Top Online Programs for School Psychology 2021

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School psychology explores the research and practice of addressing emotional, mental, and behavioral issues that challenge student learning and overall well-being. Unlike the research-oriented field of educational psychology, which focuses on the science of human learning, school psychology emphasizes practical, clinical tools and skills for working directly with clients and their families.

School psychologists work to improve students’ academic performance, often by supporting learners with behavioral issues, special needs, or inadequate home support. This profession values compassion, education, and social equity. School psychologists also need advanced skills in observation, analysis, and communication.

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Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

School psychologists need a master’s degree to qualify for licensure. A bachelor’s degree prepares students to apply to master’s programs. This guide ranks the best online school psychology degrees. It also covers other important information for students, such as common courses and scholarship opportunities for students earning an online school psychology degree.

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Top 10 Online Programs for School Psychology

Rank School Location
1 University of Northern Colorado Greeley, CO
2 Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti, MI
3 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
4 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
5 Texas A&M University-College Station College Station, TX
6 Ball State University Muncie, IN
7 University of Memphis Memphis, TN
8 University of Georgia Athens, GA
9 Rutgers University-New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
10 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ

FAQ


  • What is school psychology?

    School psychology researches and applies best practices for teaching and supporting students. Most school psychologists work at schools. They collaborate with faculty and teachers and meet with clients and their families.


  • How long does it take to earn a degree in school psychology?

    Bachelor’s degrees traditionally take four years of full-time study to complete. However, many online school psychology degrees offer accelerated pacing that can reduce degree-completion time.


  • What are the requirements for getting into a program in school psychology?

    Undergraduates typically apply to the school psychology major during their sophomore year. To enter the major, applicants may need to successfully complete prerequisite coursework and meet minimum GPA requirements.


  • What is the difference between school psychology and counseling?

    School psychologists design strategic interventions and programs. School counselors play more of a coaching role, supporting students emotionally and encouraging future planning.


Top Online Programs for School Psychology 2021



  1. University of Northern Colorado
    Location

    Greeley, CO

    The University of Northern Colorado offers two school psychology degree programs that have been approved by the National Association of School Psychologists: an Ed.S. and a Ph.D. Students who enroll in the Ed.S. program receive the training they need to become school psychologist practitioners. Coursework focuses on the emotional, social, and intellectual development of children; academic interventions; and programs that promote safe learning environments. The Ph.D. program is designed for students who want to conduct research or provide consulting services to schools and community organizations. Coursework covers topics such as interventions for students with low or severe disabilities, the biological bases of behavior, social cognitive neuroscience, school-based psychological consultation, and applied behavior analysis.

  2. Eastern Michigan University
    Location

    Ypsilanti, MI

    Eastern Michigan University offers an educational psychology master’s degree program that trains students to apply psychological principles to school and non-school settings, conduct research, and create and administer assessments. Core coursework includes areas such as intelligence theory, motivation, gifted students, multicultural learning, and the sociology of education. People can also choose to concentrate their studies on how students develop academically or on research and assessment practices. In addition, the school requires a thesis and project that allow students to demonstrate their understanding of class material. Graduates from the program have gone on to work as teachers, assessment specialists, business trainers, and researchers.

  3. University of Utah
    Location

    Salt Lake City, UT

    The University of Utah has a psychology department staffed with faculty members that have various interests including behavioral assessments, early childhood interventions, autism spectrum disorder, parent training, telehealth, and diversity issues. As a result, whether students want to work in schools or human services agencies, they can benefit from professionals that provide a comprehensive view of the educational psychology field. Those in the school’s master’s degree program are required to complete 73 semester hours of coursework and a supervised internship of 1,500 hours, while doctoral students must take 108 hours of classes and complete a 2,000 hour internship.

  4. Temple University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Based on the scientist-practitioner model, Temple University’s school psychology degree programs give students the psychological foundation they need to effectively handle the demands of this challenging profession. The school’s Ed.S. degree prepares students to apply evidence-based practices in school settings when using assessments, performing interventions, working with school administrators and parents, and teaching diverse student populations. Those who earn a Ph.D. in school psychology from Temple University learn how to conduct research and assessments, as well as provide consulting services. Course requirements include topics such as tests and measurements, applied behavioral analysis, cognitive assessments, personality and behavior, and psychotherapy.

  5. Texas A&M University-College Station
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Texas A & M University’s school psychology degree program gives students the skills and knowledge they need to create and administer assessments, conduct research, and provide interventions to students. After completing the program, graduates can pursue jobs in public and private schools, hospitals, colleges and universities, health education organizations, and medical clinics. Required coursework includes classes about intelligence, emotional disturbances in children, advanced therapy techniques, and school behavioral problems. In addition, students receive extensive practical experience by working for two semesters in a community clinic and 600 hours in a school setting, as well as completing an assessment practicum and research apprenticeship.

  6. Ball State University
    Location

    Muncie, IN

    Offered through Teachers College, Ball State University’s school psychology degree program combines classroom and field work to give students the competencies they need to do interventions, assessments, and consultations in education settings. Required courses in the program explore topics such as psychological consultation, statistical research methods, personality assessments, and developmental pathology. In addition, students can take several electives in areas like exceptional children, counseling processes, abnormal psychology, measurement theory, psychopathology, and physiological psychology. In order to provide practical experience to students, Ball State University offers internships in regular and special education settings, as well as clinical practica.

  7. University of Memphis
    Location

    Memphis, TN

    Students who are interested in working in the school psychology field can enroll in the combined MA/EdS degree program at the University of Memphis, which can be completed in three years. After completing the program, students are qualified to receive credentials from the Tennessee State Board of Education, or from certification board in other states. The program focuses on several domains of the field, including data-based decision making, consultation, collaborations, research, ethical practice, and instructional support. The school also offers a doctoral degree that emphasizes research design and statistics. Students in this program take courses in research methodologies, behavioral neuroscience, psychoeducational assessments, and child psychopathology.

  8. University of Georgia
    Location

    Athens, GA

    Through the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Georgia, students are able to complete their master’s degree in the field, which may prepare them to enter or advance a profession in educational psychology. The program is comprised of a sequence of courses that cover necessary information such as human development, learning and motivation strategies, and quantitative methods in various areas of focus. With a research-focused program, students can expect to graduate with strong research and analysis skills, which can help them become in a leader in their field.

  9. Rutgers University-New Brunswick
    Location

    New Brunswick, NJ

    Students interested in studying a career in a school or educational psychology field may benefit from enrolling in the Learning, Cognition, & Development program at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. This program can be completed both online and on-campus, which gives students the flexibility to maintain other time commitments while pursuing their degree. Courses cover topics such as learning strategies and motivation, cognition and memory and educational psychology. Upon graduation, students will receive their Ed.M. degree, which may give them the necessary credentials to succeed in the field.

  10. Northern Arizona University
    Location

    Flagstaff, AZ

    An Educational Specialist (EdS) program is offered at Northern Arizona University, helping to prepare students to work with youth in various academic settings from preschool through high school. This program covers important information such as learning behavior assessments, prevention and intervention. Students are able to graduate once they successfully complete 72 credit-hours of coursework and can typically be completed through three-years of full-time study and a one-academic-year of internship study. The program has received approval status from the National Association of School Psychologists.

How Much Does a School Psychology Degree Cost?

According to the College Board’s report on 2020 college pricing trends, full-time undergraduate prices at four-year, in-state colleges averaged $10,560 annually in 2020-2021. Out-of-state students paid over twice as much, averaging $27,020 per year, and tuition and fees at private colleges averaged $37,650 annually. 

However, many schools allow all students earning an online school psychology degree to pay in-state tuition regardless of residency. Online students also save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as commuting costs.

Career and Salary Outlook for School Psychology



Graduates from online school psychology programs can work in various settings, including schools, juvenile justice programs, community mental health centers, and treatment centers. Bachelor’s-level jobs for school psychology graduates may include case manager, career counselor, childcare worker, and teacher. 

Additional education can qualify graduates for careers as school psychologists, school administrators, training and development managers, and instructional coordinators. Some school psychology graduates seek careers as licensed social workers.

Many graduates pursue a master’s degree to work as licensed school psychologists. These professionals work closely with teachers, administrators, students, and families to address student behavioral and learning issues. The Bureau of Labor Statistics groups school psychologists with other psychologists and projects 3% growth for this profession during 2019-2029. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $80,370.

Career Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10%
Psychologists Less than $45,380 $80,370 More than $132,070

Source: BLS

Licensing in Psychology



School psychologists need to obtain licensure through their state board. Licensure requirements vary by state, but they often include relevant graduate degrees and at least 1,200 supervised practicum clock hours. Prospective psychologists in Washington state, for example, need a doctoral degree in psychology, 3,300 supervision hours, and passing scores on licensure examinations. 

Professionals with psychology licenses in one state sometimes qualify for licensure in other states by reciprocity. To obtain this license, applicants must prove that their previous state’s licensure board upholds similar licensure standards.

Accreditation for School Psychology Degrees

Students should consider institutional and programmatic accreditation when choosing online school psychology programs. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to factors like academic rigor, student learning outcomes, and teacher qualifications. 

Schools may receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two. Accreditation benefits students in several ways. For instance, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and transfer credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many professional licenses and certifications require an accredited degree. 

Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. The National Association of School Psychologists and the American Psychological Association accredit psychology programs.

Courses in a School Psychology Program



Bachelor’s in psychology programs usually require about 120 credits, including around 60 credits of general education coursework. The other 60 credits typically cover core and specialized school psychology courses. Core coursework often covers topics like human development, research methods, and learning theory.

Students may also need to complete internships and/or capstone projects. Elective coursework and concentrations allow students to specialize their studies in areas such as program development, instructional design, and testing and assessment.

Courses vary by program, but the following list outlines several courses commonly found in online school psychology programs.

This core course teaches enrollees about mental health and learning challenges that students from different cultures may face. Students learn strategies, techniques, and tools for effectively serving students from diverse cultures.

Learners in this course study the principles and strategies for helping exceptional students learn and grow effectively. Exceptionality categories often include disability and giftedness. Some exceptionality courses discuss cultural or racial student needs, as well.

Most online school psychology programs include at least one core course on learning theory. Learners study the field’s major theoretical approaches, including contextual learning, constructivism, behaviorism, and cognitivism. Course participants also learn best practices for teaching and supporting students with various learning styles.

Scholarships for Psychology



Schools, nonprofits, private companies, and governmental agencies frequently award scholarships. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for students earning online school psychology degrees.

  • Morris K. Udall Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship for Tribal Policy, Native Healthcare, and the Environment

    Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports college sophomores and juniors with a history of public service and an interest in serving Native populations or the natural environment. Applicants must submit three recommendation letters and an 800-word essay related to the Udalls’ impact.
    Amount: Up to $7,000

    Apply

  • Bethesda Lutheran Communities Lutheran Student Scholastic and Service Scholarship

    Who May Apply: Undergraduate learners pursuing studies related to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must be active members of a Lutheran congregation, hold junior or senior status, and possess a minimum 3.0 GPA.
    Amount: $15,000

    Apply

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