BHCOE Issues New Report on ABA Workforce Hourly Wages, Salaries and Turnover in The U.S.

Rising hourly wages, salaries and turnover could signal higher ABA rates for patients and payors and more workforce instability for providers.

LOS ANGELES — Nov. 16, 2021 — Today, BHCOE, the international accrediting body for ABA, released a report presenting average hourly wages in the U.S. for direct care staff, and salaries for supervisory staff. The 2021 ABA Compensation & Turnover Report also includes job turnover data for direct care, supervisory staff and, for the first time, clinical directors. BHCOE last reported ABA U.S. workforce data for 2018.

Key findings of the 2021 report include:

  • Average pay rates for direct care staff increased from $17.70 in 2018 to $18.99 in 2020
  • Annual salaries for supervisory staff increased from $76,752 in 2018 to $83,470 in 2020
  • Supervisor and direct staff turnover has steadily increased since 2015
  • Clinical directors were impacted the most by COVID-related terminations
  • Voluntary departure dominates the reasons why direct care staff and supervisors leave jobs

Reporting is based on data gathered during 2019 and 2020. Compensation is reported for each U.S. state. States are grouped by estimated cost-of-living categories. Median, average minimum, average maximum hourly wages, and salaries are included. Percentage occurrence for turnover type, such as voluntary, involuntary, and Covid-related is reported.

“A qualified and stable workforce is the bedrock of quality ABA care,” says Sara Gershfeld Litvak, BHCOE’s Chief Executive Officer. “But as this report shows, compensation continues to rise for direct care staff and supervisors and there is work to be done in understanding how reimbursement rates should adjust with this increase, and how reducing turnover can increase continuity of care. BHCOE Accreditation, with its evaluation of career development opportunities, supervisory and managerial support within ABA organizations, can give providers specific insight to prioritize keeping their employees happy, committed and engaged.”

To create the 2021 ABA Compensation & Turnover Report, BHCOE, aggregated data from organizations who completed its evaluation process for accreditation during 2019 and 2020. A total of 177 organizations provided data on direct level hourly pay rates and 166 organizations who provided data on supervisor hourly pay rates. The same organizations provided data on overall turnover rates as well as turnover separated by type.

About BHCOE Accreditation

Behavioral Health Center of Excellence® (BHCOE®) is an international accrediting body created to meet accreditation needs specific to the delivery of applied behavior analysis (ABA) services. BHCOE’s accreditation requirements undergo regular review according to international standards for organizations that grant accreditations. Content experts annually review all BHCOE requirements and survey content. BHCOE Accreditation® is a certification given to an ABA organization when it has demonstrated and continues to meet clinical and administrative standards as determined by an independent third-party evaluator. BHCOE offers Preliminary Accreditation, Full Accreditation, Telehealth Accreditation and Practica Accreditation.


Behavioral Health Center of Excellence® (BHCOE®) is an organization within the autism field that is dedicated to leading evidence-based quality improvement of equitable Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) through its creation of performance-based standards for providers and learning and improvement resources for all stakeholders and as the only international accreditor for the field. To learn more about BHCOE, visit


Anshula Ahluwalia

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