The Educational Specialist program in School Psychology prepares students to earn the Ed.S.degree and residency-level Washington State Education Staff Associate (ESA) certification as school psychologists, prepared to assume positions in public school systems and related agencies. The program is an intensive course of study which includes counseling and school psychology practica and a 1200-hour (full year) internship in the public schools. Students take courses designed to build competence in assessment, evaluation, consultation, and counseling; skill in working with students with disabilities as well as culturally and linguistically diverse children; and a general understanding of the historical and philosophical foundations of psychology and education. The program is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists and graduates are eligible for national certification. The School Psychology Training Program at Central Washington University is committed to training professionals who have expertise in both psychology and education and are committed to enhancing the strengths of critical socialization institutions such as families and schools. This training is accomplished through a competency based, scientist-practitioner model, which emphasizes comprehensive school psychological services and recognizes the individual differences of children.
The School Psychology Training Program at Central Washington University is the oldest in the State of Washington, developed in the early 1960s. Standards for the certification of school psychologists in the State of Washington, adopted by the State Board of Education, require that every program preparing educational professionals be developed by a Professional Education Advisory Board (PEAB). The PEAB is a collaborative partnership made up of representatives from school districts, specialized professional organizations, and colleges/universities. The Central Washington University School Psychology PEAB advises the Program regarding the development, implementation, and revision of the professional preparation program for school psychologists, and includes representation from the Washington State Association of School Psychologists; the Association of Washington School Principals; the Washington Education Association; the Washington State School Director's Association; other specialized professional education organizations; and CWU. The PEAB is a legally constituted body with operating bylaws. Program approval requirements outlining specific knowledge and skills for certification as a school psychologist have been established by the State Board Of Education and the Central Washington University School Psychology PEAB which is an approved entity developed within these standards.
There are two levels of certification for school psychologists in the State of Washington; Residency and Professional. Successful completion of the program at CWU leads to the granting of the Master's in Education and Residency Certification as an Educational Staff Associate (ESA)-School Psychologist. While Washington-certified School Psychologists are often certifiable as School Psychologists in other states, professional reciprocity is not always immediate or guaranteed. Whenever possible, faculty will help students plan programs which may result in certification in other states. In most cases, the Program at CWU will satisfy the certification requirements of other states.
CWU has a long history of excellent education in school psychology.
- Our primary focus is professional training in our master's program (we do not have doctoral studies).
- Our excellent placement rates. All our graduates within the past ten years who have desired to work have obtained employment as a school psychologist.
- Our department includes graduate programs in school counseling, mental health counseling, experimental psychology, and applied behavioral analysis. School psychology students benefit from faculty expertise in these programs.
- All school psychology program faculty are trained at the doctoral level and have experience in the public schools.