Master of Education M.Ed. in Special Education and Child Development: Applied Behavior Analysis

The M.Ed. in Special Education and Child Development with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is designed for individuals who are interested in seeking a master’s degree in special education and in fulfilling the coursework requirements for becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). The coursework in the concentration in ABA includes a Verified Course Sequence that meets the coursework requirements (5th Edition) set forth by The Behavior Analyst Certification Board to sit for the BCBA examination. This concentration is offered as a 33-credit hour program with all courses offered 100% online. The majority of coursework is offered via “live” synchronous instructional formats to offer real time interactions between instructors and students, and to build a learning community for support. The M.Ed. with a concentration in ABA will not lead to eligibility for obtaining teaching licensure.

Why choose our Master in Education in Special Education and Child Development with a concentration in ABA?
  • The M.Ed. coursework is fully online so it provides flexibility for you to study from your home or office. The synchronous format of instructional delivery in the concentration and core courses provides excellent opportunities for the instructors to build a learning community for you to receive support, share ideas, and problem solve real-life situations related to behavior analytic practice.

  • Our program is integrated within Special Education, where concepts and strategies are discussed with a special lens to supporting individuals with disabilities in applied and natural settings (e.g., schools, classrooms, homes, communities).

  • Our rigorous courses are designed to support you in developing the skills, knowledge, and competencies to gain employment as a behavior analyst and to be effective in improving quality of life outcomes for individuals with disabilities and their families. You will be part of a supportive professional learning community with faculty members who are invested in your learning and peers who share the same drive to become board certified behavior analysts.

  • The Special Education faculty continuously achieve regional, state, and national recognition in scholarship, teaching, and research. Faculty and instructors for the core concentration courses either have board certified behavior analyst credential or have extensive training in applied behavior analysis and decades of experience in conducting behavior analytic research and consultation in applied settings.

  • The Verified Course Sequence (VCS) includes seven courses that are approved by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and meets the coursework requirements (5th Edition) set forth by The Behavior Analyst Certification Board to sit for the BCBA examination.

Career Options

According to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board based on the Labor Insight™ database, demand for behavior analysts in the United States is increasing each year since 2010, with an overall increase of 5,852% over the past 12 years (789 jobs in 2010 to 46,960 jobs in 2021). In North Carolina, the demand for behavior analysts has a 44% increase from 2020 to 2021. The increase in demand for individuals holding BCBA certification is also apparent in other countries.

The M.Ed. in Special Education and Child Development with a concentration in ABA prepares you to fulfill the coursework and degree requirements for becoming a BCBA. You will arrange your own supervised practicum experiences in order to sit for BCBA examination. Graduates holding BCBA may become independent practitioners of behavior analytic services and may supervise Registered Behavior Technicians or Behavior Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts. Other career options may also include: working in schools to support students with behavioral and learning challenges; providing behavior analytic services in home or community settings, and pursuing a doctorate program in special education or applied behavior analysis, or other related fields.

Student Opportunities

The capstone project allows students to hone their research skills and showcase their competencies while working with their mentor or faculty advisor. Candidates are able to implement what they have learned and make critical decisions based on data to guide their practice. Candidates develop and implement research projects addressing important issues in applied behavior analysis and/or special education, and may disseminate their research findings through publication in professional journals and/or presentations at local, state, or national conferences.

The Center for Graduate Life provides the support and sense of community students need to meet the challenges they will face throughout their graduate experience. The Center offers workshops on topics like grant writing, presentation skills, publishing in scholarly journals, and understanding the academic job search. Virtual workshops are available online on subjects such as graduate academic writing and research writing at the graduate level.

The University Career Center provides services, programs, and support for students and alumni. Services include such options as an Education Career Fair held each spring semester, individual appointments with career advisors and the Hire-A-Niner online job and internship database.

Learn From Outstanding Faculty

The UNC Charlotte Special Education Program is consistently ranked in the top 20 programs in the United States and is nationally recognized for its Ph.D. program in special education. Our program faculty have strong academic training, publish frequently in high quality journals, obtain grant funding for their work, and have decades of practical experience in applied behavior analysis. Further, they have been recognized through receipt of many awards and distinctions, related research and training in special education and applied behavior analysis.

Are you ready to make a difference in the lives of individuals with special needs through behavior analytic practice? If so, click here to learn more about the requirements for the Master of Education in Special Education and Child Development, graduate student financial aid, and the graduate application process.