Salary Outlook with Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a method of psychotherapy that stresses the improvement of certain behaviors, including social skills, communication, reading, academics and learning skills, such as hygiene, fine motor dexterity, domestic capabilities, job competence, and punctuality.

ABA is often used as a method of intervention for people who have autism. ABA can help the autistic person enhance their social interactions, learn new skills, and act in a more positive way. ABA also can help to transfer skills and behaviors from one situation to another. ABA is often most successful when it is applied to a patient for more than 20 hours per week before the child is 4. (

With a Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis, you will have the skills to work with people who have autism and related conditions so that they can improve the quality of their lives.

Earning this degree will take a minimum of four years, so learning what the salary potential may be at the end of the program is a good step. Learn more about the potential salary with this degree below.

Salary Outlook

First, let us examine the salary potential for psychologists generally. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual salary for all psychologists is $79,000 in 2018. The lowest-paid psychologists earned $43,000 per year. The highest-paid earned at least $129,000 per year. ( If you have a Ph.D. in ABA, you may earn towards the higher end of the salary scale.

BLS states as well that all other psychologists, including those specializing in applied behavior analysis, earn a salary of $100,700 per year. states that a Board Certified Behavior Analyst earns an average salary of $62,000 per year, with a range between $60,000 and $77,000. (

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Salary Growth in Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis Job

The best option for this degree is to work as a private practice Board Certified Behavior Analyst. With a Ph.D., you should be able to earn a salary above $100,000 per year.

Ph.D. Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states job demand for all psychologists will rise by a healthy 14% by 2026, which is faster than average. (

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) wrote a comprehensive report on employment demand for behavior analysts between the years 2010 and 2017. ( The report found the demand for behavior analysts with master’s and Ph.D. degrees is rising. Annual demand for Board Certified Behavior Analysts rose 800% from 2010 to 2017. Increases were seen in almost all states.

The increase in demand is similar to the increase in the total number of people that have the certification. Annual demand for professionals holding BCaBA certification also rose in the same period time, with the biggest increases in the last four years.

Also, the report found demand is highest in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, and Illinois.

Career Opportunities

With a Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis, you can choose from many exciting job titles:

  • Counselor: Counseling is the most common career choice for people with this Ph.D. The career is seeing strong growth in the past four years. Burning Glass Technologies states that one out of five counselor job listings want behavior analyst graduates.
  • Special Education Teacher or Director: Professionals with an ABA degree are very helpful in special education settings. Experience with autism is higher desired in special education environments. You may work in public schools, private schools or residential facilities.
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA): With a Ph.D. you can obtain your BCBA certification to be a private practitioner or behavior analytic services.
  • Social worker: Clinical behavior analysts work in concert with clinical social workers to offer excellent service to clients. With a strong psychological and behavioral science skillset, CBAs can provide clinical social workers with strong behavioral management services, interventions and management based on empirical evidence.

Featured Online Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis Program

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers an online Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis that offers students an excellent base of knowledge in the experimental analysis of behavior, applied behavior analysis, and radical behaviorism.

You will be equipped with the ABA skills to encourage socially significant behavioral changes via an evidence-based program development. If you complete the MS in ABA requirements during this five year online Ph.D., you can pursue certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Students in this online Ph.D. program will experience a transformational educational experience with the flexibility of a Ph.D. program that does not interfere with your personal and professional commitments.

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By developing your expert knowledge in behavior analysis theory, research and practice, you will emerge from the Ph.D. program to work as a skilled and competent behavior analyst in academia, education, service delivery, business, nonprofit organizations, and government.

Sample classes for this Ph.D. program are:

  • Critical Analysis of Research in Verbal Behavior
  • Supervision and Consulting in ABA
  • Experimental Analysis of Behavior

If you complete all program requirements of the Ph.D. Applied Behavior Analysis program, you can apply for the award of the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis, which allows you to be eligible to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, which is awarded by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

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The demand is rising for professionals with extensive training in Applied Behavior Analysis, particularly as autism and related disorders are more often diagnosed. With a Ph.D. in this growing field, you have many lucrative employment options where you can make a difference in the lives of others.