Are you ready to pursue your doctorate in school psychology? Whether you’re trying to jumpstart a new career path, or deepen your expertise in school psychology to enhance an existing career, earning your Ph.D. in school psychology may be a good decision for you. Doctorate in School Psychology programs are available in a variety of formats and focus areas, and may allow you to deepen your expertise and fluency with research so that you could be a more effective professional or pursue a career in research yourself.
Choosing the right program to pursue a doctorate in school psychology is an important decision. How do you know when you have found the right one? School psychology doctoral programs may vary widely between programs and institutions, shaped by your focus area and course of study as well as the particular degree type, program format, and any number of factors. Keeping a few important things in mind may help you to make that decision.
School psychologists typically work with a variety of responsibilities and areas, but keeping in mind your preferred area of focus academically and professionally may help you to narrow down your choice of programs. For example, if you are most interested learning and cognition, or early childhood, or working with a specific disability type, you may be able to find programs that either focus on those areas, or allow you to tailor your program to focus accordingly.
The American Psychological Association (APA) accredits doctoral programs in school psychology. In order to earn accreditation, a program must meet a clear set of standards established by the APA. While not all programs are APA accredited, choosing an accredited program is one way to ensure that your
school psychology doctoral program is high quality in the eyes of the field.
Additionally, according to APA, some internship programs, and even some licensing agencies and employers may prefer or even require a diploma from an APA accredited doctoral program.[i]
Another set of considerations for choosing a school psychology doctoral program are the opportunities offered by the programs in question.
For example, would you prefer to attend a full-time program offering some kind of fellowship or teaching assistantship? If that is a qualifying factor, this may help you to narrow the field.
What about educational opportunities? Does the program offer the opportunity to work with and research under faculty members whose interests align with your own? If you have a particular topic you intend to study, working alongside researchers who are also interested in that topic may be an advantage for you.
And what about internships? You may prefer to attend a school psychology doctoral program with a high match rate of students to reputable or APA-accredited internships.
School psychology doctoral programs are available in a variety of formats. Whether you prefer to attend a traditional campus based program, or require the flexibility of online or distance learning in order to be successful, you may be able to find the perfect program to meet your needs.
Traditional campus-oriented school psychology doctoral programs offer a number of advantages. If you are looking for a fellowship or teaching assistantship opportunity, many of the programs offering these may be based on a traditional campus. On-campus programs offer students the opportunity to interact with faculty one-on-one, collaborate with peers, and take advantage of important networking opportunities. Students may also take advantage of campus resources like the library, gym, career planning support, technology, as well as other resources, all in addition to the positive social aspects of the campus community.
Additionally, with the increasing role technology plays in education, more campus programs may be offering online course options alongside the traditional brick-and-mortar ones, adding an increased level of flexibility to the traditional on-campus program.
If you are a working professional who needs to balance earning your doctorate in school psychology with your career, the flexibility of online school psychology doctoral programs may be perfect for you.
Online school psychology doctoral programs may come in two formats: synchronous and asynchronous:
Synchronous programs may be perfect for students who require the flexibility of the online program, but may be hesitant to leave behind the benefits of the traditional program. Synchronous programs require students to log in online to scheduled courses to attend streamed lectures, participate in discussions and complete course assignments. These programs aim to bring many of the benefits of the traditional classroom to the online space as possible, while maintaining the flexibility of distance learning.
Asynchronous programs may be perfect for busy working professionals, students who prioritize flexibility, and those who thrive when working independently. Asynchronous programs are designed to allow students to log in and complete course requirements on their own schedules, allowing students to fit their education into their individual lives.
Additionally, some online programs may offer both synchronous and asynchronous courses together, making it possible for you to choose the type of course that best suits your needs at that particular time.
If you’re looking for school psychology doctoral programs, you may find yourself choosing between several different degree types. Because each of these doctorate types have their own unique qualities and advantages, how do you know which one is right for you?
A Ph.D. in school psychology might be the most immediately recognizable option, and as such, are widely applicable in the field of school psychology in a variety of ways. Ph.D. programs are one of the oldest types of doctoral programs. Often focused on theory and research, students of these programs might, for example, choose to go on to careers in research or teaching at a university level. A school psychology Ph.D. program might have a prerequisite for research experience or a master’s thesis.
An Ed.D. in school psychology is a newer degree type than the Ph.D. One major distinguishing factor is that these degrees may often be awarded by schools of education, and as such, the particular perspective of these programs may vary accordingly. Ed.D. programs may often attract those who are already working professionals in the field of education, and may not always have the same types of thesis requirements as found in typical Ph.D. programs.
If you’re ready to find your perfect school psychology doctoral program, GradSchools.com can help. Narrow this list down by selecting your preferred program format and location, if necessary. Once the list has been curated according to your preferences, you can start reading about your preferred programs, and reach out to them for more information. Don’t hesitate. Find your perfect school psychology doctorate programs with GradSchools.com today!
Sources: [i] apa.org/gradpsych/2011/09/applier.aspx