Program Overview

The Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis provides coursework required for Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification. Those holding Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification are qualified to work in applied settings such as schools, hospitals, and other organizations as Applied Behavior Analysts. Graduates of this program will have the coursework requirements for qualifying to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam. Beyond earning the Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis, additional requirements to qualify for the exam consist of field experience hours and a master’s degree. Courses taken toward the ABA certificate can also fulfill requirements of appropriate graduate programs.

Board Certified Behavior Analysts seek to increase, decrease, modify, or maintain socially significant behaviors by studying how behaviors interact with the environment.  Board Certified Behavior Analysts then help to develop strategies for promoting successful behaviors while addressing issues that might maintain less adaptive behaviors.  Board Certified Behavior Analysts work in many settings including mental health, schools, hospitals, residence facilities, and other human service settings. 


studemt working with a child

Admissions Requirements

Visit the graduate bulletin for admission requirements for this program.

Review of fully complete applications will begin after February 1 for Fall enrollment and be considered on a rolling basis after this date. Applicants will be selected by the department faculty based on the merit of the overall application, and the number of applicants accepted will depend upon the program’s current capacity. The program does not accept applications for the Winter or Summer terms.

Full certificate requirements are provided in the graduate bulletin.

Students in this program take the following courses: 

Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis Course

Courses Credits
ABA 501 Concepts and Principles of Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 502 Research Methods in Applied Behavior Analysis
   or PSY 505 Advanced Research Methods in Behavioral Sciences
ABA 503 Behavior Assessment 3
ABA 504 Behavior-Change Procedures 3
ABA 505 Conceptual Analysis of Behavior 3
ABA 506 Practice and Ethics in Behavior Analysis 3
ABA 507 Personnel Supervision and Management in Behavior Services 3

Course Sequence

Fall Courses

Winter Courses

1st Year

ABA 501 

ABA 502/PSY505

Total Credits: 6

1st Year

ABA 503

ABA 504

Total Credits: 6

2nd Year

ABA 505

ABA 506

Total Credits: 6

2nd Year

ABA 507


Total Credits: 3

There are many behavior analysis research opportunities at Northern Michigan University.

  • Behavior Education Assessment and Research (BEAR) Center. 
    • The Behavior Education Assessment and Research (BEAR) Center is a university clinic and research facility overseen by the Department of Psychological Science. The BEAR Center conducts clinical research in Applied Behavior Analysis. 
  • Toegel Laboratories
    • The Toegel Labs in the Department of Psychological Science are overseen by Drs. Cory and Forrest Toegel. The labs conduct human and animal research in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (EAB) and Applied Behavior Analysis.
  • Gambling and Gaming Laboratory
    • The Gambling and Gaming Lab in the Department of Psychological Science is overseen by Dr. Jacob Daar. The lab conducts research on gambling, impulsivity, and risk-taking behaviors.
  • Neuropsychopharmacology Laboratory
    • The Neuropsychopharmacology Laboratory in the Department of Psychological Science is overseen by Dr. Adam Prus. The lab conducts research on the neurological and behavioral effects of psychoactive drugs, particularly those used to treat mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

The Department of Psychological Science has several additional laboratories and research opportunities in the areas of behavioral neuroscience, cognitive/affective neuroscience, social psychology, performance psychology, mental health/wellness, and educational psychology. 

Individuals professionally certified in applied behavior analysis at the master's level are in demand nationwide. In Michigan, the demand is also high. Michigan's Autism Insurance Reform legislation went into effect in 2012. The new law requires health carriers to provide coverage for diagnoses and treatments related to autism spectrum disorders. However, Michigan lacks enough providers to immediately serve the needs of all of the children in the state with autism. According to the Autism Alliance of Michigan, there are over 15,000 kids in Michigan and not enough Board Certified Behavior Analysts in Michigan to help those families.

This program is the first of its kind in the Upper Peninsula, where demand is especially high for behavior analysts.  

Where you might work: 

  • Schools
  • Outpatient mental health facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Clinics
  • In an industry trying to improve worker efficiency

Salary range: Typically, applied behavior analysts earn between $60,000-80,000 a year. 


In U.S. states (including districts and territories) that have licensing for behavior analysts, a BCBA is required. The NMU degree meets this educational requirement. States that currently require licensure for behavior analysts are listed below (2/6/24). Licensing fees will vary across states. In Michigan, the total fee (license fee for 4 years + application fee) for a BCBA is $452.40 for 2024.

New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Dakota

More information on state licensure requirements, including links to state licensing information, can be found here.

Contact Information

Department Contact Information | 906-227-2935

Weston Hall, Room 1001

If you have college credit and want to find out what will transfer to NMU, please visit

Program Director Contact Information

Dr. Jacob Daar, PhD, BCBA-D
1131 Weston Hall

Behavior Education Assessment and Research (BEAR) Center Contact Information

BEAR Center webpage:


Main Office: 906-227-2994


*Pass-rate data for VCS programs can be found here. Pass-rates are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of Operation.