School psychology combines various principles of psychology, including educational psychology, developmental psychology and community psychology, along with clinical psychology and applied behavior analysis to create the right learning environment for children, pre-teens and teenagers. It also lays emphasis on their behavioral health. A school psychologist works with teachers and other educators, as well as parents.
While training to become a school psychologist, students are taught about how children and adolescents develop, their psychopathology, how families operate, parenting techniques and more. Students are also taught psychological testing and assessment methodologies, counseling techniques, ethical boundaries of the profession, etc.
School psychologists primarily work in the K-12 educational system, though some also find employment in organizations that develop design learning programs for children and adolescents. School psychologists can also work independently as consultants to schools or other educational organizations and with individual students.
Levels of School Psychology Degree
School psychology degrees are offered at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral level. Plus, there are specialist courses and degrees that train students to become school psychologists, as well as certificate programs. One can become a professional school psychologist with a master’s degree in the subject such as a degree in either of the following — Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS) and Master of Education (MEd) – all of these are available as online master’s in school psychology. Doctoral degrees in school psychology such as Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) and Doctor of Education (EdD) also open up the path towards becoming a professional school psychologist.
Besides these, there are certain specialist degree programs such as Education Specialist (EdS) and Specialist in School Psychology (SSP), which are considered to be ideal for someone looking to becoming a professional school psychologist. These specialist degree programs are more advanced than master’s degree programs but do not require the same length of time or cost involved in doctoral degree programs. Typically, specialist degrees are completed in three to four years, including a nine-month internship at a school or educational environment. Whereas, a doctoral degree can take anywhere between five to seven years to complete, which includes a twelve month internship period.
Currently, the National Association of School Psychologists considers a specialist degree to be the ideal option for students looking to enter the field of school psychology and practice at a school at the entry level.
Best Online School Psychology Programs
Now, let’s take a look at the top-rated school psychology programs you can take online.
Highly renowned by both staff and students, they’re the best online school psychology degree programs you can enroll in and they will catapult you into a career as a school psychologist.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The Chicago School offers an online doctoral degree program, Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Psychology and Technology. This program is designed to make students experts in the field of learning technologies. They will learn the techniques of critically evaluating the quality of teaching, issues with learning instructions, etc. They will also be able to develop new learning approaches, with the help of learning technologies and determine the best way to implement the same. The program offers specializations in higher education learning and technology and K-12 education learning and technology.
All online students will be using an interactive learning system called Canvas, which can be accessed on laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones, to study course material, check and submit assignments, collaborate with other online students and ask the instructor questions. Canvas will be accessible 24×7 and you will also get technical support to resolve any issues that may crop up.
While this is primarily an online program, students do need to attend two offline sessions. Both offline sessions will be three to four days long and will provide students an opportunity to interact with the faculty face-to-face, meet the other students enrolled in the program, attend in-depth sessions of special topics and more.
This is a part-time program, which allows working students to enroll and continue working at their current job. The core courses and concentration area coursework is completed in three years and all students need to submit their final dissertation within five years from the date of enrollment.
The program is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Capella University offers an online Doctor of Psychology in School Psychology degree. Students are taught the theoretical concepts and principles of school psychology, as well as trained in the skills required to assess students with learning disabilities or behavioral issues, work with teachers and other educators in creating solutions and developing better learning techniques and more. The program includes online coursework and assignments, opportunities to teach and hands-on training through internships. In terms of skills, you will learn to conduct research, supervise, consult and develop strategies for intervention and prevention. This degree will prepare you to take up supervisory positions in schools and institutes of higher education.
You need a master’s degree in psychology or a related degree to apply for this program. You also require a GPA of 3.0 or more. Check out the other admission requirements here. The tuition cost of this program is $540 per credit hour. You can apply online or call on 1.866.933.5902 to learn more about the program.
Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school psychology program is also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards.
Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University offers two online graduate degrees in school psychology. The Master of Science in School Psychology degree has a total of 30 credit hours. Students will be taught behavior therapy, developmental psychology, child psychopathology, appraisal methods, statistics and more. A bachelor’s degree in psychology or education and GPA of 3.0 or more are a must for admission. The Education Specialist degree in School Psychology has a total of 36 credit hours. Students will be taught characteristics of early childhood special education, psychological consultation in schools, learning program evaluation and more. It also includes a nine credit practicum.
A master’s or doctoral degree in school psychology doesn’t make you eligible for licensure and certification necessary for clinical practice. You will be able to work in the education system, with schools, university and other education-related institutions.