The NLU School Psychology Program offers two degrees that enable persons to be licensed to practice as school psychologists in Illinois by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and also to qualify as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) by NASP. Most students enter with the intention of earning the Educational Specialists Degree (Ed.S). A few Ed.S. students immediately go on to the Doctoral Degree (Ed.D.). Historically, a few persons already with other graduate degrees enter the program each year to earn the Ed.D.
In 2010-2011, we modified our curriculum and program activities consistent with the Figure above to create a comprehensive graduate program. In this approach, students can enter or exit a variety of degree programs. Our goal is to admit qualified students who are interested in the Ed.D. immediately into that program upon completion of their Ed.S. Moving from one degree to another would be seamless, ending in the terminal Ed.D. degree. This approach means a focused 3 years of coursework, a single, full-year internship and a practical, high quality dissertation. An Ed.S. may be earned along the way, but would not be required. Our goal is that at least 50% of persons entering the School Psychology Program will continue through the Doctoral Degree.
For those students not interested in the Ed.D., they may exit the program with the Ed.S., the minimum standard of practice recognized by NASP.
In addition, the NLU School Psychology Program is committed to providing a respecialization option for practicing school psychologists or persons with graduate degrees in related fields (e.g., Clinical Psychology) who are interested only in completing requirements for school psychology licensure.
Nearly all students are full-time, although part-time completion is an option.
We offer four points of entry:
- Most applicants enter with a BA or BS degree in psychology or a related field with the intention of earning the Ed.S. in School Psychology, recognized as the entry-level standard of practice. These applicants apply for the M.Ed. first, on their way to the Ed.S. Students who enter with a BA or BS can expect a 3-year course of full-time study with decreasing coursework and increasing time spent in schools. The third-year is a full-time (9-10 month), financially compensated school-based internship. After their first year, consisting of 33 Semester Hours (SH), students earn their M.Ed. Students then enter the Ed.S. degree program, which is completed after an additional 1 year of full-time study and a 1 year internship; the Ed.S. consists of an additional 36 SH.
- Some applicants enter with an MA, MS or M.Ed. in a related field. Many of these applicants have valuable field experience, especially those with education degrees, and apply directly to the Ed.S. degree. Depending on previous degree coursework, the plan of study may be less than 3 full-time years. One of these coursework years must be the full-time internship. The number of SH of coursework may differ per student. The School Psychology Program coordinator will evaluate each applicant's transcripts to develop an individualized course of study consistent with ISBE licensure requirements. For courses to be waived or transferred, prior courses must have been taken within the last 10 years.
- Some applicants apply to the Educational Doctorate (Ed.D.) in School Psychology Program (Ed.D. Course of Study). To ensure that these applicants are eligible for ISBE licensure and eligibility for the NCSP when they finish their degree, students complete all ISBE school psychology licensure requirements. Many of our Ed.D. students are practicing school psychologists who wish to return to school to pursue further leadership opportunities in an individualized program, with the possibility of completing a full-time internship/learning experience that is connected to their full-time employment
- A few applicants with a Ph.D., or Psy.D., or Ed.D. equivalents in related fields (e.g., clinical psychology, educational psychology) apply to our respecialization option. Based on the evaluation of previous experiences and coursework, an individualized course of study is developed that leads to ISBE endorsement as a school psychologist.