The Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at Grand Valley

The Department of Psychology at GVSU 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 complete seven courses (21 credits) that meet the 5th Edition Task List coursework requirements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). See program flyer.

The Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has verified the GVSU course sequence toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® exam. To become a BCBA, students must meet the course requirements, fieldwork experience requirements, and pass the BCBA exam.  The GVSU ABA certificate program offers the course requirements but does not provide supervision for the experience requirements at this time. Students seeking BCBA status will need to seek supervised experience outside of the certificate program. For more information about becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, visit the BACB website at

To receive the ABA Graduate Certificate, students must be enrolled in the GVSU School Psychology Graduate Program or apply to the ABA Graduate Certificate program with a current master's degree. The certificate will be awarded at the successful completion of the course sequence.

When completing the application for the ABA Graduate Certificate Program, select the "degree seeking" option. All graduate certificates have received Higher Learning Commission approval, and students are eligible for financial aid.

Learn more about this certificate by listening to the ABA podcast.

Listen to the Podcast

Career Outlook and Opportunities

$37,349-$83,881 ANNUAL SALARY

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 graduates 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).

A 2014 professional employment report by the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) revealed that the largest number of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA®) respondents (nearly 31 percent) earned between $75,000-$145,000+ per year. Pay ranges for these practitioner-scientists varied considerably depending on experience, particularly among those at the top end of the pay scale:

  • Entry-level BCBA®s: $37,349-$83,881
  • Mid-Career BCBA®s: $45,603-$105,480
  • Experienced: $46,734-$121,193
  • Late Career: $64,564-$203,573

Why Study Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at GVSU?

  • Flexible. High-quality classes are offered online to accommodate working professionals.
  • School-based focus. Teachers and school psychologists can benefit from graduate training that teaches them to incorporate behavior analytic principles and practices into their work with students with learning and behavior needs.
  • In demand. Jobs are plentiful in the field of applied behavior analysis and school professionals with advanced certification in ABA are in demand.

Courses Offered

The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program is 21 credits. Students will complete seven courses (three credits each, 21 credits total) that meet the 5th Edition Task List coursework requirements of the BACB.

  • 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.

See the full course list.


The application deadline for the ABA graduate certificate program is June 1, though applications may be considered after that date. The $30 application fee is waived for undergraduate alumni of Grand Valley. Apply as a degree seeking student. 

View the Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate Requirements


For more information on tuition and fees, please visit the costs portion of the GVSU Financial Aid website. For financial support, scholarship search, and filing for FAFSA, please visit the GVSU Financial Support website.

Note: Grand Valley does not charge a higher tuition rate based on residency. Tuition is based on the program in which you chose to enroll. 

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Page last modified February 16, 2022