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Frequently Asked Questions - About School Psychology

What is a school psychologist?

School psychologists use their training in both psychology and education to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments for all students. NASP offers an array of materials on the profession.

Where do school psychologists work?

The majority (81%) of school psychologists work in public school settings. Others work in private schools, community agencies, hospitals and clinics, or universities. School psychologists generally work as practitioners, administrators, and faculty/researchers. A specialist level degree allows for employment in most states as a practitioner and administrator (with appropriate administrative credential), while a doctoral degree allows for practice as a practitioner, administrator, and faculty/researcher.

What education is required?

The majority of states require the completion of a 60 graduate semester specialist-level program in school psychology including a 1200-hour internship. Many programs also offer a doctorate in school psychology, which generally requires 5-7 years of graduate work including a 1500-hour internship and completion of a dissertation.

There are a few states that continue to certify school psychologists that graduate from programs of less than 60 graduate semester credits; however, NASP maintains that the minimum acceptable education in school psychology is specialist-level training.

What is the difference between a “child psychologist” and a “school psychologist?”

Typically, the term “child psychologist” refers to doctoral-level clinical psychologists who specialize in children. “School psychologist” specifically refers to professionals who bridge psychology and education to address school related issues, including those that concern children, teachers, parents and families, as well as school organizations.