BCBA job growth is expected to increase in 2022, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicting a growth rate of over 20% in the next eight years.
Job growth in the BCBA field has increased each year since the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) started tracking such data in 2010.
The BCBA Job Market
It is a great time to be a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) in the U.S., as BCBAs are in high demand. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy organizations across the country are looking for certified behavior therapists to join their teams.
Whether you are a BCBA or an assistant behavior analyst, there is a huge job market for you. Nationally, all 50 states have increased their demand for certified behavior analysts in recent years. A growing awareness of the profession and the multitude of conditions it can be applied to have significantly expanded the BCBA job market.
Rates of BCBA Job Growth
A 2019 study conducted by Burning Glass Technologies and published by the BACB found that the demand for BCBAs and board certified assistant behavioral analysts (BCaBAs) increased significantly each year since 2010.
From 2010 to 2018, the demand for BCBAs increased 1,942%. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, there was an increased demand of 127%. As for BCaBAs, the demand has increased similarly. From 2010 to 2018, the increase for assistant behavior analysts increased 1,098%. From 2017 to 2018, it increased 184%.
While the rate of BCBA job growth and demand is staggering, it has not increased evenly across all 50 states. In 2018, 53% of the demand for BCBAs was concentrated among just five states. California alone held 31% of that demand.
These are the top five states for BCBA job growth:
Similarly, BCaBA job growth was also focused across just a few states. These were the top five states accounting for 57% of the demand for BCaBAs in 2018:
From 2017 to 2018, the study found that the number of job postings for BCBAs increased from 7,091 to 16,109. Likewise, the number of postings for BCaBAs increased from 1,040 in 2017 to 2,204 in 2018.
BCBA Salary Outlook
The average BCBA salary in the U.S. is roughly $65,963 per year. The lowest 10% of earners report an annual income of $51,000, while the top 10% earn up to $97,000 per year, including bonuses.
As a BCBA you can expect your salary to increase as you gain years of experience. Entry-level BCBAs earn about $57,000 per year, with annual salaries increasing as follows:
- Early career: $60,000
- Mid-career: $65,000
- Experienced BCBA: $68,000
- Late career: $71,000
The above salaries do not include any tips, bonuses, or overtime pay that frequently accrue while working as a BCBA. Likewise, your salary can be greatly impacted by your place of employment. A BCBA working in private practice, for example, often earns more than a BCBA employed by a government organization or school.
While the salary of an assistant behavioral therapist is significantly lower than a graduate-level BCBA, you can expect similar salary growth over the course of your career. On average, BCaBAs earn about $44,000 per year, with the highest earners taking home over $70,000 after bonuses. Like BCBAs, annual base salary typically increases over time.
Increased Demand for BCBAs
The increase in demand for BCBAs is due in part to the rise in awareness of autism and the efficacy of applied behavior analysis (ABA) as a treatment approach. People are also recognizing how much a skilled BCBA can add to additional fields.
There is a rise in demand for behavior analysts in the following professional fields:
- Organizational behavior management
- Recovery for patients with brain injuries
- Behavioral gerontology
- Behavioral pediatrics
- Behavioral sport psychology
- Substance abuse treatment
- Environmental sustainability
Although the field of ABA was originally developed to support children with autism and other behavioral disorders, a recent expansion of what behavioral analysis and therapy can be used for has led to a significant increase in demand for BCBAs.
Skills of In-Demand BCBAs
All BCBAs must meet strict requirements in order to become certified, but additional skills make some BCBAs more in demand than others. Companies hiring BCBAs look for experience with:
- Autism spectrum disorder.
- Functional analysis.
- Clinical supervision.
- Writing procedures and documentation.
While there is a huge job market for BCBAs right now, additional skills can help you stand out from the competition and earn more money. BCBAs with skills in functional analysis, for example, report a salary increase of 5%, and clinical supervision skills could increase your salary by 2% or more.
Job Outlook for BCBAs
While the BLS has yet to provide data specifically on BCBAs, the job outlook for related positions is strong. For marriage and family therapists, who are also master’s-level therapists, there is a projected 22% job growth rate between 2019 and 2029. Likewise, behavioral counselors, who must earn a bachelor’s degree, like BCaBAs are predicted to see a job growth rate of 25% by 2029.
As a BCBA or BCaBA, you are part of a profession with a job growth outlook that is much higher than the national average. While the needs and applications for skilled behavior therapists increases, so do your job opportunities. Based on the current rate of job growth, you are likely to have a long and rewarding career in the field of behavior analysis.
Average Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst Hourly Pay. (June 2022). Payscale.
Average Board Certified Behavior Analyst Salary. (June 2022). Payscale.
Careers in Applied Behavior Analysis are Vast and Growing. (January 2020). Purdue University Global.
Occupational Outlook Handbook: Marriage and Family Therapists. (September 2020). Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Occupational Outlook Handbook: Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors. (September 2020). Bureau of Labor Statistics.
US Employment Demand for Behavior Analysts: 2010-2018. (April 2019). Behavior Analyst Certification Board.