Master of Science (M.S.) in School Psychology programs have a curriculum that is approved by and based on the standards of a state licensing body or the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Program applicants must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, letters of recommendation, transcripts from their bachelor's degree program and a personal statement declaring why they aspire to become school psychologists. Once enrolled, students take a combination of advanced psychology, mathematics and communication courses. While taking classes, students are also expected to conduct research, complete a thesis and gain practical experience through an internship.
Master of Science (M.S.) in School Psychology
Master of Science (M.S.) in School Psychology program classes are centered on child development, student assessment and evaluation, research and educational environments. Students take didactic courses covering human development, principles of psychology, psychoeducational and child personality assessment, interviewing, research methods and statistics.
To apply their knowledge and gain experience, students are required to complete a supervised internship with school-aged children as well as a thesis that focuses on a particular aspect of school psychology. Some of the course topics that prepare students for that experience include:
- Adolescent and child social development
- Educational learning theories
- Childhood psychopathology
- Educational administration
- Counseling theories and practice
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth rate for clinical, counseling and school psychologists is 15% over the 2018-2028 decade. The median annual salary for these professionals is $76,990 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Although licensing laws vary by state, most states require aspiring school psychologists to earn a master's degree and take a qualifying exam before they can work in a school setting. Additionally, individuals can gain certification through NASP, which awards the designation of Nationally Certified School Psychologist. To earn the credential, individuals must complete 60 graduate credit hours and 1,200 hours of supervised work experience.
Students enrolling in a master's degree program in school psychology can expect to complete a thesis as well as practical internships in order to graduate. Once the program has been completed, students can seek employment as school psychologists, often after passing a mandatory qualifying exam.