Education Specialist in School Psychology

Who Are School Psychologists?

School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments for all students that strengthen connections between home and school.

School psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education. They must complete a minimum of a post-Master’s degree program that includes a year-long internship and emphasizes preparation in mental health, child development, school organization, learning styles and processes, behavior, motivation, and effective teaching.

School psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which they work. They also may be nationally certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB).

What do School Psychologists do?

School psychologists work to find the best solution for each student and situation and use different strategies to address student needs and to improve school and district-wide support systems.

School psychologists work with students individually and in groups. They also develop programs to train teachers and parents regarding effective teaching and learning strategies, effective techniques to manage behavior at home and in the classroom, working with students with disabilities or with special talents, abuse of drugs and other substances, and preventing and managing crises.

In addition, most school psychologists provide the following services.


  • Collaborate with teachers, parents, and administrators to find effective solutions to learning and behavior problems.
  • Help others understand child development and how it affects learning and behavior.
  • Strengthen working relationships between teachers, parents, and service providers in the community.


  • Evaluate eligibility for special services.
  • Assess academic skills and aptitude for learning.
  • Determine social-emotional development and mental health status.
  • Evaluate learning environments.


  • Provide psychological counseling to help resolve interpersonal or family problems that interfere with school performance.
  • Work directly with children and their families to help resolve problems in adjustment and learning.
  • Provide training in social skills and anger management.
  • Help families and schools manage crises, such as
    death, illness, or community trauma.


  • Design programs for children at risk of failing at school.
  • Promote tolerance, understanding, and appreciation of diversity within the school community.
  • Develop programs to make schools safer and more effective learning environments.
  • Collaborate with school staff and community agencies to provide services directed at improving psychological and physical health.
  • Develop partnerships with parents and teachers to promote healthy school environments.

Research and Planning

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of academic and behavior management programs.
  • Identify and implement strategies to improve response to intervention programs (RTI)
  • Use evidence-based research to develop and/or recommend effective interventions.

Where School Psychologists Work

The majority of school psychologists work in schools. However, they can practice in a variety of
settings including:

  • Public and private school systems
  • School-based health centers
  • Clinics and hospitals
  • Private practice
  • Universities
  • Community and state agencies, and other institutions

Program Overview 

School psychologists serve diverse students in a variety of settings where learning is central. Intervention strategies are linked to assessments. The Education Specialist in School Psychology degree was developed to train students for effective intervention in this environment. Our course of instruction meets Georgia and national certification requirements for school psychologists. Students are systematically trained as applied practitioners in the field of school psychology as approved by the National Association of School Psychologists. 

Admission Requirements 

Program Admission Requirements: This program does not admit students with Probationary Status.  To be considered for admission as an Ed.S. in School Psychology graduate student in the Department of Psychology and Counseling you will need to contact the graduate office.

Valdosta State will be accepting applications for Spring Semester. The application process is all online and the sooner we can accept students for Spring, the sooner we can arrive at the best solution for all those who have been admitted to the program. Although the application deadline for Spring semester is October 15th, we encourage you to apply early.  

  • Apply Here
  • The applicant must complete application forms as directed by the Graduate School.
  • The applicant must submit 3 recommendations to the Graduate School. These letters should reflect the ability, interest, and motivation of the candidate to be successful in the program of study and the career field.
  • The applicant may also be required to submit a written statement of 250-500 words describing the student’s interest in this program and post-degree plans. This sample should demonstrate articulation, writing skill, and aims consistent with the mission of the degree program.

Program of Study

Ed.S. in School Psychology is based on a foundation of graduate coursework completed at the master’s degree level. A minimum of 72 semester hours beyond the Bachelor’s degree would include both the master’s level requisites and sixth-year degree requirements. A minimum of 27 semester hours beyond the master’s degree is necessary to complete the Ed.S. degree program.  

Courses typically required for the Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology are listed on the next panel and represent a course of study based on the master’s degree preparation and includes masters-level courses:

School Psychology Coursework


3.0 PSYC 7000 – Methods in School Psychology
3.0 PSYC 7020– Conditions of Learning (or)
3.0 PSYC 8600– Theories of Learning
3.0 PSYC 8250– Developmental Psychology

4.0 PSYC 7100 – Intellectual Assessment
4.0 PSYC 7120 – Academic & Behavioral Assessment
1.0 PSYC 8140 – Emerging Technologies for Intervention-based Assessment

3.0 PSYC 8200 – Child & Adolescent Psychopathology
3.0 PSYC 7420 – Counseling Children and Adolescence
3.0 PSYC 7400 – Counseling Theory and Practice
3.0 PSYC 7500 – Consultation Theory & Practice
3.0 PSYC 8150 – Behavioral Health Care Systems
3.0 PSYC 8610 – Behavior Modification
3.0 Hours - Guided Electives

3.0 PSYC 5500 – Statistical Methods in Psychology
3.0 RSCH 8000 – Educational Research
3.0 PSYC 8500 – Change & Change Measurement
3.0 PSYC 8999 – Thesis or 3.0 PSYC 8895- Capstone Project

3.0 SPEC 5140 – Collaborative Roles in Education
3.0 Hours - Guided Electives

PRACTICUM(5 hrs.) / INTERNSHIP(4 hrs.) – 9 HOURS
5.0 PSYC 7791-5 – School Psychology*
4.0 PSYC 8891-4 – School Psychology Internship I-IV*

3.0 PSYC 8800 – Legal and Ethical Issues in Psychology
3.0 SCHC 7470 – Counseling Culturally Diverse Populations

Total Hours Required for the Degree - 72 semester hours


Program Content for the Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology

Students entering the Specialist Degree Program from other graduate departments may need to complete prerequisite coursework. Students develop a portfolio as a part of the Education Specialist Degree Program in School Psychology. In addition students will complete the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators ® (GACE®) and may receive provisional and, upon graduation, clear renewable sixth-year state certification.  Completion of a master’s degree program in a school psychology related field, enrollment in Ed.S. school psychology program approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC), 500 clock hours of practicum with a minimum of 250 hours in the school setting, a passing score on the GACE II, and recommendation from a Local Educational Agency are required for Georgia’s 5th year non-renewable certification in school psychology.  Students typically obtain non-renewable certification through the GACE prior to completing their internship and thesis.

In Georgia, the PRAXIS II or Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) Examination is also used for certification; however, the GACE is the current state exam for Georgia.   Intermediate coursework prepares students for the state exam and completion of the internship helps prepare the student for the National exam needed for the NCSP.

Augmenting the aforementioned qualifying examinations and experiences, a portfolio is developed for each student.  The portfolio documents various courses completed, practicum experiences, internship training, supervisory comments and ratings, documentation of national certification, as well as other necessary and useful records.

 The portfolio may include but is not limited to: (a) samples from various objective course exams as well as observational records from assessment, consultation, and counseling sessions used to partially determine course grades; (b) observation forms from assessment, consultation, and counseling sessions completed during the student's practicum experiences; (c) the student's 500 clock-hour practicum log; (d) written reports and supervisor rating forms from the school-based practicum experience; (e) supervisor rating forms and sample reports (generally 3 per semester) submitted during the internship; (f) materials (handouts) from an in-service conducted during the internship;  (g) a manual or list of available resources from the internship school; (h) a copy of the 1200 clock-hour internship log; and, in some cases, (i) documentation for national certification.