Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) careers have been growing at a steady pace and show no signs of slowing down in the near future. Determining the best university for an undergraduate or graduate program in the field of ABA can be a challenging feat, so we’ve narrowed down a list of best options. These are ranked due to factors such as reputation amongst our team members, % Pass Rate for the BCBA exam, % employment upon graduation, accreditation, faculty experience, and more.
If you’re considering a career in ABA, ABC is the place to be! Action Behavior Centers is committed to shouldering the burden of student loan debt. We believe that the highest quality clinical care is delivered when we support our hardworking team, and we support our team members who choose to continue their education. We've partnered with some of the largest universities to offer tuition discounted rates for undergraduate and graduate degrees, which are listed below. We've also coordinated with SOFi to lower the interest rates and monthly payments on teammate's existing loans. We pledge to contribute hundreds of dollars a year towards paying down teammates' student loans.
Students aiming to become BCBAs must complete all required coursework by the BACB (Behavior Analyst Certification Board), receive 1,500 hours of supervision, and pass an extremely challenging exam to become a master-level clinician with BCBA credentials. A high-quality ABA program is critical, since BCBAs must be equipped with the knowledge and skills to individualize treatment programs to each child's specific needs with ASD.
Below is our updated list of top ABA programs in the United States for 2022.
- Vanderbilt University boasts a 7:1 student to faculty ratio and average passing rate of 94% on the BCBA exam. Courses include Administering Ethical Behavior Analytic Services, Management Procedures for Academic and Social Behavior, and Advanced Procedures in Classroom Management. The Department of Special Education is ranked #1 in the most recent U.S News & World Report.
- The University of South Florida is an excellent institution for prospective Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs)! There is an 82% first-time pass rate from their student base and all courses are taught by doctoral level behavior analysts in short, eight-week sessions. Courses are verified and delivered online and concentrated fieldwork supervision will be provided to acquire 1,500 hours of supervised experience required by the BACB!
- Northern Illinois University boasts a student to faculty ratio of 15:1 and a pass rate of 90%. NIU also reports that 90% of graduates are employed in field work within a year of their graduation rate. Their hybrid class program works well for individuals working full-time. Students even transition through the program with the same group of peers to build community and camaraderie!
- ASU Online features an Online Master of Arts in Special Education - Applied Behavior Analysis. All coursework meets the Association for Behavior Analysis International verified course sequence requirements to qualify for the BCBA exam. Action Behavior Centers offers a 10% discount for undergraduate and graduate students.
- Florida Institute of Technology features a School of Behavior Analysis that focuses on four branches: Conceptual Analysis of Behavior, Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), and Behavior Analytic Service Delivery. Florida Tech has 5 different graduate ABA programs: 1) Master's of Science (M.S.) in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), 2) M.S. in Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), 3) M.S. in ABA plus OBM (ABA + OBM), 4) Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Behavior Analysis, and 5) Master of Arts (M.A.) in Behavior Analysis Practice (BAP). ABC offers a 10% discount for new and existing students in the graduate program.
- The University of Cincinnati’s Master of ABA sets itself apart by offering 100% online coursework and available financial aid! Not to mention, UC online is in the top 10 programs worldwide for the total number of students to pass the BCBA examination on their first attempt! Enroll in the fall, spring, or summer to complete the 10-course, 30-hour, ABAI verified program.
- Purdue University Global offers an MS in Educational Studies with a concentration in ABA. Students can choose between a fully online or a hybrid model. If students desire to continue their education, they can pursue the Special Education doctoral program and have all credits acquired from their Master’s program count towards their doctoral degree. This 30 credit master's complies with the Verified Course Sequence (VCS) and the 5th Edition Task List.
- Ball State University offers a Master’s degree in ABA with an emphasis on Autism. This 30-credit program is completely online and verified by ABAI to meet coursework requirements for the BCBA exam. Action Behavior Centers offers a 10% discount for new and existing students in the graduate program.
- Simmons University students can choose from a Master of Science (MS) or Education Specialist (EdS) in Behavior Analysis (on-campus), an MS in Behavior Analysis (online), or a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Behavior Analysis (on-campus). Their ability to cater to a diverse student population is extremely beneficial as Simmons is the only master’s program in New England to be accredited by the Behavior Analysis Accreditation Board of the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). Simmons’ programs cater to working professionals offering both evening classes and online options.
- Students who attend George Mason can benefit from either a fully online or campus blended program. George Mason offers an ABA graduate certificate as well as a Masters in Special Education that can be combined with the certificate. Some of the perks of these programs include traditional semesters that begin in the Spring, Summer, or Fall, face-to-face interactions with faculty, and opportunities for tuition discounts for Virginia Educators.
- Western Michigan University offers both a Master's and Doctorate of ABA that has been accredited by the ABAI. WMU both prioritizes training in core specialties such as autism and developmental disabilities and behavioral neuroscience as well as exposes students to a variety of applied and experimental areas through coursework, research, and applied experiences. Their BCBA exam pass rates are extremely competitive with 93% in 2019 and 97% in 2018.
- Pepperdine University's MS in ABA sets their students up for success through online coursework and in-person field experiences where they learn skills necessary to improve behaviors such as autism, developmental disabilities, or traumatic brain injuries. This program is verified by the ABAI and seeks to teach students foundational knowledge of clinical interventions for children, adolescents, and adults. Students can also obtain clinical experience through over 50 practicum sites.
- University of Dayton offers an Online Master of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for prospective behavior analysts. Their program covers intervention strategies and advanced techniques taught by a majority of individuals who have 10+ years of field experience. You can choose from three tracks: Educator for teachers and staff educators, Supervised for structured fieldwork, and Independent for students already working in the field.
- Capella University is contracted with Action Behavior Centers for discounted tuition in all programs (undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate) with a 10% discount for existing students and a 10% discount + $5K scholarship for new students. The Masters program is available to be completed entirely online. The coursework is centered around eligibility to pursue the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) or Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination.
- Saint Joseph’s University offers an online 30-credit ABA M.S program, designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of diverse behavioral needs. This program is 100% online. Saint Joseph’s is home to the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support and boasts numerous training opportunities for students who want fieldwork experience.
- Southern Illinois University has programs for an MS in Behavior Analysis that include on-campus and blended learning programs. Their program focuses on developing students to prepare for fieldwork in treating developmental disabilities, chronic medical conditions, and traumatic brain injuries. After the first two semesters of coursework, students typically enter the BAT program for a supervised internship. Talk about great opportunities for clinical experience!
- University of North Texas offers an on-campus program for both a Bachelor of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis and an MS in Behavior Analysis. Their Master’s program was the first to earn the prestigious BAAB-ABAI accreditation. This university is known for having robust research programs, including the Behavior Analysis Online Research Group, the Behavior Analysis Resource Center, the Behavior Research Laboratory, the Easter Seals North Texas Autism Treatment Program Research Group, and many more.
- The University of Houston at Clear Lake provides students with a foundation in behavior analysis through research, application, and practicums in ABA. The coursework is accredited through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. All students complete a major research project prior to graduation and are eligible to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam to become licensed Behavior Analysts in the state of Texas.
- The University of Colorado-Denver includes two graduate pathways: 1) the Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate, and 2) a Master of Arts in Counseling in School Counseling. Their program is listed in the Top 20 Online Applied Behavior Analysis Programs for Undergraduates according to the Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide. Students can use coursework to meet BACB requirements to become a BCBA or BCaBA.
- The University of Arizona has a Master of Arts in Special Education: Applied Behavior Analysis. This university ranks in the top 1% of all higher-ed institutions according to the Center for World University Rankings in 2022 and the Top 40 Best Online Master’s in Education Programs according to the U.S. News & World Report, 2022. This program centers around preparing individuals for work with students to aid in the development of communication, social, and adaptive skills.
- The University of North Carolina Wilmington offers an undergraduate program in psychology and two graduate and doctoral degrees in Applied Behavior Analysis. The curriculum focuses on experimental and applied analyses of behavior to develop proficiency in both research in practice in the field. This program is aimed to shape students into becoming regionally, nationally, and internally recognized as adept professionals in the field of behavior analysis.
- St. Cloud University's MS in ABA offers both conceptual and practical coursework, close faculty support throughout the program, and Ph.D. level instructors in every course. Not to mention they have the highest Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) pass rates compared to online ABA master’s programs. Walk, don't run to apply for St. Cloud’s on-campus cohort or their online master’s program, the only accredited online ABA program in the world!
- Russell Sage College offers both hands-on experience and practicum supervision for aspiring behavior analysts. Upon degree completion, graduates will have met all requirements to take the NYSED LBA and BCBA exams. Graduates from Russell Sage pass nearly 10% more than the national average of BCBA exam passers.
- The University of West Florida offers courses in Methodology in Behavior Analysis in Health Science, Functional Applications of Behavior Analysis in Health Science, & Problem Identification and Functional Assessment in Health Science - and the BCaBA program can be completed as part of the BS in Health Sciences! UWF matches in-state tuition rates for all Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) courses!
- Troy University students can complete two optional practicum courses to gain experience in the field. Troy University offers a Master of Science and an undergraduate minor in Applied Behavior Analysis. Their graduate program follows the scientist-practitioner model and students will learn principles grounded in discrete and natural settings.
- The University of Washington offers online and on-campus ABA programs (masters and doctoral), both with the option to complete a Master of Education (MEd) in Special Education. UW fosters a supportive community within its student population by starting and ending their cohorts together. At UW diversity and equity are prioritized by providing scholarship opportunities to students focused on these same values. In 2019, the pass rate for the BCBA exam was 91% - the national average for pass rates in 2021 was 72%! Their online program was recently voted the #2 online ABA program in the country.
- California State University in San Marcos offers approved coursework for both the BCBA and BaCB certifications. Courses are centered around behavior analysis, classroom management, ethical considerations, and foundations/concepts in Applied Behavior Analysis. This university is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and is 100% online.
- The University of Kansas's online MA in ABA tailors its program to busy working professionals and graduate students. This program is extremely thorough, requiring 30 credit hours in six content areas, three hours of research or practicum experience, and at least three thesis hours. In addition, students are required to conduct, write, and defend a thesis. The University of Kansas supports its students to meet licensure requirements in the state of Kansas and provides unique practicum opportunities through Behavioral Health Holdings.
- William James College offers an MA in Applied Behavior Analysis both online (six semesters, two years) and on-campus (four semesters, one year). All applicants are entered into the ABA Positive Outcomes Scholarship, a $10,000 scholarship based on eligibility at the time of application review. On campus, students can choose from individual field placement or employment with immediate supervision at a designated ABA therapy facility.
- Saint Louis University offers both an MS and post Masters certificate in ABA. Students who engage in these programs have the opportunity to participate in clinical settings that allow firsthand knowledge of behavioral principles. In addition, students have opportunities to present at national and international conferences. Saint Louis sets itself apart through unique applications in the field such as organizational behavior management, gerontology sports, and addressing social justice issues through ABA. To sweeten the pot even more, to date 100 % of graduates of the Master's program were offered a job before graduation!