How to Select a Graduate Program

Selecting an appropriate graduate preparation program will be one of the most important decisions you will make in joining the profession of school psychology. There are approximately 240 universities offering school psychology graduate programs across the United States. These programs reflect considerable diversity in where they are located in the university (e.g., Department of Psychology, Department of Education), what they prepare you to do as a school psychologist (e.g., work as a practitioner, college/university professor, researcher), and how they prepare you to do it.

Before you start looking at different university programs, consider the following:

  • To become a school psychologist, you will need to complete a graduate school program that awards a degree (specialist-level and/or doctorate) specifically in school psychology.
  • To enroll in graduate studies, you will need to have your bachelor’s degree and any undergraduate prerequisites required by the program(s) of your choice.
  • Most school psychology graduate programs include academic courses, supervised fieldwork and an internship to prepare you in both professional knowledge and skills.

To work as a school psychologist, you must be certified or licensed by the state in which you work. Employment in a public school setting generally requires certification by the State Department of Education.

Although individual states may have different requirements for certification, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) requires a minimum of specialist-level training.

Prospective students can review data on all programs, including program approval/accreditation, enrollment, faculty, financial aid, respecialization, and internship data in NASP’s Program Database.

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