Popular Accredited BCBA Programs and Certification in Utah [2024 Guide]

Utah’s unique landscape, both geographically and in its diverse communities, presents a variety of challenges and opportunities in behavioral health.

Utah, like many places, faces a growing demand for skilled professionals in behavior analysis. This gap highlights the urgent need for skilled BCBAs. Without adequate training and certification, individuals and communities may not receive effective behavioral interventions, impacting overall well-being and progress.

BCBA programs in the state are designed to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to address these specific needs. Through a combination of rigorous coursework, practical experience, and adherence to high ethical standards, these programs prepare future behavior analysts to contribute meaningfully to the well-being of individuals and communities across Utah.

In this article, we will explore some of the popular BCBA programs in Utah.

Best Accredited BCBA Programs and Certification in Utah Online

BCBA Programs in Utah

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

  • University of Utah
  • Utah Valley University
  • Utah State University
  • Utah Tech University
  • University of Dayton
  • Walden University
  • National University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Simmons University

The University of Utah

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education – Applied Behavior Analysis

You can enroll in the 43-credit Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education – Applied Behavior Analysis program at the University of Utah. This program aims to understand human behavior and to develop positive social skills. It helps improve the lives of those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, and other conditions.

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.

During the program, you will receive a strong foundation in applied behavior analysis, education, and psychology. This knowledge is useful in various settings like educational institutions, agencies, and more. Some of the core courses that you will take include:

  • Principles of Instruction & Behavior Support
  • Professional Writing in Education
  • Interventions in the Schools
  • Single-Subject Research Design
  • School-wide Positive Behavior Support
  • Consultation and Supervision in Applied Settings

The focus of this program is to equip you with essential skills. These skills are necessary for serving individuals with behavioral and learning challenges. The program prepares you to work in different settings like clinics, schools, residential facilities, and homes. You will learn strategies to support and enhance the independence of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

During your studies, you will learn how to guide and teach individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, cognitive impairments, anxiety, mood disorders, eating and feeding disorders, and substance abuse. These techniques are also beneficial for goals like improving academic performance, managing children’s behavior, and boosting work productivity.

The program’s core areas include:

  • Research methodology in behavior and data-driven decision-making.
  • Ethical standards in clinical decision-making.
  • Functional behavioral assessment and analysis.
  • Designing and implementing interventions.
  • Responsive treatment approaches.

As a graduate, you will be skilled in working with both children and adults, with or without disabilities. The program teaches various concepts and strategies in behavior analysis applicable in diverse environments.

Typically, you will need four semesters to complete the necessary number of supervised fieldwork practice hours for eligibility to take the BCBA exam. This generally involves enrolling in 5 credit hours per semester of SP ED 6900. If unable to complete the required fieldwork hours in a semester, you may enroll for fewer credits. However, you must accumulate at least 15 credit hours in SP ED 6900 and complete 2000 hours of supervised fieldwork to meet graduation requirements.

The qualifying and comprehensive exams test your knowledge in a chosen topic area, decided by your supervisory committee chair and you. These exams assess your understanding of your specialization, your ability to integrate and communicate this knowledge in written and oral forms. To pass, you must show competency in both forms of communication. The format of the exams (written or oral) will vary; if one is written, the other will be oral.

You must successfully complete the qualifying exam to advance to candidacy for the M.Ed. degree. You need to be enrolled for at least one credit hour during the semesters when you take the qualifying and comprehensive exams.

Admission requirements for the program include:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is requisite for admission.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Admission essay.

Utah Valley University

Master of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis

At Utah Valley University (UVA), you have the opportunity to pursue a 40 credit Master of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis. This program is designed to fulfill the coursework requirements for the BCBA examination. It primarily offers face-to-face classes, with some hybrid courses available.

The ABAI has verified the coursework requirements of this program for eligibility to take the BCBA examination. The program is structured to equip you with a robust course sequence in ABA, ensuring that upon completion, you will display a firm understanding of ABA principles and how they can be applied in various real-world scenarios.

Some of the core courses that you will take include:

  • Ethics and Professional Competencies
  • Developing & Changing Behaviors
  • Group Research Design in ABA
  • Measurement in a Single Subject Design
  • Functional Behavior Assessment and Treatment
  • Foundational Philosophy & Concepts in Radical Behaviorism
  • Advanced Applications in Applied Behavior Analysis

The degree is designed to train you to be a practitioner of Applied Behavior Analysis, focusing on individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. To apply, you will need to meet specific additional requirements.

In this program, you will engage with individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. Your studies will include 27 credits of coursework and a minimum of 1,500 hours of concentrated supervised fieldwork. Upon completing these requirements and adhering to the standards set by the ABAI, you will be eligible to take the BCBA examination.

To fulfill the 1,500-hour fieldwork requirement, you must accrue 18-20 hours per week for 16 weeks across six semesters. It’s recommended to aim for 20 hours per week at an approved site.

A supervisory period is defined as one month. For your experience hours to count, you must receive supervision for at least 7.5% of the total hours spent in practicum. For instance, if you have 80 hours of experience, you should have a minimum of 6 supervised hours. During the semester, you will receive one hour of supervision weekly at UVU and one hour of individual supervision at your approved practicum site.

At UVU, you will have the unique chance to work with the team at the Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism. This center offers engaged learning experiences in laboratory classrooms, which serve as practicum sites for some students in the ABA program. These resources are intended to give you a strong start in your career and prepare you to make a significant impact in the lives of many.

The overall learning outcomes of the program include:

  • Addressing problem behavior with functional assessment and behavior support planning.
  • Developing comprehensive treatment plans.
  • Identifying appropriate measurement and data display methods for clinical decisions.
  • Training and monitoring the performance of staff and stakeholders.
  • Demonstrating ethical conduct in professional practice.

To be admitted to this program at UVU, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate work.
  • Complete all application requirements.
  • Interview with the School of Education Graduate Committee.

Utah State University

Master of Science (M.S.) With ABA Coursework

At Utah State University, the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Special Education with a focus on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), as well as an option to study ABA coursework only. The ABAI has verified the coursework requirements of this program for eligibility to take the BCBA examination.

This is a three-year master’s program designed to prepare you as a behavior analyst. In the M.S. program, you will complete all the necessary coursework to qualify for the BCBA exam. The program aims to provide you with valuable clinical and research experience, enhancing your professional skills and preparing you for further graduate studies if desired.

The program is designed to make you a highly effective behavior analytic practitioner. You will be equipped to significantly improve lives through research, intervention, and teaching.

You will have the chance to advance your behavior analytic skills through various means, such as:

  • Engaging in advanced coursework in behavior analysis theory, research, and practice.
  • Practicing applied behavior analysis in both clinical and educational settings.
  • Collaborating extensively with faculty in research, teaching, and staff supervision.

During the program, you will learn to understand the foundational theories and principles of behavior analysis, always working within safe, ethical, and legal boundaries. The program encourages adherence to the highest standards of practice, both nationally and locally. You will become adept at selecting appropriate behavioral assessments and implementing them effectively, using reliable methods to gather data on behavior, and managing behavioral interventions responsibly.

The final project for the M.S. degree involves developing, executing, and documenting an empirical study. This thesis project is your opportunity to showcase your knowledge and skills in conducting either quantitative or qualitative research. It contributes to a deeper understanding of a topic or problem in education.

Typically, this study might involve a behavior change project in a school environment, such as introducing a new academic skill or modifying a behavior. However, other approaches are also possible, including surveys, focus groups, interviews, or analysis of an existing database. In your research, you may choose to use single-subject or group research methods, or even qualitative techniques.

Admission requirements for the program include:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is requisite for admission.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A cover letter describing your prior experience in ABA, reasons for applying to the program, and career goals.

Utah Tech University

ABA Graduate Certificate

At Utah Tech University, you can enroll in a 16-credit ABA Graduate Certificate program. This program is designed for individuals with a master’s degree, aiming to qualify you to apply for the BCBA certification. You must also complete a minimum of 1,500 hours of concentrated supervised fieldwork to be eligible for the BCBA exam.

Throughout this program, you will engage in various courses:

Research Methods and Ethics in Applied Behavior Analysis: Here, you will develop skills in data collection, analysis, and presentation, focusing on single-subject research designs and individualized intervention plans. The course highlights legal and ethical considerations in behavior analysis. By the end, you should be able to:

  • Understand ethical behavior analysis application in real-world settings.
  • Apply skills appropriately under supervision in an internship setting.
  • Accumulate 315 supervised hours, qualifying for Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) certification.

Learning and Behavior: This course provides an introduction to the terminology and concepts of behaviorism, including a historical overview and modern principles of learning and behavior modification. Upon completion, you will be able to:

  • Explain the basic principles of behaviorism.
  • Identify behavioral principles in various learning environments.
  • Describe how learning principles can modify behavior.

Principles of Behavior Analysis: This course introduces you to the historical and contemporary principles of behavior analysis and the role of research in theory and practice. Your learning outcomes include:

  • Discussing the similarities between traditional behaviorism and behavior analysis.
  • Describing types of behaviors modified using behavior analysis.
  • Demonstrating understanding of basic behavior analysis principles.
  • Explaining how research informs behavior analysis practices.

Applied Behavior Analysis: You will learn to apply behavioral principles in practical contexts, focusing on evidence-based practices. By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Describe various factors influencing behavior modification applications.
  • Explain how research guides behavior analysis application.
  • Recognize and describe the application of behavioral principles in different learning contexts.
  • Articulate ethical principles in behavior analysis.

Applied Behavior Analysis Supervised Experiential Learning: This involves supervised experiences in applying behavior analysis interventions in real-world settings. Along with supervised internship hours, you will meet weekly with the instructor. The course aims to:

  • Ensure understanding of ethical behavior analysis application in real-world settings.
  • Enable skill application in an internship setting under authorized supervision.
  • Help you acquire enough supervised hours for BCaBA certification.

Upon completing this graduate certificate program, you will be capable of:

  1. Clearly explaining behavior analysis principles and theories.
  2. Appropriately applying behavior analysis principles across diverse client populations and environments.
  3. Explaining and exemplifying ethical principles in behavior modification.
  4. Demonstrating professional data collection and research techniques.

Can You Become a BCBA Without a Degree?

No, becoming a BCBA generally requires having a minimum of a master’s degree in behavior analysis or a related field.

How Do I Become a BCBA in Utah?

To become a BCBA in Utah, you must:

  • Hold a master’s degree.
  • Have completed the required ABA coursework approved by the BACB.
  • Have completed the required supervised practical experience.
  • Pass the BCBA examination

Do You Need a PhD to be a BCBA?

No, a PhD is not a requirement to become a BCBA. However, professionals with a PhD can pursue the Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D) designation if they wish to highlight their advanced level of education in the field.

How Much Does a BCBA Make in Utah?

As of December 2023, the average annual salary for a BCBA working in Utah is $84,734 or $41 per hour. More experienced and top earning BCBAs in Utah make over $130,000 per year.

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