Earning a degree in school psychology is an excellent way to make a difference in a person’s life. Whether that person is a child or an adult going to college, you can provide guidance and support to them through the knowledge you will obtain through your education. Even if you already have some knowledge and experience in psychology, the benefits of a school psychology degree are helpful because the curriculum typically involves specifics about what it takes to address issues related to education and those who are involved, as well as how to take part in addressing the needs of educational institutions to ensure equality and social justice. If you’re interested in a degree in school psychology, you may be searching for the best quality education. A great place to start is with school psychology programs offered by institutions that are accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). This article reviews some of the best programs so you have an idea of where to start.
- State University of New York, Plattsburgh – Master of Arts in School Psychology
Students are prepared to work with a wide variety of diverse clients through the rigorous coursework and curriculum through State University of New York, Plattsburgh. The courses and curriculum are intended to promote knowledge in the theories and practice of psychology that can be applied to enhancing the well-being of children and adolescents with behavioral, academic, and emotional struggles. The graduate program has five primary areas that students are required to complete. These include coursework, practica, Praxis, thesis, and their internship. Students will complete a one-year internship in their third year of the program for a minimum of 1,200 hours, where they will apply the knowledge they gained from coursework to the field. They will also attend a certain number of practicum activities that total 120 hours in the first three semesters of practica, and 240 hours in the fourth semester. The program is normally completed within three years.
Tuition: $42,225 total, which includes fees
- University of Oregon – Master of Science in School Psychology
University of Oregon’s MS in School Psychology program is designed to prepare students to take on the challenging and rewarding work of school psychology by training them to provide evidence-based services to individuals through the strategy of prevention and early intervention.This program stands out because it emphasizes an “outcome-drive” model, meaning that it focuses on “desired outcomes rather than on problems”, per the university website. Another important factor to this program is promoting equity and inclusion towards groups that tend to be underserved. During the program, students will need to complete 92 total credits. Students will take courses and behavior, education, psychology, counseling, behavior and intervention, and a number of other important subjects. They will also take part in an internship where they can apply what they have learned.
Tuition: $1,384.25 per credit, which includes fees
- California State University, Monterey Bay – Master of Science in School Psychology
The school psychology program at California State University Monterey Bay is designed to educate students on how to promote the development of their future clientele in many ways beyond academics, including their personal and social needs as well. Students of this program will receive experience in the field learning assessment and intervention skills from the first year of the program. This program makes students eligible for the Pupil Personnel Services credential in school psychology. This program takes students approximately three years to complete, and the curriculum consists of courses in topics such as multiculturalism, behavioral intervention, advocacy, trauma-informed practice, consultation and intervention, research, human development, psychology, and more.
Tuition: $15,600 per semester, which includes fees
- University of Texas, San Antonio – Master of Arts in School Psychology
The school psychology program at the University of Texas is designed to provide students with the education and training necessary to earn their state license as a school psychologist. Students who earn this degree will qualify to work with children who are experiencing a number of behavioral, academic, and emotional difficulties. Students will learn the skills to assess and intervene with those difficulties and help those children become successful. Some strategies that the students will learn in the course include crisis intervention, counseling, research, evaluations, consultations, psychological assessments, program evaluations, and more. During the fall and spring semesters, the courses at University of Texas are typically offered 6:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. During the summer, the courses meet Monday through Friday during the day or evening.
Tuition: $26,877 per year, which includes fees
- Chapman University – Education Specialist in School Psychology
The EdS program at Chapman University is designed to educate students on skills such as assessment, intervention, mental health counseling, behavior management, and more with children who are in preschool through high school. The program has a low student-to-faculty ratio, so students can enjoy close collaboration with their peers and professors on research and presentations. Chapman also offers opportunities to study abroad and paid internship opportunities. This 69-unit EdS program can be completed in three years if taken full-time, or four years if extended. Students will also take part in 1,800 total hours in the field, getting the chance to apply what they have learned. Dual degrees are also available. Students can also choose to have an emphasis in Clinical Counseling.
Tuition: $1,130 per credit + fees
- University of the Pacific – Education Specialist in School Psychology
The EdS program at University of the Pacific educates students on how to use data-based decision making and developmental knowledge as well as a number of interpersonal skills to assist students and families through challenges. Graduates will understand the needs of children who are in both regular and special education, and be able to approach said needs with their knowledge in cognitive, social, and emotional domains. They will also become familiar with how to balance communicating with not only students and families, but also school personnel and other professionals. Students who enroll in this program will need to have earned 56 units beyond a master’s degree. Upon nearing the end of the program, students will complete fieldwork which will result in a portfolio examination that will demonstrate the student’s understanding of the NASP school psychology degree competencies.
Tuition: $1,140 per unit + fees
- University of Northern Colorado – Education Specialist in School Psychology
University of Northern Colorado’s EdS program educates students through their belief that there is an importance in applying the scientific, evidence-based knowledge one has learned to their practice and vice versa. In this program, when students are working in the field, they will gain experience working directly with students, parents, and other mental health professionals. They will also get the opportunity to work with professional psychologists and other faculty to gain their perspectives. This field experience takes place over a 500 hour practicum over the course of one academic year as well as a 1200 hour internship in the last year of the program.Students can rely on a supportive staff and program, as the UNC’s EdS program has seen a 100% graduation rate over the last 20 years.
Tuition: $633 per credit hour + fees
- Florida State University – Education Specialist in School Psychology
Students of Florida State University’s EdS program have the opportunity to receive a degree as an Education Specialist as well as a Master of Science in Counseling and Human Systems over the course of three years. In the program, students will grow to become knowledgeable and skilled school psychologists who will work with elementary and high school faculty to help address the behavioral and educational needs of children. In the program, students will complete 73 hours of coursework over the three years of the program. Foundational knowledge will be taught in the first year, and in the second, students will have the opportunity to apply their learned skills in practicum. In the third and final year, students will complete their internship.
Tuition: $479 per credit hour
- Northeastern University – Master of Science in School Psychology
At Northeastern University, the goal of the MS in School Psychology program is to produce graduates who are highly competent and knowledgeable in school psychology. Students who participate in this program should be able to create and implement effective interventions to assist with behavioral, emotional, and educational struggles that children are experiencing. They will also learn how to effectively counsel these children alongside their parents, and consult with said parents and teachers to develop individualized student plans as well as school-wide prevention programs. Students will complete 62 semester hours, which includes a one-year internship. There are a required 525 hours of practicum in the first two years of the program, and 450 hours (two days a week) of work in the field in the next year. The program takes approximately three years to complete.
Tuition: $1,752 per credit hour + fees
- William James College – Master of Arts in School Psychology
At William James College, the Master of Arts in School Psychology program is designed for students who have a passion for working with children and advocating for their needs. This program prepares you for working with students who are experiencing adjustment or mental health problems, and teaches you how to prevent, assess, and intervene. You will gain practical experience in real life classrooms that range from kindergarten through 12th grade in your required practicum and internship during the program. You also have the opportunity to work with real families and school faculty to support students and gain experience for your career after you earn your degree. In the first year of the program, students will learn in an elementary school. After that, they will practice in a middle or high school. In the third year, the student will be working five days as an intern at a location that assists them in meeting their interests and ultimate career goals.
Tuition: $1,195 per credit + fees
- University of Detroit – Specialist in School Psychology
University of Detroit’s Specialist in School Psychology program educates students with a strong curriculum to enable them to become knowledgeable school psychologists. The program has three main objectives, which consist of being able to assess individuals as well as the system in which they are taking part, designing interventions, and providing direct and indirect services. Students will also be expected upon graduation to advocate for children both individually and as a group within a school system and communicate with parents and school personnel for the well-being of students and the school. This program can be completed in 3 years, and consists of 66 credit hours of full-time study. Students must complete 600 hours of practicum, as well as a 1200 hour, three semester internship. In addition to earning their specialist in school psychology degree, they are also awarded a Master of Arts in School Psychology degree when they complete the first year. Students who graduate will have the opportunity to be paired with one of the schools within the three districts that the university is partnered with.
Tuition: $1,1751 per credit hour + fees
- The College of Saint Rose – Masters in School Psychology
The Masters degree in school psychology program at St Rose works to address issues of social justice and diversity by educating future school psychologists on how to address mental and behavioral health with diverse families. This educational institution is focused on promoting the well-being of communities and improving educational and mental health services for all. The goal for the program is to develop students into graduates who are able to collaborate with parents and other school faculty to create a safe and supportive environment for students with a strong connection between their home and their school. The coursework that students take in this program integrates courses such as school psychology, educational psychology, special education, and counseling. In the program, students will complete a 240 hour practicum in the field. They will also complete a 1200 hour internship. The total length of the program is 18 months of full-time study. After earning their degree, students will be eligible to earn their Certificate of Advanced Study.
- Iona University – Master of Arts in School Psychology
Iona University’s Master of Arts in School Psychology program prepares students for a future career in school psychology by helping students develop integrity, competence, and skill. Students who take part in the program will learn the science of child and adolescent behavior as well as how to provide services such as assessments and interventions, prevention techniques, and program development strategies. Research is another big part of the program, where students will learn how to apply it to their practice. The program consists of a 64 credit curriculum that involves a 90 hour practicum during the student’s second year. In the last year of the program, students will complete an internship as well. Additionally, students will choose between a thesis or literature review paper seminar.
Tuition: $1,287 per credit + fees
- California State University, Fresno – Education Specialist in School Psychology
The CSU Fresno education specialist program prepares students for a future career as school psychologists by promoting a foundation of diversity and education so that students will have respect and an understanding of culture. This program focuses on a “consultation framework”, which works through prevention first, so issues can be adjusted ahead of time. When working with children and families, students are taught to view problems from a systems perspective and to use scientific problem solving. In their first four semesters of the program, students will complete 600 practicum hours at minimum. In their third year, they will complete a 1200 hour supervised internship. This 71-unit program can be completed within 3 years of full-time study.
Tuition: $4,048 per semester, which includes fees
- Northern Arizona University – Education Specialist in School Psychology
At Northern Arizona University, the Education Specialist in School Psychology program seeks to prepare students to become skilled psychologists who understand intervention, evaluation, and assessment skills that are necessary and helpful for working with families, individuals, and organizations. NAU offers this curriculum with multiple flexible options, including on-campus, online, or hybrid courses. The program is designed to prepare students for licensure. Students will take courses in psychology, mental health, human development, interventions, consultation, and more. The length of the program is 72 units, and students must take part in fieldwork experience and an internship.
Tuition: $11,390 per year + fees
What is a NASP-Accredited Psychology Program?
A NASP-accredited psychology program has earned accreditation status through the National Association of School Psychologists. These psychology programs provide education for the future generation of psychologists who are passionate about addressing the needs of students and their families, as well as promoting social justice within school by understanding multiculturalism and mental health. The goal of NASP-accredited psychology programs is to promote practices that improve the mental health, behavior, and learning of students so that they thrive in school, life, and at home.
Why Choose a NASP-Accredited Institution For My School Psychology Program?
NASP accreditation guarantees quality and stability for the schools who have earned the title. This is because the organization is responsible for promoting consistent and rigorous standards among institutions that provide education on school psychology. NASP also requires and works towards advancing high standards of ethical practices. Students can be assured that their NASP-accredited school will adequately prepare them for the licensing exam as well as their future career in helping students, groups, and families. The NASP is constantly working to improve and innovate school psychology as a field due to the team of leaders and professional staff who are passionate about their core purpose, which involves advocacy for students, families, and the professionals who service them, as well as promoting school safety. This core purpose means that the NASP is good not just for you as a student enrolled in a psychology student, but those in K-12th grade schools, you in your career, and the faculty of those schools.
Requirements to Enroll in a NASP-Accredited School Psychology Program
The requirements for enrolling in a psychology program may differ slightly depending on what school you are applying for, however, the general core expectations remain consistent across most institutions. Additionally, there is a slight difference in the application process for a Master’s degree school psychology program and a Education Specialist school psychology program. The first requires that you have your bachelor’s degree, while the second is a more advanced degree and requires that you hold a master’s degree already.
If you are ready to start the application process, here is what to prepare:
- A bachelor’s degree (if applying for MA/MS in school psychology) or master’s degree (if applying for an Education Specialist program) in counseling, psychology, or a closely related field.
- A cumulative GPA of 3.0 in their previous BA/MA/MS program.
- An essay/statement of purpose. This prompt will be provided by the institution on the application.
- Verification of degrees earned.
- Three professional letters of recommendation from employers and/or educators.
- An admissions interview held by the department.
NASP-Accredited School Psychology Program Scholarships and Grants
Finances may be an important aspect to consider when making plans to earn a NASP-accredited degree in school psychology. The first application you might consider is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This tool can be filled out each year that you are in school. It will determine if you qualify for any grants based on your income and a few other factors. Another good idea is to ask or look on the website of the institution that you are interested in if they have any scholarships and grants available to students directly. Many often do, and it can be an excellent route to discover extra funds.
Beyond the FAFSA, there are many options available online that you can pursue, and many websites have made it easy by gathering scholarships into one place. Below is a list of websites that feature grants and scholarships for psychology students.