Inside Look at Online School Psychology Programs

From a rundown of degree options to a list of top-ranked universities, learn key info about convenient online school psychology programs that let you advance your education and career on your terms.

Last Updated: 12/22/2020

If you want to help both students and teachers do their best, working in the school psychology field may be a great fit for your interests. You’ll be able to work with students to address school, home, and life issues while also supporting teachers as they seek to understand student needs and create effective teaching plans. An online school psychology degree program can provide an affordable and versatile way to advance your education and get into this fulfilling field. Interested in learning more? Continue reading to find out about common courses, available degrees and certifications, top programs for 2021, and job opportunities.

2021’s Best Online School Psychology Programs

Finding best-in-class online school psychology programs can take some time, as not all are created equally. EduMed’s analysts combed through options to find the best programs based on proper accreditation, affordable tuition rates, and the flexibility working students need when beginning or advancing their careers. Check out three of the top school psychologist online programs for 2021 below.

1

Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University offers an online school psychology program in the form of an Ed.S. degree. Designed to support working professionals, the degree mainly uses asynchronous learning that you can complete on your own schedule alongside a weekly synchronous meeting and an annual in-person training session at the Cheney, Washington, campus. Candidates typically identify as educators or other professionals already working in counseling, psychology, or education.

ESU’s online program in psychology consists of 107 credits in topics such as applied learning theory and behavior modification, advanced child and adolescent development, academic assessment for school psychology, and intervention and program evaluation. You must also participate in a practicum and an internship and create a portfolio to graduate.

For the 2021-2022 school year, expect to pay $433 in tuition per credit. The school offers both two- and three-year graduation timelines and admits new students in the winter who then begin the following summer.

2

Drexel University

Drexel University

If you’re looking for a hybrid program, Drexel University’s online school psychology Ed.S. program could be a great fit. Offered as a full-time program, students usually take three years to graduate, including two years of coursework and one year of internships. The curriculum consists of 70.5 quarter credits and is taught during four, 10-week quarters rather than a traditional semester-based system. Coursework includes typical and atypical development in early childhood education, cognitive and academic assessment in school psychology, legal and ethical requirements, and fundamental elements of behavioral change.

To receive admissions consideration, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school, 3.0 or higher GPA, GRE scores of at least 1100 (optional), and demonstrated experience working with children and/or adolescents. You must also provide official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal essay. Tuition costs $1,007 per credit for the 2020-2021 academic year.

3

Capella University

Capella University

Capella University has you covered if you’re looking for an online Psy.D. in school psychology. As part of degree requirements, you’ll take part in virtual classes, graduate teaching opportunities, a clinical practicum, and internships. While the vast majority of coursework is taken online, you will visit Capella’s campus to participate in advanced training and to network with your professors and peers.

The degree consists of 22 core courses that translate to 145 quarter credits. Some of the classes you’ll take include consultation and collaboration schools, functional behavior assessment and assessment reviews, and interventions and response to interventions. Graduates go on to roles as academics, school psychologists, diagnosticians, program directors, researchers, and consultants.

Admission requirements include a master’s degree from an accredited institution, 3.0 or higher GPA, three letters of recommendation, a comprehensive goal statement, writing samples, and a resume. The department does not require GMAT or GRE scores.

Explore Top-Ranked School Psychology Programs in Popular States

What Are Online School Psychology Programs Like?

School psychology online programs exist in various forms, depending on the school and degree level. Doctoral programs tend to require the most of students, including completion of coursework, internships, a practicum, and a portfolio. At this level, programs are also the most likely to require some in-person residencies to obtain the degree. However, often certificates can be completed without setting foot on campus.

Learning outcomes may include the ability to evaluate learners and create effective interventions, an understanding of data and research around school psychology methods and frameworks, and the ability to work with teachers and administrators to reach shared student outcomes. Advanced programs also work to build leadership and consultancy skills that can be used in high-level positions.

Which School Psychology Degrees Can I Earn Online?

A variety of school psychology programs offering both fully online and hybrid studies are available these days. You can also find different degree levels to suit your professional goals. If you aren’t sure which program is the best match, explore the options in this section and learn more about each.

Master’s Degrees in School Psychology

After completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field, you can pursue these programs. Typically requiring two to three years to complete, you will study topics such as the history of school psychology, fundamentals of behavioral theory and intervention, and multicultural counseling. Programs also include a practicum lasting three semesters and an internship lasting two semesters. Some programs require GRE scores while others waive this requirement, so check with program administrators.

Graduate Certificates in School Psychology

These programs, which typically take a year or less to complete, support professionals who already have a master’s degree in psychology but lack the specialized training to work in a school setting. Comprising approximately 15 credits, graduate certificates deliver the knowledge and skills needed to translate your existing advanced psychological education to this specific area of the field. Many schools offer these programs, both as online and in-person options.

Specialist Degrees School Psychology

You can select from several different school psychology specialist degrees that are between master’s and doctoral programs. Options include the Specialist in Psychology (Psy.S.), the Specialist in School Psychology (SSP), and the Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) to help yourself stand out in the field without committing to a longer doctorate. Some schools also provide master’s and specialist combined programs through online or hybrid studies.

Doctoral Degrees in School Psychology

School psychology doctorates come in three different forms: the Ph.D., the Psy.D., and the Ed.D. The Ph.D. best serves your interests if you want to work in research and/or academia. The Psy.D., by contrast, was designed for students who aspire to work as clinical practitioners and provide psychological services. The Ed.D. is an excellent option if you want to teach psychology courses or work in other educational settings. These programs vary in terms of coursework, graduation requirements, clinical experiences, and timelines.

Accreditation for Online School Psychology Programs

Attending an accredited online school psychology program is one of the most critical facets of your educational journey. Attending an unaccredited program could cause problems when it comes to seeking employment and licensure. Accreditation comes in two forms: institutional and programmatic.

When looking at institutional accreditation, try to find a school that holds regional accreditation as this is seen as more desirable than national accreditation. In terms of programmatic accreditation, the National Association of School Psychologists designed the Program Accreditation Board to help students find top-tier programs.

What Can You Do with a School Psychology Degree?

Career prospects within the world of school psychology depend entirely on the degree level you attain. A master’s degree opens the doors to some careers, but most roles call for specialist and/or doctorate qualifications. Whether you decide to work in support, research, academia, or private practice, jobs in this arena typically pay above the national average for all occupations and offer growth and advancement opportunities over time.

School Psychologist

School psychologists typically possess at least a master’s degree, a qualification that provides them with essential training to support students and teachers. Common responsibilities include assessing learners’ behavioral and emotional needs, providing counseling, resolving conflicts, developing coping skills, and helping students communicate their needs.

Special Education Teacher

These educators work with learners facing emotional, learning, mental, and physical disabilities. Some schools require a bachelor’s degree, while others prefer candidates with a master’s degree. Special education teachers with school psychology backgrounds can use their knowledge to serve students better and meet their individual needs.

Principal

Whether working in an elementary, middle, or high school setting, principals oversee the running of their institutions. They manage teaching and administrative staff, work with the community to address behavioral concerns, and communicate with parents/guardians to ensure each learner receives the support they need.

Instructional Coordinator

These professionals help develop curricula and teaching standards based on the latest research about teaching and learning outcomes. A school psychology degree can give instructional coordinators the insider knowledge and tools needed to create learning plans that encourage and support instruction that meets each child where they are. Instructional coordinators need a master’s degree at a minimum.

School Counselor

Working in primary, secondary, and postsecondary settings, school counselors evaluate student needs, identify the issues that affect their school performance, provide counseling services, and help students develop needed social and emotional skills. They also work closely with teachers, parents, and administrators.

Licensing and Certification for School Psychologists After Online Degree Programs

Because all school psychologists—and many professionals in related roles—must hold licensure and/or certification to practice, ensuring you attend a school that allows you to do so is of utmost importance. If you plan to attend an online school psychology program outside your state, ask both the program administrator and the board of licensure if this program qualifies in your area.

Requirements for receiving licensure and/or certification vary by state, but the National Association of School Psychologists sets standards for what you need to complete in a program to qualify. For instance, if working toward a specialist degree, you must complete a program comprising at least 60 credits and an internship lasting at least 1,200 hours.

In addition to the required qualifications, you can also gain optional certifications that help you stand out against other job seekers. The National Association of School Psychologists provides the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential as an example.

10 Helpful School Psychology Resources for Students

  • American Psychological Association (APA)
    The APA provides a section of its website dedicated to school psychology, offering information on what this specialty area entails and the skills gained through an educational program.
  • Journal of School Psychology
    With a focus on critical literature reviews and original empirical articles, the Journal of School Psychology encourages both research and publishing in the field and is issued quarterly.
  • National Association of School Psychologists
    This professional association provides accreditation, professional development opportunities, industry publications, research, and other helpful resources for school psychology students and professionals.
  • A Day in the Life of a School Psychologist
    Alliant International University takes a close look at the work school psychologists do in a typical day and provides information on what to expect.
  • Kentucky Association for Psychology in the Schools (KAPS)
    KAPS operates as a state-level professional association for school psychologists. Plenty of states maintain their own membership organizations, so search for one in your region.
  • Society for the Study of School Psychology (SSSP)
    SSSP works to further the amount of research done in school psychology and ensure the findings reach a broad audience. The group also provides an early career forum for recent graduates.
  • Trainers of School Psychologists
    This membership group, designed for those who train the next generation of school psychologists, organizes an annual conference, publishes research, and provides resources to help educators stay on the cutting edge of the discipline.
  • School Psyched!
    Follow this regularly updated Twitter account of school psychologist Becca Comiz to get an insider’s look at what it’s like to work as a school psychologist.
  • School Psychologist Files
    A practicing school psychologist put together this expansive website filled with helpful resources on assessment, intervention, disabilities, and other important school psychology subjects.
  • School Psyched Podcast
    This podcast provides current and regularly updated episodes that feature interviews with professionals in the field and discussion of contemporary topics.