Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis

A young student in the classroom

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BACB Approved Course Sequence

Behavior Analyst Certification Board Seal of Approval

This is my life

Abbey Caldwell
Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate
State College, PA
Program Graduate Abbey Caldwell
“ABA is one of the only proven scientific interventions for autism, and I had a very strong background in it because of the classes I took.”Read more

Demand Is High for Special Education Professionals with Advanced Certification in the Field of Applied Behavior Analysis

For most children, simply the environment that they live in provides all the right conditions to learn social competence, language skills, and even how to play without any additional intervention from adults. However, autistic children require a very structured environment, optimized for acquiring the same skills that other children learn naturally. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is about creating and providing a purposeful environment that allows children with autism to learn. Special education professionals who are certified in applied behavior analysis by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc. (BACB®) have the skills and knowledge to develop, implement, and evaluate quality techniques that help produce positive behavioral change in special needs children.

Penn State shares your mission to help make life better for children with special needs. To help meet your goals, Penn State World Campus has partnered with the College of Education to offer you graduate courses and a practicum in applied behavior analysis.

Penn State Offers Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Study and Practicum

This 18-credit, five-course sequence is designed for people who seek advanced knowledge in the field of applied behavior analysis. The curriculum is intended to prepare you to sit for the BCBA certification examination sponsored by the BACB. 

The program consists of four online courses plus a fifth course which is a face-to-face, weeklong seminar held every August at Penn State University Park in conjunction with the National Autism Conference.

Practicum Option Available to Students of the Program

In addition to the applied behavior analysis graduate certificate, Penn State also offers an optional applied behavior analysis practicum to help you gain experience and meet the requirements to sit for the BACB's certification exam. Please visit the Course List page to learn more about the applied behavior analysis practicum

Act 48 Approved

Penn State is an Act 48-approved provider for Pennsylvania educators, so the courses for the program in applied behavior analysis may count toward professional development hours.

Who Should Apply?

This program is specifically designed for individuals with a background in education or human services who are interested in becoming Board Certified Behavior Analysts. However, anyone with an interest in learning about interventions to produce lasting change in behavior will find this program to be extremely useful.

Please note that this program does not lead to initial teacher certification, however, this program may help you to renew your certification. Check with your state's Department of Education for exact requirements for recertification.

Professionals who can benefit from this program include:

  • teachers
  • behavioral specialists
  • mobile therapists
  • educational consultants
  • speech-language pathologists
  • school counselors
  • social workers
  • psychologists
  • medical professionals

Career Opportunities

Board Certified Behavior Analysts develop, implement, and monitor behavioral interventions. Typically, behavior analysts work in the helping professions (e.g., teachers, speech/language pathologists, occupational therapists, psychology). Training in behavior analysis can help add to your current professional knowledge base, thus making you better prepared to address a variety of behavioral issues in classrooms, early intervention, home, and community settings.

Online Education at Penn State

Penn State has a history of 100+ years of distance education and more than a decade of experience in online learning. We strive to create an online learning environment that brings you as close to the face-to-face experience as possible. Learn more about Penn State World Campus.