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PhD School Psychology

A PhD is one of the most advanced degree programs in the field of school psychology designed to provide students with an understanding of the psychological and developmental needs of children and adolescents within the context of family, school, and community. The program is designed to enhance your applied research and teaching skills and enable you to gain advanced knowledge and skills in school psychology and specialize within the field.

  1. School Psychology PhD Overview
  2. Program Objective
  3. Admission Requirements
  4. Course Topics
  5. What do School Psychologists do?
  6. How much do School Psychologists make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), psychologists need to earn a doctoral degree or specialist degree in psychology; however a master’s degree in psychology may also enable graduates to apply for some jobs in the field. While a master’s degree may be enough for those applying for entry- level positions, a PhD in psychology provides students with extensive research preparation and experience.
Typically, a PhD in school psychology takes 4-7 years to complete but the duration of the program depends on the enrollment status of the students. The program provides students with a strong foundation in psychological science and helps them learn about the assessment of children and adolescents. Besides, students also explore the professional practices in serving the needs of children, schools, and communities. In addition to classroom-based learning, students also need to complete fieldwork requirements including externship, internship, as well as residency.

Program Objective

The program aims to educate professional psychologists capable of linking knowledge acquired through psychological science to educational effects in the present day society. It expands student’s theoretical understanding of school psychology issues, and enables them to acquire proficiency in research and in the teaching of psychology.

Admission Requirements

The main prerequisite is an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related field. It may not be necessary for applicants to hold a master's degree.  Taking courses in biology, computer sciences, mathematics, physics, and the social sciences can be useful. Completing some college work in elementary statistics or quantitative methods is also recommended. Applicants’ general math and science grades, as well as the GRE scores will also be considered at the time of admission.  Besides, applicants will also be required to submit a statement of purpose and letters of recommendation.

Course Topics

A PhD in school psychology gives students an opportunity to engage in classroom learning as well as comprehensive research in the field. Students complete courses in a range of areas including learning, development, social bases, research and statistics, consultation, and more. Instruction is also provided in reading, cultural foundations and special education. Students also receive training in the areas of school-based practice including assessment and diagnosis, consultation, and supervision by means of coursework. In addition, candidates need to complete a dissertation. Coursework may include topics such as:

  • Child Development
  • Adolescent Development
  • Motor Development
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Mental Health
  • Foundations of Neuropsychology
  • Social Psychology

Students also receive training in conducting research relevant to schools and education, incorporating empirical findings into practice and adopting a problem-solving approach to school-based problems. Besides, they learn how to use objective and scientifically grounded principles in assessing their own practice.

What do School Psychologists do?

From the outset, it must be understood that a degree alone may not guarantee a job in the field. However, according to the BLS, most school psychologists work in public educational institutes, especially K – 12 public schools.  Some of these professionals also work in hospitals, private schools, universities and clinics while others are employed by community treatment centers and independent practice.

How much do School Psychologists make?

According to the information published by O*NET OnLine, in 2012, there were about 145,000 school psychologists in the U.S. Employment of school psychologists is projected to grow at the rate of 11%, about as fast as the average for all other occupations between 2012 and 2022. Growing demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, and related settings is likely to stimulate the demand for these professionals. The median annual pay for school psychologists in 2012 was $67,650 (BLS). However, factors such as location, qualification and experience may determine the exact income of school psychologists.


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:My search on Doctoral in School Psychology landed on Educational Psychology course. Can you tell me more?

A:It is common to come across the reference of various courses and programs relevant to the field while going through search such as Doctoral in School Psychology. Educational Psychology course is one of the most common courses. In this course the students get to study the psychological theories regarding the process of education.

Q:What can you do with an child psychology PhD degree?

A:With a PhD in child psychology, you can qualify for a career as a child psychologist or developmental psychologist. These professionals can be found working in colleges, universities, research, health clinics, hospitals, etc. You will first need to get a license issued by the state. The income can vary from place to place.

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