Frequently Asked Questions
School Psychology (MS)

 

What can I do with a master's degree in school psychology from PCOM?

The MS program in school psychology has a behavior analysis emphasis that is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). This adds a unique aspect to our National Association of School Psychologist (NASP) approved program, as the program will prepare students to continue towards certification as a school psychologist, as well as provide the necessary approved coursework to continue towards certification as a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA).

Blending of school psychology and behavior analysis is a natural pairing and will provide students who complete the one-year, 33-credit MS program with enhanced training to enrich and enhance the lives of students, families, schools, and organizations. Students who continue on to become certified as behavior analysts are prepared to provide behavior support to a variety of individuals in a multitude of settings. Examples of these applications include building the skills and achievements of children in school settings; enhancing the development, abilities, and choices of children and adults with different kinds of disabilities; and augmenting the performance and satisfaction of employees in organizations and businesses (BACB.com).

By providing students the opportunity to become board certified in behavior analysis as part of our school psychology program, students are in a unique position to hold gainful employment and receive invaluable experience as they continue toward certification as a school psychologist. Additionally, students who continue on to hold dual certifications in behavior analysis and school psychology are assets to school districts, as they will possess the behavioral competence of a behavior analyst, combined with the multitude of competencies of school psychologists to provide superior support to students, families, schools, districts, and the community. 

Why are three separate degrees offered in School Psychology?

The three following degrees are offered as options for both terminal degrees and advancement along the trajectory of the school psychology field. The progression along this trajectory is:

Psychology Degree Progression at PCOM

Master of Science in School Psychology

The Master of Science (MS) in School Psychology program at PCOM, which is taught by world-renowned faculty who are leaders in the field, provides a strong foundation in school psychology, with an applied behavior analysis emphasis.

Students follow an established sequence of required courses, which includes fieldwork through an approved practicum. Upon completion of the MS degree, students have fulfilled the required coursework to continue progress towards school psychology certification via the Educational Specialist (EdS) degree and/or have the required coursework to continue to accrue supervised experience towards Behavior Analysis Certification (BCBA). Students who would like to continue working toward becoming a certified school psychologist can apply to the Educational Specialist in School Psychology Program.     

Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology

PCOM's NASP-approved Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology (EdS) is an innovative, applied professional psychology program designed for students with a master's degree in school psychology or a related field (e.g., education, counseling, social work, etc.) who are seeking certification in the field of school psychology. In combination with the MS program the EdS program prepares candidates for a career in School Psychology. Learn more about the Educational Specialist Degree program.

Doctor of Psychology

PCOM's NASP-approved and Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)-designated doctoral program in School Psychology is a state-of-the-art professional school psychology curriculum that is designed especially for working professionals. It builds upon the advanced training and experience of the certified school psychologist in multiple ways, including skills in cognitive behavioral therapy and interventions, advanced assessment, health promotion, program development and evaluation services and research. There is a special focus on the multi-cultural context of schools, families and other systems. Graduates will be prepared to service children in schools, hospitals or other mental health settings and to demonstrate leadership as a professional. Learn more about the Doctor of Psychology program.

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, the community and other professionals to create safe, healthy and supportive learning environments for all students.

For more information about the profession, visit the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) website.

Where do school psychologists work?

The majority of school psychologists work in the public school setting. Others work in private schools, community agencies, charter schools, hospitals and clinics, or universities. School psychologists generally work as practitioners, administrators and faculty/researchers.

What is the difference between a school psychologist and a school counselor?

 Training as a school psychologist will provide broader options both within and outside of school settings. In addition to working in schools, school psychologists are often employed by other agencies such as community mental health centers, pediatric departments of hospitals, corrections facilities, etc.

Within school settings, opportunities for school psychologists continue to broaden as districts secure funding from a greater variety of sources including grants, prevention and early intervention projects, etc.

PCOM’s MS program provides the foundational knowledge to continue into the EdS program, which prepares the student to become a certified school psychologist.

What is the significance of National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) approval?

The MS/EdS program in school psychology, completed in sequence at PCOM, are NASP approved. Approval by the NASP is significant because of its link to Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSP).

NASP program approval/national recognition is an important indicator of quality graduate education in school psychology, comprehensive content and extensive and properly-supervised field experiences and internships, as judged by trained national reviewers.

In addition, programs obtaining NASP approval allow for a streamlined process for program graduates to obtain the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential. Thus, NASP approval/national recognition confers multiple advantages to programs, program graduates and the school psychology profession.

Learn more about NASP-Approved Programs on the NASP website.

Do students have field experiences? If so, where?

Yes, during the third trimester students will complete a fieldwork experience that provides them with the opportunity to apply knowledge skills learned thus far through coursework. Fieldwork experiences are conducted at locations such as:

  • Public schools
  • Charter schools
  • Private schools
  • Urban school districts
  • Rural school districts

For more information on fieldwork experiences, please visit the Fieldwork Experiences page.

Will PCOM assist me in identifying and securing either my practica and/or internship placements?

In most cases, students will complete practica experiences that are geographically convenient. Faculty will assist and guide students in finding the appropriate placements. Students may also receive assistance from our Career Services Program run by the Office of Student Affairs.

How long does it take to complete the master's program?

The master's program can be completed in 14 months (commencing with summer enrollment) and requires 33 credits beyond the bachelor's degree.

What is the cost of the program?

The MS in School Psychology program is a 33-credit program that costs $816 per credit for the 2015-2016 academic year. More information is available on the Bursar's Office website.

Can I attend the program part-time?

Typically, since we run on the cohort model, we do not allow students to take “off track” sequence.

Is it possible to work full- or part-time during the program?

Yes. Our programs are designed for working professionals with all classes meeting in the evening hours. Classes are generally held one or two nights per week as well as occasionally on weekends, with some summer daytime hours. View the course sequence.

What is the quality of the student/faculty relationship?

The MS in School Psychology program typically consists of about 20 students per class year, which allows faculty mentors to provide individualized attention to their students. The majority of the program faculty are also working in the field and can provide excellent clinical examples in relation to coursework, as well as employment referrals.

Many of our students enjoy collaborative relationships with faculty who actively participate in and contribute to the overall clinical development of their students.

How many students are enrolled in the program?

Twenty-five students are enrolled in the program each year and the program is based on the cohort model. In the cohort model, a group of students progresses through all classes and phases of the program together, which promotes a cohesiveness among the group and provides the following benefits:

  • Mutual academic, emotional and logistical support for program success and timely completion.
  • Camaraderie and collaborative learning with experienced colleague.
  • Lasting personal ties and professional networks that aid in career development, ongoing professional growth and reform initiatives across schools, districts or college.

Who should I contact for more information?

For general program questions, please contact Carly Iannone, M.Ed., coordinator of school psychology programs, at 215-871-6463 or carlyia@pcom.edu.

For admissions questions, please contact Johnathan Cox at 215-871-6719 or JohnathanCox@pcom.edu.