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GraceKrispy's Message:

Based on what you discovered, I have some additional thoughts. First of all, it's great that you have a good idea of what the school psychs in your area do- that's huge! If you like the job, then that's a great thing

Only PhD programs are accredited by APA, in my understanding, so if you were to stop at the MS, it wouldn't be accredited by APA because it wouldn't need to be. So the MA/EdS in school psych is terminal? You don't go from there to the PhD? Just wondering- it's nice to be accredited by NASP since it makes it easier to get NCSP (National Certification in School Psychology). Just check a box, turn in signed forms, and take the Praxis. You have to do more to get it if you go through a non-NASP accredited program, but it's not impossible. Some districts pay a stipend if you have that. Mine didn't, but some do

The university offers a MS/PhD degree in either school or clinical psychology (both specialties are APA accredited). Both require a thesis and a dissertation. There is also a MA/EdS degree in school psychology (non-thesis, accredited by NASP/CAEP).

If you really only plan to work in schools, then it might not be worth the money/time to get a PhD unless your district rewards that monetarily (some districts don't) and/or you really really want to be called Doctor It does give more options to become involved in research and private practice.

I think you're probably right about not being able to skip the masters. Most programs want you to go through the process together with them. I don't know if the PhD program available to you in school psych requires you to do a MS level internship. My program gives an EdS (two FULL TIME years of coursework, then one year of FULL TIME internship) and THEN you start the PhD level work, and that's an additional 2 years of course work and another FULL TIME internship (I just like capitalizing full time ). SOme people can do it in 1 year of coursework, but it's really hard and requires a LOT of time. So my program is 5-6 years to doctorate altogether. Since I got my MEd from them (that was before they changed it to EdS), I was able to start on the PhD track right away. I was already a school psych, so no need to retake the same exact courses. You might be able to petition out of a class here and there if you took the equivalent in your masters program, but it's almost impossible in our program to do that. My school psych program is housed in the Education department (that varies quite a bit by university), and some of the courses were education courses (which makes sense to me, since you want school psychs to have a good background in education!).

I have three kids who were in 5th, 6th, and 8th grade when I started back for the PhD portion. They are now 7th, 8th, and 10th grades. Since the program is full-time, I won't lie that it's been a challenge and a lot of work. The first year, dh wasn't in the same state (he was making money in our former state) and that was really tough for all of us. The last year plus he's been here and it's been so much better. Unfortunately, we have next to no money, so that's the challenge now.

Good luck deciding when and how

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
GraceKrispy 10-18-2015 06:07 PM

Based on what you discovered, I have some additional thoughts. First of all, it's great that you have a good idea of what the school psychs in your area do- that's huge! If you like the job, then that's a great thing

Only PhD programs are accredited by APA, in my understanding, so if you were to stop at the MS, it wouldn't be accredited by APA because it wouldn't need to be. So the MA/EdS in school psych is terminal? You don't go from there to the PhD? Just wondering- it's nice to be accredited by NASP since it makes it easier to get NCSP (National Certification in School Psychology). Just check a box, turn in signed forms, and take the Praxis. You have to do more to get it if you go through a non-NASP accredited program, but it's not impossible. Some districts pay a stipend if you have that. Mine didn't, but some do

The university offers a MS/PhD degree in either school or clinical psychology (both specialties are APA accredited). Both require a thesis and a dissertation. There is also a MA/EdS degree in school psychology (non-thesis, accredited by NASP/CAEP).

If you really only plan to work in schools, then it might not be worth the money/time to get a PhD unless your district rewards that monetarily (some districts don't) and/or you really really want to be called Doctor It does give more options to become involved in research and private practice.

I think you're probably right about not being able to skip the masters. Most programs want you to go through the process together with them. I don't know if the PhD program available to you in school psych requires you to do a MS level internship. My program gives an EdS (two FULL TIME years of coursework, then one year of FULL TIME internship) and THEN you start the PhD level work, and that's an additional 2 years of course work and another FULL TIME internship (I just like capitalizing full time ). SOme people can do it in 1 year of coursework, but it's really hard and requires a LOT of time. So my program is 5-6 years to doctorate altogether. Since I got my MEd from them (that was before they changed it to EdS), I was able to start on the PhD track right away. I was already a school psych, so no need to retake the same exact courses. You might be able to petition out of a class here and there if you took the equivalent in your masters program, but it's almost impossible in our program to do that. My school psych program is housed in the Education department (that varies quite a bit by university), and some of the courses were education courses (which makes sense to me, since you want school psychs to have a good background in education!).

I have three kids who were in 5th, 6th, and 8th grade when I started back for the PhD portion. They are now 7th, 8th, and 10th grades. Since the program is full-time, I won't lie that it's been a challenge and a lot of work. The first year, dh wasn't in the same state (he was making money in our former state) and that was really tough for all of us. The last year plus he's been here and it's been so much better. Unfortunately, we have next to no money, so that's the challenge now.

Good luck deciding when and how

eeza 10-18-2015 05:46 PM

I'm so glad GraceKrispy and I gave you something to think about. February is still a ways away so hopefully you can decide by then.

Either way, best of luck!

Mrs.Lilbit 10-18-2015 05:08 PM

Thank you both for your responses. They definitely helped. Based on your responses, I went back and reread the program requirements at the university I am considering and I think you helped clear up some misconceptions I had about it.

The university offers a MS/PhD degree in either school or clinical psychology (both specialties are APA accredited). Both require a thesis and a dissertation. There is also a MA/EdS degree in school psychology (non-thesis, accredited by NASP/CAEP).

At this point, I'm definitely leaning toward the PhD in School Psychology, more than the EdS (for no other reason than I would like to be able make people call me Dr. when I'm done ). I'm really not interested in clinical work, I only considered the clinical route if it would open more opportunities than just working in a school system. I like the idea of having more options with a PhD than with an EdS.

If I'm reading the information correctly, regardless of which route I choose, I won't be able to "skip" the masters because they are both "two in one" programs. And, since all of my courses with my M.Ed. degree were education courses and all the requirements for this program are psych courses, I doubt any of my coursework will transfer over.

Right now, teaching gifted, I work closely with the school psychs when making referrals and developing IEPs. I honestly like the paperwork and the IEP meetings better than the teaching! There are still things that I love about teaching, but the evaluation process is killing that love. I also like the idea of working closely with one student at a time, rather than trying to manage an entire classroom.

With my current Masters, I did not have to take the GRE before enrolling, so I'm guessing I need to take that before applying to this university. I'm also worried about money and balancing work, family/kids, and graduate school. I worry how long this will take since my oldest is a freshman in high school. Ideally, I would love to have this behind me when he goes to college, but realistically, even if I started with the 16-17 school year, I'm guessing this will take 4-6 total years to complete (?). The deadline for applying is in February. I don't know if that's enough time to make up my mind and prepare for this! I would probably be better off taking the GRE next summer and applying for the 17-18 school year. But there's another part of my mind that thinks that's too far away and if I am serious about it, I should get it done as soon as possible.

Thanks again for the advice. I have a lot to think about.

eeza 10-17-2015 07:53 PM

Hello Mrs. Liblit! GraceKrispy is right, I did get my degree more recently. So here are my thoughts...

Is it possible to get a M.S. in Psychology, even though my B.A is not?
My BA was in liberal studies, but I got my masters in educational psychology.

Is it better to get a degree in school psychology or clinical psychology, or does it matter?
I'm not totally sure. All the school psychs that I work with have a school psychology master's degree. I have worked with some people who have a doctorate but that's rare. I know there are some programs that allow you to get your educational psychology degree along with an MFT. The MFT would help in a private practice. I personally wouldn't want to do therapy all day, so I didn't go that route.

Since I already have a master's, could I begin working directly on a specialist or doctoral degree?
I got a masters in math curriculum because I was a teacher first. Then I got my masters in educational psychology. A few courses transferred over, but I still had to complete the vast majority of the courses for the educational psychology degree. I heard that many doctoral programs are best entered after you get your BA.

If you have teaching experience, how would you compare the work of a school psych compared to a teacher?
I think this is personal preference. I have had many teachers say they could never do my job. I hated teaching, so I would never want to do their job! I find that being a school psych is more mentally taxing, but I get the same satisfaction of helping students that I did as a teacher. Also, I feel like I get to know the kids more, especially the ones who I counsel.

How are you evaluated?
My director evaluated me a few years ago. She just sat in on a few IEPs and told me what I did well and gave me a few pointers. Now we have a new system where a peer coach is added. I'll probably be evaluated in that way next year or the year after.

What is the pay like in your district, compared to the pay of teachers?
We are on a different pay scale and get paid more. We also have to work 10 extra days. I know some districts have psychs on the teacher pay scale but with a stipend.

What advice would you give someone going into this line of work?
Shadow a few school psychs to see what their day is like. Also look at different levels because preschool is WAY different than high school.

Anything else you would like to know?

GraceKrispy 10-16-2015 08:24 PM

Hi Mrs. Lilbit!

I'll take a shot at your questions! eeza got her degree more recently (I remember her asking me questions, too ) and will probably pipe in with her thoughts as well!

Is it possible to get a M.S. in Psychology, even though my B.A is not?
**Yes... but there are lots of places that don't give terminal masters in Psychology, but it's VERY possible to get a masters in school psychology, regardless of your BA area

Is it better to get a degree in school psychology or clinical psychology, or does it matter? I've checked the job boards in my district and the school psych postings state that a degree in either is acceptable. Is one is more advantageous than the other for working in the private sector?
**Ok, here's my experience: clinical psych rarely gives a masters. They are PhD or PsyD levels almost exclusively. The reason for that, in my understanding, is that you can't do a whole lot with clinical psych masters level degrees, even if they are offered. *Most* schools require school psychs (sounds like yours might be different?) and *most* work in the private sector wants doctorate level. The exception is if you get a licensed mental health certification and can do therapy. THose are done at masters level quite commonly.

Since I already have a master's, could I begin working directly on a specialist or doctoral degree? I imagine if so, I would have to take quite a few "catch up" courses before working toward a degree, since it's been so long since I've taken an actual psych class. I'm just wondering if it's really necessary to get a second masters.
**It really depends on the program. Some programs only offer masters or EdS, some only offer PhD or PsyD, some offer both. So that varies a whole lot by program. Also keep in mind that the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) is a accreditation unit for school psychology. Not all program have NASP accreditation (which is only masters or specialist level accreditation) and only some programs have American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation (Ph.D. or Psy.D. level). If you want to get a doctorate and you want to get licensure as a psychologist to do private practice or whatnot, it will be a lot easier in almost all states if you attend an APA accredited school. BUT all states have different licensure requirements, so you might want to check into that if you're interested in that.

If you have teaching experience, how would you compare the work of a school psych compared to a teacher?
**This is a bit of a tough question in some ways. eeza and I can both give our experience, but the role of school psych can vary tremendously by district whereas the role of teacher is generally the same (it's the support level that is different between districts). I have lots of teaching experience. I personally think the best school psych are those who have been teachers. In my masters cohort of 7, only 3 of us had been teachers. In the cohort I trained last year (I co-taught the assessment courses), there were 12 students. I believe only about 4 had *any* teaching experience, and only one had been a classroom teacher. In my PhD cohort (also of 7, coincidentally), only 2 of us had been teachers.

That didn't answer your question, I got off track But I would say ime being a school psych has way more paperwork, more flexibility. I think one of the things I liked better about teaching was having the same students all year and really following their growth and connecting with them strongly. As a school psych, my relationships were much shorter in that they were often only the length of the assessment process. I did some counseling as well, and some groups, but I did much less of it in my 2nd school psych district because of the way school psychs were used. There is a lot of parent contact with both jobs. We've all had difficult parents as teachers, but the most difficult parent contacts I've had have been as a school psych. Sometimes you have to share news that can upset parents. You have to be very diplomatic. As a psych, I could usually fit a bathroom break in when I wanted, but not always a lunch break I also did a lot of traveling and had a huge caseload. As a teacher, you get to have control over your schedule (in some districts you get less control than others, though). As a psych, I could be more flexible in my own schedule, but it was challenging to work with all the teachers. Some were very difficult to work with, some were very adverse to letting me observe or take the student for assessments.

How are you evaluated?
**In my last district, I had a supervisor who was trying to come up with a way for us to be evaluated. We weren't evaluated formally with test scores or anything. But the sped director gave us evaluations and they were usually just "meets, meets, meets"... many things didn't apply to us because they weren't specially designed for school psychs. Some districts actually take kid test scores into account, some have school psychs set their own "Smart" goals-- it really varies. You'd find out best about your area by asking your school psychs what the job it like there and how they are evaluated.

What is the pay like in your district, compared to the pay of teachers?
**My last district gave crappy pay. We did get paid more, but we also worked a 12 month schedule. So basically, I got paid what I would have gotten paid as a teacher if I were a 12 month teacher (we had some of those, too). In the previous district, we were on the teacher pay schedule, but we got additional state pay, which brought us up about 7K more for the year. Some districts pay their school psychs great. I've yet to work in one of those Sometimes they're on the administrative pay scale.

What advice would you give someone going into this line of work?
**See if you can talk with a school psych in your area to see what the job is like. NASP has an idea school psych position as incorporating consultation, counseling, and assessment. Some districts use school psychs strictly as sped testers/gatekeepers, some use them strictly as RTI data managers, some use them mostly as counselors and data support, some use them for the full range of jobs, some use them strictly for highly problematic behaviors (EBD support) etc etc. No matter which way they use psychs, if you don't like numbers and data, this probably isn't the job for you.

In my jobs, I've become indispensable to my schools Once that happens, I get more leeway and am part of more decisions, and administration would often come to me to get my advice about things. I did trainings for staff (that I created- sometimes I was asked, sometimes I offered because I wanted the staff on the same page), I was a consultant/ support for behaviors and academics, I was parent resource/support for the sped process, I was involved in choosing appropriate intervention materials, the list goes on and on. I like to have a little control, so that was nice

I am tired and kind of sick, so I'm sure I rambled a whole lot- sorry! Please ask any follow up questions if you want. I've had my M.Ed. in school psych for 15 years and I'm currently in my last year of the Ph.D. program (interning in a clinic). One more year and I'll go for state licensure as a psychologist. I attend a NASP/APA accredited program. My school psych experience is limited to two different states, and I've heard some things about other states/ districts, but I don't think anyone is an expert in all states. They are so different!!

Ok, I'll stop now

Mrs.Lilbit 10-16-2015 07:59 PM

I've taught for over 16 years. I'm currently teaching gifted education but have been thinking for a while about a career change. Each year, the ridiculousness of what the teaching profession has become wears me down a little more (the standardized testing, the evaluation process, etc).

I've been thinking more and more about becoming a school psychologist and was hoping for input and advice. I minored in psychology as an undergrad (was a psych major before switching to education) and currently have a M.Ed. in Gifted Education. I am thinking about going back to school to get another Masters in School Psychology.

I guess what I'm wondering is:

Is it possible to get a M.S. in Psychology, even though my B.A is not?

Is it better to get a degree in school psychology or clinical psychology, or does it matter? I've checked the job boards in my district and the school psych postings state that a degree in either is acceptable. Is one is more advantageous than the other for working in the private sector?

Since I already have a master's, could I begin working directly on a specialist or doctoral degree? I imagine if so, I would have to take quite a few "catch up" courses before working toward a degree, since it's been so long since I've taken an actual psych class. I'm just wondering if it's really necessary to get a second masters.

If you have teaching experience, how would you compare the work of a school psych compared to a teacher?

How are you evaluated?

What is the pay like in your district, compared to the pay of teachers?

What advice would you give someone going into this line of work?

TIA for any input you can give me!




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