School Psychology Online Master’s Programs: 2022 Guide

If you’re interested in learning how to make a difference in the lives of young people, it may be time for you to look into earning a master’s in school psychology. Considering the increased emphasis on improving mental health in recent years, a career in psychology is a good way to have job security in a growing industry while helping young people.

As a bonus, you can earn this degree mostly from home, since several programs offer a master’s in school psychology online. If you think this may be the right educational—and eventual career—path for you, here’s what you should know before you start looking for school psychology master’s programs online.

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What Can You Do With a Master’s in School Psychology?

First, it’s important to know how you can use a school psychology master’s degree in the real world. While earning a degree in a subject you’re interested in can be fulfilling on its own, you should also make sure you can use the degree in a career that you can see yourself in for years.

When it comes to a master’s in school psychology, the most common career is a school psychologist. In this job, you can expect to work at a school, spending your days talking to students, their families and their teachers. Your primary purpose would be to create a safe, healthy atmosphere for students at school while ensuring their mental health needs are taken care of.  

In doing this, your job duties would range from counseling individuals and families to performing crisis intervention when necessary. You would also work with students and their teachers and parents to find ways to improve their behavior, grades and overall wellbeing.

If this sounds like a rewarding career for you, enrolling in a school psychology program may be a good idea. You should note that the need for school psychologists is expected to grow by 10 percent between 2020 and 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is slightly faster than the psychology field as a whole, showing that there is a demand for school psychologists.

Furthermore, as of May 2020, the median annual wage for school psychologists was $79,820—which is higher than the median annual wage for the US. So, pursuing a school psychology master’s degree is a good idea if you want to help people while getting into a growing field that pays better than average.

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Can You Complete School Psychology Master’s Programs Online?

If you’re thinking about becoming a school psychologist, but you can’t fit traditional on-campus classes into your schedule right now, you’ll be glad to know that you can earn a master’s in school psychology online. Such programs typically let you watch video lectures from anywhere and read course books on your own time. So if you work during the day on weekdays, you can view recordings, complete coursework and take quizzes on nights and weekends as your schedule allows.

The ability to complete a master’s in school psychology online means people who have full-time jobs and family obligations can still pursue their dreams of helping students with their mental health. Even if you don’t work or take care of your family during the day, you might consider looking at school psychology master’s programs online just to avoid commuting to college—especially if you live far away from any schools offering this degree. When you don’t have to drive to campus every day, you save a lot of time, which you can use to study more for your degree. You also save money on gas, which makes getting a master’s in school psychology online a good way to reduce the cost of your education.

Though you can typically do all your coursework, essays and tests online with this type of program, you might need to complete clinical hours in person so you get field experience before you graduate. In most cases, the college you pick for this degree will help you find a nearby school where you can practice under the supervision of experienced psychologists. You may be able to complete some fieldwork remotely by video, but in most cases, you should expect this part of the program to be in person.

How To Get Into a School Psychology Program

You’ll find many school psychology master’s programs online and while there are some differences between them, most have a similar admissions process. For example, with any master’s program, you need to first get a bachelor’s degree. Ideally, you’ll have your bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. If you have a degree in a different field, you may have to take a few required courses—such as biology and social sciences— before you can get into a school psychology program.

Most school psychology master’s programs online  look at your grade point average (GPA) from the undergraduate years you spent earning your bachelor’s degree. In general, you’ll have the best chance of getting in with a GPA of 3.5 and above, though some programs might consider applicants with a GPA of 3.0.

Many school psychology master’s programs online also require you to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). If the school you’re considering requires this, make sure you have good grades on the GRE General Test, as well as the GRE Psychology Subject test. If you didn’t take the GRE or you don’t want to submit your grades from this exam, look for a school psychology program that doesn’t require the GRE, as some schools no longer do.

Other admissions requirements for the typical school psychology program include letters of recommendation, a personal essay and an interview with the admissions team. So make sure you’re prepared to meet these requirements before you apply to any school psychology master’s programs online.

What Courses Can You Expect To Take During a School Psychology Master Program?

It’s a good idea to know what kind of courses you’ll need to take as part of the curriculum in your school psychology program. In general, you can expect to examine how students learn, as this will make you more effective in your role as a school psychologist. You’ll likely delve into the different needs of students in all different grades at school—including those who are gifted and those with developmental disabilities.

Overall, your coursework will go over various types of psychology, including developmental, social and clinical. It will also focus on improving your research skills, critical thinking abilities and communication style. Some of the most common courses you’ll take in a school psychology program include:

  • Behavioral disorders in youth
  • Classroom discipline
  • Cognitive assessment
  • Child development
  • Issues in school psychology
  • Basics of creating supportive learning environments
  • Education research
  • Theories of psychological interventions at school
  • Social and emotional assessment

Note that on average, it takes about two years to earn a master’s in school psychology. However, some programs let you go at your own pace, so it could take one to three years, depending on your schedule. In addition, you’ll typically need to complete a supervised internship in this field before you graduate, usually during your second year of studies.

How Can You Start Your Career Once You Graduate With Your Master’s in School Psychology?

After you graduate from a school psychology program, you might be excited to get your career started. But to start working in this field, you’ll likely need to get licensed, as most states require this step before you can officially become a school psychologist. You’ll need to check with your state’s requirements to find out exactly how to get licensed.

In most cases, you can expect to take a test—most often the Praxis II exam—and will need to show proof of your school psychology master’s degree and completed internship. The required internship usually takes about one year and 1,200 hours of supervised work to complete and the school you attend for your master’s degree typically helps you set it up.

Many school psychology master’s programs online help recent graduates get any required licensing and certifications to start their careers. They often also help with the job search, as many colleges have partnerships with local elementary and high schools that will hire school psychologists who recently graduated.

How Can You Choose From School Psychology Masters Programs Online?

Now that you’ve learned what to expect from the typical school psychology master program—from the skills you’ll learn to the type of career you can start with this degree—you might feel ready to start applying to schools. But as you start looking at school psychology master’s programs online, you’ll notice a wide variety of options, making it hard to find the right choice for you.

Accreditation 

To choose the best program for your needs, you should look closely at certain details. First, make sure the school you choose has the proper accreditation for this field. The main accrediting agencies include the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the American Psychological Association (APA). These agencies make sure all programs that offer a master’s in school psychology adhere to the same guidelines when it comes to coursework, fieldwork and overall quality of education.

If you don’t choose a school that’s accredited by the NASP or APA, there’s a chance you’ll have difficulty getting any licenses or certifications you need to start your career in school psychology. You’ll also find that most employers only look at applicants who attended accredited schools. To find an accredited school, you can go to the NASP or APA website to see which school psychology master’s programs are listed. If you already have a school in mind, check its website to see if either accrediting agency is mentioned.

Location 

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to accredited programs, you should decide whether you want an online or in-person program. If you can make it to school several days per week and like the idea of meeting your professors and fellow students in person, going to campus for your master’s in school psychology may be the right move. But if you have work and other commitments and need a flexible schedule, you should look into school psychology master’s programs online only.

Admissions Requirements 

Another way to choose the right school psychology program for your needs is to check the admissions requirements. For example, if you don’t want to take the GRE, you should find a school psychology master program that does not require this exam. You should also look at other requirements, such as a certain GPA, volunteer hours or undergraduate courses you’re expected to have completed. Some colleges have stricter requirements than others, so if you don’t meet all of them, you can look at other schools to see if they’d be a better fit for you.

Financial Aid

Before you choose the best school psychology program, take a look at what benefits each one offers students. For instance, consider the available financial aid packages. If you’re going to need to rely on scholarships, grants or loans, you should find a program that offers the financial aid package that’s generous enough to make the school affordable for you. Note that NASP, APA and other organizations in the psychology field often have scholarships and grants available, so check with them for help affording college, too.

Job Placement 

Finally, take a look at how different school psychology master’s programs online help recent graduates. The most popular schools offer job placement help for graduates. This might include assistance making a resume and practicing interview skills or it could mean setting up an entry-level position with a local school so you’re guaranteed a job once you graduate. If you want the best chance of finding employment after graduation from a school psychology master program, you should ask what each school offers as far as job placement help opportunities. The schools that pride themselves on this offering tend to mention it on their website, so look for this feature as you check out school psychology master’s programs online.

Now that you know what you can do with a school psychology master’s degree—and you have some ideas on how to find the best program to fit your needs—it’s time to start looking at all your options. Feel free to take a look at our resources to see a wide range of colleges that offer a master’s in school psychology online and then get ready to start training for your new career!

List of Programs

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Purdue University Global 🗹 Online 🗗 Masters

Purdue University Global 🗹 Online 🗗 Bachelors

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