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Programs in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

We welcome applications on a rolling basis. Next priority deadline is March 15, 2024.

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Program overview

The number of children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder continues to rise, with the latest 2016 data estimating one in 68 school-aged children. There is research evidence that the use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can make a difference in the treatment of challenging behaviors and the education of individuals with autism.  Not surprisingly, job postings requiring ABA credentials have increased by over 150% in recent years.

In New York State, only Licensed Behavior Analysts can perform ABA.  In other states and internationally, Board Certified Behavior Analyst credentials are often the accepted standard of training.  Our ABA programs, offered by the Warner School in collaboration with the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics of the University of Rochester, will prepare you for both credentials.

Key program features

  • BACB Verified Course Sequence: All options include a set of six ABA courses that have been verified as meeting the requirements of the BACB (when combined with appropriate degree and experience) to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam.
  • Cutting-Edge Curriculum: Includes coursework on autism, behavioral principles and procedures, evidence-based interventions for teaching persons with developmental disabilities, the assessment and treatment of challenging behaviors, behavioral-analytic research methods, and performance management.
  • Supervised Practicum: All options include a semester-long, three-credit ABA practicum, which meets LBA’s requirement of a minimum of 150 hours of university-supervised practicum as well as BCBA guidelines.  Students can accrue the needed additional practicum hours on their own, or by taking the three-credit practicum for multiple semesters.
  • Choice of Practicum Placements: Practicum placements thus far have spanned public schools, community service agencies, developmental clinics, autism intervention research, early intervention services, residential services, therapeutic and educational day treatment, recreational services, and higher education autism services.
  • Required Workshop: All ABA students wishing to be considered for NYS licensure are required to take a state-approved online Child Abuse Prevention Workshop.
  • Exam Preparation: Includes a one-credit course to support students’ preparation for the BCBA and LBA exams.
  • Interdisciplinary Faculty: Courses are taught by a dynamic faculty of highly respected scholars and practitioners in Applied Behavior Analysis and human development from the Warner School of Education and the UR Medical Center.
  • Flexible: Program can be pursued part time or full time and can begin in any semester.


  • For the Master’s Degree: Successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in one of following areas: human development, psychology, sociology, public health, education, gerontology, social work, art therapy, music therapy, or related fields.
  • For the Advanced Certificate: Completed master’s degree in psychology, education, or other approved subject areas that address learning and behavioral change (as required for LBA and BCBA).
  • For Both: Applicants must display the disposition needed to work as a clinician serving vulnerable populations.  Prior experience working with individuals with autism or developmental disabilities is highly desirable but not an entry requirement. 

Scholarships, Tuition, & Financial Aid

ABA Scholarships & Awards

Contact our admissions team to see if your school district is eligible for scholarships or awards.

(585) 275-3950


Certification options

Both of the following programs include all the coursework and at least 150 hours of university-supervised ABA practicum experience; the additional practicum hours needed to sit for the state licensing and BCBA exams can be accrued by students independently, or by taking our credit-bearing practicum multiple times: 

MS in Applied Behavior Analysis and Human Development

(30 credits - pending New York State approval) For individuals who do not have a master’s degree in an approved area. 

Advanced Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis

(up to 24 credits - pending New York State approval) For individuals who already have a master’s degree in an approved area; may allow for some transfer credits from previous and/or concurrent graduate programs. 

Licensure in other states

For information on whether completion of this program will qualify for licensure in another state, please consult with the Department of Education in that state.

Customize your degree

Our degrees are designed to meet your interests and career aspirations. Whether you want to add an advanced certificate or specialize in a distinct area of emphasis, we can help craft the best option for you.

Frequently asked questions

In 2014, New York State created a new professional credential, Licensed Behavior Analyst, in response to the Autism Insurance Reform Law enacted in 2011. The reform removed a regulatory requirement that had prevented families of individuals with autism being able to access Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) through their medical insurance.  With this change, ABA is now accessible to thousands of New Yorkers.

The NYS law has confined this new license to those who treat persons with autism and related disorders, and not any other form of behavior disorder (with the exception of a few exempt settings). The identification and treatment of other behavior disorders and conditions must be done by individuals licensed in the professions of psychology, medicine, social work, and other mental health professions. It could be considered a matter of illegal practice if LBAs were to do so.

In addition to coursework in a state registered ABA program, students seeking to become a LBA must complete 1,500 hours of supervised practicum experience utilizing applied behavior analysis with individuals with autism. Of these 1,500 hours, a minimum of 150 hours must be completed through a university-based, credit-bearing practicum that meets all state requirements.

Students are also required to take an online Child Abuse Prevention Workshop offered through the Genesee Valley BOCES or an equivalent program (meeting the requirement put forth in Chapter 544 of the Law of 1988).

Once students complete the coursework in an approved ABA program, the Child Abuse Prevention Workshop, and the 1,500 hours of supervised practicum experience, they will need to petition the state to sit for the licensing exam and another exam evaluating their knowledge and understanding of autism.  Once they pass these exams, students will be able to obtain their license.

The Warner programs described in this section were approved in 2017 by New York State to meet the coursework requirements and the minimum of 150 university-supervised practicum hours.  Additional practicum hours can be accrued by students in a number of different ways, including taking the credit-bearing practicum experience offered multiple times by Warner.

As indicated on their webpage, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation established in 1998 to meet professional credentialing needs identified by behavior analysts, governments, and consumers of behavior analysis services. The BACB’s certification requirements, exam content, and procedures undergo regular review according to international standards for organizations that grant professional credentials. All BACB requirements and exam content are established by content experts in the discipline. Across the United States and internationally, the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential is often the required and accepted standard of training to provide ABA services.

While the BACB offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level certifications, the Warner School has been approved to offer a course sequence for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) credential at the master’s level only.

Obtaining BCBA credentials requires individuals to: (a) have completed a master’s degree in an area approved by the BACB (i.e., behavior analysis, education, or psychology); (b) have completed a BACB-verified course sequence in ABA (as part of the master’s degree or in addition); (c) have completed a supervised ABA practicum meeting the board’s requirements (1,500 hours, or 750 if using the BACB Intensive Practicum model); and  (d) have passed the BCBA exam.   In order to sit for the BCBA exam, completion of the BACB-verified course sequence and supervised practicum hours is required.

Warner offers a verified course sequence, approved to meet the coursework requirements for the BCBA credential. The six ABA courses comprising this verified sequence are part of our newly approved master’s and advanced certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis preparing for licensure in New York State (LBA), so students enrolled in those license eligible programs will also be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam once they have acquired the required number of practicum hours.  Students who are not interested in the LBA credential can take the ABA course sequence as a "stand-alone," as part of another Warner degree program or as a non-matriculated student.

The supervised practicum requirement can be met most efficiently through the BACB Intensive Practicum model implemented for the practicum experience at the Warner School.  Based on a percentage system of practicum hours (10-30 hours per week) to supervision provided (10% equivalent of hours per week), a student can attain the required 1,500 units through the completion of 750 hours of practicum inclusive of supervision (that can be accomplished over multiple semesters).

Completing the verified ABA course sequence and required supervised practicum hours, when combined with a master’s degree in an approved area, qualifies the successful students to apply to sit for the BCBA.

Practice as a behavior analyst in New York State is possible only with the LBA credential, and is restricted to working with individuals diagnosed with autism or a related disorder.  However, if you are planning to practice in a different state and/or are only interested in the BCBA credential, you can choose to just take the six ABA courses approved by the BACB to sit for the BCBA exam, engage in an approved practicum experience, and take an optional one-credit course preparing for the exam (for a total of 18-28 credits).

The verified ABA course sequence comprises of:

  • ED453: Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis
  • ED458: Methods and Applications in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • EDE454: Assessment and Treatment of Challenging Behaviors
  • EDE455: Research Methods in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • EDE457: Staff Training and Performance Management
  • EDE456: Ethical and Professional Conduct for Behavior Analysis

In order to sit for the BCBA exam, all applicants must have an approved master's degree and have completed the required number of experience units. (Visit for details on approved degrees, as well as categories of experience.)

Individuals who are planning on taking the BCBA exam are strongly advised to take EDE458, a 1 credit preparation course, prior to taking the exam.

We welcome applications on a rolling basis. Next priority deadline is March 15, 2024.

Career opportunities

Licensed Behavior Analysts have the credentials required in New York State to practice Applied Behavior Analysis, and by law are restricted to working with the population of individuals diagnosed with autism or a related disorder.  This can occur in a number of different contexts and roles, including but not limited to:

  • Working on interdisciplinary intervention teams addressing autism and related disorders in public and private schools, community agencies, and treatment facilities.
  • Supervising the implementation of early, intensive behavior intervention programs.
  • Helping teachers to develop learning experiences for students with autism.
  • Providing parent training to parents of children with autism.
  • Assisting adults with autism to live more independently in their community.
  • Working as a research coordinator or as part of a research team.
  • Being part of a research team led by leading Applied Behavior Analysis researchers in an array of medical and educational settings.

BCBA credentials are recognized in most other states, and do not have the same restrictions outside of New York State.  Behavior analytic skills are also highly valued in business, general education settings, public safety, and other community-based agencies. As such, ABA skills can enhance many career trajectories, including, but not limited to, those of school counselors, mental health counselors, social workers, special education teachers, behavioral specialists, occupational therapists, those involved in elder care, and individuals working in public safety.

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Program Director

David McAdam

Associate Professor (Clinical)

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