Online Applied Behavior Analysis Degrees and Programs
Applied behavior analysts focus on observing behavior and how it affects the interaction between individuals and their environments. They look to help individuals by discovering small changes that will make big improvements in these people’s lives. This field is often applied to help people with autism, though other patients can benefit as well.
The type of treatment provided by these professionals is known as ABA therapy. Its intent is to get patients to act more “normal” through the use of cues and rewards. Currently, it is the most common type of therapy used with autistic children, though it is very likely that the present methods will be further refined as time goes on.
As with most psychological specialties, education typically is set up in the traditional style. A bachelor’s degree starts you off, and upgrades include master’s and doctorate degrees. Typically, a bachelor’s opens the door to assistant positions, while higher degrees make it possible to get positions with more responsibilities. While many students will choose the traditional on-campus program route, an online program can prove to be more flexible for those students with busier lives and schedules.
No matter what degree level you’re going for, it’s essential that the program be accredited. This ensures that the degree will be honored by employers, future degree programs, and your state’s licensing board. At the master’s level, which is the one required for certification, look for accreditation by the Association for Behavior Analysis International. This organization also administers one of the major certification tests for this profession.
There are online options abound for the Bachelor of Science in applied behavior analysis. The curriculum is heavy on psychology and developmental courses, though it is typical for schools to also insist that you take subjects like math, history, and English along with them.
Unlike in most psychological professions, you can become an independent practitioner with a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis. Coursework is focused on psychology, child development, and related topics. There is also a requirement for in-person experience hours, during which you interact directly with patients as well as certified practitioners, so it’s important to consider this when searching for online programs.
A graduate certificate in applied behavior analysis can be a good option for a student who already holds a related psychology degree and wants to enter this niche specialty. A graduate certificate is a shorter program (usually taking around a year to complete) that does not result in a degree, but the credits can generally be applied to a higher degree if the student wishes to continue their education. This is an excellent choice for those who don’t want the time commitment or expense of a full degree program but still want to explore the specialty. You can find many applied behavior analysis graduate programs available through a search online.
A doctorate in applied behavior analysis is not required to become certified, but you may want to get one in order to further expand your eligibility for high-salary positions (or your ability to get higher rates as an independent practitioner). It requires even more psychology courses, but much of your grade will come from your dissertation. Some schools may require even more practice hours as well, so it’s important to make sure you’re able to complete these hours locally as an online student.
This profession requires certification rather than licensure. You’ll need to pass the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam or an equivalent in order to get the required credential. More information on this, and several lower certifications, can be found here.
|Bachelor’s Degree||Master’s Degree||Graduate Certificate||Ph.D. or PsyD|
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|I want to get started in my applied behavior analysis career before I pursue more education||x|
|I want to pursue a non-patient-facing role in the field||x||x|
|I want to switch to an applied behavior analysis specialty||x||x|
|I already have an applied behavior analysis degree and want to gain specialized knowledge||x||x|
|I want to conduct research in applied behavior analysis||x||x|
|I want to become a licensed psychologist and treat patients||x|
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Since most behavior analysts work with children, subjects studied for these degrees are heavy in child development as well as psychology. The latest methods and research in applied behavior analysis should be included. For the bachelor’s, you’ll also have to take a number of courses in basic subjects like math, English, and history. A full list of online classes can usually be found in the program’s curriculum section on the school’s website.
- Bachelor’s Degree – A standard bachelor’s degree program is 120 hours, and is set up with the expectation that you’ll take 30 credits worth of classes every year. This makes it fit the “four-year degree” paradigm. However, you can take more or fewer credit hours each year, with the timeframe adjusted accordingly.
- Master’s Degree – It can take as few as 30 credit hours to get a master’s, but the requirements of the degree don’t stop there. You’ll also need to get a minimum number of practicum hours. The specific number varies by school.
- Doctorate Degree – Eighty-five to 95 credit hours are involved, but as with the master’s, you’ll also need to do a dissertation. You may also have to complete more practicum hours.
In this field, the practicum hour requirement kicks in early – at the master’s level – so that you can apply for board certification upon receiving the degree. Practicum hours vary depending on the school, with some providing 1,500 or more, others giving half that, and some not including any at all.
Make sure to check your state’s current legal requirements prior to enrolling so that you can be sure that your prospective master’s degree program offers enough. Otherwise, you may have to enroll in another school or program in order to get the practice time that certification requires. Those enrolled in online programs will still need to complete any clinical requirements in-person.
Looking for an online or campus-based applied behavior analysis degree program near you? Browse our state-by-state school listings below.
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Turlock, CA 95382-0299
- Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis Campus
- Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Organizational Behavior Management Campus
- Organizational Behavior Management, M.S. Campus
- Behavior Analysis Practice, M.A. Online
- Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis Campus
Melbourne, FL 32901-6975
- Applied Behavior Analysis Online
Pensacola, FL 32514-5750
- MA Counseling Psychology / MA Applied Behavior Analysis Dual Enrollment Campus
- Online M.A. in Psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Concentration Online
- M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis Campus
- Post-Bachelor's Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis Campus
- Post-Master's Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis Campus
Chicago, IL 60654
Muncie, IN 47306
Richmond, KY 40475-3102
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300
Lowell, MA 01854-5104
- MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Online
- MS in Applied Behavior Analysis-Behavior Analysis in Education Online
- MS in Applied Behavior Analysis-Organizational Behavior Management Online
- Applied Behavior Analysis Online
- Doctor of Philosophy in Behavior Analysis Online
- Doctor of Philosophy in Advanced Studies in Human Behavior Online
Minneapolis, MN 55402-3389
- Applied Behavior Analysis Online
Kirksville, MO 63501-4221
Glassboro, NJ 08028
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1281
- Applied Behavior Analysis MA Campus
New York, NY 10027
- Behavior Analysis Professional Certificate Online Campus
- Behavior Analysis Professional Certificate Online Online
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0063
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