What is the Salary of an ABA Therapist?

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Updated: February 5, 2024, Reading time: 8 minutes

Salary of an ABA Therapist - featured image

As the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) continues to grow, demand for ABA therapists with the right credentials is also on the rise. ABA therapists play a crucial role in helping individuals with behavioral disorders and developmental disabilities lead more fulfilling lives.

With this responsibility comes the expectation of having the necessary qualifications and expertise to provide effective therapy. In today’s competitive job market, having the right credentials enhances an ABA therapist’s reputation and leads to higher salaries and better job opportunities.

Here are the figures on the average salary of ABA therapists in the USA as of 2023.

Of the average annual wage figure stated above, ABA therapists receive around $42,000 as their base salary per year, while the rest can be attributed to bonuses and profit sharing, among other additional pay.

The annual wage of more than 30,000 ABA therapists across the country as of October 2023 ranges from $38,600 to $80,000, which calculates to a relatively narrow gap of only $41,400. This disparity indicates that the employee compensation scale within the ABA therapy sector is somewhat consistent and standardized. 

Additional Resources:

How Much ABA Therapists Earn Based on Experience and Position

How Much ABA Therapists Earn Based on Experience and Position - Image

As ABA therapists further their careers with experience, their income capacity also increases. Below is their potential average annual wage based on years of experience.

The salaries of various positions across the ABA therapist career path are the following:

High-Paying States for ABA Therapists

ABA therapists earn much more than the national average in the following US states:

If you’re an ABA therapist in the following states, however, you might want to consider relocating because salaries are more than 25% lower than the national average:

Some of the top cities where ABA therapists receive higher compensation are the following:

How ABA Therapist Salaries Compare to Similar or Alternative Careers

How ABA Therapist Salaries Compare to Similar or Alternative Careers - Image

According to the country’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of ABA therapists is at par with the $55,760 annual mean wage for all workers under the Community and Social Service Occupations category. These include the following related jobs or alternative careers for ABA therapists:

On the other hand, the average salary of ABA therapists falls way below the $96,770 annual mean wage for all workers under the Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations category. These jobs include:

What fringe benefits can ABA therapists receive from their employers?

For most people, the base salary (and cash bonuses) may not be enough to determine which company they’ll want to work for. Fringe benefits, also referred to as perks, also play an essential role in their final decision. This is also true for many ABA therapists.

According to Indeed, one of the world’s popular job sites, ABA therapists are generally offered the following fringe benefits on top of their salaries:

Employers also provide a variety of perks that help in enhancing the careers of their ABA therapists. These professional development benefits, according to Indeed, commonly include the following:

These perks are essential when choosing where to work because they offer a variety of benefits, including:

How ABA Therapist Earn More

How ABA Therapist Earn More - Image

If you’re an ABA therapist or currently considering being an ABA therapist, there are many ways to boost your potential to earn higher than the average professional.

Advance your education.

Consider furthering your education to advance your ABA therapist career, even if entry-level assistant positions may only need an undergraduate degree.

Graduate-level degrees, such as Master’s and Doctorate, open doors to career advancements, as well as other prestigious careers like University Professors, School District Counselors, Clinical Supervisors, and Program Coordinators.

Obtain certifications and licensure.

The Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) may not be a mandatory certification in all states. However, almost every employer across the country recognizes this graduate-level certification offered by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and prefers certified ABA therapists.

Clients also value ABA therapists with such certification, as it reflects the professionals’ credibility and commitment to industry and ethical standards.

Gain relevant experiences.

From the moment you choose the ABA therapist career path, always be on the lookout for learning and training opportunities that will provide you with a solid foundation of behavior analysis concepts and relevant hands-on experiences beyond the classroom settings.

These include attending degree programs with capstone requirements and internships in the curriculum. 

The college or university you’re enrolled in may also offer mentorship and research opportunities as well as field trips and immersions. After completing your degree program, don’t hesitate to apply for entry-level positions in the ABA field to jumpstart your career in the real world.

However, don’t get stuck in the lowest position for long, and make sure to aim for higher positions when opportunities arise.

Consider specializing in a niche area.

The ABA therapy field covers a wide range of areas, not just matters involving autism spectrum disorders. Explore the possibility of focusing on a particular age group or other specific developmental disorders, such as special education or speech and language therapy, to establish yourself as an authority or expert in such a niche and potentially open doors to unique, higher-paying opportunities.

Explore employment opportunities in various settings.

If you’re not aware by now, being an ABA therapist isn’t just limited to clinical settings. There are opportunities for you in various non-clinical settings such as schools, community centers, sports facilities, and even in the industries of economics, politics, entertainment, and technology development.

Depending on the environment or the industry, there will be differences in terms of salary range, compensation packages, and career advancement opportunities.

Seek employment in high-paying companies or larger organizations.

Large hospitals, universities, and government agencies often provide higher compensation packages than community clinics and small private practices. If you want to boost your income capacity as an ABA therapist, make sure to keep an eye on the industry for your next potential employers.

According to Indeed, the following are some of the top US-based companies for ABA therapists:

Think about working in high-demand and high-paying locations.

If relocating is not an issue, consider working in locations where ABA therapists can earn much more than the national average. These include cities like New York, Bronx, and Brooklyn, as well as states like Wisconsin, New Mexico, and South Carolina. These areas are typically where there’s a shortage of qualified ABA therapists or where the cost of living is at a high level.

Salary of an ABA Therapist - fact

Bottom Line

The average annual salary for ABA therapists in the country is $55,500 annually. Several factors determine the professionals’ compensation package, including their years of experience, job positions, and employment locations.

However, the final decision regarding the company you’ll work for is not just based on the salary offered but also on the fringe benefits, as well.

While understanding these salary and compensation details for ABA therapists across the country, you can have realistic expectations for your career and possibly be able to negotiate your salary based on your qualifications and experience effectively.

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