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Salaries for Applied Behavior Analysts in California

Experienced board-certified behavior analysts (BCBA®s) in California can earn salaries as high as $110,000. Burning Glass Technologies reported that California was one of the top three states in the country with the largest number of job postings for BCBA®s between 2012 and 2014.

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While BCBA®s serve a variety of functions ranging from crisis intervention to employee training, applied behavior analysis is best recognized for being one of the most effective forms of treatment for autism. In fact, experience with autism was the top skill listed in job postings for BCBA®s in 2014 according to Burning Glass Technologies.

Salaries for Experienced BCBA®s in California’s Largest Cities

The range of salaries for board-certified behavior analysts with ten years of experience in the field are shown below (median to 90th percentile – current as of November 26, 2016):

Los Angeles:

  • Schools: $73,000 – $97,000
  • Hospitals: $71,000 – $92,000
  • Private Practice: $71,000 – $91,000

San Diego:

  • Schools: $71,000 – $90,000
  • Hospitals: $70,000 – $89,000
  • Private Practice: $71,000 – $90,000

San Jose:

  • Schools: $82,000 – $110,000
  • Hospitals: $81,000 – $110,000
  • Private Practice: $80,000 – $100,000

San Francisco:

  • Schools: $81,000 – $110,000
  • Hospitals: $76,000 – $100,000
  • Private Practice: $79,000 – $100,000

Fresno:

  • Schools: $66,000 – $89,000
  • Hospitals: $66,000 – $87,000
  • Private Practice: $69,000 – $89,000

Long Beach:

  • Schools: $71,000 – $94,000
  • Hospitals: $70,000 – $91,000
  • Private Practice: $70,000 – $90,000

Sacramento:

  • Schools: $70,000 – $93,000
  • Hospitals: $69,000 – $91,000
  • Private Practice: $69,000 – $89,000

Oakland:

  • Schools: $74,000 – $97,000
  • Hospitals: $74,000 – $96,000
  • Private Practice: $74,000 – $94,000

Starting Salaries for BCBA®s in California’s Largest Cities

Salary data shown below for entry-level ABAs is current as of November 2016 (median – 90th percentile):

Los Angeles:

  • Schools: $58,000 – $77,000
  • Hospitals: $56,000 – $73,000
  • Private Practice: $58,000 – $74,000

San Diego:

  • Schools: $56,000 – $74,000
  • Hospitals: $56,000 – $73,000
  • Private Practice: $57,000 – $72,000

San Jose:

  • Schools: $65,000 – $86,000
  • Hospitals: $63,000 – $83,000
  • Private Practice: $658,000 – $84,000

San Francisco:

  • Schools: $66,000 – $87,000
  • Hospitals: $62,000 – $81,000
  • Private Practice: $61,000 – $79,000

Fresno:

  • Schools: $53,000 – $71,000
  • Hospitals: $52,000 – $68,000
  • Private Practice: $54,000 – $70,000

Long Beach:

  • Schools: $56,000 – $75,000
  • Hospitals: $56,000 – $74,000
  • Private Practice: $58,000 – $75,000

Sacramento:

  • Schools: $55,000 – $73,000
  • Hospitals: $57,000 – $75,000
  • Private Practice: $56,000 – $73,000

Oakland:

  • Schools: $60,000 – $80,000
  • Hospitals: $59,000 – $77,000
  • Private Practice: $60,000 – $77,000

The Rate of Autism in California Increased Nearly 500% Over a Ten-Year Period

The large number of children with autism in California is one of the reasons why the state has such a large number of job postings for BCBA®s. UC Irvine reported that the rate of autism increased by nearly 500% over a ten-year period.

In 2011, the California Department of Education found that about 1% of all children in the state’s public schools had been diagnosed with autism. This figure is likely to be an underestimate of the true number of children affected, since many children that meet the criteria for an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis are too severely afflicted to attend school. Orange County had the highest rate of autism with 15% of students receiving special education services for autism.

California requires that all insurance plans provide coverage to treat autism. They include ABA intervention programs among the treatments covered. The implementation of this legislation in 2012 increased the demand for BCBA®s who frequently supervise the behavior technicians who provide direct therapy to the children.

ABA Providers in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles area has a tremendous number of ABA providers. Autism Speaks® listed 229 of them within 60 miles of downtown Los Angeles. Fifteen providers offered ABA services within five miles of the center of Los Angeles:

  • AHEAD: Advancing Higher Education and Development
  • Behavioral Health Works (BHW)
  • Bloom Child Development
  • Building Block Resolutions, Inc.
  • Butterfly Effects
  • Betty B. Bostani
  • Holding Hands Pediatric Therapy & Diagnostics
  • Innovative Speech and Language Pathology (ISLP)
  • Integrated Therapy Solutions (ITS)
  • Intercare Therapy, Inc.
  • Kayne Eras Center
  • Keany Associates, Inc.
  • Language & Learning Centers of America (LLCA)
  • STAR of CA Behavioral and Psychological Services
  • Working with Autism

PayScale.com provides detailed information on what applied behavior analysts in various employment settings and with various levels of experience can expect to earn in California.

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