What Is a Specialist Degree in School Psychology?


Martha Robinson

A specialist degree in school psychology is a graduate-level program that focuses on enhancing the mental health and academic performance of students. This degree program is designed for individuals who are interested in pursuing a career as a school psychologist.

What Is a School Psychologist?

A school psychologist is a mental health professional who specializes in working with children and adolescents in educational settings. They help students overcome emotional, behavioral, and academic challenges that can interfere with their ability to succeed in school.

What Does a School Psychologist Do?

School psychologists provide a range of services to students, including:

  • Evaluating students for learning disabilities, developmental delays, and mental health disorders
  • Developing individualized education plans (IEPs) for students with special needs
  • Counseling students individually or in groups to address emotional and behavioral issues
  • Consulting with teachers and parents to provide support for students’ academic and social-emotional needs
  • Implementing programs to promote positive behavior and prevent bullying

What Is a Specialist Degree?

A specialist degree is a postgraduate program that falls between a master’s degree and a doctoral degree. It typically requires at least 60 credit hours of coursework, including supervised field experience. The program is designed to provide advanced training in a specific area of study.

The Curriculum of a Specialist Degree in School Psychology

The curriculum of a specialist degree program in school psychology covers topics such as:

  • Child development
  • Educational assessment and evaluation
  • Mental health counseling techniques
  • Behavioral intervention strategies
  • Ethical and legal issues in school psychology

In addition to coursework, students in a specialist degree program are required to complete supervised field experience. This may include working in schools or other educational settings under the supervision of a licensed school psychologist.

Career Outlook for School Psychologists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for school psychologists are expected to grow by 3% from 2019-2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. The BLS also reports that the median annual salary for school psychologists was $78,200 as of May 2020.


A specialist degree in school psychology provides individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to become effective school psychologists. With a growing demand for mental health services in schools, this profession offers a rewarding career path for those who are passionate about helping children succeed.