Accredited BCBA Programs and Certification in Connecticut (CT) [2023 Updated]

Connecticut offers some exceptional online and in-person BCBA programs, designed to equip you with the knowledge and hands-on experience needed in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). These programs teach the ins and outs of behavior analysis. By diving deep into ABA, you will learn how to support those with unique needs and challenges.

Whether you are passionate about helping children with autism or supporting adults with different needs, Connecticut’s BCBA programs provide the tools and training required. In this article, we will explore some of the popular BCBA programs Connecticut has to offer.

Best Accredited BCBA and ABA Masters Degrees and Certification in Connecticut (CT)

BCBA Programs in Connecticut

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

  • Southern Connecticut State University
  • University of Saint Joseph
  • Western Connecticut State University
  • Simmons University
  • University of Dayton
  • Pepperdine University
  • Capella University

Southern Connecticut State University

Master of Science (MS) – Applied Behavior Analysis

Earning a Master’s Degree in Special Education with a focus on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at Southern Connecticut State University involves a thorough 30-credit course sequence. This comprehensive program not only awards you a Master’s Degree in Special Education but also combines ABA coursework that will prepare you to take the certification exam.

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.

This particular ABA program operates on a cohort system. This means new groups of students, or cohorts, commence their studies together at specific intervals – every three semesters to be exact. So, for instance, one cohort might begin in Spring 2023, the next in Fall 2024, and so on. You are encouraged to reach out directly to the Special Education department. Doing so will allow you to verify the start dates for the next cohorts, explore the application timeline, and gain further insights regarding the application process.

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.

Beyond the ABA coursework, an additional requirement of 9 credits in electives from the Special Education department is also required, subject to approval by your designated advisor. Some of the core courses that you will take include:

  • Philosophical Underpinnings of ABA: This introductory course to ABA dive into its scientific and practical foundations. You will explore the philosophy, research orientations, and applied perspectives that have shaped the development of ABA.
  • Survey in ABA Practices: In this course, you will get an exposure to a plethora of assessment and intervention practices in the ABA field, including areas like verbal behavior and social interactions.
  • Transition within Disability Services: This course focuses on professional interactions, leadership in interdisciplinary teams, and the development of community resources.
  • Organizational Behavior Management and Supervision: In this course, you will be equipped with skills in applying ABA principles to Organizational Behavior Management and supervisory roles, emphasizing effective staff training and supervision in various organizational settings.
  • Advanced ABA: Here, you will explore advanced topics in ABA and understand their relevance to various applied situations.
  • Intervention in ABA: In this course, you will gain insights into how the principles of ABA are used to design intervention programs, aiming to enhance individuals’ social, academic, and behavioral successes in their lives.

The courses within this ABA program cater predominantly to professionals such as special educators and school psychologists. However, professionals from other fields may also benefit from an in-depth understanding of learning and behavior. The program includes a culminating requirement such as a comprehensive exam or a thesis.

Admission requirements for the program include:

  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is requisite for admission.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Admission essay.
  • An interview with the faculty.

To reduce your financial burden, you have the chance to get a graduate assistantship if you qualify. If you are granted an assistantship, will you receive a fixed stipend. Futhremore, you can also apply for loans to help pay for your studies. These loans are the unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans and the Federal GradPLUS loans. To be eligible, you need to be enrolled in at least half of the full-time course load and working towards getting a degree.

University of Saint Joseph

Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate

If you already have a master’s degree, you can enroll in the 27-credit Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate at the University of Saint Joseph. The ABAI has verified the coursework requirements of this program for eligibility to take the BCBA examination.

Enrollment for the ABA certificate is only open for the fall semester. To get a head start for the upcoming fall semester courses, it’s a good idea to submit your application by April 1st. But, if you miss this date, no worries! The university continues to review applications as they come and, based on the space and quality of your application, you could still start in the fall. If spaces are filled when you apply, you might be placed on a waiting list or assured a spot with the next group of students the following fall.

During this 1.5-year program, you will be taking 2-3 courses over four semesters. All courses are on-campus and start either at 4 p.m. or 6:45 p.m., from Monday through Thursday, meaning you will be on campus 1-2 nights each week. Unfortunately, online courses are not available. Some of the courses that you will take include:

  • Foundations of Behavior Analysis
  • Ethical and Professional Issues
  • Experimental Analysis of Behavior
  • Educational Interventions
  • Behavioral Assessment
  • Organizational Behavior Management and Consultation
  • Behavioral Interventions

While you journey through this program, you will enhance your skills, especially if you are an experienced professional in fields like Education, Special Education, or Psychology. You will learn how to use teaching concepts and methods from ABA in various professional settings and sharpen your collaboration and leadership skills, which are vital for working in multidisciplinary teams.

When it comes to getting into the program, a GPA of 3.0 or higher is usually required. But the admissions department looks at more than just your GPA. Your experience in the ABA field is equally valuable. If your GPA is a bit under 3.0 but you have solid ABA experience and can provide recommendation letters from professionals in the field of behavior analysis, it could enhance your application. Make sure to explain any GPA concerns and how you plan to address these issues during your graduate studies in your personal entrance essay.

Lastly, if you decide to work as a Teacher’s Aide at the Gengras Center, you will receive a tuition waiver for six credits per semester. This means that some of your tuition costs will be covered, helping you financially as you pursue your education.

Western Connecticut State University

Master of Science (MS) – Applied Behavior Analysis

Western Connecticut State University offers a 30-credit Master of Science in ABA. This program is part of the Education and Educational Psychology Department, and it offers courses that you can use toward higher degrees or for a career as a BCBA.

The mission of this ABA program at Western Connecticut State University is to deliver high-quality instruction in behavior analysis. All of the courses are offered 100% online.

As a candidate, you will demonstrate a thorough understanding and practical skills in applied behavior analysis, ensuring you are competent and proficient in all areas specified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). This is crucial in preparing you for the BCBA exam. Throughout the program, you will:

  • Satisfy the eligibility requirements to sit for certification in behavior analysis through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
  • Utilize specific assessment tools to determine student eligibility for special education and related services, becoming part of the multi-disciplinary team process.
  • Comprehend the history, philosophy, and terminology of behaviorism and ABA, and apply basic behavioral principles.
  • Collect and analyze data, employing within-subject experimental designs, and connecting assessment to treatment.
  • Implement behavioral technology to conduct an assessment of behavioral function and instructional programs, ensuring data-based, timely decisions about the efficacy of behavioral procedures and the need for intervention modifications.
  • Engage as a member of a multi-disciplinary team, demonstrating ethical responsibility to clients, acknowledging the boundaries of expertise, and safeguarding the dignity of those served.
  • Implement behavioral strategies in organizations through consultation and staff training, and discuss development from a behavioral viewpoint, encompassing verbal behavior and play development.
  • Design assessment strategies to empirically validate assessment results and subsequent intervention.
  • Utilize assistive technology to enhance speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills for individuals with developmental disabilities requiring behavioral modifications.
  • Prepare and submit competitive grant proposals to public or private organizations.
  • Assess research utility in the practice of diagnosing and treating individuals with developmental disabilities or behavioral modification needs.
  • Display knowledge and expertise in all areas of the BCBA 5th edition task list.

You must receive a “B” grade or better for the course to count towards graduation. Course grades of a “B-” or less must be repeated.

The learning outcomes of the program are also defined to ensure:

  • You will demonstrate knowledge of concepts and principles that are foundational to behavior analysis science and its professional practice.
  • You will demonstrate knowledge of the processes and procedures for implementing functional behavioral assessment procedures, as well as the application of ABA-based intervention procedures.
  • You will display knowledge of research design and procedures in applied behavior analysis.

It’s your responsibility to find a suitable supervisor for your fieldwork. If finding a supervisor in your area is challenging, companies that provide online supervision are available. Ensure that your supervisor is not a relative, subordinate, or your employee during the experience period. You may begin accumulating your fieldwork hours on the first day of course attendance, provided that both you and your supervisor have registered and completed the online supervision and experience training modules.

Admission requirements for the program include:

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.8 is requisite for admission.
  • $50 application fee.
  • Official transcripts.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Professional resume/vitae.
  • Admission essay.

For residents of New York and New Jersey, WCSU’s in-state tuition is applicable. Meanwhile, residents of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont enroll at WCSU at a reduced rate, courtesy of the New England Regional Student Program.

Financial assistance through two types of federal loans is available to graduate students and is not based on financial need:

  1. Direct Unsubsidized Loans for graduate students are limited to a maximum of $20,500 per academic year, assuming full-time status.
  2. Direct Graduate PLUS Loan offers additional financing options. Graduate students can borrow up to the cost of attendance, subtracting any other aid they may have received. These loans also have a fixed interest rate and an origination fee upon disbursement of the loan.

How Do I Become a BCBA in CT?

To become a BCBA in Connecticut, 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

Is a Career in ABA Worth It?

A career in ABA can be very rewarding, but whether it’s “worth it” depends on your personal and professional goals, as well as your passion for the field. If you are passionate about helping individuals with developmental disorders and are prepared for the challenges, a career in ABA can be incredibly fulfilling.

However, here are some factors you should consider:

Pros

  • Making a Difference: As an ABA therapist, you will often work with individuals with autism and other developmental disorders. The work can be profoundly impactful, helping individuals improve their communication, social skills, and overall quality of life.
  • Growing Demand: With increasing diagnoses of autism and a broader understanding of the benefits of ABA therapy, there’s a growing demand for certified professionals in the field.
  • Career Opportunities: There are various roles within ABA that you can pursue, from entry-level technicians to BCBAs, offering room for advancement.
  • Financial Compensation: As a BCBA, depending on your qualifications and location, you can earn competitive salaries.

Cons

  • Emotionally Challenging: Working with individuals with developmental disorders can be emotionally taxing. You will need patience, resilience, and a deep commitment.
  • Education and Training: As mentioned above, to advance in the field, especially to become a BCBA, you will need a master’s degree and supervised experience. You will also need to pass a certification exam.
  • Potential Burnout: Due to the high demands of the job, as a BCBA you might experience burnout, especially if you are not supported by your employing agency or if you don’t practice self-care.

How Much Does a BCBA Make in Connecticut?

As of September 2023, the average annual salary for a BCBA working in Connecticut is $85,119 or $41 per hour. Salary also depends on your location, for example, BCBAs working in Waterbury, East Haven, and Stamford on average earn $93,675, $91,060, and $87,527 per year, respectively. More experienced and top earning BCBAs in Connecticut make over $145,000 per year.

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