Salary Outlook with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
Many students and professionals in the field of psychology want to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). They are interested in applied behavior analysis as a career path because it uses advanced scientific and systematic processes to influence patient behavior. Having these skills means you can work in schools, hospitals, classrooms, and nonprofits. With the BCBA credential, you can even specialize in certain areas: autism, developmental disabilities, and advanced mental health problems.
If you want to become a BCBA, an important factor in your decision is what the potential salary could be. What your salary could be is important because the path to become a BCBA is rigorous, time-consuming and expensive.
To become a BCBA, it is necessary to earn a master’s degree or higher from an accredited institution in behavior analysis, psychology or education. (See Online program options at TheChicagoSchool.edu). You also need to pass the national certification examination for the BCBA credential and gain several hundred hours of real-world experience in a supervised practicum. Also, you must earn state licensure where you are working. At that point, you can work officially as a BCBA and earn a good salary.
Below is detailed information about the BCBA and the salary you can earn in various occupations.
BCBA Salary Outlook
Once you have earned the appropriate degree in psychology or related field and have earned the BCBA credential, you can earn a good salary in this growing field. Payscale.com reports the average salary for a BCBA is $61,000. (Payscale.com).
Payscale.com also reports the following jobs and salaries for those with a BCBA:
- Board Certified Behavior Analyst: $58,800
- Behavior Analyst: $60,100
- Clinical Director: $75,800
- Clinical Supervisor: $65,600
- Behavior Specialist: $48,100
- Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist: $49,200
- Clinical Manager: $71,500
Salary ranges for BCBAs in some of the most popular cities include:
- Los Angeles: $48,900 – $76,800
- Chicago: $50,100 – $68,400
- New York City: $48,800 – $72,200
- San Diego: $48,800 – $71,000
- Boston: $44,000-$69,900
According to other sources, the national average salary for a BCBA is $86,400. (ZipRecruiter.com). That source also finds the salary for this credential and profession can be as high as $154,000 and as low as $49,500. The range between the 25th percentile and the 75th percentile is $63,500 to $104,000. Indeed.com reports the average salary for this profession is $71,969 across the US.
Psychology Salaries Overall
It also is important to understand the salary potential for the psychology field generally. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), the median salary for all practicing psychologists was $77,000 in May 2017. The lowest 10% earned $42,300, and the top 10% with the most experience earned $124,500.
BLS data also states these salaries:
- All other psychologists: $97,400
- Industrial and organizational psychologists: $87,100
- Clinical, counseling and school psychologists: $75,000
Also, median wages for psychologists in the largest industries were in 2017:
- Government: $94,900
- Hospitals: $83,900
- Ambulatory healthcare services: $77,000
- Elementary and secondary schools: $74,400
Payscale.com also features ample salary information about psychologists. Payscale.com states the average psychologist’s salary is $74,500. (Payscale.com). That source also reported a range of between $46,000 and $112,000. For the clinical psychologist profession, the average salary at Payscale.com is $76,300. (Payscale.com). Payscale also reports the average salary for a Ph.D. in psychology is $86,000.
Payscale.com also stated these salaries for a Ph.D. in psychology:
- Psychologist: $89,500
- Clinical psychologist: $76,200
- Research analyst: $67,600
- Associate professor: $77,500
- Professor: $79,500
- Research scientist: $79,900
BCBA Job Outlook
Annual demand for behavior analysts has increased by 800% from 2010 to 2017, with rises seen in most states. The demand for professionals with this credential is highest in CA, MA, NJ, WA and IL. (BACB.com).
Getting your graduate degree in psychology followed by your BCBA should provide you with plenty of job opportunities in psychology and related fields. The trend in jobs in this field is rising strongly for at least the next decade and possibly beyond.
BLS stated in 2017 that the employment trend for psychologists through 2026 is solid with 14% job growth anticipated. This job growth rate is faster than average when compared to other occupations. Also, employment for clinical, counseling and school psychologists will rise by 14% through 2026. This is faster than average, too. The thinking is that the greater demand for psychological services in schools, mental health centers, and social service agencies will increase the need for various types of psychologists.
Psychology Job Demand Reflects Rising Healthcare Occupation Increase
The rising demand for psychological professionals is occurring at the same time as the increased need for healthcare services across the board. In fact, there will be a tremendous rise in healthcare job openings to the tune of 18% through 2026. This will be much faster than average than other occupations. It is anticipated more than two million new healthcare jobs will open up, including psychology jobs for BCBA credential holders. (BLS.gov).
In summary, earning an advanced degree in psychology and then your BCBA credential is a wise career move. Having advanced skills in applied behavior analysis will accelerate your career path as you will know advanced scientific and systematic processes to influence and improve the behavior of patients in many settings. You will be able to find high paying, steady work in hospitals, schools, classrooms, nonprofit organizations, and mental health centers.
- BCBA Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.thechicagoschool.edu/insight/bcba-guide-bcba-certification-exam/
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- Healthcare Occupations. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm
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- US Employment Demand for Behavior Analysts. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/Burning_Glass_20180614.pdf
- Highest Paying Psychology Careers in 2019. (2019). Retrieved from https://psydprograms.org/top-50-highest-paying-psychology-careers/