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Why Become a School Psychologist

A high school starts a “Pay it Forward with Kindness” campaign, urging students to write down things they appreciate about others as a way to pre-empt bullying. An elementary school pairs mainstream students with special-needs students in a Buddy program.  A middle school sponsors a Red Ribbon Week to reinforce to students that most kids DON’T do drugs.

These promotion and prevention activities are the work of school psychologists, who strategize ways their schools can create safer, more positive school climates.

Who Are School Psychologists

School psychologists contribute in many ways to keeping children well-adjusted academically, socially, behaviorally and emotionally. They promote wellness dynamics and intervene in brewing problems.  They also collect data, perform research and monitor progress as a way of providing helpful information to teachers and administrators.

Many school psychologists enjoy the chance this field offers to blend their social science knowledge and methods with their compassionate desire to help children learn respectful and positive behaviors, grow and thrive.

Requirements to Become a School Psychologist in Illinois

To become a school psychologist in Illinois and become a certified School Psychologist (NCSP) by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), you will need to obtain an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in school psychology, pass a state school psychology exam and obtain a Professional Educator’s License (PEL) with a school psychology endorsement.  To become an NCSP, you will also need to pass the NASP test. Obtaining the NCSP enables you to practice school psychology in 32 states, rather than just Illinois.

NLU's Ed.S. in School Psychology Degree Program

The Ed.S. is a three-year program that spans at least 60 semester hours, or 90 quarter hours, past a bachelor’s degree. The first and second years are spent in a part-time school practicum. The third year is spent in a full-time, full academic year internship, which typically is partially paid, in a school district.

If you hold a master’s degree in a related field, you generally still need to spend three years to obtain your Ed.S. in School Psychology. However, the total number of courses you would take may be reduced. For example, if you had courses in research or abnormal psychology, you may not have to retake them. That could lighten your course load, but probably not shorten the three-year pursuit of your Ed.S. degree.

At National Louis University, students who hold a bachelor’s degree and enter the Ed.S. program in school psychology earn a Master’s in Education (M.Ed.) degree at the end of their first year.

Students with undergraduate degrees are required, by Illinois rules, to matriculate into an Ed.S. program in school psychology, passing a basic skills test or its equivalent.   Acceptable ACT scores no more than 10 years old or passing the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) are the standard.

When students begin the program, they spend one day a week in a school-based practicum, expanding to two days a week during the second year.

In the third year, during the full-time internship in a school district, students are provided a field supervisor who is a practicing school psychologist and will meet with the student weekly. A university professor also will provide supervision, on a monthly half-day basis.

Learn more about the Ed.S. program at National Louis University.

Applying to National Louis University’s school psychology program is competitive, and nearly all students admitted graduate. All graduates who seek jobs have found them, even during the recent economic downturn, said Mark Shinn, Ph.D., School Psychology Program Coordinator.

Locations
  • CHICAGO DOWNTOWN CAMPUS

    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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  • ELGIN

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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  • NORTH SHORE

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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  • LISLE

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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  • WHEELING

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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  • FLORIDA (TAMPA)

    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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