Online ABA Master’s & Certification Programs in California (BCBA Programs in California)

Imagine becoming a certified behavior analyst, bringing positive change to the lives of those with autism and other conditions, all while studying from the comfort of your home. Now, you can fulfill your passion for helping individuals with behavioral challenges right from the comfort of your home.

Online ABA master’s and certification programs offer the perfect blend of convenience, flexibility, and quality education. These programs are designed to cater to working professionals, parents, or those who simply prefer the autonomy of online learning.

With an innovative curriculum taught by leading instructors in the field, you will gain the knowledge, skills, and credentials needed to excel as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). So, get ready to embrace a brighter future with online ABA (BCBA) master’s programs in California!

Best Accredited ABA Master's and BCBA Programs in California Online

Online ABA Master’s Programs in California

Listed below are some of the popular schools offering online ABA master’s programs in California:

  • Pepperdine University
  • National University
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • The Chicago School
  • Arizona State University Online
  • Purdue Global
  • University of Dayton

Pepperdine University

Online Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Pepperdine University offers an online Master of Science program in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) that can set you on the path to becoming a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA). You can complete this program full-time in 18 months or part-time in 21 months.

Through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online classes, you will acquire the necessary skills to support individuals across various settings such as education, autism support, and rehabilitation. The program also covers organizational behavior management.

You will gain a deep understanding of behavioral psychology using an evidence-based, data-driven approach. The curriculum enables you to observe and assess behavior patterns, identify target behaviors, and choose strategies to drive positive changes.

Through the program, you will develop a comprehensive understanding of analytical behavioral health and modern techniques to identify, assess, and address human behaviors. You will study ABA concepts, assessment procedures, behavior change applications, and organizational behavior management.

In addition to learning applied behavior analysis principles and techniques, you will explore topics like ethical conduct, multiculturalism, and diversity. Some of the core courses that you will take include:

  • Assessment of Individuals, Couples, and Families
  • Concepts and Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Ethical and Professional Conduct for ABA
  • Applications of ABA for Behavior Change
  • Assessment Procedures for ABA
  • Supervision and Management for ABA
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders

While studying, you will also gain practical experience and receive supervision from a BCBA at approved clinical sites as part of a practicum course. This hands-on learning will allow you to discuss your cases and receive feedback.

The course sequence at Pepperdine provides foundational knowledge of a variety of clinical interventions for children, adolescents, and adults. You will help patients in developing adaptive skills for better functioning in educational, family, social, and occupational roles.

Upon completing the program and the required experience hours, you will be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam. Mentors within the program will guide your learning, positioning you for BCBA certification.

Pepperdine University accepts applications throughout the year and you can start the program at various times. To apply, you need a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. GRE scores are not required, and application fee waivers are available for those meeting the priority deadline.

National University

Online Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis

The Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis program at National University, offered both online and on-campus, is perfect for you if you are passionate about working with individuals with Autism and other neurodiverse conditions.

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is a sought-after profession that brings about real change in individuals’ lives. This therapy aims to help individuals adjust their behaviors. When applied successfully, ABA can help individuals develop or enhance various crucial skills, like socializing, job-related abilities, communication, academics, and self-care routines.

For you to earn a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis from National University, you need to complete at least 45 credit hours of graduate work. You can also transfer  graduate credit from equivalent graduate work done at another institution. To be eligible for transfer of units, the credits should not have been used for another advanced degree, and the coursework must have been completed within the last 7 years.

Some of the required courses you must take include:

  • Philosophical Underpinning ABA
  • Concepts and Principles of ABA
  • Functional Behavior Assessment
  • Behavioral Change Procedures
  • Developing ABA Interventions
  • Ethics Compliance Code
  • Supervision and Management
  • Application of ABA Skills

During the program, you will get to explore unique learning methods, such as precision learning, through a verified course sequence. You will also emphasize personal well-being, learning about social-emotional aspects, and gaining cultural awareness. You will wrap up your studies with a research-based capstone project.

After you successfully finish this program, you will have the skills to:

  • Explain the basic ideas and principles of Radical Behaviorism using a behavior analytic approach.
  • Review and understand data presentation and interpretation within the framework of an experimental design.
  • Bring in the Code of Ethics during the process of changing behavior and carrying out assessment procedures.
  • Incorporate methods for managing behavior and monitoring performance during the process of changing behavior and carrying out assessment procedures.
  • Apply the techniques of Applied Behavior Analysis in both research and everyday situations.
  • Perform research using appropriate design, statistical methods, measurements, data analysis, and methods for evaluating programs to enhance student outcomes.

To be eligible for the BACB exam, you need to have a master’s degree with the verified course sequence (offered by NU) and complete 2,000 supervision hours. After passing the exam, you will be a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

University of California, Santa Barbara

Online Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate

Are you ready to start a rewarding new career with an engaging online program? There’s a worldwide demand for trained certified behavior analysts. The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program at the University of California, Santa Barbara is designed to nurture professionals with a drive to help others.

This research-oriented program covers a wide range of subjects such as ABA theories, behavior assessments, ethical rules, and behavior interventions. Keeping working individuals in mind, the program is designed to be flexible and cost-effective, without sacrificing the quality of teaching.

Some of the required courses you must take include:

  • Single Case Experimental Design
  • Cognitive Development in Autism & Other Severe Disabilities
  • Professional Issues in Developmental Disabilities
  • Behavior Assessment & Intervention for Children & Adolescents
  • Philosophical Underpinnings, Concepts, and Principles
  • Procedures, Interventions, and Supervision

As you progress through the program, you will:

  • Learn to carry out functional behavior assessments and related evaluations.
  • Understand key components of behavior change and specific procedures to modify behavior.
  • Choose the right method for assessing behavioral progress using single-case design.
  • Learn to set up suitable supervision programs and become a skilled supervisor.
  • Identify client needs and design evidence-based programs, grounded in the concepts and principles of ABA.

For those new to the ABA field, the university suggests taking one course per quarter (excluding the supervision course), to spend enough time on course materials, readings, and projects.

To become a board-certified behavior analyst, you will also need to complete 2000 supervised fieldwork hours and pass the BACB exam.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Online M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis

The online Master’s program in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at The Chicago School equips you with a solid foundation in the principles, science, and applications of behavior analysis. This program is designed to help you build a fulfilling career in the rapidly expanding ABA field. Experienced instructors guide you, providing you with a wide array of experiences in various ABA specialties, such as:

  • Designing instructions
  • Precision teaching
  • Verbal behavior

This online ABA master’s degree program at The Chicago Schools is designed to fit your busy schedule. You will have access to the university’s online Global Student Dashboard where you can find all the information you need to complete your program, from coursework and assignments to platforms for interacting with classmates and instructors.

The program is part-time, taking a little more than two years.

Graduates of this online ABA Master’s program cater to a wide range of individuals including children, adults, and seniors in various settings such as homes, schools, and community centers. They serve those with different needs – from regular school kids or teachers aiming for better effectiveness to individuals diagnosed with conditions such as autism, behavioral issues, developmental disabilities, mental illness, or various elderly-related conditions.

The program fulfills the educational requirements if you are aiming to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Beyond the coursework, you will also need to pass an exam and complete the certification process to become a BCBA.

During the course of your study, you will need to complete either an Advanced Research Project (a thesis) or an Advanced Applied Project (a non-thesis option). Both routes are about showcasing your ability to make data-driven decisions in assessing and treating behavior.

Moreover, you will critically study the professional, ethical, and legal aspects related to behavior analysis practice. You will be provided with ethical guidelines and supplementary materials to deepen your understanding of ethics in behavior analysis, among other professional issues.

To apply for this online ABA Master’s program:

  • You need to submit an online application.
  • You need to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and meet other entry requirements.
  • Your application should include your resume, an essay, official transcripts from your past university or college, and three letters of recommendation.

Are Online BCBA Programs Accredited?

Yes, many online BCBA programs are accredited. For a program to meet the professional standards of the field, it needs to be accredited by an appropriate accrediting body. In the United States, BCBA programs are accredited by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

The BACB sets the standards for certification of behavior analysts and approves the university programs that meet these standards.

How Do I Become a BCBA in California?

To become a BCBA in California, you need to follow a series of steps outlined by the BACB, which are generally consistent across different states, including California. Here’s the process:

  1. Educational Requirement: Obtain a minimum of a master’s degree in behavior analysis, psychology, education, or a related field from an accredited university. Ensure the program includes coursework approved by the BACB or pursue a separate BACB-approved course sequence.
  2. Required Coursework: Complete specific graduate-level coursework in behavior analysis. The BACB provides a detailed outline of the required coursework, which is usually part of a BACB-approved university program.
  3. Supervised Fieldwork: Accumulate 1,500-2,000 hours of supervised experience supervised fieldwork. Supervised Fieldwork requires 2,000 hours to qualify, and Concentrated Supervised Fieldwork requires 1,500 hours to qualify.
  4. Pass the BCBA Examination: After meeting the educational and experience requirements, you must pass the BCBA exam. This computer-based test assesses your knowledge of behavior analysis principles and practices.
  5. Maintain Your Certification: BCBAs must complete continuing education and adhere to the BACB’s ethical requirements to maintain their certification.

The timeline to become a BCBA in California can vary based on factors like the length of your degree program, the time it takes to complete your supervised experience, and your readiness to take and pass the certification exam. On average, it can take approximately 4-6 years post-bachelor’s degree: 2-3 years for a master’s degree and an additional 1-2 years for completing supervised experience and passing the exam.

Is Getting a Master’s in ABA Hard?

Obtaining a master’s degree in ABA can be challenging, but it also can be extremely rewarding. The difficulty level can depend on several factors including your previous academic and professional experience, your familiarity with the subject matter, your study habits, and your personal and professional commitments outside of the program.

Here are a few aspects of an ABA Master’s program that you need to consider:

  • Coursework: ABA programs usually cover a wide range of topics from the basic principles and concepts of behavior analysis to research methods and ethics. These courses can be intensive and require a significant amount of study time.
  • Research Requirement: Several programs requite a thesis or research project, which can be challenging. To carry out original research, a solid understanding of research methods and statistical data analysis is required.
  • Hands-On Experience: ABA degree programs often include practical experience or internships, which you must balance with academic coursework.
  • Licensure Examination: If your goal is to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), you will need to clear a certification exam after earning your degree.

Master’s programs in ABA offer the opportunity to develop a deep understanding of human behavior and can lead to a fulfilling career helping individuals with various behavioral challenges. The key is to stay organized, manage your time effectively, and seek support when you need it.

How Much Does a BCBA Make in California?

As of January 2024, the average salary for a BCBA in California is $84,859 per year. Top earning BCBAs in California earn over $100,000 per year, which suggests there could be numerous possibilities for career advancement and salary growth, based on your expertise, geographical location, and years of experience.

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