Accredited BCBA Programs and Certification in Washington State [Updated for 2024]

Last Updated: June 29, 2024

The state of Washington offers many in-person and online BCBA programs that provide rigorous training in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), ensuring that you are well-equipped to provide the highest standard of care. These programs, set against the backdrop of Washington’s diverse communities, equip you with tools to understand, assess, and modify behavior.

BCBA programs in Washington state are not just about certifications; they are about shaping the future professionals who will make a difference in people’s lives. By pursuing a BCBA program in Washington, you are not just advancing your career; you are becoming a beacon of hope for countless families and individuals in need.

Best Accredited BCBA Programs and Certification in Washington State Online

BCBA Programs in Washington State

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

  • University of Washington
  • Gazonga University
  • Whitworth University
  • The Chicago School
  • Arcadia University
  • University of Dayton
  • Simmons University
  • Capella University

University of Washington

Online Master of Education (MEd) – Applied Behavior Analysis

At the University of Washington’s Master of Education (MEd) in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program, you will master a systematic approach that uses behavioral principles to enhance vital societal behaviors. Your goal for this program would be to emerge as a competent, ethical, and professional behavior analyst adept at supporting individuals with developmental disabilities.

The ABA online program at the UW offers both the Applied Behavior Analysis coursework to sit for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) exam and an optional Master’s degree in Special Education. You can complete the program over two or three years, depending on your desired program pace.

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has verified the coursework requirements of this program for eligibility to take the BCBA examination. Some of the core courses that you will take include:

  • Concepts and Principles of ABA
  • History and Philosophy of ABA
  • Measurement in ABA
  • Assessment in ABA
  • Evidence-Based Instructional Strategies in ABA
  • Methods of ABA Research
  • Supervision in ABA

Online class experience at the UW feels as alive and interactive as an in-person session. Through state-of-the-art digital tools, you will engage actively with your instructors and peers. For working educators or practitioners, this setup allows for a seamless integration to meet the requirements for the BACB exam without sidelining their careers.

Classes for this program are conveniently slated for late afternoons (around 5 pm PST) to fit seamlessly into your busy schedule. With real-time, synchronous online classes, you will engage in discussions, group projects, lectures, and tests in a manner similar to a traditional classroom. All you need is a stable internet connection, a computer with a camera, a headset, and a quiet space.

To qualify for the BACB exam, you will need supervised experience. This is where your theoretical knowledge meets real-world practice, as you get to implement all you have learned. While you have the freedom to choose where to get this supervision, the UW offers you the opportunity to accumulate these crucial hours.

Lastly, as a significant aspect of your academic journey, you will undertake a comprehensive master’s examination in the final quarter of the program. This exam ensures you have mastered the content and are ready to excel. Note that this is separate from the BACB exam; it’s a unique University of Washington requisite for your master’s degree.

Graduates from this program can expect to:

  • Proficiently apply behavior analysis principles.
  • Possess a comprehensive understanding of evidence-based practices for individuals with developmental disabilities.
  • Design and assess evidence-based interventions tailored to individual needs.
  • Collaborate effectively with educational institutions, families, and community entities, with a heightened awareness of cultural and equity factors influencing service delivery.
  • Primarily aim to enhance the life quality of the individual and their family.

To apply for this program, apart from a bachelor’s degree, you will need to submit the following:

  • ABA Statement of Purpose
  • Unofficial transcripts from all schools in which a degree was earned and all schools attended in the last five years
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Proof of a minimum of one year’s hands-on experience with ABA, such as working as an ABA tutor or as a paraeducator or instructor in a setting that employs ABA techniques and methods.

Whitworth University

Master of Arts (MA) – Applied Behavioral Analysis

At Whitworth University, the 47-credit ABA program is tailor-made for individuals like you who want to make a difference. With this program, you will gain the essential training to assist both children and adults, especially those with challenges like autism spectrum disorder, learning difficulties, and other behavioral needs.

The ABAI has verified the coursework requirements of this program for eligibility to take the BCBA examination. Recognizing your daytime commitments, Whitworth University has designed the ABA program to be flexible. Classes are conveniently scheduled for the late afternoon or evening.

With this training, doors to new career opportunities in teaching, social work, counseling, and other behavioral services will open for you. The program emphasizes a systematic scientific approach, enabling you to address and manage behavioral challenges effectively.

Some of the core courses that you will take include:

  • Foundations in Applied Behavior Analysis: You will explore the core principles of behavior analysis and discover its applications.
  • Intervention for Behavior and Motivation: Here you will get acquainted with behavior disorders, data collection, and how to implement and evaluate interventions.
  • Intensive Interventions for Behavioral Challenges: In this course, you will learn about community values, behavior assessment, and strategies to manage challenging behaviors.
  • Assessment in Applied Behavior Analysis Method: This course will help you understand the importance and methods of behavioral assessment.
  • Single Case Research Methods: You will explore the ins and outs of single case research in the realm of applied behavior analysis.
  • Concepts and Principles in Applied Behavior Analysis: This course will deepen your knowledge about the foundational concepts and principles of ABA.
  • Supervision of Behavioral Interventions: Here you will learn how to train and supervise future behavior analysts and collaborate with parents and professionals.

To become a certified behavioral analyst, you will need to complete 2,000 fieldwork hours. At Whitworth, you have the choice of enrolling in courses that provide either partial or full supervision for these hours:

  • Limited Supervision Track (6 credits): Ideal for individuals like you who can complete most of their hours at their workplace under a certified supervisor.
  • Full Supervision Track (20 credits): If you need comprehensive guidance and supervision for all 2,000 hours, this track is for you.

By the end of this program, you will:

  • Skillfully apply ABA knowledge and practices.
  • Design and implement evidence-based behavior strategies.
  • Design effective treatment plans for your clients.
  • Reflect and make ethical decisions in your practice.
  • Showcase your expertise through a project.

Admission requirements for this program include:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or university.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0. If your GPA is below 3.0, you will either provide GRE or MAT scores or submit an analytical essay.
  • Depending on your background, you might need to fulfill some prerequisites before beginning your graduate study.

The Chicago School

Online Master of Science (MS) –  Applied Behavior Analysis

The M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis program at The Chicago School offers extensive graduate-level training in various ABA applications and specialties. Here, you will acquire the skills to be an efficient, ethical practitioner, adept at delivering behavior-analytic interventions to diverse groups.

The ABAI has verified the coursework requirements of this program for eligibility to take the BCBA examination. During this online Masters in ABA, you will immerse yourself in the four primary domains of behavior analysis:

  • Theory and Philosophy
  • Experimental Analysis of Behavior
  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Service Delivery

Throughout the curriculum, the emphasis is on the scientist-practitioner model. You will be groomed not just as a practitioner but also as a researcher, scholar, and critical evaluator of intervention methods.

With applied behavior analysis being grounded in evidence-based behavioral techniques, it’s vital to remain updated as the field evolves. This program ensures you get a robust conceptual and scientific base, empowering you to understand, interpret, and refine behavior-analytic interventions, whether devised by you or others.

Within this ABA Masters of Science program, you can either opt to write a thesis (Advanced Research Project) or go for a non-thesis route, wherein you’d undertake an Advanced Applied Project.

Your thesis would be an empirical evaluation based on data. While it doesn’t have to be a pioneering addition to existing literature, it should demonstrate that you are actively learning to function as scientist-practitioners who are continually engaged in making data-based assessment and treatment decisions.

The applied project tests your ability to ethically and efficiently manage a client’s treatment. Though it emphasizes practical application over research, its rigor matches that of the thesis route.

The course structure facilitates the completion of both these options, integrating the steps towards their conclusion in the essential coursework. If you are considering further studies, like a Ph.D., the thesis route is recommended.

As a student, you will also undergo Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) compliant practicum at The Chicago School. This entails dedicating 10-30 hours every week for on-site supervised training and includes a minimum of one hour of personal supervision weekly.

By the end of this program, you will:

  • Design interventions rooted in behavioral principles and evaluation techniques to bring about meaningful behavioral transformation.
  • Assess how diversity influences clients and handle them with sensitivity and proficiency.
  • Navigate ethical challenges in line with behavior-analytic and psychological standards.
  • Build strong relationships and communicate effectively with clients, stakeholders, and fellow professionals.
  • Undertake behavior-analytic research in an ethical and proficient manner.

You will find past graduates of this program working with various groups – from children and adults to the elderly, across multiple environments like residential areas, schools, and communities.

Each prospective student for the ABA program at the Chicago School is assessed on multiple fronts, considering factors beyond academics, like personal achievements and professional experiences.  To apply, you need to:

  • Complete the online application.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.
  • Have a GPA of 3.0 or above in our bachelor’s degree.
  • Submit your resume.
  • Provide three recommendation letters.
  • Write and submit an application essay.

Arcadia University

Online Master of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis

Arcadia’s 30-credit online Master of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis program offers you the knowledge to evaluate behavior and lead interventions grounded in evidence. Guided by licensed professionals, with real-world behavior analysis experience, you will acquire career-relevant skills and mentorship in a format that respects your time.

You can complete your ABA degree at Arcadia in as short as 18 months. This program is designed specifically for those who juggle work with other commitments. So, should any unforeseen events disrupt your studies, your completed courses remain securely credited.

The ABAI has verified the coursework requirements of this program for eligibility to take the BCBA examination. Coursework of this program covers all essential ABA concepts, including:

  • Concepts and Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Functional Behavior Assessment and Behavior Change
  • ABA Training and Supervising Human Service Staff
  • Positive Behavioral Approaches
  • Special Topics in Autism

Arcadia’s online ABA program is streamlined to equip you for fast-emerging ABA domain. The curriculum corresponds with the BCBA licensure exam’s requirements, setting you on track for sought-after roles post-degree. You will need to complete supervised experience, before you can be deemed eligible to take the examination.

With a curriculum focus on evaluating behaviors throughout different life stages, you will be positioned to usher in positive transformations in homes, educational settings, and broader communities. You will also get real-world exposure through an on-location practicum, which you can even complete at your present workplace.

Outcome of this ABA program include:

  • Deepen your understanding of the scientific principles underpinning learning and behavior.
  • Familiarize yourself with the foundational and contemporary scientific literature in applied behavior analysis and its dual role: as a science to devise behavior modification methods and as a profession to cater to varied behavioral requirements.
  • Understand the relation between behavioral treatments and other interventions in education, therapy, or clinical settings.
  • Build proficiency in designing, executing, and reviewing behavioral interventions targeting children and teenagers, and offer consultation to other adults who influence these interventions’ outcomes across varied settings.
  • Internalize the ethical and professional standards vital for an Applied Behavior Analysis practitioner.

To apply, you need to:

  • Start with the online application.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA from a recognized university.
  • Provide official transcripts from all previously attended educational institutions.
  • Submit two recommendation letters.
  • Share your personal statement.
  • Submit your updated resume.

Is BCBA Certification Worth It?

The decision to pursue the BCBA certification often depends on various individual and professional factors. Let’s explore the benefits and considerations associated with obtaining the BCBA certification:

Advantages of obtaining the BCBA certification:

  1. Professional Recognition: The BCBA certification is internationally recognized and showcases expertise in applied behavior analysis (ABA). It demonstrates that the holder has achieved a high standard of knowledge and applied experience in the field.
  2. Increased Employment Opportunities: The demand for BCBAs has been growing, especially in sectors that cater to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. This certification opens doors to positions that require specialized knowledge in behavior analysis.
  3. Higher Earning Potential: BCBA-certified professionals often earn more than their non-certified counterparts due to the specialized nature of their skills.
  4. Flexible Career Paths: BCBAs can work in various settings, including schools, clinics, hospitals, and private practice. They can also take on roles as consultants, educators, or researchers.
  5. Autonomy in Practice: While BCBAs often work within a team, they have considerable autonomy in designing and implementing behavior intervention plans.
  6. Continuing Education: Maintaining your BCBA certification requires continuous learning. This ensures that you are always updated with the latest research and best practices in the field.

Considerations before pursuing the BCBA certification:

  1. Rigorous Training: The certification process is demanding. It requires a relevant master’s or doctoral degree, a specified number of hours of supervised practical experience, and passing the BCBA exam.
  2. Maintenance of Certification: As mentioned above, as a BCBA, you will have to complete continuing education and adhere to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) ethical guidelines. This means you will have to dedicate some of your time to fulfill these commitments.
  3. Emotional Toll: Working with individuals with behavioral challenges can be emotionally draining. BCBAs often work with clients who have significant behavioral concerns, and this can be both rewarding and challenging.

Whether the BCBA certification is “worth it” largely depends on your professional goals, personal interests, and commitment to the field of behavior analysis. If you are are deeply passionate about ABA and wish to specialize in this area, the benefits of certification likely outweigh the challenges.

Copyright © 2024 All Rights Reserved. Program outcomes can vary according to each institution's curriculum and job opportunities are not guaranteed. This site is for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional help.