School Psychology Certification

Coursework in the school psychology track leads to Pennsylvania certification as a school psychologist. The program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to offer such a training sequence. In the first or second year of the doctoral program, students interested in pursuing school psychology certification complete a questionnaire to assess their interest in the application of psychology in schools.

Students who have maintained satisfactory grades and supervisory evaluations to date, who have completed three psychological assessments, and/or who have worked with at least 3 child or adolescent clients in a practicum experience, are accepted into the certification program. The number of students accepted may be limited by the availability of school-related practicum and internship sites. However, every effort is made to accommodate interested students.

Required Courses

  1. DPSY 517: Introduction to School Psychology
  2. DPSY 722: Diagnosis and Treatment of Learning Disabilities
  3. DPSY 836: Advanced Theory, Assessment, Consultation, and Intervention in School Psychology I
  4. DPSY 837: Advanced Theory, Assessment, Consultation, and Intervention in School Psychology II
  5. ED 624: Teaching English Language Learners

DPSY course descriptions are in the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology Graduate Catalog.

We recommended that students consider additional electives offered through the School of Education, Innovation and Continuing Studies.

Internship & Supervision

After completion of two general practica, two additional half-time years (usually the third and fourth year of the program) comprise the "school psychology internship."  Across both years, the total internship equals 1200 hours.

One of the half-time years (600 hours) must be spent in a public school setting and must be supervised by a PA certified school psychologist. The other may be in a nonschool-based setting involving children and/or adolescents where there is opportunity for school-based consultation or in an institution of higher learning, such as college counseling centers or a center that serves college students under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Over the course of the internship, students gain experience in assessment, intervention, and school consultation, including classroom observation, conferences with teachers, and contact with other educational specialists. Opportunity to be involved with children or adolescents at various age levels and in both regular and special education is desirable. During this internship/practicum year, students participate in a case seminar at Widener in order to receive extra supervision and assistance integrating coursework into practice.

Doctoral Dissertation

Students in the school psychology track generally choose a dissertation topic relevant to children, adolescents, and/or families and the education experience. Possible topics must be discussed with the concentration coordinator before being finalized.

Certification

Students who satisfy the coursework and practicum requirements of the track and who have demonstrated competence are eligible to take the school psychology examinations (Praxis I and Praxis II) required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Upon completion, they are recommended to the state for certification.

Core Competencies

Assessment

Students perform psychoeducational assessments and make recommendations for school placement and interventions; perform behavioral observations and recommend behavioral interventions; and interview parents, teachers, and children to obtain school and home data.

Intervention

Students advise the development of and participate in the implementation of classroom behavioral interventions, psychological counseling, and other classroom groups.  Students also participate in design and implementation of response to intervention and positive behavior support programs.

Consultation and Education

Students implement systematic consultation with parents, teachers, and school-based teams.

Diversity

Students are aware and consider diversity issues in assessment, intervention, and consultation in the schools.

Management and Supervision

Students lead and participate in multidisciplinary teams in the schools.

Research and Evaluation

Students are able to implement outcome evaluations to determine success of school interventions and consultations, and participate regularly in data-based decision-making in the schools.

Relationship

Students develop team functioning skills; are able to communicate clearly with children, parents, and teachers about academic and behavioral issues; and have a solid understanding of ethical issues, particularly as they relate to the schools.