You can improve the growth, development, and quality of life of those with developmental disabilities by earning an online affordable Master’s in Behavioral Psychology degree.
Are you passionate about serving children and adults with special needs? Do you want to enhance your education background to include specialized training in Autism or other neurodevelopmental disabilities? Do you envision yourself in the classroom making a dramatic change in your students’ lives?
Then an online graduate degree in behavioral psychology may be the next best step for you!
What kind of online master’s in behavioral psychology degree should you get?
Though all 15 of these programs will provide a foundation in behavioral psychology, each program varies in its emphasis and focus.
For example, West Virginia University offers a general graduate degree in special education, wherein you can both specialize in Applied Behavior Analysis while experiencing a broad introduction to special education. Other programs, however, were specifically designed to focus solely on the fundamentals and implementations of ABA.
It’s important to find the program that reflects your values and career goals as well as one that offers the training you require. But know that all of these degrees can be earned online and at the fraction of the cost of on-campus education.
Distance education is a great way to flexibly and affordably advance your career. So be sure to check out College Choice’s Most Affordable Online Colleges and Universities for a Master's Degree.
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How much money do people make with an online master’s in behavioral psychology?
Education is often an underpaid sector of the workforce. While that probably comes as no surprise, take heart. An advanced degree proves to employers that you have tenacity and ambition as well as additional, direct experience in the classroom.
All this specialized experience means you will make a higher wage with greater stability. For example, while those with just an undergraduate degree in Applied Behavioral Analysis make around $47,000 a year, those with a graduate degree make upwards of $55,000 annually, according to PayScale.
What can you do with an online master’s in behavioral psychology?
With highly specialized training in behavioral assessment, psychology, and education you will be ready for careers in diverse settings. From the classroom to a government agency, from healthcare to non-profit, one of these degrees can help you get where you want to go.
Graduates from the 15 programs below have secured rewarding careers in:
- School counseling
- Special education teaching and assisting
- Board certified ABA consultation
- Social work
What are the requirements for an online master’s in behavioral psychology degree?
These master’s degrees require between one and two years to complete, with most taking closer to two years. And while these programs range in emphasis and requirement, each will fully prepare you to become ABA Certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
While your first year will be filled with coursework in your core area of study, your second year allows you to dive further into the behavioral psychology and analysis specialization. You may also find in your second year that you have to fulfill a fieldwork, internship, or teaching requirement. We’ve been sure to note those.
Likewise, at the end of coursework you may be required to present a thesis or capstone project. Again, we’ve been sure to specify which programs require what.
What are the most affordable online master’s in behavioral psychology degrees?
To find the most affordable master’s in behavioral psychology programs we first looked at every school across the country offering the degree online. From there calculated tuition rates, financial resources, and scholarship opportunities.
After exhaustive research and number crunching we arrived at the 15 programs that will give you the most bang for your buck. And these 15 programs are not just the most affordable but are some of the best ranked too!
Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report, and The National Center for Education Statistics.
Most Affordable Online Master's in Behavioral Psychology Degrees
See our rankings methodology page.
McNeese State University
Lake Charles, LA
McNeese State University is located in Lake Charles, LA. Part of the broader University of Louisiana System, McNeese is designated an active research university comprised of six colleges and the Dore School of Graduate Studies. Nearly 8,000 students attend McNeese.
When you earn your online master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from McNeese you will take courses in an accelerated fashion. Taking two classes at a time in eight-week stretches, you’ll gain a broad understanding of human behavior and get hands-on experience through an internship. Some of the classes you’ll take include:
- Behavioral Assessment
- Social and Cultural Diversity
- Verbal Behavior
McNeese is known for its behavioral health education and research programs. For example, the McNeese Autism Program, the Kay Dore Counseling Clinic, the psychology department’s Experimental Lab, and the Student Association for Methods in Behavior Analysis are all part of McNeese’s commitment to behavioral health.
The University of Washington is the darling of the Pacific Northwest. It is one of the brightest research universities on the West Coast and is located in Seattle. More than 46,000 students attend UW.
The University of Washington offers an Applied Behavior Analysis degree that prepares students to work competently and confidently with persons with developmental disabilities. This program can be earned in as little as year with the option to study longer, earning additional credits. In fact, students can earn enough credits in their second year for a Master’s in Special Education too. Classes you’ll take at UW include:
- Behavioral Measurement and Assessment
- Education Students with Autism
- Designing Comprehensive Behavioral Interventions
- Tiered Approach to Inclusive Instruction
The University of Washington ensures you graduate with real-world experience. It provides an intensive practicum opportunity that allows students to be supervised remotely while working 25 hours a week with persons with disabilities. This adds up to 750 hours, a great stat for your resume.
West Virginia University is based in Morgantown, WV and is a public, research-driven university. Though strong in many areas, it is known for its emphasis in STEM research and education. Nearly 30,000 students attend West Virginia University.
WVU offers an MA in Special Education degree that can be paired with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. This is an ideal program for those who want a broader foundation in special education. For example, you’ll take core courses that cover the federal and state regulations regarding special education as well as research methodologies. Then you’ll specialize through coursework such as:
- Designing Single Case Research
- Professional Ethics for Behavior Analysis
- Naturalistic and Functional Analyses of Behavior
- Methods in Behavioral Intervention and Treatment
When you studying through WVU’s eCampus you may feel like you’re actually in the classroom. WVU offers live class sessions, which are sometimes hosted through Second Life, an online virtual world. This interactive, immersive, and innovative approach to distance education has made WVU a leader in online learning.
University of Houston-Victoria
The Victoria branch within the wider University of Houston System is relatively small, serving approximately 4,000 students. UHV is organized into four schools and colleges, through which it offers degrees in the arts, sciences, business, and education.
UHV offers a Master of Education in Special Education program wherein you can specialize in Applied Behavior Analysis. This program will set you up to work with people with disabilities in a range of settings, from schools to clinics, community service programs to people’s homes. Classes you’ll take at UHV include:
- Education in a Multicultural Society
- Human Growth and Development
- Behavioral Adjustment of Exceptional Children and Youth
- Diagnostic Teaching, Assistive Technology, and Instructional Strategies
The University of Houston–Victoria is renowned for its research. The psychology and education departments are no different. Faculty who will teach your special education classes are currently working on an array of research projects. You may even get to partner closely with them in your own research or collaborate with them on their projects.
The University of West Florida
Located in Pensacola, the University of West Florida is part of the State University System of Florida. It is a mid-sized research institution with around 10,000 combined undergraduate and graduate students.
At the University of West Florida you can earn an MA in Exceptional Student Education degree. One of the two areas of formal concentration offered by the University is in Applied Behavior Analysis. You’ll graduate from this program a board-certified behavior analyst who is qualified to work in education, business, healthcare, and more. Classes you’ll take include:
- Foundations in Applied Behavior Analysis
- Positive Behavior Supports and Systems
- Behavioral Assessments, Interventions, and Outcomes
- Ethics in Applied Behavior Analysis
UWF offers a unique academic experience. Students move through this program by taking classes in their area of concentration, but they must also complete a leadership core and an educational investigative sequence core. This commitment to professional and managerial training gives students a leg up in the workforce.
University of South Florida
A public, research-driven university located in Tampa, the University of South Florida is part of the State University System of Florida. It offers more than 200 academic programs in a range of fields and disciplines. And it is home to more than 50,000 students, making USF one of the nation’s largest schools.
The MA in Applied Behavior Analysis degree from USF is fully online and readies you for a career in residential, educational, or home-based settings. While at USF you will work to develop your skills in behavior analysis and functional assessment. This 41 credit-hour program is broken into the following units and topics:
- Applied Behavior Analysis Principles
- Behavior Theory
- Observational Methods and Functional Assessment
- Ethics in ABA
In addition to your coursework, at USF you will fulfill a 15 credit-hour practicum as well as five hours of directed research. This degree is not only affordable, practical, and flexible, it is also part of USF’s nationally ranked online programs. U.S. News & World Report consistently includes USF in its traditional, national rankings as well as its online and distance education rankings.
Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, MO
Southeast Missouri State University is based on the banks of the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau, MO. Founded as teacher’s college, today the university provides more than 200 academic and professional development programs. Approximately 12,000 students attend SEMO.
Southeast Missouri State’s 42 credit-hour MA in Applied Behavior Analysis program is ideal for those who want to specialize in Autism Spectrum Disorders and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. In addition to foundational coursework (see examples below), you will also experience at least 750 literal hours of direct work through the Intensive University Practicum.
- Methods for Studying the Behavior of Individuals
- Skill Acquisition and Assessment
- Functional Assessment and Behavior Reduction
- Professional and Ethical Conduct of Behavior Analysts
This program differentiates itself in a key way. Students can compete most of their coursework in the first year. This leaves the second year available for the student to focus on their practicum and fieldwork experience.
A leader in online education (as well as on-campus education, of course), Arizona State University has been called one of country’s “Most Innovative Schools.” ASU is located in Phoenix but boasts a sprawling distance education platform, ASU Online. ASU Online offers more than 150 academic programs and has more than 25,000 enrolled students.
ASU offers an online MA in Special Education degree wherein students can specialize in Applied Behavior Analysis. This 30 credit-hour program is comprised of ten classes (see below). Graduates from ASU’s program have gone on to become school psychologists, ABA therapists, social workers, clinical directors, and much more.
- Methods of Applied Behavior Analysis for Exceptional Populations
- Behavior Change Systems
- Applied Behavior Analysis in Inclusive Settings
- Ethics of Applied Behavior Analysis
- And more
ASU is nationally ranked by a range of publications. Likewise, its psychology programs are among the top 50 according to U.S. News & World Report. It is also known for its research efforts and its dozens of research facilities and institutions.
Ball State University is a public school based in Muncie, IN. It is designated an active research university by the Carnegie Foundation, and it serves more than 22,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year.
Ball State offers an online MA in Applied Behavior Analysis degree with an emphasis in Autism. This 30 credit-hour program can be completed in under two years. Notably interdisciplinary in scope, this program is a blend of psychology, criminal justice, social work, and education. Classes you take at Ball State include:
- Behavioral Consultation
- Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis
- Research Methods for Behavior Analysis
- Interventions and Treatments for Persons with Autism
Through Ball State you can start school at the beginning of any semester, so there’s no waiting! You also don’t have to take the GRE or other graduate exams to apply. Ball State makes it simple and straightforward to earn an advanced degree.
Saint Cloud State University
Saint Cloud State University is situated on the Mississippi River in St. Cloud, MN. It is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Systems and is one its largest members with around 15,000 students. SCSU is a public school that offers over 200 academic programs.
At Saint Cloud State University there are two ways to earn an MS in Applied Behavior Analysis. Both are online, but one track culminates in a final exam while the other requires a final written thesis. Both will give you a sturdy foundation in behavioral psychology through classes such as:
- Experimental Analysis of Behavior
- Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis
- Behavioral Applications I and II
- Ethics in Psychology and Behavior Analysis
Cloud State boasts the top-ranked Board Certified Behavior Analyst pass rates of all online master’s in applied behavioral analysis programs. This is due to many reasons, among them are the many student development opportunities. Students can participate in education abroad programs, student research colloquium, and so much more.
University of Southern Maine
The University of Southern Maine is primarily located in Portland, with additional campuses throughout the state and online. Partly founded as a teacher’s college, today USM offers more than 100 degree opportunities. And while most of its academic programs are undergraduate, USM is known for its graduate psychology department.
The only degree like it on our list, USM offers an MS in Educational Psychology degree online. Through this program you can concentrate in Applied Behavior Analysis. So in addition to taking classes on behavioral principles and assessments, you will also gain a broad knowledge of pedagogy theory and implementation. For example, you will take classes such as:
- Principles and Procedures for Instructional Intervention
- Consultation and Collaborative Problem Solving
- Supervision and Performance Management in Behavior Analysis
In addition to being nationally and regionally ranked, USM’s online graduate degrees are among some of the best distance education programs in the country. U.S. News & World Report consistently includes USM on its online rankings each year.
Texas Tech University is located in Lubbock, TX. It is a flagship university known for its research in and educational opportunities across the STEM fields. But Texas Tech also has numerous strong programs in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. More than 37,000 students attend Texas Tech.
Through Texas Tech’s eLearning department you can earn a Master of Education in Special Education degree online. Students can pair this practical degree with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis to graduate as a specialized expert in the area of neurodevelopment, behavioral assessment, and functional behavior improvement. Some of the classes you’ll take include:
- Behavior Change Procedures
- Advanced Issues in Applied Behavior Analysis
- Ethics and Professional Conduct
- Single Subject Design
Texas Tech has a longstanding history of offering alternative, innovative, and distance education. Starting in the middle of the Twentieth Century, Texas Tech developed programs for students to study from afar. These early programs bloomed into what the university now offers today, which are dozens of online degrees across all academic levels, from undergraduate to doctorate.
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX
One of the largest schools in the nation, Texas A&M University is home to nearly 70,000 students. It is located in College Station, TX, and is comprised of 10 academic colleges and professional schools. Texas A&M is a leader in research and is a designated land, sea, and space grant school.
Texas A&M offers an online M.Ed. in Special Education program that is specifically focused on Autism and single case research. This is an ideal program for those who want to do doctoral work or research in the areas of behavioral interventions and programming. Students tend to take two years to complete this 36 credit-hour degree. Classes include:
- Assessment in School Settings
- Behavior Management
- Adolescent Literacy for Students with Diverse Instructional Needs
- Bilingual Special Education
Just because you’re studying online and from a distance doesn’t mean you won’t work closely with your peers. Texas A&M has explicitly stated their commitment to collaborative education. Classes meet in real-time and class projects bring students together who are studying from all over the world.
Oregon Institute of Technology
Klamath Falls, OR
The Oregon Institute of Technology is the only polytechnic school located in the Pacific Northwest. Based in Klamath Falls, Oregon Tech also has campuses throughout the state and online. It provides more than 30 degree programs that range from the STEM disciplines to psychology and applied science.
Oregon Tech as partnered with Southern Oregon University to offer a Master’s of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorders program. This is an interdisciplinary degree in that students study everything from behavioral medicine and public health to special populations and historical developments. For example, classes you’ll take at Oregon Tech include:
- ABA and Health
- Organizational Behavior Management
- Community Behavior Analysis
- Clinical Behavior Analysis
In addition to its rankings and awards, Oregon Tech is known for its emphasis on practical education. It provides students with an array of opportunities to gain real-world experience, through co-ops, internship and externships, and more. It’s not surprising then that graduates from this program have secured jobs in diverse settings, including clinics, rehab centers, schools, and more.
Florida State University is located in Tallahassee and is a leading member of the State University System of Florida. More than 40,000 students attend FSU, which is comprised of 16 colleges, more than 100 research centers, and more than 350 academic programs. FSU is considered one of the best public universities in the nation.
FSU provides a bit of a different route to becoming a specialist in behavioral psychology. The online MS in Learning and Cognition program offers an in-depth overview of learning development in a variety of settings. You’ll graduate fully trained to effectively support and analyze human behavior, learning, and skills. Classes include:
- Methods of Educational Research
- Theories of Social Psychology
- Research Proposal Writing
- Basic Descriptive and Inferential Statistics Applications
FSU is nationally and regionally ranked by a huge array of sources. Likewise, many of its individual schools and departments are equally renowned. The business, education, law, and psychology divisions, for example, are all among the top 100 in the nation.