Department of Psychology at Illinois State University


Graduate Programs in School Psychology

The graduate programs in School Psychology offer a doctorate degree or a specialist degree. Prospective students can read first-hand accounts from our current students and our school psychology alumni. See also Frequently Asked Questions About School Psychology.

School psychologists are identified as the best social services job by U.S. News and World Report (2013). According to U.S. News:

In the coming years, classrooms will swell and educate more students who have special needs, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues. Schools tending to their needs will increase demand for school psychologists. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) expects employment growth of nearly 11.3 percent in the occupation by 2022. Best Social Services Jobs

See a short video about The ABC's of School Psychology, provided with the permission of the School Psychology Student Association of Florida International University.

Who are School Psychologists?

School psychology is the application of psychology to children's academic and social-emotional development. School psychologists draw from the knowledge bases of psychology, education, law, and professional school psychology.

School psychology is a general practice and health service provider specialty of professional psychology concerned with the science and practice of psychology with children, youth, families, and the educational process. The basic education and training prepares school psychologists to provide psychological assessment, intervention, prevention, health promotion, program development, and evaluation services with a special focus on the developmental processes of children and youth within the context of schools, families, and other systems.

School psychologists are prepared to intervene at the individual and system level, and can develop, implement, and evaluate preventive programs. School psychologists conduct assessments and intervene to promote positive learning environments where children and youth from diverse backgrounds have an equal access to effective educational and psychological services to promote development. School psychologists may counsel a child whose parents recently divorced, collaborate with a teacher to help a deaf child read, assess a child for learning disabilities, develop a drop-out prevention program, teach parents skills to work with their child more effectively, show a class of third grade students how to solve problems without violence, or collaborate with other school personnel to design a special educational program for a child with autism.

Although most school psychologists work in elementary and secondary schools, many—especially those with doctorate degrees—are employed in universities, clinics, hospitals, mental health centers, state departments of education, or in independent practice. Many go on to administrative positions, such as special education administrator or coordinator of school psychological services, or director of community or hospital based mental health services. See a brochure from the National Association of School Psychologists entitled Who are School Psychologists? (PDF).

Why Choose Illinois State?

The graduate programs in School Psychology have received both national and state accreditation and program approval, from the American Psychological Association (APA), National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education, National Association of School Psychologists, and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

Illinois State has one of the largest school psychology faculties in the nation with seven full-time school psychology faculty resulting in individualized attention due to a low student-faculty ratio. Students have access to faculty with expertise in several subfields of psychology—developmental, clinical, counseling, cognitive and behavioral sciences, industrial/organizational, social and quantitative.

Graduating with a specialist or doctorate degree leads to ISBE licensure as a school psychologist, which allows the graduate to work as a school psychologist in Illinois public schools. Our graduates are also eligible to sit for the exam leading to the credential of Nationally Licensed School Psychologist. Graduating from an APA-accredited doctoral program allows our alumni, with appropriate post-doctoral experience, to sit for the exam leading to the state credential of Licensed Clinical Psychologists, which is the credential for an independent practice in psychology.