The School Psychology program offers coursework leading to the Education Specialist (EdS) degree, which is a specialized academic degree falling between the master’s and doctoral degree in number of credit hours. In addition to the EdS degree, successful completion of the program leads to residency-level Washington State Education Staff Associate (ESA) certification as a school psychologist, which prepares you to assume positions in public school systems in the state of Washington and related agencies. The EdS is the entry level degree required for school psychologist certification in most states throughout the country. In addition, because the School Psychology program is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists, graduates are eligible for the Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential (NCSP).
In addition to the EdS degree, students who have previously earned a master’s degree in a related field can complete a program of study leading to ESA certification as a school psychologist in the state of Washington. Individual programs of study taking into account previous graduate coursework can be developed in consultation with the Program Director.
The program consists of three years of full-time study, including two years of coursework and practicum 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. A complete list of current coursework requirements can be found in the Student Handbook on this site or in the Graduate Catalog.
In addition to on-campus coursework, students complete a number of service learning and practicum experiences in public school settings. For the internship (third-year), students work full-time in a public school setting under the supervision of both a field-based and university supervisor. The program will work with students to find a beneficial internship placement. Students have completed internships throughout the state of Washington as well as across the country.
Comprehensive Training using the Scientist-Practitioner Model
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 applying best practices to support all children in their learning and development. This training is accomplished through a competency based, scientist-practitioner model, which envisions school psychologists as professionals who engage in data-oriented problem solving using the best scientific methods and best practices. In addition, the scientist-practitioner model emphasizes training in basic research methods as well as how to apply research in applied settings.
Early, Extensive, and Diverse Field Based Experiences
Beginning in the first year of the program, school psychology graduate students participate in a number of field-based learning experiences in local schools. Partnerships with local schools include implementing behavioral and academic interventions, assisting with data gathering for progress monitoring efforts, and individual tutoring for students in early reading skills. Students are also provided experiences working with students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, particularly for children from Hispanic/Latino backgrounds. Our location in the central part of the state provides numerous opportunities to work with children from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, including those who are English Language Learners. Developing cultural competency and an appreciation for diversity is infused throughout the training program.
In addition to field based learning experiences, many students conduct research in local schools through evaluating the efficacy of interventions or performing analysis of archival data. Each of these field-based learning experiences help students learn to apply the content knowledge gained in courses and prepare them for later practicum and internship placements.
Strong Training in Research and Psychological Foundations
School Psychology students are provided with a strong foundation in the scientist-practitioner model of graduate training, with a focus on developing the ability to understand the scientific foundations of school psychology as well as the applied skills needed to implement best practices to support children, adolescents, families, and schools. Faculty and students are also active in research and presentation, with regular presentations at regional and national conferences and publications in professional journals. In 2013, the Professional Education Standards Board commended the School Psychology program for the research accomplishments of faculty and students.
In addition to core coursework in school psychology and education, students also benefit from coursework and faculty support from the graduate programs in Counseling, Applied Behavioral Analysis, and Experimental Psychology. Student development as a scientist-practitioner culminates in the completion of a one-year internship in the public schools as well as the completion of a graduate thesis.