Special Education

Special Education Applied Behavior Analysis Board Certified Behavior Analyst Preparation Online Post-Master's Certificate

About Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate

Prepare to become a board certified behavior analyst with this 100% online program.

Learn effective behavioral techniques to help others achieve their full potential at California University of Pennsylvania. Applied behavior analysis is widely recognized as a best practice for instruction and behavioral management for individuals with exceptionalities. It can also be applied at large corporations in "organizational behavior management" to improve worker productivity, and to address the behavioral and instructional needs of individuals in a wide variety of settings. 

Cal U's graduate certificate program is comprehensive and puts an emphasis on rigorous hands-on training in the use of evidence-based practices. Upon completion of this certificate program, you'll be exceptionally prepared for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam and highly qualified for a range of behaviorally based careers.


BCBA Exam: Cal U is one of a few universities In Pennsylvania that is recognized to provide the course sequence required to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam.

Top Accreditation: This graduate degree program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Cal U's education programs have also been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954, and we are continuing with the successor organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.

Learn more about applying

4 Semesters 
This 18- to 27-credit program can be completed in only four semesters.
Best Online 
U.S. News & World Report has listed Cal U's graduate education program as a Best Online Program three years in a row and counting.
icon undergrad for degree

Program Benefits

As a Cal U graduate student studying applied behavior analysis you will:

  • Work with faculty who are at the top of their fields.
  • Learn how to supervise teachers who work with children on the autism spectrum.
  • Gain hands-on practice designing behavior plans, monitoring their execution and supervising people providing behavioral therapy services.
  • Benefit from top career support from program faculty and Cal U's Career and Professional Development Center.
icon undergrad for degree

Graduate Outcomes

Cal U's applied behavior analysis certificate program will prepare you to become nationally certified as a behavior analyst - a role that is in high demand within both the educational and corporate spheres. BACB-certified professionals are able to provide private services and submit billing to a client's insurance coverage. Cal U program alumni are recruited for a variety of top careers throughout Pennsylvania and the United States, including:

  • Regular or special education teaching roles.
  • Foster care and eldercare services.
  • School counseling, psychology or behavior specialist consulting careers.
  • Mental health therapy positions.
  • Coaching or transition specialist jobs.

Curriculum, Admission Requirements and Related Courses

Cal U's applied behavior analysis certificate courses are delivered 100% online, and are designed for students who already have a master's degree in applied behavior analysis or a related academic area.


The Association for Behavior Analysis International has verified the following courses toward the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® or Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® examination. Applicants will need to meet additional requirements before they can be deemed eligible to take the examination.

Course Credits
ESP 700  Foundations of Measurement and Experimental Design in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
ESP 701  Introduction to Behavior Analysis 3
ESP 750  Concepts, Principles and Assessments 3
ESP 751  Applied Behavior Analysis Interventions 3
ESP 752  Behavioral Assessment, Intervention and Supervision in Applied Behavior Analysis 3
ESP 753  Professional Ethical Practice Behavior Analyst 3
ESP 800  Seminar in Advanced Behavior Analysis and Research Design 3
Total 21

Course Options:

  • ESP 754 Applied Behavior Analysis Practicum Training (3 to 12 credits)

Individuals may choose to arrange for the accumulation of experience hours through enrollment in ESP 754. Students may only enroll in this course through department approval for 3 credits per semester. Individuals enrolled in ESP 754 must follow observation and supervision guidelines per the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB). Individuals are not required to enroll in ESP 754 to meet graduation requirements.

Admission Requirements

Regular Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.80 or a 3.00 in last 48 credits earned (Students with a GPA below 2.80 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst Prep Certificate Only: Master's degree in an area approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) with a GPA of 3.30 or higher (Students with a GPA below 3.30 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution

Conditional Admission Requirements
  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 2.80 will be reviewed for a decision
    • Behavior Analyst Prep Certificate Only: Master's degree with a GPA under 3.30 will be reviewed for a decision

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

For additional information:
Email gradschool@calu.edu
Phone: 1.866.595.6348

Program Requirements

Out of State Students:
All students who will be seeking certification outside of Pennsylvania are responsible for securing and following the certification requirements in the state in which they intend to apply for certification.

Related Programs
A counselor helps a young students in the classroom.

Long-Standing Reputation

Cal U has a 160-year reputation for producing top-quality educators in Pennsylvania and beyond. Special education at Cal U has been rooted in applied behavior analysis for 50 years.

A young student solves math problems.

Intensive Practicum

Cal U's intensive practicum for the applied behavior analysis program will give you the opportunity to study under board-certified behavior analysts while applying the content you have covered during your courses. Upon completion, you'll be job-ready for a wide range of careers. 

A young child holds a teddy bear.

Top Faculty

Each of Cal U's faculty members has unique qualities that they are able to highlight within the graduate courses they teach. Your professors will have expertise in applied behavior analysis, the use of technology to teach students communication and behavioral self-monitoring, interventional strategies, working with students diagnosed with emotional disabilities, and more.

Special Education Faculty

Dr. James Burton
Associate Professor


View profile
Dr. Peter Heh
Assistant Professor


View profile
Dr. Jason Kight
Associate Professor and Chair


View profile
Dr. Kalie Kossar
Associate Professor


View profile
Dr. Megan Mealie
Adjunct Professor/Supervisor of Student Teaching


View profile

Please Note: All students who will be seeking licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information.