An applied behavioral analysis therapist specializes in working with children who have autism. Becoming an ABA therapist typically requires specialized training as part of a master's degree program or in addition to one. ABA therapists often work in school settings, although some work in private practice and include ABA therapy as part of their counseling and therapy services.
According to Indeed.com, the average salary of an ABA therapist was $37,000 per year as of July 2011. This salary differs significantly from the salaries earned by most other clinical, counseling and school psychologists. This is probably due to the fact that Indeed.com bases its salary data on current job listings and not necessarily on nationwide salary data. Salaries for therapists tend to be considerably higher. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of most counseling professionals was $72,540 per year as of May 2010.
Placing the salary of ABA therapists within the larger pay scale of other clinical, counseling and school psychologists nationwide provides some additional context. According to the BLS, the median salary of these professionals was $66,810, with the middle 50 percent earning salaries ranging from $50,360 to $86,250. The highest-paid therapists and counselors earned $108,670 or more per year. At the low end of the pay scale were those who earned $39,010 or less per year.
Where the ABA therapist works provides an indication of how much she can generally expect to make. Salary Expert's survey of behavioral therapist salaries in 10 major U.S. cities provides a more exact salary range for ABA and other behavioral therapist salaries than Indeed.com and the BLS. According to Salary Expert, average salaries for behavioral therapists ranged from $55,554 in Charlotte to $72,926 Chicago, at the time of publication. Behavioral therapists in New York earned $71,458 per year, while those in Los Angeles earned $68,284 per year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for psychologists is expected to grow by about 12 percent during the decade from 2008 to 2018. The bureau indicates that school psychologists will continue to be in demand to work with children who have special needs, such as dealing with autism.