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Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Verified Course Sequence (VCS)

Achieve a national board credential that is in demand both locally and nationally

Boost Your Career

Completing the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Verified Course Sequence (VCS) will allow you to gain a national board credential that is in demand around the nation. The seven course VCS can be completed at a pace that fits with your schedule. Many students complete the VCS coursework in one calendar year. All courses are offered online and are asynchronous, allowing you to determine the days and times when you will log in and learn.

Demand and compensation for BCBAs has been steadily increasing. A recent survey of average salaries placed Ohio BCBA’s among the highest paid in the nation with an average pay of approximately $87,000 annually. Demand and compensation for BCBAs are expected to increase in the coming years.

Teacher and students
Teacher and students
Teacher and students
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Time to Complete

3-7 Semesters (dependent on courseload)

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7 courses totaling 21 credits

Program Highlights

  • All BCBA Courses are aligned with the most current 5th Ed. Task List as stipulated by the Association for Behavior Analysis International
  • Faculty are available to meet with you in-person or via technology to support your learning
  • Courses are organized into weekly learning modules
  • Faculty have expertise both within K-12 settings as well as clinical settings
  • The BCBA courses can be completed full-time or part-time
  • The BCBA courses meet the criteria to sit for the national qualifying examination
Teacher in front of classroom
Teacher in front of classroom

Learning Methodology

The seven, three-hour graduate courses are organized sequentially with initial courses focused on foundational information and subsequent courses offering content related to methods and professional practice. The initial two courses (see listing below) serve as prerequisites for the program and are offered during the first six-week session of the summer term. Additional courses are offered with two courses being available each academic term. It is possible to complete the course work in one calendar year. All courses are offered online.

  • The CSU VCS has been approved by the Association for Behavior Analysis International
  • The CSU VCS is aligned with the 5th Edition Task List as stipulated by the Association for Behavior Analysis International
  • Faculty who teach in the program are available for questions via in person office visits, phone or distance technology (e.g., Zoom calls)
  • Faculty are scholar practitioners with experience in a variety of service-delivery settings

Admissions Requirements

All students applying to the Board Certified Behavior Analyst program must:

  • Apply for admission to Cleveland State University
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 2.75 or above
  • The Graduate Record Examination is currently waived
  • Students must meet with an advisor to design a program of study

Additional Credential Requirements

To become a BCBA, Candidates will need to sit for the qualifying exam. Criteria for this exam include (a) a graduate degree, (b) completion of BCBA course work, and (c) supervision hours. The graduate degree can be from any field if the degree was earned from an accredited university. Many BCBA Candidates work as Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) and ask that their employer provide supervision as a condition of employment. Currently, the hourly pay for RBTs ranges from 19 to 24 dollars per hour. Due to the growth of ABA service delivery, RBTs are in demand as evidenced by ongoing recruitment for open positions.


ESE 530Principles of Behavior Analysis3 Credits
ESE 531Research Methods in Behavior Analysis3 Credits
ESE 532Behavioral Assessment and Intervention3 Credits
ESE 533Intervention for Individuals w/Autism & Developmental Disabilities3 Credits
ESE 534Advanced Topics in Behavior Analysis3 Credits
ESE 535Ethics and Consultation in Behavior Analysis3 Credits
ESE 537Supervision and Management in Behavior Analysis3 Credits
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Woman sitting with child

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition and financial aid for CSU programs are kept competitive so you can receive the education you deserve. Tuition for online programs and courses follows the same fee structure as traditional, on-campus programs and courses. Current CSU Graduate tuition costs can be found on the Bursar’s website.

Approximately 70% of CSU’s students receive some form of financial assistance. The University participates in or administers all the major federal and state grant and loan programs. In addition, CSU provides University grants and scholarships.

To begin the financial aid process, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You must file a FAFSA every year after January 1st to receive your financial aid. Cleveland State University’s financial aid school code is 003032.

If you have any questions, visit the Financial Aid section of CSU’s website, or contact the Financial Aid office.



Our tenured faculty have the national board designation of BCBA-D and have experience utilizing Applied Behavior Analysis within a variety of settings including K-12 schools, agencies, treatment centers, and homes. Additionally, faculty are involved in the field as evidenced by leadership roles within national organizations as well as overseeing programming that is supported by grant funding. Our caring and dedicated faculty members consistently provide a rich graduate experience as they work collectively and individually to bolster student success.

CSU trees blooming
CSU trees blooming

Student Success Coaching

At CSU, you will be paired with a Student Success Coach to support you on your journey from acceptance into a program to graduation. Coaches help with:

  • Time management
  • Study strategies
  • Focus techniques
  • Work-life balance
  • Academic support resources
  • Navigating University policies and procedures
  • Resolving issues and locating the right resources

Student Success Coaches will reach out to you for a welcome call early in your program. Coaches can help you create an academic success plan with strategies and goals that will help you be successful. Student Success Coaches are available to you throughout your program. Student Success Coaches do not replace academic advisors or other counselors, but rather work as a team with them to provide you with all the right resources.

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Girl looking at her computer
Man smiling

Career Outcomes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2021 that 1 in 44 eight-year-old children met the diagnostic criteria for Autism. Service delivery for this population is thus needed with legislation at the state level requiring insurance companies to pay for research-validated treatment for persons with Autism. The state-of-the-art treatment is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Behavior Analysts assess individuals and develop ABA-focused treatment protocols. Additionally, Behavior Analysts provide ongoing assessment and use data to inform programmatic changes.

  • Choose where you work as there is demand for BCBAs in all 50 states
  • Select your work setting Work including K-12 schools, homes, local agencies, hospitals, national firms, or service delivery organizations
  • Endeavor to work for yourself (e.g., in a manner like Certified Public Accountants or Licensed Professional Counselors)
  • Select the best option for yourself as there is demand for both part-time and full-time work for BCBAs

Frequently Asked Questions

If I am a first-time CSU student, how do I enroll in a BCBA course?

New students should apply through Graduate Admissions for the certificate program. Applicants need an undergraduate degree and a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or above on a 4.0 scale. Provisional admission is available to applicants with a baccalaureate grade point average of less than 2.75. Personnel within our advising office are available to answer related questions at (216) 687-4625.

If I am already a Cleveland State University graduate student, how do in enroll in BCBA courses?

After talking with an academic advisor, simply utilize CampusNet and enroll in the respective course(s). If you need assistance with enrolling, the phone number for our advising office is (216) 687-4625.

Who is available to answer questions during regular business hours?

Personnel within our advising office are available to answer questions. Please call the Education Student Service Center at (216) 687-4625 to confirm advisor availability or to schedule an advising appointment or talk with an advisor. Video conferencing is also available by appointment.

Are the courses synchronous (login and participate online in real time) or asynchronous (interact with course materials at time of your choosing)?

There may be some limited synchronous class sessions. However, most of the online coursework is asynchronous which allows for flexibility on the part of the graduate student.

How many courses can I take per semester?

Students may enroll in all BCBA courses that are available during any given semester. It is common for students to take one to two courses per semester. Four courses are offered during the Summer Semester (two courses in Summer I, two courses in Summer II). Taking all courses available during each semester will allow all seven courses to be completed over three semesters (e.g., Summer, Fall, Spring).

Do the courses reflect the 5th Ed. Task List?

Yes, the Verified Course Sequence (VCS) aligns with the 5th Ed. Task List.

What criteria as set forth by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) needs to be met prior to becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)?

The BACB requires that candidates seeking BCBA certification pass the national qualifying exam. Prior to sitting for the exam, the BACB requires that candidates have (a) earned a graduate degree in any discipline from an accredited university; (b) completed an approved BCBA course sequence, and (c) met supervision requirements.

Does CSU offer a graduate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

We do not offer a graduate degree in ABA.

Can the BCBA courses be utilized as part of the coursework associated with a graduate degree?

No, the BCBA courses are stand-alone courses and are not able to be incorporated into a Program of Study that leads to a graduate degree.

Can I take the BCBA courses concurrently as I work to complete a graduate degree?

Yes, you can take the BCBA courses at the same time as you take other courses that are associated with a graduate degree program. However, the BCBA courses cannot be incorporated into a graduate degree Program of Study.

Can I take the BCBA courses and not sit for the qualifying exam?

Yes, you can take the BCBA courses and earn a Certificate from Cleveland State University.

Can I take graduate courses if I am still completing my undergraduate degree?

Yes, talk with an academic advisor as undergraduate students who are within 30 hours of graduation and have an overall GPA of 2.75 or better through the preceding semester along with a 3.0 cumulative GPA in their major field of study may begin BCBA coursework following filing the related paperwork with the Graduate College.

When am I able to begin the accumulation of supervision hours?

You can begin to accumulate supervision hours following the initial class meeting of your first Verified Course Sequence course.

Does the BCBA sequence lead to a license or a certificate?

Persons who have the credential BCBA are known as Certificants and this designation is recognized in all 50 states. Our course sequence does not lead to a license. However, it is an entry point for state-regulated licenses (e.g., Certified Ohio Behavior Analyst). Individuals who complete the course sequence are eligible for a university-issued graduate certificate. To obtain this certificate, you must complete a Graduate Certificate Completion form with your faculty advisor.

Where can I learn more about becoming a BCBA?

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board is an excellent source of additional information. The website for the BACB is www.bacb.com. Be sure to download the PDF file titled BCBA Handbook which is available on the first page of the website.

Who can I contact should I have additional questions?

For more detailed questions related to the BCBA course sequence, feel free to contact Verified Course Sequence Coordinator Anthony Menendez (see contact information below).

Anthony Menendez, PhD, BCBA-D, COBA

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