BCBAs can use their knowledge of behavior to improve the lives of many different groups of people. BCBAs commonly work with individuals with autism but can also use their skills to work with individuals that have many other disorders and disabilities, such as:
- Developmental disorders
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Traumatic brain injury
BCBAs can have a wide variety of different careers, including:
- Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist
- Clinical behavioral analyst
- Social worker
- Substance abuse therapist
- Special education teacher
- School psychologist
- Life coach
- Criminal profiler
- Market research analyst
- Behavior researcher
ABA Therapist Salary
The salary for an ABA therapist will differ based on education, experience, and certification.
Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) can expect to earn between $30,00 to $45,000 per year, according to Payscale. RBTs must be at least 18 years old, receive 40 hours of training, and pass a certification exam. They can work under the supervision of a BCaBA or BCBA.
Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs) can expect to earn about $50,000 per year, according to Payscale. BCaBAs must earn an undergraduate degree in a related field and pass a certification exam. BCaBAs must work under the direct supervision of a BCBA, but can supervise RBTs.
BCBAs have the highest salary of ABA therapists at about $68,000 per year, according to Payscale. BCBAs are the most highly trained ABA therapists. They must earn an undergraduate and master’s degree and pass a certification exam.
How Do You Become a BCBA?
It usually takes two to four years of education and training to become a BCBA after earning an undergraduate degree.
BCBAs must have a Master’s degree in ABA or a related field of study and complete at least 1,500 hours of supervised training before they are eligible to take the BCBA licensing exam.
How Much Does It Cost To Become a BCBA?
Tuition is the biggest expense in becoming a BCBA. The average student loan debt for earning an undergraduate degree from a public university was about $26,000 in 2018.
The cost of an ABA graduate program varies widely, but in-state tuition for many of the best programs is less than $10,000 per year. It is possible to find paid positions to earn the required 1,500 hours of supervised training.
Financial aid options are also available at most universities. After graduating, if you are employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization, you may qualify for public service loan forgiveness.
There are also costs associated with taking the BCBA exam. The BCBA exam fees include:
- $100 fee for a coursework evaluation
- $245 application fee
- $125 exam fee
- $140 fee to retake the exam
BCBA Salary Outlook
BCBAs have good job security. The need for ABA services is greater than the number of BCBAs that can provide these services. A demand for BCBAs has led to a steady increase in the salary of a BCBA over the past few years.
The average salary for a BCBA in 2021 was about $63,000. In 2022, the average salary increased by $5,000 to $68,000.
The number of individuals holding a BCBA certificate has grown quickly over the past 20 years. Today, there are more than 58,000 people holding a BCBA certificate.
Many BCBAs are young. Almost 80% of BCBAs are younger than 45 years old. In general, you earn a higher salary as you get older and gain experience. We can expect to see the average salary of BCBAs increase as this generation of BCBAs gets older.
More than 85% of BCBAs identify as female. The gender pay gap is much smaller for BCBAs than in other professions. According to the Pew Research Center, women earned 84% of what men earned in 2020. However, according to Zippia, female BCBAs earned 99% of what male BCBAs earned,.
BCBAs can enjoy a substantial salary for rewarding work. Your salary will depend on your education, how much experience you have, and where you live. If you are interested in providing high-quality autism care to children, contact us to learn how you can join our team.
Songbird Therapy is a technology-enabled provider setting a higher standard for children’s autism care. With a deeply passionate team and innovative technology, we’re building a world where every child can access world-class care at home, uniquely tailored to them.