• Melissa Druskis, MS, BCBA

Choosing a BCBA Certification Program


About a year and a half ago, I was in a frantic search through the wide range of ABA programs trying to find one the best one for me.  My search was frantic because I just discovered the career that was perfect for me, and the impending change to the allowed degrees for that career.  I needed to complete my classes and take my test before January 2016, at which point I was not guaranteed that my degree in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience would be allowed.  Although I wanted to complete a program in 1 year, I also wanted to get a great education that would allow me to pass the exam, find a program that was flexible enough to allow me to continue working full time, and one that would not break the bank.


To start my search, I looked to the BACB website and the 2014 pass rates.  It did not make sense for me to go to a school if I wouldn’t be able to pass the exam at the end of it.  The BCBA Examination Pass Rates (Sorted by Percentage Passing) is sorted by the institution, course sequence, 2013 percent passing of first time candidates, and 2014 percent passing of first time candidates.  To allow me to continue working, I needed an online program.  As I scrolled through the 100%, 86%, and 70% pass rates, I found my first distance education institute with Florida Institute of Technology with a pass rate of 68%, followed by Southern Illinois University at 56%, and Ball State University (which is not labeled as distance) at 55%.  Those are the top three schools by pass rate, but there are others lower down on the list. 


Lets take a look at this list from the bottom up: 

(Most of this information is from the university websites, please contact the program for more detailed or updated information)


3) Ball State University


Method: 100% online

Length: 1 to 1.5 years

Cost: $394 per hour for in-state (Indiana), $590 per hour for out-of-state.  Plus $58 per 3 hour class technology fee.  For the 15 hour program, that totals to about $6,200 in-state, $9,140 out-of-state

Start Dates: Unknown, I would think at least Spring and Fall, not sure about summer.  Contact them for more information.

Notes: You can choose how many classes to take each semester, and therefore chose your own program length.


2) Southern Illinois University


Method: This program is 100% online, with regular opportunities for interaction with other students and instructors.

Length: 9 months to 1 year

Cost: $8,824.86 total program (this is estimated based on the tuition and fees of $1470.81 for 3 credits, multiplied by 6 classes)

Start Dates: Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters

Notes:  This program offers graduate-level credits that will transfer to other graduate programs.  They also stress real-world scenarios, critical thinking, and problem solving.


1) Florida Institute of Technology


Method: 100% Online with weekly pre-recorded videos plus weekly live meetings with an instructor and other students.

Length: 1.5 years (1 year with permission based on grades of first 2 semesters)

Cost: $5,310 for early registration to $6,070 for late registration

Start Dates: January, April, July, October

Notes:  Very flexible format and top in the field professors.  Look through The White Book (the ABA Bible), those people will be your teachers.


So, my choice was of course… Florida Institute of Technology!  I really loved their program, I was able to complete the program in one year, and I passed the exam on my first try.  I was taught about the PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) by Andy Bondy, one of the creators of PECS, ethics and decision making by Linda LeBlanc who is the creator of the ethics committee of Trumpet Behavioral Health, and Jose Martinez-Diaz, the founder for Florida Techs behavior analysis programs.  I still go to FIT for the continuing education classes and reference my old PowerPoints when I have questions in my BCBA career. 


Did you go to any of these schools, or others?  Would you recommend them to others?  Leave comments below.

© 2015 by Melissa Druskis

Please consult a qualified BCBA before implementing an ABA program for dangerous behaviors

The views and opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the people, institutions, or organizations that I may be affiliated with.