A doctorate in school psychology (PsyD) can provide the expertise needed to be a school psychologist. This specialization began along with mandatory school attendance in the early 1900s. Over the years, School Psychology has grown into a critical service to students of public and private education. Psychologists contribute positive social and emotional support to students at all educational levels.
A PsyD in School Psychology could be right for you if you want a career that can make a difference in the lives of others and enjoy working with children.
School Psychology is a branch of applied psychology that focuses on the emotional, behavioral, and developmental needs of students. Licensed School Psychologists work for both public and private institutions. These positions start as young as Kindergarten and continue up through collegiate universities. Professionals in this field ensure children receive proper support through their educational experience. This includes creating an open forum for students to express their personal or social concerns and providing assistance with meeting educational goals.
School Psychology differs from Counseling Psychology by working within the school system. Counseling psychologists often work for mental health agencies or in private practice. They also see people from of any age. School Psychologists use specialized tools to help their students. These include school-based educational assessments, specialized education planning, and cooperative planning with school officials and parents.
Deciding between a MA and Doctorate in School Psychology
As with any psychology degree, the higher you move up, the more you can specialize. PsyD programs can be a great degree for professionals interested in standing out among a crowd of masters degree earners. This degree program may also contain advanced elements that can assist you in being more knowledgeable of lesser known treatment methods, assessments, and policies regarding the delivery of psychotherapy and testing within your state.
Another benefit to moving forward into PsyD programs is the additional leadership opportunities that could arise in your current positions. Current school psychologists that advance their degree while still employed may have the option to apply and qualify for management positions within their current organization.
Salary Potential for School Psychologists
- School Psychologists – Elementary and Secondary Schools: $77,430 on average per year (BLS).
- School Psychologists – Educational Support Services: $74,250 on average per year (BLS).
School Psychology Doctorate Coursework
The PsyD in School Psychology may include in-class and in-person work for students to complete. One program currently offering this degree requires that students engage in 3 years of course work in the classroom setting and follow up with a 600-1200 hour supervised internship in a K-12 school. Applicants to this program that are already licensed psychologists may only need to complete a 600 hour internship while those with no current license may be responsible for completing 1200 hours.
The course work for this degree program may include classes structured around the assessment of school children. This includes topics related to neuropsychological assessments, intelligence quotient testing, and testing for special education services.
If you would like to learn more about the types of courses you could expect to complete in this program, read more down below.
Cognitive/Affective Psychology: Students enrolled in this course can take a closer look at the inner functions of the human brain and its processes. Some topics of interest often included in this course may be memory (long-term and short-term), information retrieval, learning processes, attention, and emotion regulation. Learners in this course can gain better insight to the learning process and things that can interfere with it.
Tests and Measurements: School Psychology students should receive training in several different testing components prior to working with students in the field. Courses like this one can assist future psychologists with gaining skills relevant to conducting standard and common psychological tests, create and implement new psychological tests, and properly analyze the results gathered during the testing process.
Online Doctorate Programs
An online Doctorate program in School Psychology could be a better option for you than a campus-based program. Those that are currently employed full-time, have a busy family life, or are not able to relocate for a degree can complete work online. These programs can be great for students the self-discipline necessary to meet deadlines.
The following are popular universities offering online programs open for enrollment:
- Argosy University – Online PsyD in School Psychology
- Capella University – Online PsyD in School Psychology
American Psychological Association (APA) Accreditation
Students of psychology may be familiar with the APA and its influence in this discipline. This organization can be a great resource for current and future psychiatry professionals.
The APA accredits campus-based doctorate programs. Their accreditation process includes a look at the type of degree, the college or university, and whether or not the institution has met their standards for accreditation.
One important factor to consider when a PsyD is that the APA only accredits campus-based programs. This means that though there are excellent online doctorate programs, the APA will not evaluate them. A lack of APA accrediation is not a sign of quality. You will want to do further research before committing to a program.
The PsyD in School Psychology program at the University of Colorado at Denver can be a great addition to your resume. This APA-accredited program consists of a 94 credit hour requirement. It can be completed in 3-5 years by most students. During this incredible program, students have many opportunities to practice their psychiatry skills. The classroom curriculum paired with in-person experiences can make for an even more thorough investigation into what it takes to become a knowledgeable and skilled psychologist in education. This program meets all the recommendations for licensure through the state of Colorado. Students interested in a reliable and reputable program should consider the University of Colorado.