Accredited Online BCBA Programs in Illinois [2024 ABA Programs Guide]

Last Updated: June 10, 2024

Are you passionate about making a meaningful difference in people’s lives and keen on navigating the rewarding field of applied behavior analysis? However, juggling work, family, or personal commitments may make it hard for you to pursue traditional, on-campus education.

With online BCBA programs in Illinois, you can start your journey towards becoming a BCBA without compromising your daily responsibilities. Online BCBA programs are designed with flexibility in mind to fit into your busy lifestyle, allowing you to learn at your own pace and in your own space.

Best of all, these online BCBA programs equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to excel as a BCBA.

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

Online BCBA Programs in Illinois

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

  • National Louis University
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • Southern Illinois University
  • Ball State University
  • Purdue Global
  • Capella University
  • Arizona State University Online

National Louis University

Master of Science – Applied Behavior Analysis

If you choose to pursue the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at National Louis University, you will get to dive deeper into the study of behaviorism and learn how to effectively apply ABA interventions in both research and practice.

This degree is a stepping stone towards qualifying for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Examination. Once you have cleared that, you will be ready to work in various settings with a wide range of clients, including children with autism or related disorders and adults with intellectual disabilities.

This master’s program is perfect for you if you have a bachelor’s degree and are searching for a program that offers comprehensive training in applied behavior analysis.

You can choose between studying on-campus or opting for a blended approach, which combines online courses with in-person meetings, to make your education work around your busy schedule. This program is designed to fit into the lives of working professionals like you.

During your time in the program, you will be introduced to the essential elements of behavioral learning theory. You will also be taught vital professional skills such as behavior assessment techniques, designing programs for learning new skills or lessening undesired behavior, and strategies for effective staff training and management.

By participating in the ABA program at National Louis University, you will also explore the historical and philosophical foundations of behavior analysis, as well as its key concepts and principles. The program will ultimately lead you to design and conduct your own behavioral-analytic experimental thesis.

Here’s a sneak peek into what you will learn:

  • Assessment and Intervention: Here, you will learn how to examine skills, identify preferences, form instructional programs based on behavior analysis, and conduct evaluations to understand the origins of a particular behavior.
  • Supervision and Training: You will learn how to identify performance deficits, design behavior-analytic training programs, apply supervision best practices, understand ethical guidelines of supervision, and implement management strategies.
  • Theory and History: You will also gain an understanding of different behaviorism theories, familiarize yourself with core behavior analysis concepts, and explore the realm of basic and applied research.
  • Analysis and Research: Here, you will be trained in defining and quantifying behavior, creating visual analysis representations, designing single-subject research, and understanding ethical concerns tied to research.

By the end of the program, you are expected to:

  • Demonstrate understanding and adherence to the latest ethical standards in professional research and practice.
  • Have a solid command over the concepts and principles of behavior analysis as laid out in the BACB Foundational Knowledge List.
  • Design, implement, and analyze behavior analytic measurements and research methodologies, in line with the best practices recommended by behavior analytic literature.
  • Develop, apply, and evaluate behavior analytic interventions, based on the best practices suggested by behavior analytic literature.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the philosophy of behaviorism and the history of behavior analysis.
  • Plan and conduct behavior analytic research, following the best practices indicated by behavior analytic literature..

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Online M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis

The Chicago School offers an online Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) that can give you a strong footing in the principles, research, and practical use of behavior analysis. This program opens doors for a fulfilling career in the fast-expanding ABA sector.

Experienced instructors guide you as you explore a wide array of ABA applications and specialties, including:

  • How to create teaching programs
  • Techniques for precise teaching
  • The study of verbal behavior

You can complete this part-time online Master’s in ABA in just over two years or precisely 28 months.

Upon graduating, you will be equipped to assist diverse populations, including children, adults, and older people. You can choose to work in residential, school, or community spaces. The individuals you work with could range from normal individuals like students or teachers aiming to become more productive to those with conditions like autism, behavior challenges, developmental disabilities, mental disorders, or numerous aging-related issues.

This online ABA Master’s program at the Chicago School fulfills the education requirements for those planning to pursue a career as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Besides the coursework, you will have to clear a test and finish the certification process to become certified.

As a part of the program, you will need to either complete a thesis or choose a non-thesis route where you undertake an Advanced Applied Project. The thesis should be data-based, but it doesn’t necessarily have to contribute something new to the published literature. The aim is to show that you are learning to operate as a scientist-practitioner, constantly making data-driven assessment and treatment decisions. The applied project, on the other hand, shows your ability to effectively and ethically assess and treat a client from beginning to end.

The Chicago School prioritizes making their professional degree programs available to anyone, irrespective of their financial circumstances. Apart from potential scholarships, the Financial Aid department is ready to guide you in finding the best financial plan for you.

Southern Illinois University

Master of Science in Behavior Analysis and Therapy

If you are keen to enhance your understanding and skills in behavior analysis and therapy, the Southern Illinois University’s Master of Science in Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BAT) is an excellent opportunity for you. This award-winning program doesn’t just offer classroom-based learning; it integrates practical experiences and diverse research opportunities into its curriculum.

The BAT program aims to help you apply theoretical knowledge in practical scenarios, setting you up for a successful career assisting varied groups of people. What sets this program apart is its focus on empirical development and application of learning principles across different contexts. You will be equipped to work with a variety of age groups and populations, including those with disabilities. Moreover, the curriculum meets all necessary requirements for you to become a certified ABA therapist.

If you are a working professional or have commitments that prevent you from participating in a traditional classroom setting, don’t worry! SIU offers the Master of Science in BAT as a fully online program. This approach allows you to advance your education and career potential without having to give up your current job or relocate.

SIU’s online course structure is flexible, offering you the freedom to complete your coursework during evenings if you work during the day. SIU even provides live classes to promote real-time engagement and interaction with instructors and fellow students. This online BAT program is your pathway to a higher degree without the need for physically attending the campus.

Your journey through this 45-hour graduate program will introduce you to the essentials of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), alongside subjects like legal and ethical issues, observational techniques, behavior consultation and management, and research methods and applications of behavior analysis.

During the program, you will take various core courses, including:

  • Basic Behavior Analysis
  • Behavior Consultation and Management
  • Complex Behavior Analysis
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Behavior Analysis
  • Applications of Behavior Analysis
  • Verbal Behavior
  • Behavioral Observation Methods

The program also offers electives on topics like verbal behavior, radical behaviorism, and experimental analysis. One significant part of earning your master’s degree in BAT is the completion of either an empirical thesis or a research paper before graduation. This step is crucial for cementing your understanding of the subject.

Another essential requirement is the completion of a supervised internship before you graduate from the BAT program. This nine-credit hour internship, graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis, usually starts after your first two semesters of graduate coursework. You will be assigned a faculty mentor from the BAT program to guide and oversee your internship.

The aim of this internship is to provide you with an enriching and successful experience, complementing your coursework and research. It offers you a chance to gain hands-on experience in analyzing behaviors across various populations and clinical settings.

Ball State University

Online Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Are you eager to expand your professional prospects in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA)? You might find Ball State University’s online master’s degree in ABA to be a perfect fit for your aspirations.

Despite being the largest ABA program in the country, Ball State provides a personal touch, ensuring you have the one-on-one support you need to succeed. With a range of options for your credentials, it comes at a more affordable rate compared to other highly attended master’s in ABA programs.

You will have the opportunity to customize a study plan that aligns with your lifestyle. The 30-credit program is designed to be completed in less than two years, and its flexibility allows you to decide if you’d like to take one or two courses each semester. Your academic advisor will be there to help you craft a study plan that suits your needs best.

Some of the core courses that you will take include:

  • Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Verbal Behavior
  • Behavioral Consultation
  • Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Research Methods for Behavior Analysis
  • Introduction to Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Professional Issues in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Interventions and Treatments for Persons with Autism

You also have the option to kick off your master’s degree by obtaining a graduate certificate in ABA or autism, and then later earn the other. Once you have secured both certificates, you will only need one more course to earn your master’s in ABA with an emphasis on autism.

The program includes a field-based experience, where you are expected to practice ABA at a location of your choice close to your home. Potential locations could be ABA clinics, schools, hospitals, or home-based programs. You need to work with a minimum of two clients and log at least five hours per week at your chosen site throughout the semester.

These hours are separate from the fieldwork supervision hours required for the BCBA exam. However, they may count towards both the course and the BACB fieldwork hours if you meet all the requirements.

A master’s in ABA from Ball State can open doors to various employment sectors such as schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and residential facilities. You will be helping clients enhance their language, motor, social, and reasoning skills. Ball State will equip you with practical skills that you can directly apply to your career.

To be eligible for the master’s in ABA, you need to have a bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher from an accredited institution. If you meet these requirements, you won’t need additional documents like a personal statement, recommendation letters, or GRE scores.

However, if you are applying for earned admission, you will have to provide official copies of your GRE scores. If your GPA is 2.75 or lower, it’s recommended that you consult with your student success specialist to explore the specifics of earned admission.

online bacba programs in Illinois

How Much Does a BCBA Make in Illinois?

As of January 2024, the average salary for a BCBA in Illinois is $78,428 per year or $53.50 per hour. Top earning BCBAs in Illinois make over $90,000 per year.

The salary of a BCBA in Illinois can vary widely, indicating that there are likely numerous opportunities for career progression and salary growth depending on your expertise, geographic location, and years of experience.

Is BCBA a Stressful Job?

Being a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) can feel demanding and occasionally stressful. The stress you might experience could depend on several aspects such as the number of cases you handle, the behavioral challenges of your clients, the quantity of administrative work, your role in supervising others, and the need to stay current with the latest research and practices in your field.

As a BCBA, you would frequently work with people who have developmental disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder. Your tasks might include creating and implementing plans to modify behaviors, assessing client behavior, and teaching other professionals and caregivers. These responsibilities can be emotionally taxing and consume a lot of your time, which might lead to feelings of stress.

However, it’s crucial to remember that being a BCBA can also be immensely rewarding and satisfying. The opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s lives and their families’ can provide a potent source of motivation and professional joy. Furthermore, adopting effective stress management techniques, taking care of yourself, and having a supportive workplace can help you cope with any work-related stress.

Every job has its unique challenges and rewards, and people’s experiences can vary significantly depending on their personal circumstances and the specific organization they work for.

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