32 Best Masters in Education Programs with an ABA Emphasis

We can’t help but have crazy respect for teachers, particularly those with the insight to recognize how valuable skills in applied behavior analysis can be when it comes to managing a classroom and creating the best possible learning environment for students with special needs.

There are a number of paths educators can take when making the decision to add ABA to their list of skills, and most involve meeting the qualifications for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

If you already hold a master’s degree, then a non-degree BCBA course sequence will provide you with the extra courses you need to take the BCBA exam… But if you’re still preparing to pursue a master’s degree in special education or general curriculum and instruction and you’re looking to focus your studies on applied behavior analysis, then there’s nothing like a master’s in education with an ABA emphasis to get everything you need all in one program.

When completing a BACB Verified Course Sequence (VCS) along with your master’s, you’ll not only satisfy state requirements for any special education endorsements that might be available to you, you’ll also meet the curriculum requirements for the esteemed BCBA credential. Imagine – you could complete your graduate studies, along with the course sequence necessary to qualify to sit for the BCBA exam in a program where ABA coursework is embedded as a way to complement your teacher education.

Since our list only includes programs with a Verified Course Sequence, there’s no second-guessing whether the ABA courses meet the requirements for BCBA certification. And because these programs are all regionally and/or nationally accredited, you know they’ll meet state licensing and endorsement requirements too. And to make things even easier on you, you’ll even find options here that are offered partially or fully online.

A chance to earn your master’s degree in education and BCBA certification all in an online program or at a conveniently located campus in your area, all while you continue to work… these are the kinds of graduate programs every teacher dreams about finding.

Here they are – all 32 of them.

Selection Criteria

Of the hundreds of master’s degree programs available to teachers in the U.S., we hand-picked 32 that are ideal for educators looking to integrate ABA skills in the classroom. Every program found here meets these basic criteria:

  • Include a BACB pre-approved Verified Course Sequence (VCS) that meets the eligibility requirements for the BCBA Exam
  • Annual graduate school tuition rates in-line with the national average for public ($11,303) and private ($23,919) institutions adjusted for location
  • Hold institutional accreditation through a regional and/or national agency recognized by the US Department of Education

 



 

ARIZONA

 

TOP 32

Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ
Website

Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, ABA, online

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $11,806 (in-state tuition available to students from anywhere in the country)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 23:1

Arizona State University always seems to make our lists of the best schools with ABA graduate programs. ASU master’s programs are widely recognized as being among the top-tier online programs for teachers in the country. In fact, in 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked ASU’s Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction 14th in the nation. The program even offers you the flexibility of being able to jump in and get started at several points throughout the year, with start dates every couple of months.

 

CALIFORNIA

 

TOP 32

San Diego State University
Department of Special Education
San Diego, CA
Website

MA in Special Education with an emphasis in autism

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $8,350 (in-state), $15,778 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 29:1

San Diego State University has become a national leader in providing programs that prepare teachers to serve the needs of their autistic students. SDSU’s MA in Special Education with the option to embed the BACB Verified Course Sequence with a decided focus on students with autism really caught our attention. The Department of Special Education even extends their OSEP grant to eligible master’s program candidates in exchange for working with young people with ASD (2-year service commitment for each year of funding the student receives.)

 

TOP 32

Touro University
Vallejo, CA
Website

MEd in Special Education with an emphasis in ABA

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $25,575
  • Student to faculty ratio: N/A

The MEd in Special Education through Touro is all about convenience without giving up quality and direct instructor interactions. Touro’s MEd program offers a face-to-face and online blended learning format, opportunities to collaborate with partner organizations in the ABA community, and the ability to satisfy the field experience required for the BCBA Exam. Classes here meet in the evenings, usually just one or two times per week.

 

COLORADO

 

TOP 32

University of Northern Colorado
Greely, CO
Website

Special Education MA – Intervention Specialist: ABA emphasis, online

Ed.S. in School Psychology – ABA emphasis, campus (NASP-approved)

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $11,444 (in-state), $20,738 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 19:1

The MA in Special Education program through the University of Northern Colorado is offered online, yet students are closely mentored by faculty who have extensive professional field experience. Most online courses and programs are delivered by the same high-quality faculty who teach on-campus.

 

FLORIDA

 

TOP 32

University of North Florida
College of Education and Human Services
Jacksonville, FL
Website

MEd in Special Education, ABA concentration

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $10,367 (in-state), $21,382 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 19:1

Imagine a highly ranked university that still manages to maintain a 1:19 faculty-student ratio. Hard to believe, but that’s exactly what you get with UNF’s MEd in Special Education program. Not surprising, considering UNF’s strong commitment to student success.

 

HAWAII

 

TOP 32

University of Hawaii Manoa
College of Education
Honolulu, HI
Website

MEd in Special Education, BCBA, online/hybrid

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $16,168 (in-state), $37,648 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 13:1

The MEd in Special Education through U of Hawaii Manoa features courses delivered primary online, complemented with two face-to-face meetings each semester. The online courses include synchronous class sessions in the evenings so you get to learn live from instructors in real time. We also love the major research units that are part of the program—the Center on Disability Studies (CDS) and the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG).

 

ILLINOIS

 

TOP 32

Northern Illinois University
Department of Special and Early Education
DeKalb, IL
Website

MSEd in Special Education, Specialization in Advanced Special Education Practices, ABA, hybrid (online/in-person format)

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $13,839 (in-state), $22,407 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 14:1

We love the MSEd in Special Education at Northern Illinois University because of its convenience and flexibility. Online classes are complemented with in-person courses and two to three in-person meetings at the DeKalb campus during the course of the program. The MSEd program at NIU provides all the flexibility of an online program along with the kind of personalized feedback and guidance that can only come from face-to-face instructor interactions.

 

TOP 32

Trinity Christian College
Palo Heights, IL
Website

MA in Special Education, Behavior Intervention Specialist

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $24,830
  • Student to faculty ratio: 11:1

We can’t help but respect the fact that Trinity Christian College has been continually ranked among the top tier colleges in the Midwest according to U.S. News & World Report. The MA in Special Education, Behavior Intervention Specialist is the only special education master’s degree program in Illinois to combine the Learning Behavior Specialist II (LBS II): Behavior Intervention Specialist endorsement with a BCBA course sequence.

 

INDIANA

 

TOP 32

Ball State University
Muncie, IN
Website

MA in Special Education, ABA focus area, online

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $9,048 (in-state), $21,360 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 14:1

Ball State University’s MA in Special Education is all about convenience and flexibility with working teachers in mind. Students in this 100% online program can complete the courses at any time, provided they meet weekly deadlines and finish regular assignments. Even with courses delivered entirely online, we were impressed with the fact that students here have access to a wide array of student support services, including library service, tutoring, and technology support.

KENTUCKY

 

TOP 32

University of Louisville
College of Education and Human Development
Louisville, KY
Website

M.Ed. in Special Education with a Concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Applied Behavior Analysis

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $12,442 (in-state), $25,682 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 15:1

We love the University of Louisville’s five-semester cohort model comprised of no more than 20 students at a time. Students in this program dedicate about 15 hours a week to their practicum coursework throughout the five-semester period. This school also earned a spot on our list because of its commitment to partnerships with ABA providers in the community, giving students access to opportunities to learn and network.

 

LOUISIANA

 

TOP 32

Nicholls State University
Thibodaux, LA
Website

MEd in Curriculum and Instruction, ABA concentration

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $7,852 (in-state), $18,783 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 20:1

The MEd in Curriculum and Instruction through Nicholls State University is designed for practicing educators looking to take their careers to the next level. Students of this program complete a field-based research seminar that provides them with an opportunity to evaluate classrooms and propose changes necessary for the improvement of student learning. This unique aspect of the program provides the kind of real world experience teachers look for in a quality graduate program.

MASSACHUSETTS

 

TOP 32

Endicott College
Beverly, MA
Website

MEd in Non-Licensure Special Education

MEd in Special Education and ABA

MEd in Autism and ABA

MEd in ABA

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $11,489
  • Student to faculty ratio: 14:1

Endicott College offers four MEd options for teachers – and those aspiring to become teachers – in a fully online format, with no residency requirement. Endicott has made it a point to ensure the programs they offer are accessible and affordable to students throughout the country.

TOP 32

Simmons College
Department of Behavior Analysis
Boston, MA
Website

EdS in Behavior Analysis, on-campus, online

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $20,718
  • Student to faculty ratio: 7:1

The EdS in Behavior Analysis through Simmons prepares students to become leaders in the classroom. If you’re ready to make a difference in the lives of students with special needs, you can be sure you’ll be well prepared to implement individualized education plans based on time-tested ABA principles and methods after completing Simmons’ EdS in Behavior Analysis. Simmons graduates have demonstrated a first time pass rate of 80% on the BCBA exam– 15 percentage points above the national average.

 

MICHIGAN

 

TOP 32

Oakland University
Rochester, MI
Website

MEd in Special Education, ABA concentration

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $16,388 (in-state), $24,648 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 21:1

Oakland University has plenty of support services for its students, earning it a spot on our list of the top graduate programs in education with an ABA concentration. Faculty members are there to guide students throughout the program, while the combination of learning seminars, field experiences, and advanced technology help students achieve their goals. We love the MEd in Special Education, ABA concentration because it’s delivered in a unique, hybrid format that allows students to engage in beneficial in-class learning while also completing convenient, online courses.

 

MICHIGAN

 

TOP 32

Oakland University
Rochester, MI
Website

MEd in Special Education, ABA concentration

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $16,388 (in-state), $24,648 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 21:1

Oakland University has plenty of support services for its students, earning it a spot on our list of the top graduate programs in education with an ABA concentration. Faculty members are there to guide students throughout the program, while the combination of learning seminars, field experiences, and advanced technology help students achieve their goals. We love the MEd in Special Education, ABA concentration because it’s delivered in a unique, hybrid format that allows students to engage in beneficial in-class learning while also completing convenient, online courses.

 

MISSOURI

 

TOP 32

Lindenwood University
St. Charles, MO
Website

Master of Arts in Education in Behavior Analysis

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $16,332
  • Student to faculty ratio: 25:1

Lindenwood University’s MA in Education in Behavior Analysis easily earned a spot on our list of top master’s programs in education and ABA. Lindenwood’s School of Education has established itself as one of the most respected in the nation. With campus locations in Missouri and Illinois, Lindenwood makes earning a master’s in education and ABA convenient for teachers throughout the region.

 

NEVADA

 

TOP 32

University of Nevada Las Vegas
College of Education
Las Vegas, NV
Website

MEd in Special Education, ABA focus area

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $5,500 (in-state), $19,410 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 21:1

The University of Nevada Las Vegas impressed us with its autism spectrum disorder research center and clinic, something that gives students enrolled in the MEd in Special Education-ABA an opportunity to experience the application of ABA methods and principles in practice. There is nothing quite like experiential learning. Combine that with the BCBA Verified Course Sequence it includes and you got a program that has it all.

 

OHIO

 

TOP 32

Cleveland State University
Cleveland, OH
Website

MEd in Special Education, ABA, online

  • Estimated cost per academic year: $9,679 (in-state), $16,411 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 17:1

The BCBA grad program in the College of Education and Human Services at Cleveland State University offers up plenty of perks, including small class sizes and a completely online delivery format. It’s also part of the Center for Excellence and Innovation in Education, an outreach office of the College of Education and Human Services that supports the local community, partnering with schools in the area to provide services, resources, and collaborative learning experiences.

 

TOP 32

Ohio State University
Department of Educational Studies
Columbus, OH
Website

MA in Educational Studies, Special Education, ABA specialization

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $12,425 (in-state), $32,873 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 19:1

The MA in Educational Studies at OSU is a research-based program that is strongly focused on ABA. OSU’s College of Education and Human Ecology provides students with many opportunities to connect with and learn from faculty while engaging in unique research opportunities. The MA in Educational Studies, Special Education, ABA specialization is no exception, providing students with a research-based course of study that is strongly focused on applied behavior analysis.

 

PENNSYLVANIA

 

TOP 32

Cairn University
Langhorne, PA
Website

MS in Special Education (ABA), online

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $11,790
  • Student to faculty ratio: 12:1

Cairn University is a great choice for students seeking a biblically centered program designed to prepare students with both teaching skills and intervention skills based on ABA principles. In fact, it’s the only choice for a Christian university that offers the BCBA Verified Course Sequence. There is something special about a school that gives a 50 percent tuition discount to educators working in Christian schools, not to mention the fact that the program includes integrated field experiences.

 

TOP 32

California University of Pennsylvania
California, PA
Website

MEd in Special Education (autism track or general track), ABA

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $15,506 (in-state), $21,316 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 20:1

We love California University of PA’s MEd in Special Education because students here enjoy no shortage of options when it comes to teacher certification programs that include the coursework you need to take the BCBA exam: elementary education, secondary education, special education, and even an endorsement in autism for those who already hold special education certification.

 

TOP 32

Mercyhurst University
Erie, PA
Website

MEd in Special Education and Applied Disability Studies, ABA

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $22,850
  • Student to faculty ratio: 16:1

Mercyhurst University knows a thing or two about how to structure a program to fit the scheduling needs of working teachers. Courses in the MEd in Special Education and Applied Disabilities Studies, ABA are primarily held in the evenings, freeing up students to continue working. The program includes all the courses you need to qualify for the BCBA exam. Plus, since courses are offered year-round students have better access to the courses they want to take, allowing them to more easily custom tailor the program.

 

TOP 32

Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA
Website

MEd in Special Education, emphasis in ABA, online

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $20,912 (in-state), $35,214 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 16:1

The Master of Education in Special Education at PSU is offered in a convenient and highly flexible online format, making it a smart choice for working teachers. We love its emphasis on academic and behavioral supports, preparing teachers to effectively manage behaviors and develop and administer educational assessments in the classroom and beyond.

 

TOP 32

Temple University
College of Education
Philadelphia, PA
Website

M. S. Ed in Applied Behavior Analysis

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition): $14,817 (in-state), $20,311 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 10.75:1

We appreciate Temple’s commitment to accommodating the scheduling needs of teachers, offering courses in the evenings at the main campus in Philadelphia. BACB-VCS courses are even made available on-site at agencies in the community for staff and other local professionals. We love Temple’s M.S. Ed in ABA for its interdisciplinary approach to teaching the principles of ABA, including two 150-hour practica as part of the program, each in a different setting.

 

TOP 32

University of Pittsburgh
School of Education
Pittsburgh, PA
Website

MEd in ABA

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $22,578 (in-state), $36,734 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 15:1

The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education got our attention for the accolades it has received from U.S. News and World Report, which ranked it 30th among graduate schools of education. The School of Education has more than $25 million in research funding across 50 projects, so students of the MEd can feel good knowing their school makes meaningful contributions to the growing body of ABA research.

 

TEXAS

 

TOP 32

Texas State University
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
San Marcos, TX
Website

MEd in Special Education with a concentration in autism and ABA

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $7,977 (in-state), $16,128 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 23:1

We appreciate the fact that TSU combines the fields of special education and ABA in a program that includes the courses you need to qualify for the BCBA exam, with the option to fulfill the experience requirements you need through the Texas State CARES clinic.

 

TOP 32

Texas Tech University
College of Education
Lubbock, TX
Website

MEd in Special Education, ABA

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $7,525 (in-state), $14,869 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 21:1

The MEd in Special Education through Texas Tech University earns a spot among the best education programs in ABA for its strong partnerships with school districts, community agencies and institutions of higher education throughout the state. It’s all here: The sequence of ABA courses you need for BCBA certification, and it’s one of the most affordable programs on our list.

 

TOP 32

University of Houston Victoria
School of Education, Health Professions and Human Development
Victoria, TX
Website

MEd in Special Education, ABA degree plan

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $6,990 (in-state), $14,334 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 15:1

The University of Houston Victoria got our attention for the flexibility it offers, giving students the choice of either completing the program online or attending class in person at the main campus in Victoria. These are the kinds of options teachers look for in a graduate program, allowing them to enjoy the best in convenience or more opportunities to participate in face to face discussions with professors and classmates. Whether attending online or on-campus, the program includes the BACB Verified Course Sequence you need to qualify for the BCBA exam.

 

TOP 32

University of Texas San Antonio
College of Education and Human Development
San Antonio, TX
Website

MA in Special Education – ABA Concentration

MA in School Psychology – ABA Concentration

MA in Educational Psychology (solely focused on behavior analysis)

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $7,101 (in-state), $22,700 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 23:1

We’re impressed with the fact that UTSA is recognized as a Tier One research facility with more than $30 million in funding going to research taking place at the College of Education and Human Development alone. Students can be proud of the research the school contributes to gaining a better understanding of autism spectrum disorders, including important work being done in collaboration with partners in the community. UTSA’s Department of Educational Psychology recently partnered with the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and the Autism Treatment Center to form the San Antonio Applied Behavior Analysis Project.

 

UTAH

 

TOP 32

Utah Valley University
Orem, UT
Website

MEd in ABA

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $7,822 (in-state), $18,348 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 22:1

We are always impressed with Utah Valley University’s role as a teaching institution. The MEd in ABA program is no exception. The program places a focus on preparing graduates to serve as leaders when it comes to creating the most inclusive and effective learning environment possible for special education students.

 

VIRGINIA

 

TOP 32

Lynchburg College
Lynchburg, VA
Website

MEd in Special Education, ABA specialization

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $8,900
  • Student to faculty ratio: 10:1

Lynchburg College made our list of the top education programs with an ABA emphasis for a number of reasons. Being recognized by the Princeton Review as one of the best colleges in 2018 certainly didn’t hurt. In fact, it’s one of just 16 colleges and universities in Virginia to earn the distinction of making that list. We love their MEd in Special Education with an ABA specialization because it accommodates both pre-service and in-service teachers, offering lots of research opportunities that focus on topics like autism spectrum disorders, reading disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and emotional and behavior disabilities, among others.

 

TOP 32

Mary Baldwin University
Staunton, VA
Website

MEd, concentration in ABA

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $12,600
  • Student to faculty ratio: 10:1

Just a couple of the accolades Mary Baldwin University has received include being ranked #15 in Best Value Schools in the South according to U.S. News & World Report in 2017 and “Best Southeastern” for 2018 according to Princeton Review. Mary Baldwin has also received recognition for its value, its safe campus, its commitment to student success, and fostering a strong community. The MEd in ABA is offered as a unique hybrid program, offering online courses complemented with 4-6 on-campus courses.

 

WEST VIRGINIA

 

TOP 32

West Virginia University
Department of Special Education
Morgantown, WV
Website

MA in Special Education with an emphasis in ABA

  • Estimated cost per academic year (tuition + fees): $9,000 (in-state), $23,218 (out of state)
  • Student to faculty ratio: 19:1

You got to love the fact that WVU offers the MA in Special Education with the BACB-verified ABA course sequence completely online, making it a clear choice for working professionals in the area. West Virginia University has earned a reputation not only for its innovative online course delivery systems, but also for its faculty members who are recognized for teaching excellence and for making important contributions to research.