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Your Career: Why Get a Doctorate in School Psychology?

What can I do with a doctorate in school psychology?

Many doctoral-level school psychologists work as school psychologists in the schools, usually providing a very broad range of services such as assessment, consultation, counseling, crisis intervention, and training. Others are in leadership positions in the schools, including supervisors of pupil services and other administrative posts. (Some are even superintendents.) Still others practice in special schools, clinics, and hospitals, especially those that have an educational component. For an increasing number of our students, university teaching is popular career goal.

I’m getting an MEd in educational psychology from another institution, and I want to be a researcher, not a practicing school psychologist. Do you recommend that I apply to IUP?

You could apply for the D.Ed. in School Psychology with an M.Ed. However, if you were accepted, we would still require you to go through the School Psychology certification program on your way to the D.Ed. While some of our graduates are college professors, most are practitioners; our program is oriented to preparing practitioners. We would be happy to receive your application if this course of study suits you. If you are not interested in certification as a school psychologist, you may be better served with a Ph.D. program in Educational Psychology at another institution.

I know that IUP’s program leads to national certification as a school psychologist (NCSP), but does it also lead to licensing as a psychologist in Pennsylvania or other states?

Currently our doctoral program is not approved by the American Psychological Association (APA); we are accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists. You would need to check with your state’s board of professional psychology to determine what the requirements are for taking the examination in your state. Historically, a number of our graduates in other states have qualified for the licensing examination by documenting their coursework at IUP, but rules seem to be changing.

After graduating, can I go into private practice as well?

That will depend on your state’s requirements. Some require a doctorate from an APA-accredited institution. If not, your degree here plus the requisite number of years of post-doctoral supervised experience may allow you to be licensed. We don’t know of any states where you can go directly from the doctorate to licensure. With that said, the primary thrust of our doctoral program is to prepare school psychologists for leadership positions in the schools or for university teaching, rather than for private practice per se.