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Applied Behavior Analysis graduate certificate

Many school and healthcare professionals are seeking graduate level programs that teach them to incorporate behavior analytic principles and practices into their work with individuals with learning, behavior, and performance challenges.

Visit the program website for more information.

$37,349 - $83,881
Annual Salary for Entry Level Board Certified Analysts
Certificate Program
Reported earnings $75,000 - $145,000 Annually

Source: EMSI, 2020

Program Overview

The GVSU psychology department offers an online graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) that allows students to pursue certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Students will develop in-depth knowledge and applied competence in the delivery of behavior analysis to improve the quality of life of individuals in schools, community, and work settings. Graduates are equipped with the skills to bring about socially significant behavior change through data-based decision making and program development.


Admission to the school psychology program or a master's degree is required for acceptance to the program. To become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), students must meet the Behavior Analyst Certification Board course requirements and supervised experience requirements, and pass the BCBA exam.


The GVSU ABA certificate program is a Verified Course Sequence by the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

Location & Format

All classes for this program can be completed online.



Students will complete seven courses (21 credits total) that meet the 5th Edition Task List coursework requirements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. The GVSU ABA certificate program is a Verified Course Sequence by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI).

  • PSY 522 - ABA I: Foundational Principles
  • PSY 523 - ABA II: Application to Behavior Change
  • PSY 525 - Behavior Analysis Applied to Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disorders
  • PSY 527 - Ethics and Diversity in Professional Practice
  • PSY 550 - Research in Applied Settings
  • PSY 624 - Behavioral Assessment and Intervention
  • PSY 658 - Advanced ABA

All courses are offered online. The first course in the sequence, PSY 522, starts in the fall.

Skills Employers Want

A graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is highly beneficial to educational systems to improve instruction for all students and classroom behavior support. Teachers, consultants, school psychologists, and administrators find that education in behavior analysis assists them in multiple areas of their work with students and school-based staff.

The ABA Graduate Certificate will meet many goals, including: enhancing their skills with classroom learning and behavior support, advancing their education, earning BCBA certification, and using the principles of behavior in everyday life. The rising incidences of autism in the U.S. have thrust applied behavior analysis (ABA) into the spotlight as a respected therapy for autism spectrum disorders, resulting in a growing demand for applied behavior analysts and rising salaries in the profession. Applied behavior analysis certificate holders work in healthcare or education professions and become Applied Behavior Analysts or Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA®s).

Application Deadline

The application deadline is June 1, though applications may be considered after that date. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if the applicant has previously applied to Grand Valley State University.

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Admission Requirements

Students may enter the ABA Graduate Certificate program in two ways:

1. Applicants to the ABA Graduate Certificate program must demonstrate completion of a Master’s Degree with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. To be eligible for consideration, applications must include submission of the following materials:

  • all graduate admission materials required by the  university (below)
  • a professional vita or resume
  • three professional letters of recommendation
  • a 2-page personal statement outlining interest in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis and the program at Grand Valley State University, relevant experience, and educational and professional goals
  • Note: GRE score is NOT required.

2. Students admitted to the GVSU school psychology graduate program are automatically admitted to the ABA graduate certificate program.

For More Information

Department of Psychology
1 Campus Drive
ASH 2224
(616) 331-3513

Graduate Admissions Office



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