Popular Accredited BCBA Programs and Certification in Missouri [2024 ABA Degrees]

Last Updated: June 29, 2024

Are you considering a rewarding career where you can make a meaningful impact on individuals with behavioral disorders? Becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) might be the right path for you. In Missouri, there are programs specially designed to equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge.

BCBA programs in Missouri are designed to help you navigate through the required coursework, practical fieldwork experiences, and prepare you for the BCBA examination. Read on to find out how the right in-person or online BCBA program in Missouri can set you on a promising career trajectory in behavior analysis.

Best Accredited BCBA/ABA Programs and Certification in Missouri Online

BCBA Programs in Missouri

Listed below are some of the popular schools offering BCBA programs in Missouri:

  • The Chicago School
  • University of Missouri
  • Missouri State University
  • Southeast Missouri State University
  • University of Central Missouri
  • University of Missouri – St. Louis
  • Saint Louis University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Simmons University

University of Missouri

Master of Science (MS) – Applied Behavior Analysis

Enroll in the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program at the University of Missouri to embark on a journey to become a skilled behavior analyst equipped to enhance the lives of individuals facing behavioral challenges, including those with developmental needs.

In this comprehensive program, you will dive deep into ABA’s foundational concepts, learning firsthand how these principles can lead to behavioral improvements. One of the cornerstones of this program is your partnership with the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment. It’s here where you will gain invaluable hands-on experience, directly working with those with developmental needs.

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has verified the coursework requirements of this program for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination.

To earn your degree, you will need to complete at least 39 semester credit hours. On top of your coursework, your academic journey will include a Thesis or Capstone project. Additionally, you will be required to gain experience in the field. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) outlines two types of experience: supervised fieldwork, lasting 2000 hours, or a more intense, Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork of 1500 hours.

Your immersive practicum, hosted at the MU Thompson Center, will expose you to intensive, all-rounded training in ABA. Here, you will develop critical skills working closely with children, acquiring expertise in designing programs to enhance skills and implement interventions rooted in understanding behaviors.

The curriculum encompasses a diverse range of courses, including but not limited to:

  • Advanced Behavior Management: Applied Behavior Analysis – In this course, you will deepen your understanding of behavioral management theories, focusing on applied behavior analysis principles.
  • Concepts and Principles in Behavior Analysis – In this course, you will gain insights into classic and modern theories in both nonhuman and human learning, emphasizing behavior-analytical perspectives on learning.
  • Individualized Assessment and Intervention – Here, you will learn to conduct functional assessments of problem behaviors, building on the foundational concepts you have garnered in your core behavior analysis courses.
  • Advanced Studies: Single Subject Design – This course covers aspects like behavioral measurement and single subject research designs, encouraging critical analysis and evaluation of research in this sphere.
  • Verbal Behavior – In this course, you will understand the behavior-analytic approach to language study, delving into the theory and application of verbal behavior analysis in various real-world scenarios.
  • Systems Level Behavior Analysis – Here, you will learn to apply behavior analytic principles to address systemic behavioral issues, including in clinical settings, familiarizing yourself with strategies to modify behavior at a macro level.
  • Survey of Applied Behavior Analysis – This course takes a detailed look at the various applications of behavior analysis, covering diverse fields such as behavioral medicine and organizational behavior management, paired with guidance on professional development.
  • Ethics in Applied Behavior Analysis – In this course, you will enhance your understanding of the ethical considerations and professional behavior guidelines in applied behavior analysis, preparing you to uphold the highest standards in your future career.

Admission requirements for this program include:

  • A completed bachelor’s degree.
  • At least a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale).
  •  A statement of purpose (500 words).
  • Up-to-date Resume/Curriculum Vitae.
  • Two letters of recommendation.

Missouri State University

Master of Science (MS) in Behavior Analysis and Therapy

At Missouri State University, you have the opportunity to pursue a Master of Science degree in Behavior Analysis and Therapy. This program is a collaboration between the School of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Counseling, Leadership, and Special Education. This program is available both in Traditional and Accelerated formats.

The program requires you to complete 27 credit hours in the classroom and another 6 credit hours through practical experience. Furthermore, you will undertake a research-driven 6-credit thesis project or an internship. By completing this program successfully, you will be ready to sit for the national certification examination, paving the way to become a BCBA.

One of the standout aspects of this program is the tailored training you get if you are interested in working in schools. Depending on your preference, you can choose between two tracks:

  • Thesis Option: Here, you will finish 3 hours of Directed Research and 6 hours dedicated to your Thesis.
  • Non-Thesis Option: You will commit 3 hours to Directed Research and 6 hours to an Internship.

By the end of the program, you will be proficient in applied behavior analysis, equipped to:

  • Use research-driven teaching methods for special groups, especially students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, whether in clinics, schools, or homes.
  • Become a skilled practitioner and researcher in the realms of experimental and applied behavioral science.

Some of the courses that you will take include:

  • Learning Theories
  • Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Single Subject Research Design in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Behavioral Systems Analysis
  • Conceptual Foundations of Applied Behavioral Science
  • Ethical and Professional Issues
  • Applied Behavior Analysis for Developmental Disabilities

When you graduate, you can expect to:

  • Display expertise in line with the highest standards in your field.
  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically, to analyze complex and diverse concepts.
  • Express yourself clearly, both in speaking and writing, in academic and work environments.
  • Collaborate respectfully with individuals from various backgrounds, understanding and bridging differences.
  • Lead ethically in your professional role and community activities.
  • Apply your knowledge and skills to benefit the University and the broader community.
  • Be ready to commit to ongoing learning through further education, research, service, and involvement in professional groups.

If you wish to enroll in the Behavior Analysis and Therapy program, here’s what’s expected of you:

  • You must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.
  • Provide three recommendation letters.
  • Submit a statement detailing your interest in the program.
  • Maintain an overall GPA of 3.25.
  • If your major was Psychology, ensure a 3.25 GPA across all psychology courses and complete a minimum of 20 semester hours or 30 quarter hours in psychology, with courses in statistics and research methods.
  • If you majored in Education, specifically Special Education, a 3.25 GPA in professional education courses and in the Special Education subject area is necessary.
  • Lastly, you must undergo a Family Care Safety Registry background check. If you reside in Missouri and haven’t filled out the Family Care and Safety Registry form, it’s advised to do it promptly.

Southeast Missouri State University

Online Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Behavior Analysis

Southeast Missouri State University offers you an opportunity to earn a Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis through an online format. This graduate program, totaling 42 credits, is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills to specialize in ABA. If you are aspiring to assist individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, or other Behavioral Health challenges, this is the program for you.

During the program, you will be engaged in a mix of coursework and hands-on training. By dedicating 6 to 9 credit hours across 6 semesters (including summers), you can complete your degree in 2 years. Notably, the curriculum aligns with the Fifth Edition Task List set by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and the ABAI has verified the coursework requirements of this program for eligibility to take the BCBA examination.

Some of the courses that you will take include:

  • Basic Principles in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Methods for Studying the Behavior of Individuals
  • ABA I: Skill Acquisition and Assessment
  • ABA II: Function Based Assessment and Treatment of Challenging Behavior
  • Principles in Psychopharmacology
  • Behavioral Consultation & Management
  • Conceptual Topics in Behavior Analysis

If you are residing outside of Cape Girardeau, MO, it’s important for you to identify potential sites for your practicum before enrolling in the program. Throughout your journey, you will be in consistent touch with your advisors via phone, email, or video calls, ensuring you never feel isolated. Furthermore, Southeast provides online resources, including study modules, to get you ready for the BCBA Exam.

If you are aiming to take the BCBA, you need to have either 2000 hours of Supervised Fieldwork or 1500 hours of Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork. Bear in mind, the program’s faculty offer limited supervision, so reach out to the program coordinator if you are lacking a local ABA Supervisor.

Once enrolled, you will be part of a cohort in this program, studying alongside the same peers throughout, fostering deep connections in the behavior analytic community. Although applications are accepted for both Summer and Fall intakes, the core ABA courses only kick off in Fall.

For those considering enrollment, besides general graduate admission standards, you need:

  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.25 out of 4.0 or two graduate-level courses with a GPA of 3.0.
  • A typed letter, no more than 750 words, outlining your motivations and objectives for pursuing this graduate program.
  • Two reference letters.
  • Identification of a potential site for supervised experience.

There’s also an accelerated option available. If you are an undergraduate, this enables you to attend classes in your senior year that count for both undergraduate and graduate credits. Those majoring in fields like Education, Psychology, Child Development, and Communication Disorders, or those pursuing an Autism Studies Certificate, will find this particularly beneficial.

Requirements for the accelerated program:

  • Completion of at least 75 credit hours as a Junior.
  • Maximum of 12 hours at the 500 level.
  • A GPA of at least 3.0.
  • Two reference letters.
  • A personal statement.

Additional notes for this accelerated track:

  • Admission to the accelerated program is a must before starting the courses.
  • Initially, your courses will be registered as undergraduate. However, post the semester’s end and grade submission, these will transition to graduate credits.

University of Central Missouri

Online Master of Science in Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Unlock the path to a rewarding career working with individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities through the Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program at the University of Central Missouri. This specialized program offers a focus on Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorder, equipping you with the skills and knowledge you need to make a genuine impact.

The university boasts dedicated faculty who are not only there to teach but also to mentor you. They have extensive professional experience which ensures you are not just learning theories but also understanding the practical side of the profession.

In this program, you are required to complete 30 credit hours of core behavior analysis courses, followed by a choice between two in-depth program options. Choose the path that aligns with your career goals, whether it is Behavior Analysis and Therapy (6 credits) or Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorder (12 credits).

Some of the core courses that you will take include:

  • Principles of Behavior and Learning
  • Staff Training and Performance Management
  • Behavior Analysis and Therapy 1 and 2
  • Behavioral Assessment
  • Research Methods in Applied Settings
  • Ethics and Behavioral Health Care

You will appreciate the flexibility and accessibility of UCM’s online learning platform, designed to cater to your personal commitments without compromising the quality of education. The program’s synchronous courses foster a collaborative learning environment, allowing you to build robust relationships with your peers while managing your personal commitments efficiently.

Aside from the immersive academic experience, the program guides you towards becoming a BCBA. Through specialized coursework exclusive to the Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorder track, you gain a deep understanding of the unique methodologies employed in this field. This knowledge will be instrumental as you prepare to undertake the BCBA certification exam, a vital step in advancing your career.

The practicum component of this program offers a hands-on approach, enabling you to apply the principles learned in real-world scenarios. Under expert supervision, you will obtain professional experience and accumulate the necessary fieldwork hours for the certification exam.

By choosing the Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program at UCM, you will:

  • Gain proficiency in using and interpreting data from single-subject research designs.
  • Demonstrate skills and knowledge related to the assumptions and practice of behavioral assessment.
  • Acquire in-depth knowledge about behavior analysis, learning, application of behavioral principles, and the importance of ethics and professional behavior.

Upon graduation, your career prospects widen significantly, making you an eligible candidate for positions in various organizations including schools, private companies, and agencies that serve individuals with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities.

Admission requirements for the program include:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.00.
  • One undergraduate course in Psychology of Learning and Conditioning or Behavior Analysis with a grade of B or better.
  • Three letters of recommendations
  • A formal goal statement describing how your professional goals fit the focus of this program.

The University of Central Missouri emphasizes affordability. They believe in easing your academic journey, offering multiple financial aids such as:

  • Grants
  • Graduate assistantships
  • Scholarships
  • Tuition incentives

How Do I Become a BCBA in Missouri?

To achieve the BCBA status in Missouri, you need to:

  1. Obtain a graduate level degree from a recognized university.
  2. Successfully complete the necessary coursework as outlined by the Fifth Edition Task List.
  3. Fulfill all fieldwork requirements as mandated by the BACB (2000 hours of Supervised Fieldwork or 1500 hours of Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork).
  4. Pass the BCBA examination.

How Much Does a BCBA Make in Missouri?

As of September 2023, the average annual salary fpr a BCBA working in Missouri is $73,543. More experienced and top earning BCBAs working in Missouri make over $130,000 per year.

The average annual salary of BCBAs working in cities such as St. Joseph, Lee’s Summit, and St. Louis is $87,085, $83,039, and $78,997, respectively.

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