Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is recognized as a successful way of treating children with cognitive and developmental disabilities, and nowhere is it more widely used than in Rhode Island, a state that has seen a significant increase in the number of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) over the past two decades.
During the 1996 school year, Rhode Island’s school system accommodated 135 students diagnosed with autism, but by 2014 this number had grown to 2,240. This has created an unprecedented demand for ABA practitioners in the state’s school districts where they are needed more than ever to work with students enrolled in special education programs or that otherwise have individualized education plans (2015 Rhode Island Kids Count). With this demand has come a new respect for the profession and new opportunities for ABAs to secure salaried positions.
Other developments have also created opportunities for independent ABAs and those working in private practice. As of 2012, both state employee health plans and fully insured large group plans in Rhode Island are required to cover applied behavior analysis for autistic children under the age of 15. The coverage allows patients to receive a maximum benefit of $32,000 each year to cover the cost of therapy (Autism Speaks, 2011). With the updated autism insurance law, ABAs in the state are able to treat a wider variety of patients who might not otherwise be able to afford therapy.
Experienced board-certified behavior analysts (BCBA®s) in Rhode Island can earn salaries as high as $62,410 a year, according to 2021 statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Salaries for Experienced BCBA®s in the Largest Metropolitan areas of Rhode Island
The range of salaries for board-certified behavior analysts with ten years of experience in the field are shown below (median to top 10% – current as of May, 2021):
- 50th: $62,410
- 75th: $126,530
- 90th: $151,680
Starting Salaries for BCBA®s in the Largest Metropolitan areas of Rhode Island
The most highly paid BCBA®s in Rhode Island who lack job experience in the field of behavior analysis can command salaries that exceed the median salary among highly experienced BCBA®s in the state. Salary data shown below for entry-level ABAs is current as of May 2021 (10th percentile to median):
- 10th: $29,820
- 25th: $47,630
- 50th: $62,410
2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Psychologists, All Other reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed January 2023.