Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist Salary and Career Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties, and salary to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

An applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist studies and modifies patient behavior by controlling the environment. These professionals often work with autistic individuals. While ABA therapists are required to have a bachelor's degree in psychology, many hold a master's or Ph.D. in the field. ABA therapists may work in a school, consulting firm, or social service organization, or they may own their practice.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in psychology; graduate degree is common
Projected Job Growth (for occupational therapists)29% from 2012-22*
Median Salary $36,128 (2014)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **

ABA Therapist Salary Information

According to, as of 2014 the median annual salary of an ABA therapist ranged between $24,421 and $51,621. This salary is dependent on job location, level of degree, and amount of experience. Those with one to four years of experience earned about $32,000 annually, while professionals with five to nine years of experience earned about $42,000. ABA therapists with more than 20 years of experience earned as much as $65,000 a year.

ABA Therapist Career Information

ABA therapists often work with children living with developmental disabilities, primarily autism. Some therapists work in group settings while others work individually with their patients. Therapists practice the ABA process of therapy to improve growth, development, and quality of life.

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc., ABA therapists use the scientific principles of behavior to build socially useful skills and to reduce problematic ones ( Principles of ABA are used for children with autism to guide functional behavioral evaluations and to design intervention and instructional programs. ABA focuses on teaching small, measurable units of behavior through systematic practice, including specific cues, possible prompts, consequences, repetition, and generalization to other settings.

The job market looks promising for ABA therapists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for occupational therapists was expected to increase by 29% between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than the average for other occupations (

The demand for occupational therapists should continue to rise as a result of the increasing number of individuals with disabilities or limited function who require therapy services. Employment growth in schools will result from the expansion of the school-age population and the federally funded extension of services for disabled students. Therapists will be needed to help children with disabilities prepare for enrollment in special education programs.

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