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Distance Learning School Psychology Degree Program Options

Dec 03, 2019

Find out about online school psychology courses and in which degree programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Degree programs in school psychology are typically offered as campus-based programs. Fully online programs don't exist, although a few blended programs that include online coursework, (requiring newer Windows or Mac computer and presentation software), and in-person practical training are available at the master's degree level. If students wish to pursue similar fully online programs, they can consider a master's degree in clinical psychology, with an optional specialization in counselling.

School psychologists need either a master's or doctoral degree in the field to qualify for a professional career, and they must be licensed to practice. Potential students in a hybrid school psychology degree program should inquire about the extent a program can prepare them for professional practice in their state, finding out if a program includes hands-on training courses, a practicum and an internship.

Master's Degree in School Psychology

An online master's degree program in school psychology focuses on the effects that educational settings have on a child's or adolescents' academic, behavioral and social well-being. Students engage in collaborative problem-solving and learn how to base intervention decisions on empirical data. Admission to an online master's degree program requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited school.

Program Information and Requirements

Course work in an online program in school counseling is a hybrid of online and traditional instruction. Completed assignments and exams are submitted via the same portal. Online discussion boards and e-mail facilitate interaction with instructors and other students. Students must also take part in on-site residencies. A master's degree is typically earned in two years.

Participation in an online program requires a newer Windows or Mac personal computer, presentation software and broadband Internet connection. Schools may use a proprietary content management system.

List of Common School Psychology Courses

Master's degree programs are typically structured into a small set of core and a larger set of specialization courses. Core courses in a school psychology program emphasize data analysis, testing and other tools useful in research.

Child and Adolescent Counseling

This course explores child and adolescent development and engages the theory and practice of counseling children and adolescents. Other topics addressed include establishing partnerships with mental health professionals and educators to facilitate successful outcomes in children.

Cognition and Physiology

Students in this course learn the physical structure and chemical properties of the human brain, and consider theories that relate them to human behavior and the brain's capacity to learn. Topics covered also include sensory processes, memory, emotion and the biological basis of psychological disorders.

Behavioral Assessment

The interpretation and use of personality profiling, aptitude testing and other assessment measures in counseling and treatment are the focus of this course. Topics covered including the administration and analyzation of standardized tests.

School Law and Ethics

This course surveys common regulations and laws that govern a school environment and explores the interaction between those strictures and the process of making ethical decisions. Counseling service models, the organizational structure of schools and parental inclusion in education are among the other topics considered.


Career Information

Graduates of an online master's degree program in school psychology are prepared for positions as schools psychologists. They may also consider careers as public school program evaluators and crisis specialists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of clinical, counseling and school psychologists will grow 15% from 2018 to 2028. Increased awareness of the effect mental health and behavioral problems have on learning will be among the factors driving demand for school counselors. As of May 2018, school psychologists earned a median salary of $76,990 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

Although most states require a doctoral degree, some states offer credentials to would-be school psychologists with a master's degree. Some schools may offer a specialist certificate to support a candidate's prospects for licensure as a school psychologist.

Online school psychology master's programs are rare, usually occurring in a blended format, with courses such as youth counselling and cognition and development. Students might alternatively choose a fully online program in clinical psychology.

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