Accredited Popular BCBA Programs in Virginia [2024 Online and Campus ABA Degrees]

Last Updated: June 29, 2024

So, you have found your passion. You want to explore the world of behavioral analysis, eager to make a meaningful difference in the lives of many. Yet, the path ahead looks a little blurry. How can you get the best training and education to set your career on fire?

That feeling of standing at a crossroad, knowing that the right choice can shape your entire future, is daunting. It’s essential, yet challenging, to find a BCBA program that not only gives you the academic foundation but also grooms you for real-world challenges.

Virginia boasts a selection of in-person and online BCBA programs that are not just about textbooks but about transformation. These programs offer the blend of rigorous academics, immersive internships, and the supportive community that will ensure you are not just degree-ready, but world-ready.

Accredited Online BCBA and ABA Programs in Virginia Online

BCBA Programs in Virginia

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

  • Shenandoah University
  • Mary Baldwin University
  • James Madison University
  • Old Dominion University
  • University of Dayton
  • Capella University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Simmons University

Shenandoah University

Master of Science (MS) in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) focuses on shaping the environment to enhance the performance of individuals. This applies to a wide range of people, from children or adults with autism to corporate professionals aiming to boost their team’s productivity. Behavior analysts work in various places like classrooms, homes, mental health facilities, specialized clinics, and businesses.

Shenandoah University offers a 16-month online Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (MS ABA). The program is tailored for working professionals and aims to equip graduates with the expertise, skills, and ethical foundation to excel in diverse settings. It also prepares you for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination.

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

The MS ABA online program at Shenandoah requires 33 credit hours: 21 hours in the ABAI-verified coursework, six hours for electives, and another six for a capstone project. The program doesn’t incorporate supervision, but you can arrange this with guidance from the university’s faculty. Throughout the course, faculty members will periodically meet you to monitor your supervision journey.

The online program is hosted on platforms like Canvas and Zoom, provided by Shenandoah University. Both real-time (synchronous) and flexible (asynchronous) classes are available. Some of the courses that you will take include:

  • Foundations in Concepts and Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Special Populations and Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Research Methods in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Classroom Management and Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Advanced Concepts and Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis: Capstone Project
  • Capstone Research Proposal

Shenandoah boasts a faculty of nationally recognized instructors, passionate about both teaching and making a difference in the ABA field. They are committed to providing you with rich, interactive, and impactful learning experiences.

Enrollment for Shenandoah’s ABA program is exclusively in the fall semester. You need to meet Shenandoah University’s admissions criteria, possess a minimum 3.0 GPA from your undergraduate studies, and ideally have a bachelor’s degree in fields like psychology, education, or similar disciplines.

For application:

  • Complete the Graduate Application for Admission and pay the $30 non-refundable fee to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
  • Provide official transcripts from all previous higher education institutions.
  • Submit an essay detailing your reasons for joining the ABA program, including the influences on your decision and how it aligns with your professional aspirations.
  • Obtain three recommendation letters from professionals such as professors or those in the ABA or other human services fields.

If you are considering transferring credits from other institutions, write to the ABA Program Coordinator. Up to nine credit hours can potentially be transferred.

Mary Baldwin University

Master of Science (MS) in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

At Mary Baldwin University, you have the opportunity to engage in ABA courses, paving the way towards a 35-credit Master of Science (MS) degree. The ABA field focuses on the mechanics of learning and behavior, and its principles are widely implemented in diverse settings, from educational institutions and healthcare facilities to the corporate world.

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has verified the coursework requirements of this program for eligibility to take the BCBA examination. Furthermore, The International Behavior Analyst Organization (IBAO) has approved the ABA coursework for students seeking the credential of International Behavior Analyst (IBA). You will have to meet additional requirements to qualify.

By pursuing this program, you can find yourself in positions where you assist:

  • Individuals with special needs,
  • Students or adults facing behavioral challenges at school or home,
  • Organizations dedicated to behavioral interventions, or
  • Corporates aiming to refine their operational strategies.

The ABA program at Mary Baldwin University emphasizes values such as compassion, enhancing the quality of life, and adopting best practices. Here, you will be equipped with the skills to apply evidence-based, ethical interventions in behavior modification. The program ensures that the principles of consent, assent, autonomy, and social relevance are integral to any intervention approach.

Your training will predominantly focus on positive reinforcement-based methods, always prioritizing the least invasive yet effective techniques. Emphasis is also laid on imparting skills to replace undesired behaviors using differential reinforcement methods.

Some of the courses that you will take include:

  • Basic Concepts and Principles of ABA
  • Behavior Change Procedures
  • ABA Ethics and Professional Standards
  • ABA Personnel Management
  • Advanced Concepts and Principles of ABA
  • Methods of Professional Inquiry
  • Measurement, Data, and Experimental Design

It is important to note that you will be responsible for securing your own fieldwork placements for the Supervised Independent Fieldwork, crucial for meeting the BCBA examination criteria. While the university provides guidance and can facilitate connections within its professional network, securing these fieldwork placements rests with you.

The applications of ABA are vast and not confined to addressing autism or other disabilities. With this training, you can venture into varied sectors, including business management, criminal justice, and social work. Mary Baldwin University also offers specialized training related to Autism Spectrum Disorders. Completing this sequence entitles you to a Comprehensive Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders, recognized by the Virginia Autism Council.

At Mary Baldwin University, the ABA instructors bring a diverse range of expertise from multiple fields related to learning and behavior. Many have a background in dealing with autism and developmental challenges across various age groups. Additionally, the faculty boasts experience in areas such as correctional environments, sensory education, sexuality education, policy advocacy, business management, and even animal behavior training.

James Madison University

Master of Arts (MA) in Psychological Sciences – Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis

The MA program with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis at James Madison University is tailored for students aiming for a doctoral degree in behavior analysis or related fields, such as behavioral neuroscience or exceptional education. It also serves if you wish to meet the prerequisites for the BCBA examination.

In this specific concentration, you will:

  • Engage in coursework that explore the primary concepts, philosophies, and practices related to behavior analysis, including the philosophy of radical behaviorism.
  • Undertake research and engage in practicums that foster an understanding of behavioral principles.
  • Collaborate with faculty on research initiatives grounded in behavior-analytic theories.

Beyond the core psychological sciences program requirements, you will also:

  • Attend discussions on current research findings and professional challenges in the field.
  • Engage with local and international bodies and groups that promote behavior study and its practical applications.

During your tenure in this program, you will:

  • Understand key psychological concepts, methodologies, and empirical findings.
  • Enhance your research capabilities and critically assess psychological studies.
  • Improve your communication, technological, and information literacy proficiencies.
  • Develop a professional identity mirroring the values of psychological research scientists.

To ensure early exposure to research and to guide you in choosing your Master’s Thesis, a two-semester research apprenticeship is required for all first-year students. You will be paired with a specific advisor to guide you throughout, immersing yourself in your advisor’s research initiatives. This apprenticeship, which doesn’t carry academic credits, entails roughly 5-8 hours weekly. During your apprenticeship, you will assist faculty in their ongoing research activities, and at the same time you will also begin to develop research questions of your own.

A vital aspect of this program is the thesis, which should be a research-based project that contributes to the existing scholarly literature in a specific area of psychology.

To apply, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • A successfully completed bachelor’s degree with a satisfactory  GPA.
  • Prior undergraduate studies in psychology, inclusive of at least one course each in statistics and psychological research methods.
  • Satisfactory scores on the general GRE; subject area GRE desirable.
  • Three recommendation letters from faculty familiar with your academic capabilities and potential for advanced studies.
  • A curriculum vitae.
  • Academic transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.
  • Completed application forms, including a statement of research interests, goals for graduate study, and how this program will help achieve these goals.

Old Dominion University

Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate

The primary objective of the Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate program at Old Dominion University (ODU) is to equip teachers and related-service professionals with comprehensive knowledge in applied behavior analysis. This knowledge will expand the array of evidence-based instructional methods available to them to cater to the diverse academic, social, and behavioral needs of their students or clients.

A secondary aim of the program is to offer these professionals the necessary educational and fieldwork experience required for the national BCBA examination.

Students in this program will experience coursework delivered through a hybrid model of distance learning and online platforms provided by ODU. To be eligible for this program, you should either (a) possess a master’s degree from an accredited institution (or its international equivalent) in education, psychology, or behavior analysis, or (b) be enrolled in and actively pursuing a master’s degree from an accredited institution in education, psychology, or behavior analysis.

Courses within the program include:

  • Applied Behavior Analysis: Concepts and Principles: This explore the foundational concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis, emphasizing the identification of behavior influencers.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis: Empirical Bases: This course emphasizes single-case experimental research designs, concentrating on behavior measurement, data visualization, and result interpretation.
  • Ethics and Professional Conduct for Behavior Analysts: Provides insights into Virginia’s Behavior Analyst Licensure law, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s Ethics Code, disciplinary procedures, and the professional standards upheld in applied behavior analysis.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis – Assessments and Interventions: This course covers the identification and assessment of various behaviors, the development of function-based intervention plans, and environment design to prevent and manage problem behavior.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis – Applications: This course offers a thorough application of behavior analysis principles to diverse populations and settings.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis – Verbal Behavior: This course explores B.F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior and the development of curricula and interventions for individuals with language challenges.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis – Personnel Supervision and Management: This course focuses on the use of behavior analytic principles in personnel management and the implementation of best practices in supervisory roles.
  • Supervised Fieldwork in Applied Behavior Analysis (Optional): Supervised fieldwork experiences that apply the program’s coursework to instruction of children, youth, and their families in the natural environment. Supervised fieldwork experiences will enhance your behavior analytic, professional, and ethical competencies, ensuring the provision of high quality services to your clients. You can enroll in supervised fieldwork hours concurrently with the ODU ABA certificate coursework.

Upon successfully completing the ODU ABA certificate program and a supervised internship that aligns with Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) standards, you will be eligible to apply for the BCBA examination. However, if you complete only the 21-credit course sequence without the internship, you may earn the ODU ABA Certificate but won’t qualify for the BCBA examination.

University of Dayton

Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis

At the University of Dayton, you have an opportunity to enroll in a 33-credit online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis program through the School of Education and Health Sciences (SEHS). If you have a passion for working with individuals affected by autism, emotional and behavioral disorders, ADHD, or other behavioral health challenges, this program is calling for you.

Your choices for this program are flexible. Dayton provides two distinct ABA master’s tracks, each with its ABAI-verified course sequence:

  1. Supervised Fieldwork Track (42 credits): Dive deep with this comprehensive track, where you will achieve 1,500 fieldwork hours throughout the program. Don’t stress about placement; faculty and dedicated specialists are there to guide and support you.
  2. Independent Fieldwork Track (30 credits): This track lets you finish 600 fieldwork hours within the program and gives you the liberty to complete the remaining 900 hours at your own pace and choice.

Here’s a glimpse of what awaits you:

  • Behavior-Analytic Expertise: You will get a grip on core behavior-analytic techniques and strategies for understanding problematic behaviors.
  • Client-Centric Tasks: You will skillfully identify when and where interventions are needed, be it for individuals or groups.
  • Core Knowledge: You will understand foundational ideas and learn to transform them into advanced methods for behavioral alterations.
  • Supervised Experience: As part of the program, you will immerse yourself in practical ABA experience. You will benefit from direct interactions with board-certified supervisors and mentors.

Some of the courses that you will take include:

  • Applied Behavior Analysis I, II and III
  • Assessment & Intervention
  • Experimental Analysis of Behavior
  • Organizational Behavior Management
  • Consultation Ethics & Law
  • Culminating Case Study Capstone

University of Dayton’s ABA master’s program is an Academic Partner with the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE). The relationship with BHCOE means you will benefit from a wide array of resources. Whether it’s supervised fieldwork or specialized training, the support is there.

The capstone project will be your opportunity to demonstrate mastery in applied behavior analysis. Whether individually or with a team, you will conduct a research-based case study in a clinical or educational setting. This hands-on project goes hand-in-hand with your on-ground fieldwork.

Here’s what you need to apply:

  • Online application form
  • An up-to-date resume or CV
  • Recommendations (two letters)
  • Personal statement
  • Official academic transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended.

How Much Does a BCBA Make in Virginia?

As of August 2023, the average annual salary for BCBAs working in Virginia is $78,689. BCBAs working in cities like Arlington, Lynchburg, and Virginia Beach earn higher average annual salary of $98,854, $88,211, and $80,561, respectively.

However, more experienced and top earning BCBAs working in Virginia make well over $145,000 per year.

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