This article talks about master’s degree programs for aspiring school psychologists and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and certification choices.
Master’s Programs for Aspiring School Psychologists
State licensure is compulsory for prospective school psychologists who are typically required to qualify for such licensure by earning a master’s degree. Schools offer a Master of Science (M.S.) in School Psychology for the benefit of such individuals. Coursework must meet standards set up by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) or a state licensing body.
The curriculum comprises didactic courses augmented by an internship or supervised work experience whereby students can apply their knowledge to real-world settings with school-aged children. Several hours are also dedicated to research in the field, and students might have to complete a research project or thesis paper focusing on a specific aspect of school psychology.
Admission criteria typically require incoming students to have completed undergraduate courses in psychology, in addition to submission of letters of recommendation, GRE scores and transcripts, and a personal statement of purpose.
Program coursework covers basic student assessment and evaluation, the principles of psychology, educational environments, and statistics and research. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:
•Counseling theories and practice
•Educational learning theories
•Adolescent and child social development
•Research methods and statistics
•Child personality assessment
Job and Wage Outlook
In 2012, about 103,590 individuals were employed as clinical and counseling psychologists, in the United States (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). During 2014, clinical, school and counseling psychologists brought in an average annual wage of $74,030 (BLS).
While each state may have its separate licensing laws, common requirements include the completion of a master’s degree, and passage of a state qualifying exam before program graduates are allowed to work in a school setting. Program graduates can also seek professional certification offered through the NASP, including the Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential. The designation is available through the completion of 60 credit hours of a graduate program, augmented by 1,200 hours of internship experience.