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Best School Psychology Grad Programs in California

Ready to step into your calling as a school psychologist and support students in California’s classrooms? Our comprehensive guide highlights the best online and on-campus school psychology programs in California and outlines the different pathways available to those who want to become a licensed school psychologist.

Author: Blake Huggins
Editor: STEPS Staff

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As a school psychologist in California, you’ll play a crucial role in improving learning outcomes by addressing behavioral issues and enhancing curriculum plans. Moreover, California school psychologists are in high demand and earn almost $30,000 more than the national average.

To become a licensed school psychologist in California, you must graduate from an accredited and state-approved graduate program. This guide can help you find the program that best suits your needs and start your journey toward becoming a school psychologist. You’ll discover 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 to the CA licensure process, and much more.

2024 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 2024 and stay tuned for our full ranking arriving later next year.

1

Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University offers three school psychology programs in California:a Master of Arts, an educational specialist degree (Ed.S.), and a pupil personnel services (PPS) credential. The school administers these in-person courses of study from campuses in Los Angeles and nearby Playa Vista. Graduates are fully eligible for national certification and state licensure as school psychologists. Loyola Marymount uses a cohort-based model, enrolling approximately 20 new students each year.

To be eligible for admission to a school psychology graduate program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or education, or have completed at least 18 credits in those subjects. Coursework for the program covers a wide range of topics, including research evaluation and statistics, group and individual counseling, behavioral assessment, professional ethics, and family systems theory. In the program’s culminating phase, students spend approximately 2,000 hours in supervised fieldwork at local schools. Upon graduation, students are fully qualified to work as school psychologists in K-12 settings, with most completing the program in approximately three years.

2

National University

Headquartered in La Jolla, National University is best known for its arts and sciences online degrees but also offers hybrid and campus-based programs that include psychology programs. Its Master of Arts in school psychology requires 90 credits and includes a PPS credential. Students who already have a master’s degree in counseling or psychology can earn the PPS credential alone by completing 15 courses in school consultation, cognitive assessment, and crisis response.

The California school psychology programs use 4-week terms to provide increased flexibility and accommodation to students. Core courses such as developmental psychopathology and learning theory may have hybrid options, which provide essential knowledge and skill foundations. Both programs teach students to utilize systematic approaches to schooling, which support data-driven decision-making. The programs conclude with capstone practicum requirements in applied settings, which enhance future employment opportunities.

3

California State University Long Beach