ABA Therapist Statistics, Facts & Demographics in U.S.

11 Jan 2022
New ABA therapy statistics show there are more than 33,633 ABA therapists currently employed in the U.S.

Key ABA Therapist Statistics and Facts

  1. There are more than 33,633 ABA therapists currently employed in the U.S.
  2. There are over 100 ABA therapy companies in the U.S. alone.
  3. 85.60% of all ABA therapists are women, and 15.4% are men.
  4. Most ABA therapists are located in New York, NY and Indianapolis, IN.
  5. ABA therapy is considered the gold standard for treating autism, with over 30 years of research supporting its effectiveness.
  6. Approximately 77% of children with autism receive some form of behavioral therapy.
  7. There are currently over 40,000 Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) globally.
  8. The number of BCBAs has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 19.6% in the past 10 years.
  9. The average annual salary for a BCBA in the United States is around $74,000.
  10. California, Texas, and Florida have the highest numbers of BCBAs.
  11. 64% of BCBAs are women.
  12. 83% of BCBAs are Caucasian, 7% are Hispanic, 6% are African American, and 4% are Asian.
  13. 56% of BCBAs hold a master's degree, while 44% have a doctoral degree.
  14. The demand for ABA services is expected to continue growing due to increased ASD diagnoses and greater awareness of the benefits of ABA therapy.
  15. 34 U.S. states have enacted autism insurance reform laws, which require health insurance providers to cover ABA therapy for autism.
  16. The average age of ASD diagnosis is around 4 years, with early intervention significantly improving outcomes.
  17. ABA therapy can lead to improvements in communication, social skills, and adaptive living skills for individuals with autism.
  18. ABA therapists are also trained to work with individuals with other developmental disorders, such as ADHD, learning disabilities, and intellectual disabilities.
  19. Intensive ABA therapy (25-40 hours per week) is often recommended for young children with autism, but the intensity and duration of therapy can vary depending on individual needs.

ABA Therapist Demographics

Source: zippia.com
  • The majority of BCBAs are women, representing 64% of the profession.
  • Most practitioners hold a master's degree (56%) or a doctoral degree (44%), highlighting the advanced education required for certification.
  • There is a significant representation of Caucasian professionals in the field, accounting for 83% of BCBAs. Other ethnicities include Hispanic (7%), African American (6%), and Asian (4%) individuals.
  • California, Texas, and Florida have the highest numbers of BCBAs, reflecting the population density and demand for ABA services in those states.
  • The average age of BCBAs is 39 years old, with most entering the profession in their early to mid-30s.
  • ABA therapists work across various settings, including schools, clinics, hospitals, private practices, and community-based organizations.
  • Efforts are being made to increase diversity within the profession through targeted recruitment initiatives and scholarships for underrepresented groups.

ABA Therapist Demographics By Gender

  • According to a study conducted by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), women represent approximately 86% of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs) combined.
  • The same study reveals that men account for only about 14% of BCBAs and BCaBAs.
  • In comparison, the overall U.S. workforce has a gender distribution of 53% male and 47% female, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Research suggests that women may be more attracted to ABA therapy careers due to their traditionally strong representation in caregiving professions and their interest in working with children.
  • Among Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs), the gender distribution is also skewed toward women, with about 89% being female and 11% male.
  • The percentage of female professionals is higher in ABA therapy than in other healthcare professions, such as nursing (89.8%) and psychology (67.3%).
  • Some initiatives, like mentorship programs and scholarships, are being introduced to encourage more men to enter the ABA therapy profession and promote gender balance.
  • In 2010, the gender distribution of BCBAs was approximately 83% female and 17% male (BACB, 2010).
  • By 2015, the proportion of female BCBAs had increased to 85%, while the percentage of male BCBAs remained at 15% (BACB, 2015).
  • In 2020, the number of female BCBAs slightly increased to around 86%, with males representing about 14% (BACB, 2020).
  • The trend demonstrates a consistent increase in the proportion of females entering the ABA profession over time.
  • Comparatively, other related fields like psychology have seen an increase in gender balance over time. For example, in the early stages of psychology's history, it was predominantly male-oriented; however, by the late 20th century and into the early years of the new millennium women became more prominent in this field.

ABA Therapist Gender Ratio By Year

ABA Therapist Demographics By Age

Source: zippia.com
  • The average age of ABA therapists in the United States is approximately 39 years old (BACB, 2020).
  • Most ABA therapists enter the profession in their early to mid-30s, after completing graduate-level education and obtaining certification.
  • The age distribution of ABA therapists tends to be younger compared to other healthcare professions such as clinical psychologists, whose average age is around 46 years old (APA, 2015).
  • A majority of ABA therapists (approximately 60%) are under the age of 40, reflecting a relatively young workforce in the field (BACB, 2020).
  • About 30% of ABA therapists are aged between 40 and 49 years old, while those aged above 50 account for around 10% of the profession (BACB, 2020).

Growth of the ABA Therapy Industry

The number of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) has experienced substantial expansion in response to the increasing demand for ABA services. Some notable statistics highlighting the growth of the ABA profession include:

  • There are currently over 40,000 BCBAs globally, demonstrating a significant increase in professionals trained to provide ABA services.
  • The profession has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 19.6% over the past decade.
  • In the United States, the number of certified behavior analysts increased by over 800% between 2005 and 2018.
  • The top three countries with the highest number of BCBAs are the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
  • The demand for ABA services is expected to grow as more individuals receive autism diagnoses and seek evidence-based treatments.
  • BCBAs provide services across various settings, such as schools, clinics, hospitals, and private practices.
  • The ABA profession is actively working to expand its reach and provide training and services in underserved regions worldwide.

This rapid growth of the ABA profession emphasizes the value of evidence-based treatments for individuals with autism and reflects society's growing awareness and understanding of ASD.

ABA Therapist Salary Outlook by Certification

Salaries in the ABA profession can vary depending on the level of certification held by the therapist. Here's a breakdown of average annual salaries based on different ABA certifications:

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA): $74,000
  • Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA): $45,000
  • Registered Behavior Technician (RBT): $36,000

These figures are averages and may vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and employer. Additionally, those with higher levels of education or specialized training may command higher salaries within their certification level.

ABA Therapist Employment and Salary Trends

Company Size Where Aba Therapists Work | Source: zippia.com
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the employment of psychologists, including those specializing in ABA therapy, is projected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations.
  • In 2020, there were approximately 5,700 job openings for ABA therapists in the United States (Zippia).
  • The BLS does not provide specific data on ABA therapists; however, they report a median annual wage of $82,180 for psychologists in May 2020.
  • According to Payscale.com, entry-level ABA therapists with less than one year of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $39,305 based on 234 salaries.
  • An early career ABA therapist with one to four years of experience earns an average total compensation of $41,926 based on 1,160 salaries (Payscale.com).
  • A mid-career ABA therapist with five to nine years of experience earns an average total compensation of $51,205 based on 363 salaries (Payscale.com).
  • An experienced ABA therapist with ten to nineteen years of experience earns an average total compensation of $58,723 based on 134 salaries (Payscale.com).

ABA Therapist Turnover Rates and Strategies

  • ABA therapist turnover rates have been reported to range between 30% and 50% annually (ABA Marketplace Survey, 2020).
  • High turnover rates in the field can be attributed to factors such as burnout, job-related stress, low wages, and lack of career advancement opportunities.
  • A study by the Association for Professional Behavior Analysts found that 47% of ABA therapists cited burnout as a primary reason for leaving their position (APBA, 2019).
  • In response to high turnover rates, organizations are implementing strategies such as increased training and supervision, mentorship programs, and employee wellness initiatives.
  • The employment rate for ABA therapists is expected to grow by 8% from 2020 to 2030 (BLS), which is on par with the average growth rate for all occupations.
  • According to the BACB's annual report, there were over 5,700 job openings for ABA therapists in the United States in 2020.

Summary

In summary, the ABA therapist profession has experienced significant growth over the past decade due to the increasing demand for evidence-based treatments for autism and other developmental disabilities.

The majority of ABA therapists are women, with a growing interest in attracting more men to the field. ABA therapists often hold advanced degrees and work in various settings, such as schools, clinics, hospitals, and private practices.

Salaries vary based on certification level and experience. The future outlook for the profession is promising, with continued growth expected as awareness of ASD increases and more individuals seek effective treatments.

Sources

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Data & Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • National Autism Center. (2015). Findings and conclusions: National standards project, phase 2.
  • Green, V. A., Pituch, K. A., Itchon, J., Choi, A., O'Reilly, M., & Sigafoos, J. (2006). Internet survey of treatments used by parents of children with autism. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 27(1), 70-84.
  • Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2020). BACB certificant data.
  • PayScale. (2021). Average Board Certified Behavior Analyst Salary.
  • Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2020). 2020 BACB certificant demographics.
  • Autism Speaks. (n.d.). Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
  • Autism Speaks. (n.d.). Autism Insurance by State.
  • Matson, J. L., & LoVullo, S. V. (2008). A review of behavioral treatments for self-injurious behaviors of persons with autism spectrum disorders. Behavior Modification, 32(1), 61-76.
  • Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2020). US Employment Demand for Behavior Analysts: 2010-2021.
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021). Labor force statistics from the Current Population Survey.

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