School of Education & Counseling

Applied Behavior Analysis with Specialization in Autism Intervention  Doctor of Philosophy

The PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with Specialization in Autism Intervention prepares students to serve in leadership positions in private companies and public entities that provide behavior services to a wide range of populations. It's especially important work since, in 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that approximately 1 in 36 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder.

Boston
48 Credits
Starts June 2, 2025

Modality

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ABA counselor

The Cambridge College program was ranked as the No. 2 Applied Behavior Analysis PhD program in the United States by ABA Degree Programs in 2021.

PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis with Specialization in Autism Intervention Overview

Designed for working professionals, the PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis with Specialization in Autism Intervention offers clinical leadership training that prepares students for leadership roles within human service organizations and within the field of applied behavior analysis. Coursework ensures that students develop the supervisory and management skills necessary to succeed in high-level leadership positions.

The program also focuses on advanced research and dissemination of applied behavior analysis. Coursework is designed to further develop students’ clinical skills and enhance their ability to conduct, evaluate, analyze and apply research findings in their clinical settings. 

The ABA doctoral program is a three-year, 48-credit course of study that includes one-week summer residencies in Boston during the first two years. The program follows a distance-learning model during all other semesters. An applied dissertation is also required.

Highlights of the Cambridge College PhD in ABA Program

  • Convenience: Program can be completed in 3 years using a distance learning model (via Zoom) combined with week-long residencies at our Boston campus in years 1 and 2. Dissertation research can be completed at any location.
  • Flexible, hybrid course options: Designed to meet the needs of working adults, the PhD program is offered via convenient evening classes. Courses are taught in a mix of remote, live classes to promote discussion and build rapport with your cohort, as well as online classes to support study from any location and two week-long, on-campus residencies.
  • No GRE required: Start your PhD degree quickly. Cambridge College offers an easy application process and does not require GRE exams for admission to the PhD program.
  • Faculty with real-world expertise: PhD faculty hold administrative and supervisory positions at partner organizations, such as Beacon ABA Services and The Evergreen Center.
  • Cost-effective: Cambridge College is committed to keeping tuition low and to providing an excellent value for the quality of education you receive.

“I would recommend the PhD program at Cambridge College because the faculty have student success in mind.”

Jeff Fossa
PhD candidate

Learning Outcomes

In the ABA Doctoral Program at Cambridge College, students will:

  • Analyze published research across a range of behavior analytic content, including evaluating the experimental methods used and interpreting the results
  • Synthesize published research in a particular topic and consider gaps in the research to develop research questions for their applied work and to articulate the impacts of these gaps on service delivery
  • Formulate systematic research studies using valid experimental designs to enable them to qualify for full membership in the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and to present findings at regional and national applied behavior analysis conferences
  • Develop experimental methods to address the research question in their applied dissertations
  • Evaluate published research addressing skill development and behavior reduction procedures for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and synthesize that research to create a taxonomy of empirically supported treatment procedures
  • Create assessment procedures for evaluating treatments, conduct assessments, analyze the outcomes of those assessments, and synthesize the results of assessments to develop function-based treatment plans and instructional programs
  • Propose and adapt empirically supported staff-training models and systems
  • Design and conduct trainings in advanced ABA content across a range of audiences (students, parents, stakeholders, etc.)
  • Upon graduation, eligible graduates may seek the BCBA-D designation from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

PhD Tuition Information

Location
Cost Per Credit
Credits*
Total Program Tuition
Boston
Cost Per Credit$1,076
Credits* 48 credits
Total Program Tuition $51,648

*See curriculum sheet for a breakdown of credits and credit ranges.

Careers in Applied Behavior Analysis with Specialization in Autism Intervention

Annual nationwide demand for individuals holding BCBA/BCBA-D certification has increased each year since 2010, with a 23% increase from 2021 to 2022

According to Glassdoor.com, the average salary in 2023 for BCBA-D's is $110,371.

$85,330

Median annual salary for BCBA-D's*

$141,910

Annual salary of top 10% of psychologists**

*Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2023). US employment demand for behavior analysts: 2010–2022. Littleton, CO: Author. (visited Dec. 20, 2023).

** www.glassdoor.com (visited Dec. 20, 2023). 

Jobs for Those With a PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis

Psychologists have a range of job options to choose from. They may work independently, conducting research, consulting with clients, or working with patients. They can find roles on health care teams, collaborating with physicians and social workers, or in school settings, working with students, teachers, parents, and other educators. Many choose to work in private practice.

Faculty Spotlight

Daniel A. Almeida

Daniel A. Almeida

PhD, BCBA-D, LABA-MA, LBA-CT

Program Director, Autism/Applied Behavior Analysis Programs

Daniel Almeida is the Program Director for the Ph.D. in ABA program at Cambridge College. Previously, he was the District Supervisor of ABA Services for a major public school district in Greater Boston and held a variety of director-level positions at private, ABA-based schools is Massachusetts. He received his Ph.D. in ABA from Simmons University. Dan has provided ABA services to students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and related disabilities for over 35 years. He has published original...

Joseph Vedora

Joseph Vedora

EdD, BCBA-D, LABA

Assistant Program Director and Program Chair, Autism/Applied Behavior Analysis Program

Joseph Vedora, Ed.D., BCBA-D, LABA is the Assistant Program Director and Program Chair for the Autism/Applied Behavior Analysis Program. Dr. Vedora also holds a clinical position at the Evergreen Center, where he is the Vice President of Behavioral Services and Professional Development. Dr. Vedora began teaching at Cambridge College in 2011 and currently teaches in the master's and Ph.D. programs. Dr. Vedora has served as the dissertation advisor for five students. He also served as a...

John C. Ward-Horner

John C. Ward-Horner

PhD, BCBA-D, LABA

Senior Faculty

John Ward-Horner is the Behavioral Education and Treatment Director at the Evergreen Center and is Senior Faculty in the School of Education and Counseling at Cambridge College. Dr. Ward-Horner received his doctorate in Psychology with a specialization in Learning Processes and Behavior Analysis from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He has provided services to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities since 2001, and his clinical work has...

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