For individuals seeking a career in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), there are many options for coursework, both on-campus and online. Because certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) is the most recognized and popular credential for professional behavior analysts, many students seek to meet the BACB coursework and supervised experience requirements and to pass the certification exam (hopefully the first time!). Currently, individuals with a master’s degree in a related field (ABA, Education, or Psychology) can obtain post-graduate coursework in ABA to qualify for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) credential, but starting in 2022, an individual with a master’s degree in any field can complete the necessary coursework through an ABAI Verified Course Sequence (VCS) and qualify for board certification. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree can complete a VCS to qualify for the Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® (BCaBA®) credential.
The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI)
The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), the international membership organization focused on the science of behavior analysis, verifies course sequences as having met the BACB coursework requirements, which makes the process easier for students when applying for certification. There are currently 688 Verified Course Sequences (VCS) throughout the world, with
282 offering either hybrid or online instruction. Additionally, there are 24 ABAI accredited master’s and bachelor’s programs, which have met ABAI’s rigorous quality standards. The accreditation standards include requirements regarding the university program’s mission, curriculum, outcomes assessment, administration, resources, faculty, degree program content hours, and more
Traditionally, students have had to fulfill the instructional requirements in person. That meant they needed to be within close physical proximity to a university offering approved coursework. Distance learning changes all of that! Online Verified Course Sequences offer a greater opportunity to access the best behavior analytic training from the comfort of your own home. But what should one consider when selecting a program?
An ABAI Verified Course Sequence
The Verified Course Sequence designation indicates that the course sequence meets the BACB coursework requirements for
certification. This means that when a student goes to apply for the BACB® exams, the process will be simplified: rather than submitting course syllabi for each course to verify that the course instructional requirements have been satisfied, students indicate their VCS program, and merely submit transcripts. The VCS designation does not, however, address or indicate the quality of the program.
Program Pass Rates
Curriculum & Instructional Delivery
Some programs focus on the science and practice of Applied Behavior Analysis, while others are more focused on specific service delivery in areas such as Autism or Special Education. Since ABA has applications for a wide variety of populations and settings, a strong foundation in the concepts, principles, and methods may produce more competent, well-rounded professionals. Is the material challenging but attainable? A program that is too easy might not adequately prepare students for the certification exam, or for the demands of a career as a professional behavior analyst.
Students will also want to consider the delivery model: is the course content delivered synchronously (live), asynchronously, or a combination of the two? How is learning assessed: through writing assignments, tests, or other methods? What is the staff to student ratio, and how often do students meet with a practicing professional? Understanding the nature of the course will help students determine if a program is right for them.
ABA Online at Florida Tech
Florida Tech offers three online and hybrid programs:
- Master of Arts in Professional Behavior Analysis (hybrid),
- Master of Arts in Behavior Analysis Practice (completely online, begins fall 2020)
- Graduate certificate programs at the BCBA® and BCaBA® levels.
These programs are ABAI Verified Course Sequences, meaning students know that their coursework meets the BACB® course instructional requirements.
What Makes ABA Online at Florida Tech Great?
Students in the distance programs at Florida Tech pass the BACB® certification exams at rates consistently higher than the national average, meaning that students who are successful in our program are highly likely to succeed when they sit for the professional certification exam. This is a product of the excellence of our curriculum and instructional design, instructional delivery, faculty and instructional staff, student services and technical support teams, the unique environment we provide to our online students, and the high expectations we set for them.
Curriculum & Instructional Design
Florida Tech’s online programs employ a combination of asynchronous and synchronous delivery, based on evidence-based teaching strategies that are grounded in the principles of behavior analysis. Our structured and paced courses include video lessons that take advantage of current technology to provide frequent active student responding and instant feedback, allowing the student to assess their comprehension as they progress through each section of the course. Additional exercises help students develop fluency in definitions and concepts, while guided reading assignments aide comprehension of the supporting texts and articles. Our weekly live review sessions allow students to demonstrate mastery of each unit’s objectives while their co-instructor provides tips and tricks for understanding and discriminating concepts and additional examples from their professional experience. Weekly unit quizzes assess students’ mastery of these objectives on an ongoing basis, and the final exam ensures students have a sufficient level of competency in all the course objectives.
Faculty & Instructional Staff
Florida Tech’s on-campus and online ABA programs were founded by Dr. Jose Martinez-Diaz, who started training behavior analysts privately in the 1980s when certification of professional behavior analysts was beginning in Florida. Since the early 2000s, Florida Tech has brought the live classroom experience to an online format, allowing students from all over the world to benefit from Dr. Martinez-Diaz’ expertise. Additionally, researchers, teachers, and other professionals in the field have collaborated with us to present content within their areas of expertise. Each week, our students meet live with one of our BCBA®-certified professionals who function as co-instructors, leading small groups in a review of that week’s content, providing real-time opportunities to ask questions, and sharing examples from their specific areas of practice. Our co-instructors go through a rigorous interview and training process and receive continuous feedback on their performance to ensure that they are providing top quality instruction and support to our students. Each student has an assigned co-instructor from whom they can get an email response within 24 hours, and many co-instructors are well-known for going above and beyond the call of duty to support their students’ learning.
Student Service/Technical Support Teams
Our Student Service and Technical Support Teams are a vital part of our success. Students have a lot of questions regarding certification requirements, financial aid, supervision, and other logistics, and our Student Services team is dedicated to providing students with accurate information and making the registration process as easy as possible. If technical issues arise, our program-specific Support Team is available through multiple communication channels nearly round the clock to make sure students can focus on the content, and not be challenged by the technology. Students constantly praise the courteous and thorough support they provide, and we know we wouldn’t be a success without these invaluable members of our team!
The Online Environment
Despite the distance format, our students really get a sense of community when they join Florida Tech. In addition to the support they get from their co-instructors, both during the live small-group classes and through email correspondence, students also communicate with each other frequently: in-class, through the discussion boards (which co-instructors monitor to ensure questions get answered), on outside social media groups, and through voluntary study groups students create. By sharing their study materials, questions, and insights, students become a part of the Florida Tech family, wherever they may be in the world!
From day one, we let our students know expectations are high. Behavior analysts change lives for a living, and that means that lives are often in our hands. Everything a behavior analyst does matters to the life of the clients we serve. Academically, this means a commitment to excellence and integrity. We want our students to master the material and require a demonstration of competency in order to pass our courses. Students in the graduate certificate courses must score a 70% or better on the final exam in order to achieve a C or better in the course and must score a B or better in the course before they can move on to the next course. These high standards not only increase the likelihood that students are equipped to pass the professional certification exams, but that they will also be competent professionals when they finish our courses.
For students seeking affordable, high quality, online coursework for BACB certification, or an online master’s in behavior analysis, FL Tech should be high on their list. Our curriculum and instructional design, instructional delivery, faculty and instructional staff, student services and technical support teams, online environment, and high student expectations have given Florida Tech a worldwide reputation for excellence, and a proven track record of student success.
Start your application for the certificate program or Online MA Behavior Analysis Practice 5th Edition, MA Behavior Analysis Online
 For more on ABAI accreditation standards, please visit https://accreditation.abainternational.org/apply/accreditation-standards.aspx
 The online programs are not ABAI-accredited.