Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Online Graduate Programs

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Applied Behavior Analysis and BCBA online programs address the science-based study of how people learn and behave. ABA therapists use their knowledge and special skill sets to help patients who have development disabilities, autism or other challenges modify their behavior in positive and adaptive ways.

Many ABA online programs prepare students to take Board-Certified Behavior Analyst® exams. To be eligible for ABA certification, students need to have first earned a masters or doctoral degree in behavior analysis, education or psychology from an accredited university.

From there, they are required to gain field experience and successfully pass board exams. In some states, licensure may also be necessary.

Popular Schools with Online Applied Behavior Analysis Degrees 

ProgramInstitutionDegree Awarded
Post-Master in Applied Behavior AnalysisCaldwell UniversityN/A
Graduate Certificate in Autism and Applied Behavior AnalysisUniversity of LouisvilleN/A
Applied PsychologyAkamai UniversityPhD
Applied Behavior AnalysisUniversity of North TexasN/A
Psychology with an Emphasis in Human FactorsUniversity of IdahoMS
Applied Behavior Analysis (M.S.)St. Cloud State UniversityMS
Positive Behavior Support CertificateNorthern Arizona UniversityN/A
MA, Special Education, Behavior AnalysisBrandman UniversityN/A
MSPY - Applied Behavior AnalysisPurdue University GlobalMS
PsyD in Behavioral Health Leadership - GeneralWalden UniversityN/A
Master of Arts in Psychology - Applied Behavior AnalysisNorthcentral UniversityN/A
Ph.D. Applied Behavior AnalysisThe Chicago School of Professional PsychologyPhD
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Online ABA Programs

Conveniently Pursue ABA Certification Through Online Education

Online BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) programs prepare students for certification with online course material that meets requirements set by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)®.ii Busy adult learners may access coursework through live, online classes and/or self-paced content.

Plus, they may log in any place they have an internet connection. This may provide some flexibility in learning environment to students who have to juggle work, family, or other lifestyle demands.

Take Online ABA Courses

Coursework for ABA online training programs may mix theory, research and practice. BCBA content covers the areas listed below. i

  • Ethical and professional conduct
  • Concepts and principles of behavior analysis
  • Measurement and data analysis
  • Experimental design
  • Identification of Problems
  • Behavior Change
  • Implementation, management, supervision
  • Discretionary hours

Course lists and curriculum vary.

Top States for Employment: Psychologists, All Other
StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Psychologists, All Other
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA$119,830190
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA$119,740470
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$112,450350
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA$110,910390
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX$107,450110

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Looking to become a behavior analyst?  Easily compare BCBA online programs and other behavior analysis Master's, PhD and Certificate programs here. Choose your degree level to refine your search results. Then follow the program link for details and to contact the school directly with a simple form.

Top 27 Online Graduate Schools with Online ABA Graduate Programs 

  • Offering two quality, competency-based online learning formats: FlexPath & GuidedPath
  • Online degrees in business, counseling, education, health administration, human services, information technology, nursing, public health, psychology and social work.
  • 97% of alumni agree FlexPath provided the flexibility they needed to pursue their degree (Alumni Outcomes Survey 2017)
  • No application fee for April & June terms
  • Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access

Fulfill ABA Experience Requirements in Your Community

Often in a BCBA online program, all coursework can be completed from your computer. However, the practicum experience requires placement in a university-approved agency where the student provides counseling services under supervision. Where applicable, students should find out how they might complete this required experience(s) locally.

You may also want to ensure your program meets BCBA certification experience requirements and any for state licensure. Contact an advisor with questions and check with your state board.


The most common occupations for Applied Behavior Analysis majors, by number of employees, are Counselors, Social Workers, Elementary and Middle School Teachers.i

Virtual Residency

While program formats vary a great deal, online ABA programs may offer a virtual residency where students all log in at the same time. In these sessions, they take part in group and individual mentoring and discussions. Students might also be expected to come to campus for supervised practice or group work. 

Structured Research

Some behavior analysis programs online focus on research as opposed to practice. Courses may address psychological theories and assessment, psychopathology and research methods. While online universities may have inter-library loan systems with other colleges, students often make use of their school’s online digital resources, databases and librarians.

As every school is unique, it's best to contact online applied behavior analysis programs directly to learn more about potential benefits, requirements and program structure.

Types of BCBA Online Programs - BCBA Programs Online

Applied behavior analysis has its roots and theoretical base in the discipline of psychology. As a result, some online BCBA programs may prepare students to pursue a career as licensed psychologists, while others focus on counseling professions.

There are also Master of Education degrees in Behavior Analysis that may be of interest to current and future special education teachers or school counselors. The path that you choose often reflects goals, interests and educational background.

BCBA Online Programs Information

BCBA Masters Programs Online

An ABA Master's Programs Online may provide students with a solid base in the principles of behavioral psychology. Some programs offer ABA as a concentration within a Mental Health Counseling degree program. In this event, there are typically core counseling courses plus Applied Behavior Analysis track courses.

Others (BCBA masters programs online) follow a specific 18 credit course sequence. Students might also find a program where they take ABA courses as a non-degree optional elective sequence.

Online BCBA Masters Programs at a Glance

  • Apply: Future applicants are commonly required to have earned a Bachelors degree from a regionally accredited school. Also, many schools want students to write an essay that explains why they want to study this discipline, and their goals as they move forward.
  • Length: Full time students may be able to complete an online MS – ABA program in two years; or three to four years part-time.
  • Coursework: Online ABA Masters programs that are aligned with Board Certified Behavior Analyst® requirements may entail supervised practice and a masters thesis. The thesis is often an applied research project and may be a good idea for students who want to pursue a PhD in the future. Programs vary.

Doctorate in Applied Behavior Analysis Online Programs

Online PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis programs take the study of human behavior to the next level. Students may develop a solid grasp of experimental analysis of behavior, applied behavior analysis and radical behaviorism.

In some schools, graduates who complete their MS in ABA requirements while in the PhD program may also be able to pursue Board Certified Behavior Analyst® status.

Online PhD Behavior Analysis Programs at a Glance

  • Apply: While it does depend on both the school and the PhD program, applicants may need to have earned a Masters degree in Psychology, Education, Behavior Analysis or another related degree recognized by the BACB. Further, they may be required to hold a current BCBA certification, furnish letters of reference, a personal essay and resume.
  • Length: Full time students may be able to complete an online PhD ABA program in three years (post-Masters); or five years full time (post-Baccalaureate).
  • Coursework: Students who pursue a Doctorate in Applied Behavior Analysis online may gain experience in instructional design and verbal behavior. They may also acquire research skills and methods to teach and conduct research with precision.
  • Dissertation: Doctoral students in ABA online programs may be required to complete a dissertation in which they contribute original thought and research to the field. Contact schools to learn more.

Online Graduate Certificates in Applied Behavior Analysis

Online Graduate Certificates in Applied Behavior Analysis, while not degrees themselves, may provide advanced skills and knowledge to current counselors, educators, and other professionals in a relatively short period of time.

Some BCBA online programs seek to prepare graduates for ABA certification. Other certificates might explore things like communication or consumer behavior and market research in depth.

Online ABA Certificates at a Glance

  • Apply: Applicants to Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate programs may need to have earned a graduate degree in special education, psychology, mental health, ABA or related fields. Aside from this, there may be school-specific additional requirements such as a minimum GPA.
  • Length: Full time online students might complete their program in about one academic year.
  • Coursework: Programs that meet the BCBA® approved course requirements may be 18 credits, while others may require about 24 credits. It depends on whether they meet the full BACB requirement for a total of 270 classroom hours.
  • Practicum: In some cases, in addition to coursework, there may be a 1,500-hour BACB® required fieldwork experience, 75 hours of which must be supervised.

Program goals, course sequence, and requirements vary, so contact schools for details.

Find Accredited Online Applied Behavior Analysis Programs

Students may find online applied behavioral analysis graduate programs at regionally accredited universities. This may speak to a school's finances, faculty and more. It may also be important should you wish to apply for federal loans.

While the BACB® preapproves university ABA training that meets its eligibility requirements, it does not accredit university programs. Therefore, be sure to check with schools and accreditation boards if this is important to you.

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