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Applied Behavior Analysis program becomes state’s first fully online, ABAI-verified course sequence - Columbus State University Skip to Main Content

Applied Behavior Analysis program becomes state’s first fully online, ABAI-verified course sequence

February 8, 2024

Woman and child working on a learning activity involving colored tiles

Columbus State University’s Applied Behavior Analysis program is now Georgia’s first fully online course sequence of its kind to be verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). The distinction provides students with a course sequence that has been pre-reviewed to meet content requirements. 

Behavior analysts are based in schools, clinics and businesses where they help people. They use psychological principles and science to help people with learning challenges, mental health conditions, and even everyday weaknesses like improving communication or productivity. They then help people one-on-one adapt their learning styles to personal challenges or teach new skills to improve their educational, health, family or employment situations. They also work with teachers, families, employers and therapists to create supportive environments for success.

Headshot of Kalynn PistorioMost, according to Dr. Kalynn Pistorio, BCBA-D (pictured), an associate professor of special education who coordinates the Applied Behavior Analysis program, work with children on the autism spectrum by helping them overcome extreme behaviors and teaching them new coping skills. She also noted that behavioral analysts aren’t limited to interacting with people, as the science can even be applied to training animals at SeaWorld and similar environments.

Based in the College of Education & Health Professions, the Applied Behavior Analysis program prepares students to take the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination prior to beginning their careers. Board certification demonstrates a behavior analyst’s educational knowledge and professional experience.

Columbus State students pursuing an Applied Behavior Analysis master’s degree complete 30 fully online credit hours of coursework. Like the professional field itself, the coursework spans knowledge from assessing and addressing special education and behavioral needs in addition to legal and ethical considerations unique to the practice.

The ABAI verification will now provide Columbus State graduates with the confidence that what they have learned in the classroom has fully prepared them for the knowledge required to sit for the BACB exam, according to Pistorio.

“Because our online master’s program is now ABAI verified, our students are fast-tracked from graduating to sitting for their boards because our program has demonstrated that it meets specific ABAI coursework requirements, content hours and faculty qualifications,” she explained. “Graduates of non-verified programs have to go through the tedious steps required to document the rigor of their studies before sitting for the BCBA exam.”

Board certification can enhance a professional’s career advancement and lead to higher salaries. Various job-search sites suggest that BCBAs can earn between $52,000 and $83,000 annually, depending on their education level, experience, location, setting and specialty.


Future behavioral analysts study in Columbus State University’s Master of Education, or M.Ed., in Special Education program, based in the Department of Teacher Education, Leadership & Counseling. The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) track is designed for professionals with an undergraduate degree in education, psychology or a related field who are interested in becoming behavior analysts or teachers who use ABA techniques in their classrooms. 

Media contact:
Michael Tullier, APR, Executive Director of Strategic Communication + Marketing, 706.507.8729,