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- Best Accredited School Psychology Programs in California
- Top Online School Psychology Programs in California
- Types of School Psychology Grad Degrees in California
- Accreditation and State Approval for School Psychology Programs in California
- Financial Aid for School Psychology Grad Students in California
- How to Become a School Psychologist in California
- Job Outlook for School Psychologists in California
- School Psychologist Earnings in California
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School psychologists are key members of the California education workforce. As one, you’ll be able to improve learning outcomes by addressing behavioral issues, enhancing curriculum plans, and using other tools. California school psychologists continue to be in-demand and median earnings exceed the national average by almost $30,000.
Aspiring school psychologists in California must obtain licensure by graduating from an accredited and state-approved graduate program. This guide will help you identify the program that’s right for you and start your path to becoming a school psychologist. You’ll find a list of this year’s top-ranked online and on-campus programs, a breakdown of the different types of school psychology programs available, a step-by-step guide on the CA licensure process, and much more.
2021 Rankings: Best Accredited School Psychology Programs in California
The best school psychology programs in California have the curriculum, flexibility, and student support you need to become a skilled school psychologist. To help jumpstart your search, we’ve identified three of the best schools meeting those criteria. These programs set themselves apart through affordable, accredited programs that prepare you for state licensure. See who stands out in 2021 and stay tuned for our full ranking arriving later this year.
Loyola Marymount University
California State University Long Beach
Top Online School Psychology Programs in California
Accredited California school psychology programs with online or hybrid formats provide additional flexibility for busy students and working professionals to advance their careers. Below we spotlight some of the top-ranked psychology programs in California providing a range of options to match your background and long-term goals. Some offer fully online programs, while others use hybrid delivery with in-person fieldwork requirements. Either way, expect to receive material and interact with content using interactive tools like videoconferencing and discussion boards. Many of these programs continue to use cohort models for their online programming to encourage additional support and collaboration. See our guide to online school psychology programs for more information on what you can expect.
Alliant University Meridian University
Fresno Pacific University
Types of School Psychology Grad Degrees in California
There are several different types of school psychology programs at the graduate level, and the right one for you will depend on your specific career goals and previous education and professional experience. Each degree type is discussed in detail below, followed by a list of accredited California universities that offer it, to help you find the program that’s best for you.
Accreditation and State Approval for School Psychology Programs in California
Schools with psychology programs in California should possess some form of institutional accreditation, regional or national, granted by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. This ensures that high levels of quality and rigor back the degree you earn.
Beyond the institutional level, California school psychology programsshould hold approval from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC). This is especially important because the CCTC sets licensure eligibility requirements, including mandatory education standards. If you plan to work as a school psychologist in a K-12 setting in California, you need to complete an approved program.
Other organizations like the American Psychological Association (APA), the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) also accredit California school psychology programs. These agencies recognize schools and programs that meet field-specific standards in psychology, school psychology, and education.
Financial Aid for School Psychology Grad Students in California
Scholarships, grants, and other financial aid opportunities can help you pay for your education. Professional organizations like the California Association of School Psychologists offer awards to their members in addition to other advancement benefits. School psychology students are also typically eligible for broader opportunities in psychology like those listed by the APA.
Many of the best California school psychology programs offer scholarships and other awards to their students. At the graduate level that usually means research or other service-based fellowships often including professional development components. For example, California State University Long Beach and Alliant International University both extend financial aid opportunities to school psychology students. For more information on financial aid for school psychology and grad students, see the STEPS scholarship listing and financial aid guide.
How to Become a School Psychologist in California
If becoming a licensed school psychologist in California is your main goal, you’ll need to complete some additional steps beyond the necessary education before you can begin work. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) oversees this process and establishes eligibility requirements. An overview of those steps is provided below.
Complete an Approved Program
The first step is to complete an approved education and training program like the ones discussed above. This could be a master’s program, an Ed.S. course of study, a PPS program, or some combination of the three. The CCTC only requires that the course of study consist of at least 60 credits beyond the undergraduate level. It also keeps a useful directory of approved programs.
Obtain PPS Recommendation
Once you graduate from a CCTC-approved school psychology program in California, you must obtain a proper recommendation. The CCTC requires that new candidates for licensure procure recommendations from an approved program with a PPS program in school psychology. Most applicants receive recommendations from the school they have graduated from.
Complete a Basic Skills Assessment
Under California education codes and regulations, new licensees must also complete a basic skills assessment. A computer-based exam, the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) measures competency in key areas like reading, writing, and mathematics. The test usually takes around 4 hours to complete. Preparation materials are available through the state of California.
Submit Fees, Fingerprints, and Application
After steps 1-3 are complete, you’re ready to apply for PPS licensure as a school psychologist. Begin by submitting live fingerprints with the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Once you pass the criminal background check, submit a licensure application and pay any applicable fees.
Maintain Your Credentials
Licensed school psychologists must renew their credentials periodically to remain compliant with California laws and regulations. The specifics vary depending on your background, work history, and gained experience, but they sometimes involve another application and updated fingerprint records. Licensure renewal ensures that working school psychologists keep their skills and knowledge up to date.
Job Outlook for School Psychologists in California
|Employment (2018)||New Jobs Created (2018-2028)||Job Growth Rate (2018-2028)||Average Annual Openings (2018-2028)|
Source: Projections Central; Data reflects job outlook for Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists
School Psychologist Salaries in California
|10th Percentile||Median||90th Percentile|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||$58,950||$107,470||N/A|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||$48,860||$103,930||N/A|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||$60,660||$104,220||$163,010|
|San Diego-Carlsbad, CA||$69,560||$102,510||$206,920|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||$47,450||$101,900||$167,110|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$69,660||$112,790||$159,010|
|San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA||$85,510||$125,330||$143,340|
|Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA||$43,090||$76,000||$145,760|
|Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA||$55,730||$119,610||$158,480|
|Santa Rosa, CA||$88,850||$131,740||$181,890|
|Yuba City, CA||$46,070||$79,510||$104,770|
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020; Data reflects job outlook for Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists