Salaries for Applied Behavior Analysts in Tennessee

Back in 1999 when the US Department of Education began tracking the number of students with autism in the nation’s public school systems in earnest, there were just over 1,000 students in Tennessee that had been diagnosed with the disorder. By 2014, that number had increased to 8,652 students with autism spectrum disorder enrolled in the state’s special education programs or with individualized education plans. As these numbers rose, so too has the prevalence of jobs for applied behavior analysts in the state’s school districts.

As of 2016, Tennessee has yet to enact a law requiring that insurance cover applied behavior analysis therapy, as forty-two other states have already done. However, with parents of autistic children, educators and the ABA professional community pushing for reform with the backing of organizations like Autism Speaks, independent applied behavior analysts and small private practices in the state hope to see the state align with most of the rest of the country in terms of how insurance covers ABA therapy.

Although Tennessee does not mandate private insurance companies cover ABA, families with autistic children in the state can still receive therapy covered under federal or public plans like Tricare, BlueCare or TennCare (Behavioral Foundations, 2015).

Experienced board-certified behavior analysts (BCBA®s) in Tennessee can earn salaries as high as $98,490 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 Tennessee 

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: $98,490 
  • 75th: $114,380 
  • 90th: $123,910 
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Starting Salaries for BCBA®s in the Largest Metropolitan areas of Tennessee 

The most highly paid BCBA®s in Tennessee 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: $26,230 
  • 25th: $46,220 
  • 50th: $98,490 

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. 

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