If you want to become an ABA therapist, it is important to find a school that suits your needs. The school needs to be accredited, so your degree or certificate is recognized around the United States.
It is also important that the school is verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) or has a coursework track that the ABAI will verify as appropriate, so you can be approved for the board certification examination. The ABAI lists several universities with a range of accredited, verified degree programs to choose from.
Here are recommended ABA therapy programs that are accredited, have excellent outcomes for students, and are beloved by graduates.
The Best ABA Therapy Schools in 2022
- Simmons University: This private school offers partially online degrees, including a Master of Behavior Analysis, either a Master of Science or an Education Specialist (EdS) degree. Like continuing education programs, these higher degrees can be completed online or in evening courses, allowing students from all walks of life to obtain the degree they want. Unlike continuing education courses, this is a master’s degree that can be completed in as little as 23 months, so you can become a clinical practitioner and quickly begin helping people on the autism spectrum.
- Western Connecticut State University: This small university has a 13:1 student/teacher ratio, so you can get direct interaction with your professors and faculty when needed. You can complete a Master of Science in ABA online or partially online, allowing greater flexibility for those who want to attend WCSU but are not in Connecticut. The program requires 30 program hours total. It teaches behavior assessment and behavior-changing procedures like using reinforcers, and it also teaches additional important skills like grant-writing for nonprofits and clinical practices. In addition to learning how to practice ABA therapy, you will develop a wide range of skills important to the business of being an ABA therapist.
- The University of South Florida: While many universities and colleges offer continuing education, graduate degrees, or verified course tracks for ABA therapy, the University of South Florida offers unique perspectives on ABA specializations, including Ethics in ABA, ABA in Developmental Disabilities, and ABA in Complex Communities. Each of these courses last eight weeks. They offer both coursework and practical experience required to qualify for the board certification exam once you complete the master’s course.
- The Chicago School of Professional Psychology: Chicago is one of the most populous, bustling cities in the United States, and many of the schools in the city’s limits are highly rated, with impressive graduates. The Chicago School is no exception. Their School of Professional Psychology provides impressive training for educators and clinical professionals. The online master’s program has a student/teacher ratio of 6:1, which means you can get personal replies and time with your professors quickly and often. The master’s track is part-time and runs 28 months, providing education in the Science of Human Behavior, Measurement Design and Behavior Analysis, and Behavior Assessment.
- Florida Institute of Technology: This impressive school offers both doctoral and master’s programs in ABA therapy through their School of Behavior Analysis. These tracks can be completed either online or on campus. Coursework for the BACB-accredited program includes vital lessons in ethical and legal considerations for behavior analysis, organizational behavioral management, functional assessment, and even radical behavior analysis.
- University of Washington: The University of Washington offers a wide range of highly-rated courses in continuing education, graduate certificates, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. Their Master in Education (MEd) program has both on-campus and online options, to suit people who work full-time but want to get higher education, typically part-time in the evenings or at their own pace. You can complete this coursework in two years or less, and be qualified to sit the board certification exam when you are done.
- Purdue University: This school is well known for its online educational offerings, which has produced many renowned and qualified graduates in a range of fields. Purdue’s classes include important focuses on lifespan development, measurement and assessment, advanced research methods, and testing. Their Master of Science in Educational Studies with an ABA focus is taught entirely online.
- Queens College of CUNY: As part of the City University of New York, Queens College is in the middle of New York City, one of the largest metropolises in the world. Universities and colleges in this megacity provide in-depth education across many demographic groups, and Queens College Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Evidence-Based Services offers hands-on, in-person training that provides crucial experience working with people on the autism spectrum. You will leave this school with a thorough education in clinical or classroom practices that can help your clients. Students working toward a master’s degree, or who already have a related master’s, can get further education in ABA treatment.
Find the Best ABA Therapy Program for You
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, most schools have turned to at least some online education, so many master’s, bachelor’s, and graduate certificate programs have mostly online courses. You may consider looking for schools that have a history of teaching ABA programs online, so you know they can provide high-quality education and appropriate technological experience.
If you are looking for schools in a year or two, many will offer in-person education and hands-on experience with potential clients. This gives you the ability to meet with professors, advisors, or faculty in person.
You should also look at the cost of the programs, and consider how it relates to your existing education. For example, if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you likely qualify for a master’s degree as long as you take some standardized tests like the GMAT or meet the work experience and GPA requirements from your previous degree.
If you have a lot of experience in the therapy or education field but do not have an appropriate degree, it might be more important for you to start with a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree. Many of these degrees can be pursued part-time, either online or at night, so you can complete your training at your own pace while continuing to work to support yourself.
The cost of these programs can vary. Some programs may not accept student loans or provide scholarships, so you may need to find a way to pay for the program out of pocket.
You should also consider how you want to apply this degree in the future. If you are fine with oversight and want to work directly with clients, then pursuing an ABA assistant degree can work well for you. If you want to run your own practice, conduct research, or teach others, you will need to pursue at least a master’s degree, if not a doctorate.
Accredited Programs. ABAI Accreditation Board.
Behavior Analysis. Simmons University.
Applied Behavior Analysis. WCSU.
Online MA in ABA. USF.
Online M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis. TheChicagoSchool.
School of Behavior Analysis. Florida Tech.
Applied Behavior Analysis (MEd). Education.UW.edu.
Homepage. Purdue University.
Applied Behavior Analysis at Queens College. ABA.QC.CUNY.