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 therapy 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 therapy, 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. ABC is thrilled to announce the official launch of our Everest program! With this groundbreaking initiative, we are committed to fostering the professional growth of our teammates. Through the Everest program, we proudly offer free access providing comprehensive supervision and training to grow from an RBT to BCBA. Also, 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 therapy 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 2024.
- The University of North Carolina Wilmington offers an undergraduate program in psychology and two graduate and doctoral degrees in Applied Behavior Analysis. This program boasts a student to faculty ratio of 18:1 with a 100% average passing rate on the BCBA exam for first-time candidates. The curriculum focuses on experimental and applied analyses of behavior to develop proficiency in both research in practice in the field. Coursework includes both a research and applied practicum as well as an empirical thesis. This program is aimed to shape students into becoming regionally, nationally, and internally recognized as adept professionals in the field of behavior analysis.
- Utah State University provides students with a foundation for a Master’s of Science in special Education with BCBA coursework. With a 19:1 student to faculty ratio, this program has a 100% passing rate for first-time candidates. The coursework is offered online, but will require students to come to campus to complete their proposal meeting and final defense. Courses are verified and include classes like Systems Change/Supervision, Legal Issues in Special Education, Ethics and Professional Behavior. The program allows for students to complete the required coursework to sit for their BCBA exam.
- The University of Houston at Clear Lake provides students with a foundation in behavior analysis through research, application, and practicums in ABA. With a 16:1 student to faculty ratio, this program has a 91% passing rate for first-time candidates. 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 Texas at Austin offers a Master’s in Special Education with a concentration in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. Students can earn either their MEd or MA and complete the course sequence needed to sit for their BCBA exam.With full-time study, students can complete the program in just one year. ABA courses include Challenging Behavior and Developmental Disabilities, Advances in the Understanding and Treatment of Autism, and Teaching Individuals with Developmental Disabilities. This program offers a 18:1 student to faculty ratio with a 96% passing rate for the BCBA exam. On the plus side, Action Behavior Centers works with their professors and hires from this program.
- 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.
- Westfield State University boasts a student to faculty ratio of 15:1 with a 100% average passing rate on the BCBA exam for first-time candidates. Courses include Behavioral Interventions, Clinical Behavior Analysis, and Autism and Developmental Disability. Westfield State University even offers evening classes that make the program accessible to working professionals.
- Jacksonville State University offers a Master’s of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis through the School of Human Services and Social Sciences. The school gives students the option to choose from a thesis or non-thesis based program. Students that opt-in to the non-thesis program will be required to pass a comprehensive exam at the end of their coursework. Both programs provide the necessary training and field experience needed through various practicum and independent research opportunities. The student to faculty ratio is 18:1 with a 100% pass rate!
- Auburn University offers an MS in Applied Behavior Analysis. This program has a 20:1 student to faculty ratio with a 100% passing rate for BCBA examinees. This program provides students with all the coursework and supervised experience that is required to take the BCBA exam. Students are required to complete a practicum and capstone project that gives them valuable hand-on training in various environments. Graduates are fully prepared to work in home-based services, schools, juvenile corrections, and more.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Texas State University offers an MS in Educational degree with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). This is a hands-on program teaching skills in both special education and ABA through the Clinic for Autism Research Evaluation and Support (CARES). This gives them the opportunity to earn part of the practicum hours that are required to sit for the BCBA exam. With a 22:1 student to faculty ratio, 20% of this program’s graduates pursue a doctoral degree.
- 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. Also, Action Behavior Center has a 10% student discount partnership with Purdue University. Purdue University ranks with U.S. News & World Report, coming in at #5 in Top Public Schools.
- 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.
- Southern Illinois University offers an outstanding Master of Science in Behavior Analysis and Therapy, providing on-campus and blended/weekend options for those near Chicago and Joliet. With an estimated cost of $14,583 (in-state) and $30,369 (out-of-state) per academic year, the program boasts a favorable 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio and doesn't require entrance exams. Graduates of the MS program are well-prepared to treat patients with various conditions, and the option of an internship or research paper/thesis adds depth to the learning experience, making it a convenient and flexible choice for those pursuing Applied Behavior Analysis in the Chicagoland area.
- Baylor University offers a Master’s of Arts in Education in Applied Behavior Analysis through its Educational Psychology Program. Their 13:1 student to faculty ratio results in a 100% pass rate for the BCBA exam. Their Master’s program includes 30 hours of coursework along with a master’s thesis. Baylor offers funding opportunities that include paid tuition, a monthly stipend, and professional experience.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a MA or MS in Applied Behavior Analysis. This program is the highest ranked major at the school. The student to faculty ratio is an excellent 4:1. This gives students plenty of room to work closely with their professors and classmates. With campuses across the United States, this program can be easily accessible to prospects across the country. In addition to their great ABA program, Action Behavior Center also offers a student discount partnership with this school.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Northeastern University in Boston offers a standout part-time Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis, completed in 18 to 24 months with a flexible 30-credit curriculum aligned with the Association for Behavior Analysis International. Recognized for academic excellence, the program includes an optional practicum for invaluable preparation toward the Behavior Analyst Certification Board examination. With an impressive 88% overall graduation rate and 26% of graduate students enrolled in distance education, Northeastern's commitment to quality education is evident, providing professionals with the necessary flexibility and support for success in behavior analysis.
- 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.
- 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 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.
Each highlighted institution on the list brings unique strengths to the table, emphasizing factors such as faculty expertise, accreditation, BCBA exam pass rates, and employment outcomes. Prospective students can select from a diverse array of programs. As the demand for skilled behavior analysts continues to rise, this comprehensive guide serves as a valuable resource for those excited about entering the world of Applied Behavior Analytics (ABA).
As previously stated, ABC has launched our newest program, The Everest Program! Through the Everest program, we proudly offer free access providing comprehensive supervision and training. This empowering journey is designed to guide individuals from the role of a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) to the esteemed position of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). At ABC, we believe in investing in our team's success, and Everest is the pathway to ascend in your career with us. Join us on this transformative trajectory towards excellence! If you are looking to join the action at Action Behavior Centers, please explore exciting career opportunities with us at joinabc.com. We are actively seeking passionate individuals to join our dedicated team of behavior analysts committed to making a positive impact. Apply now to be part of a dynamic organization that values continuous learning, professional growth, and delivering high-quality clinical care to individuals with ASD. Your journey towards a fulfilling career in Applied Behavior Analysis starts with us!
At Action Behavior Centers, we strive to provide compassionate care for children on the autism spectrum. We believe that early Intervention can be a great foundation in building a brighter future with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. ABC is committed to getting your child started as soon as possible because every moment counts.