Interested in enhancing your career in school psychology with a graduate degree? Looking for school psychology graduate programs? School psychologists typically work within a school population, supporting students by identifying and assessing students with diverse learning needs or disabilities, developing and maintaining IEPs, supporting a positive school community atmosphere, and much more. Many school psychologists may seek out advanced education, such as a specialist degree or a doctorate, either to jumpstart a new career or to enhance an existing one.
Choosing School Psychology Graduate Programs
Choosing the right School Psychology Graduate Programs may be a big decision. How do you know which graduate school or program is right for you?
School psychologists have a wide array of responsibilities. From working with teachers to identify and test students with exceptional learning needs, to developing IEPs and serving on IEP teams, fostering a positive school culture, intervening, and ensuring a positive collaboration between teachers and caretakers, school psychologists apply their scientific expertise to help students of all levels learn in ways that are effective for them. Expanding your expertise by pursuing graduate education may enhance your career and strengthen your skill set to help you succeed.
One key aspect in choosing the right School Psychology Graduate Programs for you is ensuring that the program focuses in an area appropriate to your goals. For example, knowing whether you wish to study in a program that is more theoretical, with an academic and research focus, or one that is practitioner-oriented, may help you narrow down your options. These orientations are sometimes referred to as Scientist-Practitioner, Scientist-Practitioner-Scholar, etc.
Alternately, if you have an interest in working with a specific population, whether that be an age group, behavioral, physical, or learning disability, or in a specific role, such as counseling, testing, or research, you may be able to find a program that is oriented toward your specific goals.
Finally, the opportunities offered in conjunction with a program may be important contributing factors. For example, for someone wishing to move on to a Ph.D. program, hands-on research opportunities at the master’s level may be a valuable component. For someone aiming to jumpstart a new career, the opportunities to observe in the field and obtain guided, hands-on experience applying knowledge in real-world settings may be a good fit.
Types of School Psychology Graduate Programs
If you are aiming to pursue graduate education in school psychology, identifying School Psychology Graduate Programs at the correct level for your education and experience is a clear first step. However, once you have identified whether you’re looking to earn your master’s, doctorate, or a graduate certificate how do you choose the right type of degree? Understanding the differences between each degree type may help you to narrow down your choices.
Earn Your Master’s in School Psychology
If you want to pursue a career as a school psychologist, depending on the state you live in, earning at least a master’s degree may be a requirement for obtaining professional certification. Earning your master’s in school psychology may also enhance an existing career by demonstrating a higher level of expertise in your field through study and experiential learning.
Your preferred institutions may offer any of several types of on-campus or online school psychology master’s programs. The most common types of programs are M.A. and M.S. The individual differences between these program types may vary by institution. However, one of the most important ways to differentiate if both are offered is by thesis requirement. If you plan to continue your study beyond the master’s level, you may wish to choose a program with a research or thesis component. In addition, you may find M.Ed. programs in school psychology being offered. Often, these are issued by schools of education, also carry similarities to the M.A. and M.S. programs. However, this may also reflect a focus on educational concepts and the science behind the way people learn.
Often listed alongside typical master’s degrees, specialist degrees allow someone to demonstrate post-master’s level expertise in a specific concentration. These programs may frequently be offered continuously with a master’s program, meaning you could go straight through the specialist degree program upon completion of the master’s. School psychology specialist degrees include SSP (Specialist in School Psychology), Ed.S. (Educational Specialist), and Psy.S. (Psychology Specialist). As these degrees typically focus on a narrower concentration within the field of school psychology, the specific differences between degree types may often vary between programs.