Best Applied Behavior Analysis Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Applied Behavior Analysis programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Applied behavior analysis is the study of the principles of behavior and the ways in which those principles can be applied to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities. Applied behavior analysts work with individuals with developmental disabilities to help them develop new skills and improve their quality of life.

Applied behavior analysis is a growing field, as more and more individuals with developmental disabilities are seeking help to improve their quality of life. Applied behavior analysts are in demand in a wide variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, and private practice.

Applied behavior analysis degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in applied behavior analysis, including behavior analyst, behavior consultant, and behavior therapist. Students in applied behavior analysis degree programs learn about the different theories and techniques of behavior analysis, and how to apply those techniques to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities.

How to Choose the Right Applied Behavior Analysis Program

When choosing an applied behavior analysis program, there are many things to consider. The most important factor is whether the program is accredited by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB). This is important because it ensures that the program meets the BACB’s standards for coursework and practicum experiences. Other factors to consider include the program’s cost, length, and location.

Applied behavior analysis programs typically take two to four years to complete. The length of the program depends on whether students are enrolled full-time or part-time. Full-time students can usually complete the program in two years, while part-time students may take up to four years to finish the program.

The cost of an applied behavior analysis program varies depending on the school. Some programs may offer scholarships or grants to help offset the cost of tuition. Location is another important factor to consider. Some programs may offer internships or practicum experiences that are only available in certain locations.

Prospective students should also research the curriculum of each program. Some programs may offer more specialized coursework than others. Students should choose a program that offers coursework that aligns with their interests and career goals.

Best Bachelor’s in Applied Behavior Analysis Programs

The best programs for Applied Behavior Analysis ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Oregon Institute of Technology
Klamath Falls, OR

The Bachelor of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis from Oregon Institute of Technology provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to work with diverse populations in a variety of settings. Students in the program have the opportunity to gain real-world experience through clinical work with community partners. The program is offered on Oregon Tech’s Klamath Falls and Portland-Metro campuses, and courses are also available to students statewide via Zoom.

Rank 2
The University of West Florida
Pensacola, FL

The University of West Florida’s Bachelor of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program is designed to prepare students for a career as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). The program is delivered entirely online and students have the option to complete the coursework at their own pace. The program is accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International and students who complete the program are eligible to take the BCBA exam.

Rank 3
Central Methodist University
Fayette, MO

The Bachelor of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program at Central Methodist University teaches students how to work with children who have autism, developmental delays, behavioral challenges, and other related conditions. Students in the program become familiar with contemporary research findings in the field and learn to develop, implement, and monitor behavioral programs to treat various behavior issues.

The ABA program at Central Methodist University is part of the Verified Course Sequence (VCS) which is overseen by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). Upon completion of the course sequence and supervision hours, students are eligible to sit for the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) exam.

Rank 4
Florida Institute of Technology
Melbourne, FL

The Bachelor of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis from Florida Institute of Technology is a dynamic and focused program that will prepare students for a career in behavior analysis. Students will take core courses like Introduction to Behavior Analysis and Applied Behavior Analysis in their first year, and then begin specializing in their sophomore year. Students will also have the opportunity to work in the Scott Center for Autism Treatment, Florida Tech’s on-campus autism research facility.

Rank 5
Ball State University
Muncie, IN

The Bachelor of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis from Ball State University is a program designed to help students enter the field of ABA and earn their credentials. The program is offered online and is asynchronous, so students can complete their coursework on their own schedule.

Rank 6
Purdue University Global
West Lafayette, IN

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology in Applied Behavior Analysis from Purdue University Global is designed to provide students with the foundational skills necessary to help individuals with behavior disorders. The program is accelerated, allowing students to complete both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in less time than it would take to complete both programs separately.

Rank 7
Savannah State University
Savannah, GA

The Bachelor of Science in Behavior Analysis from Savannah State University is a program that trains students in the scientific study of human and other animal behavior. The goal of the program is to teach students how to think like behavior analysts and to apply the principles and procedures of behavior analysis in a variety of contexts. The program emphasizes reading peer-reviewed empirical research and writing research papers according to the guidelines of the American Psychological Association Publication Manual.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Applied Behavior Analysis Program

Students in a bachelor’s in applied behavior analysis program can expect to take classes that focus on the scientific study of behavior. The coursework emphasizes the application of behavior principles to real-world settings, such as schools, businesses, and clinics.

Most programs require 120 credits and take four years to complete. The degree typically includes core classes, electives, and a practicum or internship. Students may also be required to complete a research project or thesis.

Applied behavior analysis programs often offer concentrations, such as autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, or organizational behavior management. These areas of focus allow students to tailor the degree to their career goals.

Prospective students should have strong communication, problem-solving, and analytical skills. They should also be able to work independently and be comfortable working with people of all ages.

Common Applied Behavior Analysis Courses

The courses you’ll take for your degree in applied behavior analysis will depend on the program and school you choose. However, many programs offer similar courses, such as those described below.

Behavior Assessment

This course covers the assessment of behavior and the development of treatment plans based on the assessment. Emphasis is placed on the use of functional behavior assessments, indirect assessments, and direct assessments to develop behavior intervention plans. Upon completion, students should be able to select, administer, and interpret a variety of behavior assessments, and use assessment data to develop positive behavior intervention plans.

Behavior Change Procedures

This course covers the basic procedures used to bring about behavior change. Emphasis is placed on the use of positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, and extinction. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the basic behavior change procedures to bring about desired behavior changes.

Ethics for Behavior Analysts

This course covers ethical and professional conduct standards for behavior analysts as set forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Topics include the history and philosophy of behavior analysis, an overview of the BACB’s Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts, and the application of ethical principles to real-world scenarios. Upon completion, students should be able to identify and apply the ethical principles of behavior analysis to common ethical dilemmas faced by behavior analysts.

Abnormal Psychology

This course covers the study of psychopathology and its associated mental disorders. Emphasis is placed on the major diagnostic categories, research methods, etiology, and treatment of mental disorders. Upon completion, students should be able to apply psychological principles to the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of abnormal behavior.

Single-Subject Research

This course is an introduction to the field of applied behavior analysis with an emphasis on research methods. Topics include the philosophy of science, the scientific method, research design, statistical analysis, and ethical and professional issues. Students will learn to read and critique research articles and to design and conduct their own research projects. Upon completion, students should be able to understand and apply the scientific method, understand the major research designs used in behavior analysis, and understand and apply basic statistical procedures.

Career Options for Applied Behavior Analysis Graduates

Graduates of applied behavior analysis programs work in a variety of fields and industries, including education, healthcare, and social work. They may also work in fields such as psychology, counseling, and human resources.

Behavior Analyst

Behavior analysts work with individuals who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to help them overcome social, communication, and behavioral challenges. Behavior analysts use a process called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which is based on the science of learning and behavior. ABA focuses on understanding how behavior works, how it’s affected by the environment, and how it can be changed. Behavior analysts use this process to develop individualized treatment plans for each person they work with. Treatment plans may include goals such as increasing communication skills or reducing problem behaviors.

Autism Specialist

Autism specialists work with individuals who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. They provide support and guidance to help individuals with ASD develop the skills they need to function in their homes, schools, and communities. Autism specialists typically work in schools, but they may also work in outpatient clinics, hospitals, or private practices.

School Psychologist

School psychologists work with students to address academic, social, and emotional challenges. They may administer tests to assess students’ abilities and design interventions to help them overcome learning obstacles. School psychologists also consult with teachers and parents to develop strategies to support students both inside and outside the classroom. Many school psychologists work in public schools, but some also work in private schools, clinics, or hospitals.

ABA Therapist

ABA therapists work with patients who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to help them develop skills in areas such as communication, social interaction, and self-care. ABA therapy is based on the principle that behavior can be changed through positive reinforcement, and therapists use a variety of techniques to provide that reinforcement. ABA therapists typically work one-on-one with patients, but they may also work with groups of patients or consult with patients’ families.

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of disabilities, from mild to severe. They adapt the general education curriculum to meet the individual needs of each student and provide support that allows students to participate in the classroom and other school activities. Special education teachers typically work with students in small groups or one-on-one, and they collaborate with other educators, parents, and therapists to develop individualized education plans (IEPs) for each student.

Insights From an Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate

Miah Dennis is a Behavior Technician at Autism Speaks. She has a bachelor’s degree in applied behavior analysis from Northeastern University. Miah has over 2 years of experience working with children with autism.

ClimbtheLadder: What were the biggest takeaway(s) you got from your Applied Behavior Analysis program that you may not have gotten otherwise?

Miah Dennis: The biggest takeaway I got from my ABA program was the importance of data collection. In order to properly assess a child’s progress and tailor the therapy to their needs, it is essential to collect data and track changes over time. I also learned a lot about behavior modification techniques and how to use them effectively.

ClimbtheLadder: What type of person is successful and thrives in an Applied Behavior Analysis career?

Miah Dennis: A person who is successful and thrives in an Applied Behavior Analysis career is someone who is patient, passionate, and has a lot of stamina. This career can be very challenging and tiring, so it is important to have a lot of energy and be able to keep going even when you feel like you can’t. It is also important to be very patient because some of the goals can take a long time to achieve. Lastly, it is important to be passionate about this career because it is very rewarding to see the children you work with make progress.

ClimbtheLadder: What misconception(s) do people have about an Applied Behavior Analysis degree, and what would you tell them?

Miah Dennis: I think the biggest misconception is that people think that an ABA degree is only for people who want to work with children with autism. While that is one of the main populations that ABA is used with, it is not the only one. ABA can be used with people of all ages with a variety of different diagnoses.

ABA is also not just about working with children in a clinical setting. There are many different areas of ABA that you can go into such as research, management, and consulting.


Best Applied Economics Degree Programs of 2022

Back to Education

Best Addiction Counseling Degree Programs of 2022