School psychology is quickly becoming a popular career option for individuals with a degree in psychology. However, with the quickly rising cost of higher education, many students are looking for alternative paths towards earning a degree. An online degree program is an option for those hoping to pursue a degree while also working full-time. Distance learning institutions have many advantages for those who are thinking of switching careers but can’t attend a traditional institution full-time due to job or family obligations. Before pursuing an online degree in school psychology though, it is essential to research whether the program meets state professional licensing requirements.
Requirements for Licensure as a School Psychologist
According to the National Association of School Psychologists, each state has different requirements for professional licensure in the field of school psychology. However, while the requirements all have some differences, in general, students must find a program that is regionally accredited. Many popular distance learning institutions have been regionally accredited. In addition, distance learning programs offered by traditional brick and mortar campuses likely retain the accreditation status of the affiliated traditional campus.
The second requirement for many states is that the student’s degree must be in the field of school psychology. A few states allow those with clinical psychology degrees to pursue licensure as a school psychologist, but the majority require a master’s degree in school psychology. When choosing an online program, it is essential to make sure the school has a strong program in school psychology. A program endorsed by NASP or another professional organization in school psychology ensures that the program has met minimum criteria for the educational component of licensure.
Finally, most states require school psychologists to have completed at least 600 hours of supervised practice in an internship setting prior to licensure. Traditional campus-based programs often assist students in being matched with an appropriate internship. However, for students in an online program, internship matching is often the responsibility of the student. Before choosing an online program, it is important to talk with the school and find out the procedures for completing the required internship.
Online Programs in School Psychology
The National Association of School Psychologists has a rigorous process for approving school psychology degree programs. NASP approval indicates that the university’s program meets standards for licensure and offers a high level of up-to-date training in the field. There are several NASP-approved distance learning programs for school psychology. The following NASP-approved schools have a distance learning option.
- Nova Southeastern University
- Emporia State University
- Capella University
- California University of Pennsylvania
- Brooklyn College
With the rising popularity of distance-learning and online degree programs, it is essential to research the university prior to enrolling to ensure the program meets the standards and requirements for licensure. Seeking an accredited university with a NASP-approved program increases the likelihood that the time and financial commitment involved in earning a master’s degree in school psychology will one day result in securing one’s dream job as a school psychologist.