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Frequently Asked Questions 
Educational Specialist in School Psychology (EdS)

Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology

PCOM's NASP-accredited Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology (EdS) is an innovative, applied professional psychology program designed for students who are seeking certification in the field of school psychology. The EdS program prepares candidates for a career in School Psychology. The EdS program offers a progressive curriculum designed to prepare practitioners in various aspects of school psychology including assessment, consultation, academic and behavioral intervention, counseling, and crisis intervention and prevention. The program trains students from a cognitive-behavioral framework to conceptualize issues and to develop a coordinated system of service that promotes and integrates wellness and learning for all children. Completion of this degree program fulfills the requirements for certification as a school psychologist in Pennsylvania and other states and for eligibility to apply to the National Certified School Psychologists (NCSP) credential. For more information on the credential, visit www.nasponline.org.

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 multicultural 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.

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.

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.

According to the National Association of School Psychologists website,"School psychology training brings together the knowledge base of several disciplines, including child psychology, development and education with an emphasis on special education. In most states and training programs, school counseling does not include training or work with special education populations. Relative to counselors, school psychologists are more likely to have training in behavioral analysis, mental health screening and diagnosis, research methods (and application of research to classroom practices), and specific disability areas." 

See "What is the difference between a school psychologist and a school counselor?" at naspaonline.org for more information.

The EdS program in school psychology at PCOM is NASP-accredited. NASP accreditation is significant because of its link to the Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSP) credential.

NASP program accreditation 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 accreditation allow for a streamlined process for program graduates to obtain the NCSP credential. Thus, NASP accreditation confers multiple advantages to programs, program graduates and the school psychology profession.

Learn more about NASP-accredited programs on the NASP website.

Specifically, it is expected that students entering the EdS program will have completed a bachelor's degree in psychology or related field. Students with a master’s level degree in psychology or a related field may also apply separately to the EdS program.

During the second year of the EdS program, students complete a full-year practicum experience, usually in a public school setting. The practicum is done under the supervision of a certified school psychologist, and provides the student with opportunities to apply assessment, consultation, and intervention skills. Typically, the practicum includes a full-year placement in a school setting with supervision by an appropriately-credentialed school psychologist. Typically, the practicum activities require the equivalent of about 1.5-2 days per week, which can be scheduled in a flexible manner during regular school hours.

Upon successful completion of all required courses and the EdS practicum, students are eligible for the internship in school psychology. The internship is a full-time, full-year field engagement, which provides supervised experience with all aspects of school psychology practice. Although it is possible to maintain daytime employment during the first two years of coursework and practicum for the EdS program, the internship does require availability during daytime school hours.

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

In most cases students will complete practica/internship experiences that are geographically convenient. Planning for the fieldwork experiences begins at least 10 months in advance of when the placement will begin. Faculty will assist and guide students in finding the appropriate placements. 

The EdS program in School Psychology is three years in duration (two years of coursework and a one-year internship) and requires 72 credits total.

The EdS in School Psychology program is a 72-credit program. Information regarding tuition and fees is available from the Bursar's Office and information regarding cost of attendance is available from the Financial Aid Office.

The course work is best completed in the standard sequence. Because we run on a cohort model, it is difficult to accommodate part-time study.

Yes, during the first two years of coursework. Our programs are designed for working professionals with all classes meeting in the evening hours (beginning at 4 p.m.). Classes are generally held one to two nights per week. However, once students reach the third year it will not be possible to maintain daytime employment, as the required internship experience must be completed during typical school hours. View the course sequence.

Courses in the EdS in School Psychology program are taught by both core faculty and adjunct faculty members. Each core faculty member has achieved a doctoral degree (i.e., EdD, PsyD, PhD) and most are certified school psychologists who have worked in K-12 schools at some point throughout their professional careers.

Furthermore, some core faculty members have completed additional certifications and post-doctoral work. Many core faculty members continue to work in school environments in a variety of capacities—for example, conducting neuropsychological assessments, functional behavior assessments and consultations—which keeps core faculty members apprised of current, up-to-date practices in student development and educational environments. Our accomplished adjunct faculty members are also directly engaged in school psychology services on a regular basis. Visit the school psychology program faculty page to learn more.

The EdS in School Psychology program typically consists of about 15 students per class year, which allows faculty mentors to provide individualized attention as needed to their students. Faculty are often involved in research and school consultation activities and may invite students to participate in these activities. Some courses are taught by adjuncts who are experienced school psychologists and can provide excellent clinical examples in relation to coursework. The assessment course sequence and the practicum/internship seminars are taught with a one-to-ten faculty-to-student ratio or less.

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

Fifteen to twenty 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 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.
  • Lasting personal ties and professional networks that aid in career development and ongoing professional growth.

For general program questions, please contact us at 215-871-6442 or at schoolpsychology@pcom.edu .

For admissions questions, please contact us at 215-871-6700 or admissions@pcom.edu.