Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist Salary and Career Info

Oct 07, 2019

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.

An applied behavior analysis therapist works with patients, often children, with developmental disabilities such as autism. These therapists work to improve positive behaviors and minimize negative ones, all while improving quality of life and promoting socially useful skills.

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 (2018-2028) 18% (for occupational therapists)*
Median Salary (2019) $35,138 for ABA therapists**

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

ABA Therapist Salary Information

According to, as of 2019 the median annual salary of an ABA therapist ranged between $25,000 - $54,000. This salary is dependent on job location, level of degree, and amount of experience.

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 18% between 2018 and 2028 for occupational therapists, 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.

ABA therapists study, research and work with patients and their behavioral patterns. Often ABA therapists work with children with developmental disabilities such as autism, either one on one or in group settings. ABA therapists have a background in scientific principles of behavior. Their salary ranges based on experience.

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