and seniors) with diagnoses such as autism, development disabilities, mental illness and behavioral difficulties.
Although specific courses vary by program and the type of degree conferred, graduate ABA curriculum may include such topics as:
- Applied behavior analysis for exceptional populations
- Behavior change systems and procedures
- Identification and implementation of assessment methodologies
- Research methods and experimental design
- Responsible conduct for behavior analysts
The time it takes to complete a master’s program in applied behavior analysis depends on many different factors. For example, the total number of credits required to graduate may vary by program. Some programs may also limit the number of credit hours students can take each semester. Your standing as either a part-time or full-time student will also impact the time you spend in the program.
When evaluating Master of Applied Behavior Analysis online programs, keep these questions in mind to determine the time commitment of getting your master’s degree in ABA:
- How many credits are required to graduate?
- How many classes can you take each semester?
- Can you take classes out of sequence?
- Does the program accept transfer credits? How many?
- Is there an accelerated option?
- Are there any clinical or practicum requirements?
In order to enroll in an online Master of Applied Behavior Analysis program, applicants must have a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Additionally, the following materials usually must be submitted to apply:
- Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
- Multiple letters of recommendation from professional or academic references
- Resume and/or cover letter
- Statement of purpose (essay)
- GRE/GMAT/TOEFL scores (if applicable; not all programs require test scores)
What Can You Do With a Master of ABA?
Career options and salary information for behavior analysts