Frequently Asked Questions

Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism FAQ

Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism
ABA Certificate
Office of Graduate Admission
Student Services/Financial Aid

Is the ABA program online?
Our ABA program is entirely online. The academic courses include online access to lectures, assignments, student forums and tests. Students upload papers and assignments to be reviewed by course faculty. Students are not required to log in at specific times for forums, lectures or tests (that is, we run an “asynchronous” learning environment). Students are free to work on activities and take tests at anytime they wish, as long as they do so by the weekly deadlines.

For more information, visit the Master's Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism program page at Sage Online.

Is this a lock-step program?

The ABA program is a lock-step program. All students will finish the program with the same set of peers with whom they began. Each student must follow the layout of the program as determined by their personalized Program of Study.

How many credit hours are required for the ABA and Autism program?
41 credits for practicum track students and 33 credits for non-practicum track student.

How long does it take to complete the M.S. in ABA and Autism program?
Both the practicum and non-practicum track options take five semesters to complete. It is important to note that this includes summer semesters. Semesters at Sage follow the traditional design.
Fall = Late August through mid-December
Spring = Late January through mid-May
Summer = Mid-May through mid-August

How much does the program cost?
Please review the Graduate Tuition website for the most up-to-date information.

How can I get financial assistance?
Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for information.

Has Sage been approved by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) to provide Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) courses and practicum experience?
Yes. Sage meets the coursework and experience eligibility requirements set forth by the BACB.

What if I am interested in receiving Board Certification only, not a master’s degree in ABA and Autism?
We recommend applying for the ABA Certificate program. Candidates must possess a master’s degree in a related field in order to be eligible for the Certificate program.

I see that the BACB requires clinical experience and BCBA supervision in order to qualify for the BCBA exam. Does Sage provide students with this experience?
The ABA programs at Sage utilize the BACB’s university approved practicum experience approach. This type of experience requires 1,000 practicum hours, which is to include 75-100 BCBA supervised hours. Students are strongly encouraged to begin researching the possibilities of volunteering and/or working at an agency local to them that practices ABA prior to application into the program. The agency will also need to allow the student to complete practicum assignments and allow a BCBA to provide on-site observation. M.S. students who need more time to find a practicum placement can begin practicum in their second semester. Please visit our practicum page for more information.  Students who would prefer to complete independent fieldwork outside of Sage can choose the non-practicum track option.  Students who choose this option are responsible for meeting fieldwork requirements before they will be eligible to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst Exam.  Please visit the BACB website to learn about independent fieldwork.

Will Sage find a practicum placement and/or BCBA supervisor for me?
Sage will be happy to assist students with finding a practicum placement and BCBA supervisor. We provide our students with ideas and tools, but we cannot guarantee that Sage will provide each student with a placement and a BCBA supervisor. Students are urged to look for a placement before applying for a program, especially if living a remote/rural area. Even students in populated locations should try to get an agency to agree to host them ahead of time, as it can occasionally be difficult to find a place that can make accommodation for the student and the necessary supervision from a BCBA. A BCBA supervisor would preferably be a BCBA that is local to the student and can provide on-site supervision. If an agency can be procured, but a BCBA cannot, Sage will assist the student in finding a BCBA to provide distance supervision. Obtaining a distance BCBA supervisor cannot be guaranteed.

I do not work work at an appropriate practicum site.  What steps should I take to locate a hosting agency?
Go to the BACB website and use the Certificant Registry.  You can enter your city, country and/or zip code to search for local certified behavior analysts.  Contact the BCBAs near you and ask if they have any leads for possible hosting agencies in your area.  You may also want to ask if they are interested in supervising your experience hours.  If you cannot find a BCBA in your area, begin searching for centers that specialize in working with clients with autism and other developmental disabilities.  Begin contacting any agencies you find to see if they are interested in hosting you for your practicum either as an employee or volunteer.

When can I apply?
Please review the Admission page for dates and deadlines.

Are there any prerequisites for the ABA and Autism program?
Candidates should possess an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 2.75 of higher. The following undergraduate courses are required, but do not need to be completed prior to acceptance into the program: a statistics course, a history and systems of psychology course, and two additional behavioral sciences courses, which may be in psychology or sociology. At least half of your prerequisite credits must be from a four-year institution. Please note that meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the program.

What are the program’s application requirements?

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts
  • Two letter of recommendation
  • Career Goals Statement
  • Current Curriculum Vitae or resume
  • WES Report (If previous degrees were obtained outside of the United States)
  • Application fee

What would a person do after graduating with an M.S. in ABA and Autism and passing the BCBA exam?
With the increase in autism diagnoses across the world, the BCBA is uniquely qualified to provide services for this population in a variety of settings, including home, preschools, public schools and private organizations, such as residential treatment centers and group homes. In addition, the BCBA will have a specialized set of skills that are directly related to working with people other than those who have autism. These strategies and tactics are suited for helping typical children, helping parents learn how to manage behavior, improve education, and teach a wide variety of skills and abilities to those of all ages.

What is the job outlook on this career?
The job outlook is promising as a result of the continuing increase in the incidence of autism. Schools and parents will need services of more and more BCBAs of which there are currently too few. BCBAs are competent to work not only with children with autism, but also with children with other disabilities, typical children who have learning or behavioral problems, and adults with and without disabilities facing many different kinds of challenges. BCBAs are also needed to provide training to parents who need assistance dealing with their own children.

On the website I saw a notice to applicants and candidate stating, “Services restricted to New York State licensed professionals, including licensed psychologists, cannot be rendered by program students of graduates unless: (a) They are licensed in New York State to provide such services, or (b) They provide those services in an exempt setting as salaried employees.” What does this statement mean?
Due to the recent rewriting of the American Psychological Association (APA) Practice Act, now only psychologists can do “behavior analysis” type activities –modifying behavior, conducting behavior analysis, etc. In New York, the New York psychologists have adopted this Act. So, only licensed psychologists can technically do behavior analytic practice in New York, unless one works in an exempt are like a school, clinic, hospital, etc. If your state does not adhere to this new definition of psychological practice, then this disclaimer will have no functional relevance to you. Please check the regulations in your state.