COVID-19 Updates
Updated July 6, 2020

Cambridge College will continue remote learning and teaching through Fall 2020-2021 term. The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community are important to us. Please see our updates regarding COVID-19.

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Autism/Behavior Analyst Program (MEd)

  • Credits:
  • Degree:
    Master of Education

Program Description

The autism and applied behavior analysis program at Cambridge College prepares you to sit for the national Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam, including completing the required Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) course sequence and required field experience hours. The master’s degree curriculum is divided into two parts — autism / special education courses (19 credits) and ABA course sequence (19 credits). As an applied behavioral analyst student at Cambridge College, you’ll learn about the history, prevalence, and diagnosis of autism as well as assessment methods and clinical applications of ABA therapy for autism as well as the legal and ethical requirements for professional applied behavior analysts.

Cambridge College Autism and Applied Behavior Analyst Program Highlights

Because Cambridge College specializes in offering degree programs for adult students juggling work and family demands, this applied behavior analysis MEd degree is designed to make academic progress and graduation as straight-forward as possible:

  • Take online and on-campus classes, including evening and weekend options. Cambridge College truly gets adult students and understands the time pressures they face.
  • Apply without taking the GRE. Thanks to a no-hassle admissions application process, you can begin your behavior analyst degree sooner.
  • Make steady academic progress. You can graduate in two years. 
  • The curriculum aligns with current certification standards and the corresponding edition of the BCBA exam.
  • Learn from faculty with strong field experience. Applied behavior analysis faculty at Cambridge College bring years of hands-on ABA experience, including the clinical application, leadership, and ethical considerations that come up in using ABA for autism.
  • Bond with your fellow students. Cambridge College requires all applied behavioral analysis MEd students to hold active employment in a relevant, related field with at least one year of experience in an ABA treatment setting. That means many of your coworkers will also be your classmates, which builds great connections, study partners, and peer support.
  • Make the most of the convenient location. All of our classroom locations are near public transportation and/or free parking.
  • Pay less tuition compared to similar applied behavior analysis programs. Cambridge College proudly offers lower tuition to graduate students than other options you may find. Because BCBA certification guidelines dictate the ABA content for applied behavior analysis programs, your decision of where to earn your degree rests almost entirely on where you can most affordably graduate with an autism behavior analyst master’s degree. 

Among Cambridge College’s Autism / Behavior Analyst master’s degree graduates, 86 percent pass the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam on the first try.

Source: BCBA Examination Pass Rates for Verified Course Sequences 2014-2018, published by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of your Master of Education, Autism / Behavior Analyst degree from Cambridge College, you graduate with these important outcomes:

  • Prepare and be eligible to sit for the national Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and associated scientific principles that govern human behavior and the treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
  • Use applied behavior analysis strategies to meet the needs of individuals with autism.
  • Create, implement, and evaluate individualized plans for ABA therapy for autism in a variety of settings for individuals across the autism spectrum.
  • Understand all clinical, educational, and ethical issues related to the application of ABA strategies in a broad range of treatment contexts and behaviors.
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively with ABA clients, their families, and other educational and medical professionals.

Applied Behavioral Analysis Salary Ranges and Careers

Nationally, the demand for behavior analysts with proper credentials is increasing. Between 2012 and 2014, the demand more than doubled, and this growth trend in applied behavioral analysis jobs continues.*

The demand includes the needs for more ABA professionals who have graduated from autism and applied behavior analysis programs (MEd) and who have passed the BCBA exam. In fact, among the available behavior analyst credentials, the BCBA credential has seen the largest increase in demand.*

Whether you are already working in autism or a related field or you’re looking for a new in-demand profession, this graduate degree program from Cambridge College prepares you for a variety of behavior analyst jobs and career paths.

Massachusetts is one of the top three states with the highest and fastest growing demand for applied behavior analysts.*

The BCBA average salary nationally is $56,730.* However, industry association reports list common behavioral analysis salary reports above $75,000 and even above $145,000.* With the growing demand for behavior analysts and with even a few years of work experience, experts predict good salary gains, especially in the Cambridge and Boston areas.

Applied behavior analysis is a growing and versatile career field. In fact, there are so many other career types that now sometimes encompass ABA therapy for autism, that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not yet track behavior analyst as a stand-alone professional designation, even though the national demand for people with BCBA certification continues to grow.

However, the highest concentration of ABA for autism jobs come from the following types of employers:

  • Healthcare, including treatment planning, case management, and treatment
  • Educational services, both within traditional school settings as well as with private providers of ABA services to individuals and families
  • Social assistance, including therapy-type skills, other educational settings such as workplace training, and treatment planning in community service settings**

Other options for applied behavioral analyst careers include working for:

  • Insurance carriers and related fields
  • Local government, including public administration
  • Research organizations, including data analysis**

*Source: US Behavior Analyst Workforce: Understanding the National Demand for Behavior Analysts, Behavior Analyst Certification Board

**Sources: and Association of Professional Behavior Analysts report, 2014


Example Applied Behavior Analysis Courses

Cambridge College required courses in autism and applied behavior analysis topics include the following:

  • Autism: History, Prevalence, Diagnosis, and Characteristics
  • Assessment and Appraisal Process
  • Social and Psychological Perspectives in Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Collaborative and Consultation Techniques
  • Basic / Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Ethics and Professionalism in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Research Design in Applied Behavior Analysis

View the full Cambridge College autism and applied behavior analyst program curriculum.

Applied Behavior Analyst Scholarships and Financial Aid

Some 60 percent of Cambridge College graduate students qualify for financial aid from a variety of sources, which makes pursuing a Master of Education degree possible for so many students. Take time now to learn more about financial aid through Cambridge College, including grants, scholarships, loans, and more.

Important Note: Applied behavior analysis employers typically offer tuition assistance to their employees. Get insights into how employer tuition assistance programs work.

Related Programs at Cambridge College

If you’re still exploring your options for behavior analyst programs, consider these additional master’s degrees offered through Cambridge College:


Autism & Special Education Courses

Please note: the following curriculum applies only to students entering the program in or before Fall 2019. Students beginning Spring 2020 or later should refer to the curriculum outlined on the attached program sheet. 

Autism: History, Prevalence, Diagnosis and Characteristics
ESP 610 3 credit(s)
This course examines current research and theoretical models that focus on typical and atypical development of children. Emphasis is on understanding the child with autism in terms of psychological, intellectual, social, and physical development. The historical problem of biological versus psychological causation of autism will be examined along with trends in autism research that continue to this day. This course will focus on autism as a neurological developmental disorder characterized by an impairment in social interaction, communication skills, and in behavior. Autism is acknowledged as a "spectrum" disorder meaning that children with autism may range from extremely low cognitively to highly intelligent with little or no language to communicate to being highly verbal. The cause(s) of autism is not known at this time, with 9 out of 10, for whom the cause is idiopathic. Autism Spectrum Disorder is the fastest growing developmental disability with 1 in 150 children now being diagnosed with autism. It is more common than Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Childhood cancers combined.
Assessment and Appraisal Process -ASD
ESP 621 3 credit(s)
Effective instruction is difficult to implement in the absence of effective assessment and appraisal data. The goal of this course is to introduce candidates to several educational and functional assessments that are frequently used to establish skill strengths and deficits in children with autism spectrum disorders and diagnoses with similar characteristics. Such tools as the Psycho-educational Profile, 3rd edition (PEP-111), Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills Revised (ABLLS-R), and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, classroom edition, will be reviewed and interpreted. Along with an emphasis on these assessments, this course will stress considerations of student specific goals including variables such as, needs in the home setting, activities of daily living, vocational training, and an independent and self determined adult life.
Social and Psychological Perspectives in Autism Spectrum Disorders
ESP 630 3 credit(s)
Social deficits are one of the defining characteristics of autism, including Asperger’s syndrome, and most are almost always associated with other autism spectrum disorders and similar diagnoses. This course will introduce candidates to social skills intervention through a whole family approach focusing on both students with deficits associated with global delay as well as higher functioning students who demonstrate deficits primarily or exclusively in the area of social skills. This class will take into account the needs of not only the student, but also the siblings, parents, separated parents, extended family relationships, household economic needs, and culturally specific variables that make up the landscape of the dynamic American family.
Communication Disorders - ASD
ESP 616 3 credit(s)
Communication-based disabilities are a diagnosing criteria of Autism spectrum disorders, diagnoses with similar characteristics, and are commonly seen in severe levels of developmental delay. Not only do communication difficulties greatly impact life-long educational, social, and vocational opportunities, they are closely associated with the presence of challenging behaviors such as aggression and self-injury. Following a review of typical and atypical language development, physiological, environmental, and psychological theories of language development will be presented. This course will examine criterion-based and peer-normed communication assessments, effective language-based teaching strategies for children with severe disabilities, and alternative communication forms such as picture exchange communication system, sign language, and other non-vocal communication systems. In addition, students will be introduced to the following: Provision of family-centered services; impact of culture on work with individuals with disabilities and their families; and recommended practices/framework for assessment and facilitation of communication for individuals with ASD.
Supervised Learning Project
ESP 800B 2 credit(s)

The Supervised Learning Project is a culminating learning experience that helps educators/behavior analysts integrate their personal and formal learning, along with their extensive field work into a meaningful whole. Students will integrate their experiences into a field-based research document which reflects the area of study and of licensure. It is project-based and is combined with a poster demonstration.

Assistive Technology: Modifying the Curriculum for Diverse Learners
ESP 615 3 credit(s)
How do we as educators implement the mandated requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that calls for assistive technology to be considered in each Individualized Education Program (IEP)? Candidates examine assistive technologies and the federal laws impacting the education of students with disabilities and investigate assistive technologies addressing seating and positioning, access to the technology, augmentative and alternative communication (low-tech and high-tech). Candidates examine curriculum modifications using technology, and software that addresses these modifications and individual learning styles. The course provides a comprehensive understanding of the various augmentative and alternative communications (AAC) methodologies, including the appropriate use of aids and devices. Course assignments connect assistive technologies to classroom practice.
Collaboration and Consultation Techniques
ESP 594 2 credit(s)
The course explores the concept of school and community working together as partners to support each other in a strong coalition. A school district serves several smaller communities in one, and rarely does a community act as a single entity. To establish and sustain community and school linkage is critical to an effective partnership. The course explores the core mission of public schools and creates an environment that helps young people learn and achieve at high standards. The community school approach supports young people’s academic, social, and interpersonal goals by creating an effective learning atmosphere. Schools are a microcosm of societal values and community philosophy that daily affects students’ lives. The power structure of a community — its formal and informal networks and the people in them — that makes things happen is studied.
ABA Course Sequence

Students must complete all autism and special education foundation courses above prior to entering into the ABA course sequence. Exceptions must be approved by the ABA program chair. Consultation with ABA program chair required before entering the ABA course sequence.

Basic Applied Behavior Analysis -ASD
ESP 622 3 credit(s)
The basic principles of applied behavior analysis relevant to the design and implementation of behavioral interventions in educational and human service environments will be presented in this course. Behavioral principles such as schedules of reinforcement, measurement techniques, analysis and interpretation of behavioral data, ethical, and pragmatic issues will be covered. Students will critique the validity and usefulness of behavioral research to applied problems. The course will provide credit hours towards eligibility for the behavior analysis certification examination.
Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis ASD
ESP 726 3 credit(s)

Prerequisites: Graduate status; enrollment in BCBA certification preparation program or permission; and ESP622. Extends the study of basic applied behavior analysis. Concentration on behavior change strategies. Specific strategies for accelerating and decelerating behaviors will be reviewed. Issues of generalization of behavior change will be explored. A focus on research strategies will be included. You will also write a review of the literature focusing on a particular procedure designed to develop new behavior or to decrease behavior.

Research Design in Applied Behavior Analysis-ASD
ESP 724 3 credit(s)
This course focuses on research design and study of human behavior. You will learn about the characteristics of science and the rationale for having behavior as the focus. You will be exposed to issues related to measurement, specific research designs, and the important issues (such as variability) associated with designs. You will learn how to accurately analyze and interpret research data from a variety of research experiments. Related issues relevant to identifying functional relations among environmental and behavioral variables in behavior analysis will also be explored. This course provides credit hours toward educational qualifications required to sit for the behavior analysis certification examination.
Ethics and Professionalism in Applied Behavior Analysis
ESP 704 3 credit(s)
This course prepares students for the ethical and professional practice of applied behavior analysis. Students will learn about the foundations of ethical and professional behavior to ensure a high quality of practice in both behavior analysis and education in general. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board Guidelines for Responsible Conduct will be reviewed in detail. Ethical dilemmas and case studies will be presented for behavior analysts working in a variety of educational and therapeutic settings. Professional issues such as representation of one’s self and the field of behavior analysis, collaboration with other professionals, relationships with colleagues and clients, the evaluation of treatment and instructional procedures, and interpersonal communication will be explored. Learning activities will include synchronous instruction (lectures, group exercises, role play), asynchronous instruction (video lecture, responding online to questions and peer review of responses) and project-based instruction (writing exercises or papers). Students will take an active part In forums and problem solving ethical issues.
Clinical Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis - ASD
ESP 722 3 credit(s)
Contemporary developments and issues in ABA including behavior change strategies, recent developments in ABA, generalization and ethical use of treatment methodologies are addressed. Part of the educational qualifications required to sit for the behavior analysis certification examination.
Implementing Behavior Analysis in Educational Settings - ASD
ESP 723 3 credit(s)
Focuses on the clinical practice of applied behavior analysis in a variety of settings. The application of the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in educational and treatment settings will be examined and the unique issues presented in these contexts will be reviewed and discussed. These issues include functional behavior assessments, ethics of practice, staff/parent training, and behavioral education in public schools.
Applied Behavior Analysis Fluency Seminar
ESP 705 1 credit(s)
This one-credit course is designed to strengthen students’ ability to demonstrate key core knowledge competencies in the field of applied behavior analysis. During the course of the semester students will engage in a number of fluency based instructional activities that will enable them to demonstrate knowledge in all of the BCBA task list content areas. Students will be required to practice these skills both during class sessions and via software specifically designed to support fluency training and competence demonstration. Students must demonstrate proficiency in each of the task list content areas in order to successfully pass this course.

ABA Faculty

ABA faculty are Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). Other faculty listed on this page teach other programs/courses in the School of Education.


  • Admission Test:

    No standardized graduate school tests required for admission into non-licensure programs.

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application Form:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)

Program Requirements

Applicants to the MEd programs that include the ABA course sequence must meet the requirements below before they may begin the ABA coursework.

  • Active employment in a relevant, related field with at least one year of experience in a ABA-based treatment setting.
  • Be working with or supervised by certified BCBA personnel. (Supervisor name and contact information must be submitted and verified upon program entry.)

Applicants must be prepared to pursue timely completion of the ABA course sequence, given that the sequence aligns with a particular edition of the exam approved by the national Behavior Analyst Certifying Board.

Health Requirements for Massachusetts Students

The Massachusetts Health Department and Cambridge College require the following of students in Massachusetts:

Immunizations – All students in Massachusetts are required to get certain immunizations before you can register for your first term. See form

Health Insurance – In Massachusetts, undergraduate students taking nine or more credits/term and graduate students taking six or more credits/term must enroll in the College’s health insurance plan. Students who have insurance with comparable coverage may request a waiver. See information and enroll or waive.


School Requirements

See Admissions Requirements for School of Education

International Students 

International students are accepted at Massachusetts location only, and need to provide supplemental documentation:

  • Official demonstration of English language proficiency
  • Supplemental documentation for issuance of I-20
  • International transcripts, evaluated by an accepted evaluation service

Transfer Credit

Graduate program applicants, please complete the transfer credit request form if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer. Learn more.

Undergraduate program applicants, once you are accepted, your official transcripts are evaluated for transfer credit.



  • Credits:
  • Cost per credit hour:
  • Application Fee:
    $50, nonrefundable ($100 for international students; $100 for EdD)
  • Health Insurance Fee:
    $3,415 - Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.

Note: Rates are as of July 2020, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students, unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

Grants, Scholarships and Loans

Cambridge College welcomes the opportunity to support your efforts to pay for college.  Federal, state and local resources in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study, including Cambridge College Scholarships, are available to help defray the cost of tuition. Learn more

Getting Your Company to Help

Many companies have tuition assistance programs, designed to help their employees with their professional development. Learn more

Take the Next Step Toward Your Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis Degree