How Much Do BCBAs Make?
In recent years, demand for board certified behavior analysts (BCBA) has grown considerably and is expected to increase by more than 20% over the next eight years.
This career gives you the opportunity to help individuals who have received an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. Because of how in-demand BCBA professionals are, the job provides great mobility, high salary ranges, and numerous career options in the applied behavior analysis (ABA) field.
National Average BCBA Salary
As of February 2023, the average salary for a BCBA in the U.S. is around $74,139 per year, which equates to upwards of $1,425 each week and $6,178 every month. However, the factors mentioned previously determine what your salary is.
If you're just starting out in this profession, you may earn considerably less. Annual salaries in this field can be as low as around $35,000 and as high as $106,000. However, the majority of salaries extend from $65,000-$76,000. Keep in mind that the average BCBA salary varies by city and state.
Average BCBA Salaries by State
Highest Paying Cities For BCBAs
You may be able to obtain a higher salary as a BCBA based on where you live. In fact, there are 10 cities where the average BCBA salary is between $83,000-$90,000, which is considerably higher than the national average. If you want to improve your salary, changing locations is a viable option. The 10 cities with the highest average salaries for this position include:
- Barnstable Town, MA - $89,990
- Sunnyvale, CA - $89,372
- Santa Cruz, CA - $87,426
- Livermore, CA - $87,041
- Manhattan, NY - $87,013
- Santa Rosa, CA - $86,625
- Dimondale, MI - $85,986
- Port Washington, NY - $84,199
- Cambridge, MA - $84,127
- Watertown, MA - $83,909
Benefits and Perks for BCBAs
Starting an applied behavior analysis career as a board certified behavior analyst allows you to help others and make a difference. The BCBA role is among the more advanced in the ABA field, which is why ample education and experience must be obtained before you're able to land a job.
There are numerous advantages that come with being a BCBA. If you have a passion for helping others, you can thrive in this role. In most situations, children who have been diagnosed with autism are vulnerable and may be dealing with families who don't understand how to best assist them.
As a BCBA, you can substantially improve the child's livelihood while also helping their family learn how to take care of them.
You'll also discover that the work you do brings about tangible results that are gratifying. When you analyze an individual's behaviors, you'll make recommendations on how to improve these behaviors. The strategies you implement will likely help the child improve the way they interact, eat, and communicate. The results are easy to notice.
Another clear benefit is the fact that BCBA professionals typically have high job security. As mentioned before, demand for this occupation is set to grow by around 20% over the next eight years.
Around one in 100 children suffer from the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). One out of every six children experience some kind of developmental disability, which can be anything from language impairments to autism. Because of how common these disabilities are, BCBAs will likely always be in demand.
As a BCBA, you should also have a fairly flexible schedule. Depending on the specific field you choose, you may be able to set your own schedule. If you're an in-school therapist, you'll be tasked with working throughout the school day and will gain most of the benefits that school teachers have access to.
In the event that you work at a community center, the schedule is similar to that of a standard school. As an in-home therapist, you'll likely work with children during the evenings, which means that the rest of your day can be flexible.
How to Increase Your BCBA Salary
The main thing you can do to increase your BCBA salary is to gain more experience and prove your skills. The primary employers for BCBA professionals are medical providers, school districts, and employers that offer social assistance. However, job growth is also possible through government agencies, insurance companies, and autism research.
Once you've garnered experience, you may be able to gain a higher salary by applying at other employers who are searching for experienced BCBAs. A BCBA therapist who works in a government agency or private practice will usually make more than one who works in a school.
If you want to improve your salary further, consider offering online coaching and consulting.
Since you've completed your graduate program to receive a board certification, you don't need to obtain more training before consulting with professionals and families.
In the event that you're working for a school or agency, your daily responsibilities are similar to the ones you would have with an online private consulting firm. Teachers and parents can be coached via services like FaceTime or Skype. In this scenario, you can set your own rate and take on as many clients as you'd like.
Whether you specialize in developmental disabilities or autism spectrum disorders, teachers and parents are regularly searching for books and other materials that they can use to become better educated about how to handle the situation they're in. If you're creative, you can develop your own eBooks that can then be sold to bolster your BCBA salary.
Another option at your disposal is to teach continuing education classes, conduct applied behavior analysis programs, or host workshops. If you have at least several years of experience as a BCBA, teaching is an effective way to increase your income.
With a high average salary of more than $74,000 and consistent demand from schools and other agencies, starting a career as a BCBA may be exactly what you're looking for.
Factors That Influence BCBA Salary
The salary you make as a board certified behavior analyst depends on three distinct factors, which include your geographical location, your level of experience, and the amount of education you've completed.
Certain states have higher wages for jobs in specific occupations. The geographic factors that can affect the wages you receive as a BCBA include local demand for the position as well as the cost of living. If you live in a city where the cost of living is high, your salary will likely be higher as well.
Level of Experience
Another factor that determines what salary you receive in this profession is the level of experience you have. When you work as a BCBA or have a job in a similar field for an extended period of time, you'll gain access to higher salaries. Experienced employees usually earn more than entry-level ones. You might also earn more if you have in-demand skills.
Education and Certification
The amount of education you have can dictate what your salary is. However, a graduate degree is required for anyone who wants to be a BCBA, which somewhat limits salary growth based on education and any certification you have.