Why This Matters


    According to the latest data released by the CDC, Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses are on the rise. Applied Behavior Analysis has been identified as an effective therapy for children and adults living with ASD.


    Although many BCBAs work with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ABA can be used in other areas such as organization behavioral management, traumatic brain injuries, special education, and mental health.


    An opioid epidemic and increasing rates of post-traumatic stress disorder in war vets are two factors in the increasing need for mental health counselors who can use ABA to treat a variety of issues.

Our Research

This list features some of the best online BCBA master’s degree programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. The programs on our list have been accredited by reputable organizations, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education and Middle States Commission on Higher Education, that assess the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of colleges and universities.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online BCBA master’s degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The Top 34 Online BCBA Master’s Degree Programs

Best BCBA Master's Degree Program 2023
Intelligent Pick
Northeastern University
Best Master of Arts Program
Florida Institute of Technology
Best for Special Education
California University of Pennsylvania
Easiest Admissions
Regis College
Most Innovative Curriculum
Monmouth University
Best Capstone Project
Pennsylvania State University

What You Should Know About This Degree

Although all of the coursework for the programs on our list can be completed online, all students must complete a supervised intensive practicum as part of the BACB’s experience requirements. The BACB sets the guidelines for how many hours you must complete and in which type of setting; be sure to confirm that this aspect of the program will fit into your schedule and lifestyle.

Once you obtain your degree, you will need to pass an exam before you become a BCBA, and you will need to complete continuing education credits on an ongoing basis to maintain your certification.

Additionally, many states are now requiring a license to practice as an Applied Behavior Analyst. Licensure is an ever-evolving process, so practitioners must pay attention to what the regulations are in the state in which they plan to practice. This is also something to take into consideration when choosing where you will earn your degree.

In some cases, if you already have a master’s degree in a related field like special education or psychology, you can complete a graduate certificate to acquire the necessary ABA coursework for certification. This can save you time, but be aware that certificate programs are typically not eligible for financial aid.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching BCBA programs:

  • What are the standardized test requirements for this program? If you do not already have a master’s degree, most programs require standardized tests, such as the GRE or MAT, as part of the admissions process. For Master’s in Education programs, you may also need to submit Praxis scores. Find out what the requirements are, and make arrangements to take any necessary tests prior to applying.
  • Do I need financial aid? Many schools offer ABA certificate programs to students who already have a master’s degree in a related area. However, under federal guidelines, certificate programs are not eligible for federal financial aid. Make sure you have alternate sources of funding if you are pursuing a certificate program.

Make sure you research the program’s application requirements and admissions deadlines as part of your search process. You can get this information from the school’s website or by contacting the admissions department.

Funding your graduate education is another important consideration. Ask about scholarships and financial aid opportunities. If you are currently employed, find out if your job offers any type of tuition assistance benefits.