Becoming an Applied Behavior Analyst in California

California currently does not regulate the practice of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Despite the lack of state licensure, Californians looking to enter the behavior analysis field may be interested in earning the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential as a means to ensure they have the knowledge and skills that they need to deliver high quality services, as well as legitimacy. This guide will take you through what options you have when becoming a BCBA in California, if you choose to pursue certification.

Is Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Certification Required to Become an ABA in California?

BCBA certification is not needed in California, though you may still want to pursue it in order to demonstrate your preparedness in the field. Earning this credential will require an eligible master’s degree, fieldwork, and exam passage, according to the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB). Learn more about how to become a BCBA.

California Behavior Analyst Fieldwork Requirements

While California has no fieldwork requirement due to lack of a state licensure process, those interested in the BCBA credential will need to complete either 1,500 hours of concentrated supervised fieldwork or 2,000 hours of supervised fieldwork. Once students attend the first class session of an eligible master’s program, they can get started on fieldwork. Some programs will include all the fieldwork required for certification as part of their curricula, others will require you to earn your fieldwork outside of the program. Below, you will find information on fieldwork requirements for the ABA programs in California that are Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) verified course sequences.

ABA Master’s Programs in California

The following table offers information on ABA master’s programs offered in the state of California. Further down, you will find information on each program’s practicum offerings:

Program Degree City Mode
California State University Fresno Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis Fresno On Campus
California State University Los Angeles Master of Counseling Applied Behavior Analysis Option Los Angeles On Campus
California State University Northridge MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Northridge On Campus
California State University Sacramento MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Sacramento On Campus
California State University Stanislaus MA in Psychology Behavior Analysis Concentration Turlock On Campus
Cambridge College California Master of Education, Autism/Behavior Analyst Rancho Cucamonga Hybrid
Chicago School of Professional Psychology MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Los Angeles Hybrid
National University MS Degree in ABA La Jolla On Campus or Online
Northcentral University MS in Applied Behavior Analysis San Diego Online
Pepperdine University MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Los Angeles On Campus or Online
San Diego State University MEd degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism San Diego On Campus
Touro University California MEd with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis Vallejo On Campus
University of California, Riverside MEd in Applied Behavior Analysis Riverside On Campus
University of Massachusetts Global MA in Special Education, Applied Behavior Analysis Irvine Online
University of Southern California MS in Applied Behavior Analysis Los Angeles On Campus
University of the Pacific Master’s in Behavioral Psychology Stockton On Campus

California State University Fresno

The Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis at CSU Fresno is a 44 to 47 credit program that includes a four credit practicum component. Through the practicum students will earn the fieldwork they need to sit for the BCBA exam. This is an on campus program.

California State University Los Angeles

The Master of Counseling program at CSU Los Angeles has an Applied Behavior Analysis option. This 52-56 credit program includes 18 credits of fieldwork. This is an on campus program.

California State University Northridge

The MS in Applied Behavior Analysis at CSU Northridge is an on campus, 37 credit program. The school arranges practicum experiences for students so that required fieldwork can be completed.

California State University Sacramento

The MS in Applied Behavior Analysis at CSU Sacramento is an on campus, 40-42 credit program. Contact the program for more information on fieldwork options, which seem to be curated on an individualized basis.

California State University Stanislaus

The MA in Psychology offered by CSU Stanislaus features a behavior analysis concentration. This on campus, 40 credit program features 6 credits of practicum so that students can gain the experience needed to become BCBAs.

Cambridge College California

The Master of Education at Cambridge College California has an Autism/Behavior Analysis Track. This 38 credit program. Fieldwork is included as part of the curriculum.

Chicago School of Professional Psychology

An MS in Applied Behavior Analysis is offered by the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Contact the program for more information on coursework and fieldwork components.

National University

National University offers an MS in Applied Behavior Analysis. The program is 45 quarter units. This program will help place you in an internship after completing the degree, rather than including a practicum component in the curriculum.

Northcentral University

The Northcentral University MS in Applied Behavior Analysis is a 30 credit online program. Fieldwork is not part of the curriculum.

Pepperdine University

The MS in Applied Behavior Analysis from Pepperdine University is offered both on campus and online. The 37 credit program features six credits of practicum that can count towards fieldwork requirements for BCBA certification.

San Diego State University

San Diego State University offers an MEd in Special Education with an Emphasis on Autism. This on campus program. There is a practicum component but students will need to pursue additional fieldwork outside of the program in order to qualify for BCBA certification.

Touro University California

Touro University California offers an MEd with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis. This 30 unit program, check with the program directly for more information on fieldwork.

University of California, Riverside

University of California, Riverside offers an on campus MEd in Applied Behavior Analysis. This 68 credit program includes 450 hours of practicum, additional fieldwork will need to be completed outside of the program in order to sit for the BCBA certification.

University of Massachusetts Global

University of Massachusetts Global offers an online MA in Special Education that has a focus on Applied Behavior Analysis. This 33-42 credit program. Fieldwork is not included in the curriculum.

University of Southern California

University of Southern California offers an MS in Applied Behavior Analysis on campus. The curriculum includes all the fieldwork needed in order to sit for the BCBA exam.

University of the Pacific

University of the Pacific offers a Master’s in Behavioral Psychology that includes an ABAI verified course sequence. This program has a clinical placement component, but reach out directly for more information on specifics.

Online ABA Programs

Online programs are another great option to consider for those looking to get a degree in applied behavior analysis. Because students can log in from wherever they are, online ABA programs can add a degree of flexibility to one’s schedule. This resource on online ABA programs can help you explore online ABA program options. Our guide to admission requirements by program can help you determine which programs, including online programs, you may wish to apply to.

Applied for Behavior Analyst Licensure in California

You do not need to apply for state licensure to practice as a behavior analyst in California. If you are pursuing the BCBA certification, check out our guide on how to become a BCBA.

How Do You Maintain Your Applied Behavior Analyst License in California?

Because California does not license behavior analysts, there are no licensure maintenance requirements.