Online Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis

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Earn the Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and concurrently fulfill all course requirements for the highly demanded Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential and partial course requirements for the Pennsylvania Behavior Specialist License (BSL).

This 24-credit fully online program prepares graduates to be successful practitioners trained to enhance the educational outcomes and lives of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or other related disabilities using applied behavior analysis (ABA).

Program Highlights

  • Ranked 16th in Top 40 ABA Graduate Certificate Online Programs
  • First Christian university program worldwide verified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) that integrates extensive autism training
  • May be started any semester and completed in as few as four semesters
  • 50% tuition discount for educators working in Christian schools
  • Advance standing for Bible/theology credits available
  • 24 credits (21 if prior to Fall 2018)
  • Can be completed as non-degree program or part of MS in Special Education (ABA) program or MS in Education program
  • Graduate Certificate in ABA indicates completion of the ABA program but not certification in behavior analysis; awarded only to matriculated students successfully completing the program
  • Document of Completion awarded to non-matriculated students successfully completing the 7 SPE-coded courses
  • Requirements of two other credentials fully or partially met as listed below; does not lead to Special Education certification
Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential
  • BCBA credential eligibility includes meeting coursework and experience requirements and passing the BCBA exam. Visit for requirement details.
  • Cairn’s 4th Edition course sequence is verified by the BACB as meeting coursework requirements for BCBA exam eligibility.
  • Cairn’s new 5th Edition course sequence (pending BACB verification by May 2018) is also available starting Fall 2018
  • Cairn’s intensive practicum courses are verified by the BACB as meeting experience requirements for BCBA exam eligibility.
  • Completing this program does not lead to BCBA exam eligibility. Other requirements must be met including (visit for more requirement details):
    • Experience requirements:
      • May be fulfilled by enrolling in additional optional ABA Practicum Group Supervision course for three semesters to accrue 750 intensive practicum hours at a self-arranged site per University approval and/or by completing 1500 hours of supervised independent field work (unaffiliated with the University)
      • Must receive concurrent individual supervision either via self-arranged onsite BCBA supervision or enrollment in Individual Supervision course
    • Master’s degree in Education, Psychology, or ABA requirement: Students who do not already meet this criterion are recommended to enroll in the MS in Special Education (ABA) program
  • Students holding a master’s degree from another institution are responsible to verify if their degree and the institution meet BACB’s current standards. Follow this link for details.
  • Students are responsible to verify if this program meets the ABA licensing or certification requirements of the state and/or country where they intend to practice.
  • BCBA exam pass-rate data are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of operation.
Pennsylvania Behavior Specialist License (BSL)
  • Most BSL coursework requirements fulfilled; remaining course requirements may be met through courses provided by PA State at no cost.
  • Coursework requirements fully met upon obtaining BCBA credential
  • Experience requirements partially met through practicum courses
  • See BSL Application for details and other requirements.
Portrait of a girl on a school bus.

Career and Ministry Enhancements

  • Become a behavior analyst and enter a profession in high demand globally.
  • Apply ABA in diverse fields such as education, autism, and developmental disabilities.
  • Work in schools, residential and home programs, clinics, hospitals, and other settings.
  • Develop Christian services and ministries for individuals with autism and their families.

Why Applied Behavior Analysis?

  • Best research-supported scientific treatment for autism
  • Effective for individuals with other disabilities as well
  • Demonstrated to be effective in many areas including:
    • Communication, social, self-help, play, and work skills
    • Reading and other academic skills
    • Positive and safe behaviors
    • Family life

Typical Program Curriculum (for students beginning Summer 2018)

Semester 18 Required Credits + 3 Bible/Theology Credits = 21 Total Credits
Summer #1 SPE 682 Behavioral Intervention in Autism
SPE 781 Advanced Ethics and Supervision
Fall #1 SPE 681 Behavior Analysis and Autism Assessment
SPE 782 Behavior Measurement and Experimental Design
Spring #1 SPE 683 Behavioral & Instructional Models for Autism Intervention
THE 601 Overview of Christian Theology or BIB 621 Biblical Integration for Educators
Summer #2 SPE 684 Behavioral & Instructional Systems for Autism Support

Typical Program Curriculum (effective Fall 2018)

Semester 21 Required Credits + 3 Bible/Theology Credits = 24 Total Credits
Fall #1 SPE 721 ABA for Autism and Other Disabilities I
SPE 722 ABA for Autism and Other Disabilities II
Spring #1 SPE 723 Interventions for Autism/Other Disabilities
SPE 725 Principles of Behavior1
Summer #1 SPE 726 Sec Transition Assessment and Intervention (1 cr.) 1
SPE 727 Supervision/Management (2 cr.)
SPE 728 Ethics for Behavior Analysts
Fall #2 SPE 724 Single Subject Research
THE 601 Overview of Christian Theology

1 If taking 4th edition exam, replace SPE 726 with SPE 731 ABA in Daily Life.


To enter the program, the candidate will:

To complete the program, the candidate will:

  • Successfully complete all required coursework with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0

For more information about the online MS in Special Education (ABA) degree, contact Luke Gibson, Admissions Counselor, at

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