Top 5 Online Doctorate in School Psychology Programs

Only very few schools offer online doctoral degree programs in School Psychology. However, Ph.D. programs in Educational Psychology are slightly more common. One of the reasons for this is that school psychologists generally only require a master’s degree level to be accepted as a professional. Those who do complete a doctorate degree level will usually go into academic teaching, preparing the next generation of psychologists for the workforce. Some, however, work in private or public school districts as administrators, while others are involved in research, looking at which psychological factors most influence educational environments.

During doctoral studies, students will look at various research and analysis methods. They will explore how human beings learn. There is often a strong overlap between educational/school psychology, quantitative research and special education.

It is best to choose a program that is approved by the NASP (National Association of School Psychologists). This guarantees that the program meets all the necessary standards for this type of profession. It also means the program is of the highest possible quality.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for clinical, counseling and school psychologists is $74,030 per year. The BLS also reports that there is a projected growth of 12% between now and 2022 for psychologists, which is on par with the national average.

Studying online is something that more and more people are becoming interested in because of the convenience. It allows them to continue to work while they study, and they are also less bound by geographical locations. However, for doctorate programs, significant practicum experience, internships, residencies and research will be required. As a result, most doctoral programs in school or educational psychology tend to be hybrid programs, which means that only very few campus visits will be required and other practical experiences can be organized within the student’s community.

Let’s take a look at what we feel are the top 5 online doctorate in school psychology programs.

1. Michigan State University

At Michigan State University, students can take part in a hybrid Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program. This program is nationally ranked and much of the curriculum is delivered online, particularly in the educational technology emphasis area. The program has been developed as a direct response to the growing demand for true leaders in education who understand how online learning is changing the world. The program is geared towards professionals who are currently employed in education or research.

The program is a five year program and focuses on courses such as:

• Educational Inquiry
• Teachers and Technology
• Research Methods for Technology-rich Learning Environments

The fourth and fifth year focus mainly on doctoral dissertation research and defense of the dissertation.

Students must also choose a number of selectives/electives, including:

• Design of Media for Learning
• Mind, Media & Learning
• Current Issues in Motivation and Learning

To be admitted to the program, students must:

• Provide three letters of recommendation.
• Write a goal statement.
• Upload a writing sample.
• Upload a CV or resume.
• Send in all transcripts.
• Complete a language proficiency test (TOEFL, MELAB or Michigan State University English Language Test) for international students.

2. The University of Arizona

The University of Arizona offers an online Educational Specialist or Ed.S. program. This allows graduates to become certified as school psychologists all across the country. This program prepares students to take the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) examination. Students will gain both theoretical and practical experiences so they can become true leaders in education. The program is delivered on campus, as well as through the non-traditional online method.

The school is particularly keen to focus on the diversity of their students, so they are encouraging those diverse cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and sexual identity backgrounds to apply for the program. Only 12 students are accepted to the cohort every year. Additionally, students must:

• Provide transcripts.
• Provide GRE scores.
• Provide TOEFL scores if applicable.
• Provide three letters of recommendation.
• Write a two page professional statement of goals.

3. Capella University

At Capella University, students can take part in the Psy.D. in School Psychology program. It has been designed to create strategic leaders who can make a positive impact in the lives of young people. The curriculum is aligned with all national school psychology standards and it is the only one in the country that is offered fully online. Students are also able to enjoy many graduate teaching opportunities as well as to gain internship and practicum field experiences. As such, graduates are highly proficient consultants, supervisors, evaluators and intervention and prevention strategists. The program is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The program is 145 credits in length and consists of:

• 135 quarter credits of core courses
• 10 course quarter credits in Comprehensive Examination and Integrative Project Courses

Students must also complete six weeks of residencies, 400 practicum hours and 1,500 internship hours in order to graduate.

Some of the core courses include:

• Multicultural Perspectives in Human Behavior
• Psychological Testing
• Professional Development and Supervision of School Psychologists

To be admitted to the program, students must:

• Hold a master’s degree in a relevant field.
• Provide all transcripts.
• Submit three letters of recommendation.
• Provide a writing sample and extended goal statement.
• Submit a resume or curriculum vitae.

4. Regent University School of Education

At Regent University, students can graduate as a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Psychology. This is a hybrid program, as it does require some face-to-face elements as well. It is designed to focus specifically on adult learners who already have higher level problem solving and thinking skills. The curriculum is problem based and includes dissertation projects as well as an individually designed concentration. This means that each graduate is completely unique. However, they do have similar core values across writing, scholarly research, critical thinking and learning from a Christian worldview. The program ends with a capstone project, which is the submission and defense of a doctoral dissertation.

A minimum of 60 credit hours are required for the program. After 30 credit hours, students are awarded with the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS).

To be admitted to the program, students must:

• Hold a master’s degree in a relevant field from an accredited institution.
• Provide transcripts.
• Submit letters of recommendation.
• Provide a current resume.
• Submit a writing sample.
• Provide GRE scores.
• Complete an admissions interview.

5. LeHigh University College of Education

The LeHigh University College of Education offers a quite unique program, which is the Ph.D. Comparative and International Education. This program prepares students to work in advanced professional careers, scholarly inquiry or research in the field of comparative and international education. What makes this program unique is that it bridges practice, research and theory. It builds on the M.Ed. in Globalization and Educational change, adding a more practical, policy-focused, research orientated element to it.

Some of the courses students will take part in include:

• Advocacy
• Monitoring and evaluation
• Policy analysis
• Comparative education

Additionally, students can take part in in-depth research in areas relevant to comparative and international education.

The program takes 67 credits to complete in total.

To be accepted to the program, students must:

• Have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
• Have a graduate GPA of 3.5.
• Provide all transcripts.
• Submit three letters of recommendation.
• Write an essay on comparative and international education.
• Provide two graduate writing samples.
• Pass a GRE in the 75th percentile minimum.
• Provide a curriculum vitae.
• Complete an interview.