In 2021, BCBA programs can be found online & are often included in a master’s degree program. They have been accredited by the Behavior Certification Board. These programs provide special education, psychology, or applied behavior analysis coursework. They cover the required behavior-analytic coursework necessary to sit for the BCBA exam.
Online BCBA degree programs allow you to pursue your studies with the flexibility of being able to work part- or full-time. Many students are able to complete all coursework in about 2 years, even if they are working while studying.
There are multiple ways to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. For those with a master’s degree in psychology or other similar degrees, all it takes to become a BCBA is for them to earn an Applied Behavioral Analysis certificate. However, something to keep in mind if you go that route is that certificate programs are not eligible for federal financial aid.
On the other hand, those without a master’s degree can complete BCBA coursework while simultaneously completing their master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis or a related area and a concentration in ABA.
Another thing to remember is that while students can complete coursework for these certificates online, they will still have to undergo demanding practicum work to satisfy the BACB’s certification requirements.
There are few online ABA programs in existence, especially when taking accreditation and reputation into consideration.
Below we’ve compiled a list focusing mainly on the cost per credit.
10 Cheapest Online BCBA Programs
1. University of North Texas
Cost Per Credit: $ 193.30
In 1890, the University of North Texas established itself as a public university. It is located near Dallas and Fort Worth and allows students to choose from about 100 majors.
Their Master of Science degree in Behavior Analysis teaches students both the experimental analysis of behavior and applied behavior analysis, which will prepare them for further study in a doctoral program or a career in various settings. Coursework helps broaden your understanding of behavior principles and allows you to pursue specialized areas of learning, such as their courses that focus on autism.
Upon completing your Master of Science degree in Behavior Analysis, you will have developed the skills necessary to complete your certification as a board-certified behavior analyst.
2. Texas Tech University
Cost Per Credit: $199.50
Texas Tech develops knowledge through innovative and creative teaching, research, and scholarship as a public research university.
Their Masters of Education in Special Education with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is unique. It gives students the flexibility to learn from anywhere in the world using their online learning program. On top of that, the Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified that courses meet the eligibility requirements for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst examination. Applicants will also need to meet a few additional requirements before they are eligible to take the exam. But, students who complete the program will gain multiple opportunities to develop high-level skills in Applied Behavior Analysis and become Board Certified Behavior Analysts.
3. Monmouth University
Cost Per Credit: $356.00
Monmouth University is a private, nonprofit institution that serves students both online and on a campus situated a mile from the Atlantic Ocean.
Monmouth offers certificate programs, as well as associate’s through doctorate level degrees. Its Master of Science in Education, Special Education – Autism/Applied Behavior Analysis program is both online and inexpensive.
Their program consists of 39-credit hours that combine the MSEd Autism track with an ABA certificate. Upon completion, program graduates are then qualified to take the Board Certification in Behavior Analysis (BCBA) exam. Once certified, potential places of work for graduates include clinics, community centers, homes, hospitals, private practices, and schools. Careers include supervisor, director, trainer, etc.
4. Southeast Missouri State University
Cost Per Credit: $365.00
Southeast Missouri State University, also known as SEMO, is a public institution that serves students online and at five regional campuses.
SEMO offers inexpensive certificate programs, as well as associate’s through master’s level degrees. It provides an affordable online/ hybrid program in human behavior studies: Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis (MA-ABA).
The MA-ABA is a 42-credit master’s degree program with online courses and at least 750 hours of in-person, hands-on experience. Graduates will be ready to take the BCBA professional certification exam. Those successfully certified may find careers working with people with neurodevelopmental disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder.
5. Purdue University, Global
Cost Per Credit: $371.00
Purdue University, Global is a 100% online branch of Purdue University. Their ABA online certificate is high-quality and affordable. They are also well-known for their BCBA certification online programs and has experience offering an excellent online education.
In this online, 30-credit ABA certificate program, students learn in 10-week terms and estimate that it should take 15 hours of coursework per week. Professors are professionals in the field of ABA, and the BACB approves this course sequence.
6. University of Colorado, Denver
Cost Per Credit: $373.00
The University of Colorado Denver is a large, diverse, inclusive university that benefits from an energetic alumni community of over 85,000 members.
They offer a strengths-based/assets-based approach to teaching and focus on preparing students to understand the strengths and needs of every child in every family.
UC Denver’s Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis program develops your ability to work with individuals with special learning and behavioral issues. This program also lays the groundwork for professionals to follow best practices for ABA in various settings and meets the coursework requirements proposed by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®. However, this program doesn’t provide the supervisory experience that the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® also requires.
7. University of Colorado
Cost Per Credit: In-state:$377.00 Out-of-State: $452.00
The University of Colorado is a public school located in Boulder, Colorado. Their ABA certificate is for educators and direct-care staff who want to deepen their understanding and expertise in identifying student behaviors that may cause learning difficulties.
The Applied Behavior Analysis, ABA, certificate course sequence is taught entirely online by our CU Denver ABA instructors. ABA certificate seekers can use CU Denver’s coursework to meet the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) coursework requirements towards becoming a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Board-Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA).
8. Portland State University
Cost Per Credit: $383.50
Portland State University is a public institution founded in 1946. Their Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Graduate Program is entirely online and provides a coursework emphasis in behavior analysis for those that want to pursue advanced studies in ABA. The courses build on each other, enhancing students’ knowledge and skills in implementing evidence-based behavior support strategies. Further, for those pursuing a BCBA, our seven courses are based on the 5th edition of the BACB® Task List, and an ABAI verified course sequence (VCS).
9. University of West Florida
Cost Per Credit: $384.60
The University of West Florida is situated in Ferry Pass, Florida, in the Pensacola area, and has relatively competitive admissions as the West Florida acceptance rate is 31%. Graduating 46% of students, West Florida alumni earn a starting salary of around $31,500.
Their Applied Behavior Analysis program is a pre-approved coursework provider by the Qualified Applied Behavior Analysis Credentialing Board (QABA®), an internationally accredited credentialing agency dedicated to ensuring the highest standard of care among professionals providing applied behavioral analysis (ABA) services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and related disabilities.
10. University of South Florida
Cost Per Credit: $386.21
At the University of South Florida, located in the Tampa Bay region,
they offer low-priced degrees and certificates and have one of the cheapest online/hybrid Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis.
Taught by the Department of Child and Family Studies within the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, this is a 41-credit, hybrid master’s degree program with online coursework and 1,500 hours of supervised fieldwork, as well as practicum seminars for further training. (Note: Before admission to the online MA-ABA, a student’s practicum site must be secured, and their practicum supervisor must be approved by USF faculty.) The program will prepare students for BACB’s BCBA professional certification exam.
Essential Info About Online BCBA Programs & Certification
For those who already have a master’s degree in a field like psychology, obtaining an ABA certificate is enough to become a BCBA. However, it’s crucial to note that certificate programs are not eligible for federal financial aid. This should be considered when comparing the costs of certificate and master’s programs.
As ABA is a human services profession, learning to work with clients is a vital part of BCBA education. The BACB mandates a supervised practicum for certification. Even if coursework is completed online, students must be prepared for an in-person practicum. Discuss with a program advisor to ensure these requirements fit your schedule.
After obtaining your degree, you’ll need to pass an exam to become a BCBA. Continuing education credits must be completed regularly to maintain certification.
Increasingly, states require both a license and certification to practice as a BCBA. Stay informed about the current regulations in the state where you plan to practice, and consider this when choosing your degree location.
Consider these questions when researching BCBA programs:
- Do I need financial aid? Remember that ABA certificate programs generally don’t qualify for federal financial aid. Ensure you can cover costs independently or find alternative funding sources. If employed, check if your employer offers tuition assistance benefits.
- How are online courses delivered? Online courses are typically synchronous (students attend classes remotely at the same time) or asynchronous (students complete coursework on their schedule). Determine which format suits you best when researching online programs.
- When researching programs, review application requirements and deadlines on the school’s website or by contacting the admissions office. Preparing your application materials well in advance can help make the admissions process smoother.
Online BCBA FAQ
Can I become a BCBA online?
Yes. Getting an online BCBA certification is a great route for those who don’t have the opportunity to attend a traditional on-campus program. Online BCBA programs are popular because they offer flexibility and cost-savings, unlike in-person programs. Online BCBA programs may be one of the best ways to receive certification since they allow you to work in your own time. This is your first step on your journey to becoming a BCBA online.
How long does it take to get a BCBA certification?
You will need several years of post-secondary education and relevant work experience before you can be fully certified as a BCBA. It takes about 6-10 years to become a BCBA on average, but it can vary depending on how long it takes for you to complete your undergrad or graduate degree.
How much does BCBA certification cost?
The cost of BCBA® certification will depend on a number of factors, not to mention the varying costs of a college degree. Expect to pay for graduate and undergraduate studies, plus other expenses along the way.
- Application for coursework evaluation – $100
- BCBA® exam application fee – $245
- Cost of the exam – $125 (each time you take the exam)
- Re-take fee (if necessary) – $140
- Biennial renewal – $215
- Cost of taking the BCBA® exam for continuing education (in lieu of CEUs) – $120