Close Menu

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), M.A. 

Apply to Whitworth’s ABA program to get the training you need to help children and adults who need additional support to meet their goals and thrive, including those with autism spectrum disorder, learning challenges and behavior support needs.

80% of our graduates passed the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam on their first attempt, well-exceeding the national average of just 55%. - BACB Annual Data Report

  • Whitworth's ABA coursework is verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI).
  • Save time and money by completing the ABA course sequence along with your master's degree.
  • Receive Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) supervision as part of the required field experience from a Whitworth supervisor or a BCBA at your place of employment. 

“The professors at Whitworth are very supportive and approachable, the education is high quality, and the community on campus is welcoming.”

Dana Parkin '20

Learn more about Dana Parkin.

Degree Snapshot
Credits 32-46
Average Completion Time 2 years
Class Format 1-2 nights per week, on campus or remote
Cost Per Credit $675* per credit (financial aid & scholarships available)
Application Deadlines We are no longer accepting applications for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years.  

*Tuition for the 2024-25 academic year

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

Applied behavior analysis, is the scientific study of the principles of learning and behavior. ABA is used to help those who need more support in learning and participating in the community. ABA is considered by many to be the "gold standard" intervention for addressing the specific needs of autistic individuals. Beyond that, ABA is broadly used to help improve skills (communication, reading, social skills, etc.) among people with a wide variety of abilities. Hearing controversy over ABA therapy? We are too, and we're trying to make a positive difference in how ABA is practiced. Click here to read more.

Enhance Your Career Opportunities

Behavior analysts are in high demand. The certification is recognized across state and international lines, allowing BCBAs to get jobs easily both in the United States and abroad.

“Over the past 12 years, demand for behavior analysts holding BCBA or BCBA-D certification has increased by 5,852%. Annual nationwide demand for individuals holding BCBA/BCBA-D certification has increased each year since 2010, with a 38% increase from 2020 to 2021.” - Burning Glass report

I chose Whitworth because the supervision piece was included. Living in a place where there are not a lot of BCBAs, I needed to make sure I could get my supervision from the program I was attending. It also didn't hurt that the campus is beautiful!

- Austin Skellenger '16

Is a M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis Right for You? 

Whitworth's ABA degree program can open doors to new career opportunities and is often a good fit for those interested in teaching, social work, mental health, counseling and other behavioral services. You'll obtain specialized training to address behavioral challenges in children and adults by applying a systematic scientific approach.

What type of job can I get? 

As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, you can work as a...

  • Clinical Director
  • Clinical Supervisor
  • Clinical Coordinator
  • Lead/Head Behavior Analyst
  • School-based Behavior Analyst
  • School Consultant
  • Organizational Consultant

Program Curriculum

ABA Course Sequence (26 credits)

The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified the following courses toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they are eligible to take the examination.*

Number Course Title Credits
EDB 510 Foundations in Applied Behavior Analysis 1
EDB 521 Intervention for Behavior & Motivation 3
EDB 526 Designing Instruction & Supports for Individuals with Low-Incidence Disabilities 3
EDB 536 Intensive Interventions for Behavioral Challenges 3
EDB 550 Assessment in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
EDB 560 Single Case Research Methods 3
EDB 562 Ethical Treatment & Research 3
EDB 564 Concepts & Principles in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
EDB 570 Supervision of Behavioral Interventions in Schools & Other Settings 3
EDB 595 Exit Project in Applied Behavior Analysis 1

Fieldwork Experience (6-20 credits)

In addition to the above coursework, 2,000 fieldwork hours are required to apply for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination. Students have the option of completing some of their hours (limited supervision track) or all of their hours (full supervision track) by enrolling in Whitworth courses.

Limited Supervision Track (6 credits)

This track is for students, such as current behavior technicians, who are able to complete the remainder of their fieldwork hours under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) at their place of employment.  

Full Supervision Track (20 credits)

This track is for students who need assistance with accessing supervision from a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) to complete all 2,000 fieldwork hours.

*Requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination under the 5th Edition Task List include a master’s degree or higher, successful completion of required coursework and supervised fieldwork experience. Please see the BACB website for more information.

For course descriptions and learning outcomes of this major, please view the course catalog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Whitworth?

Whitworth’s ABA program has a proven track record of graduates passing the BCBA Exam. The program is competitive in terms of price with online competitor programs, yet provides a more individualized approach to the learning experience.

Do I need to have a bachelor's degree in a specific area to be accepted into the program?

There is no required major for those entering the applied behavior analysis program.

When do classes meet? 

Whitworth’s ABA program was designed specifically for those who work during the day. Classes for this program meet during the later afternoon or evening.

What is required for BCBA certification?

In order to apply to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Examination® as of January 2022, students must complete the following:

  • a master’s degree or higher from an accredited university
  • successful completion of required coursework
  • supervised fieldwork experience

At the end of Whitworth's 46-credit master's program (full supervision track), students will have completed the above requirements. Specific eligibility requirements to sit for the board examination are listed on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.® website.

Candidates must apply to take the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) Examination® and pass the exam to become certified. The BACB® is the only credentialing organization for professionals within the discipline.