Doctoral-level training is based on the scientist-practitioner model. To complete this training, you must fulfill a set of core courses in theoretical and scientific foundations of psychology as identified by the Task Force on the Revision of the Accreditation Criteria in Psychology (coordinated by the APA) and complete additional course work that applies the theoretical and scientific contributions of psychology to practical problems. Examples of the latter category are courses in diagnosis and treatment and required practicum and internship experiences.
You will be trained to think and act as both a social scientist and applied psychologist. As a social scientist, you are expected to be involved in educational program planning and policy formation. You serve as a resource person to school personnel and parents in order to promote programs for problem prevention and the facilitation of learning. As a practitioner, you must have the training to render diagnostic and remedial services. Those two basic elements of the school psychology program have been emphasized in Specialty Guidelines for the Delivery of Services by School Psychologists (APA, 1981).
The doctoral track has a strong theoretical base in human development, learning, individual differences, and research methods and statistics. This base is enhanced by the professional and practical courses that emphasize familiarity with cultural diversity, both regular and special education classrooms, and the development and application of both individual and group measurement skills in the cognitive, learning, and socio-emotional domains. In addition, you receive intensive applied training during the practicum and internship experiences. Within this context, you begin to share your expertise by consulting and collaborating with parents, teachers, and other school professionals.
To achieve the scientist-practitioner orientation, specific program objectives ensure that you will be competent to perform a range of professional functions. As a graduate of the program, you should be able to:
Regardless of the professional setting, school psychologists are fully recognized as psychologists. The standards and ethical responsibilities of the profession apply to them also.
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