Frequently Asked Questions – School Psychology Master’s Program with Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Credential
Students may qualify for the PPS only option if they already hold a master’s degree in a related field (counseling, MFT, counseling psychology, special education, etc.). We ask prospective students to fill out a transfer credit evaluation form and also submit a copy of their transcripts to determine if they qualify.
Since some practicum hours are required during the program, it is recommended that students limit work to no more than 35 hours per week. Scheduling flexibility is also recommended so that students may complete some of their required practicum hours during typical K-12 school hours.
To qualify for financial aid, students need to be enrolled in at least 4.5 units per semester. Most courses are two units, so it is recommended that students follow the recommend plan of study and take four courses every semester. Courses are broken up into 8 week sessions, so students are only taking two courses at a time. Due to course scheduling, part-time study would significantly delay completion of the program. During the PPS internship, students can complete a part-time internship and extend the time over two years if needed but it is not recommended.
Students are typically on campus two evenings a week for class.
Class times will vary from campus to campus. For San Diego, Irvine, and Los Angeles, courses typically start between 4:30-5:30 and end at 9:45. At the San Francisco campus, courses are offered either during the week or in a weekend format. Weekday courses are from 5:30-9:15. Weekend courses are on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of psychologists (including school psychologists) is expected to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.
Whereas counselors help patients with problems in the home, workplace, or community, school psychologists address education-related issues. For example, they may address students’ learning and behavioral problems, and counsel students and their families. They may also evaluate students’ performance in the classroom and consult with other school-based professionals to suggest improvements to teaching, learning and administrative strategies.
Applying for an internship is similar to finding a job. Although we do not place our students, there is support and students are informed where they can view district postings. Students also gain plenty of experience in the school systems when they complete practicum. This allows for them to network and get to know many people in the local school districts. Students should use their practicum experience and relationships within professional organizations to investigate internship opportunities.
There are not currently any online courses for the School Psychology program.
Retention rates vary from year to year at every university. The School Psychology program consistently has a retention rate between 90-95%.
Students do not need to take the CBEST to apply to the program. The CBEST should be completed prior to the end of the student’s first year.
The curriculum is the same at all of our campuses, so yes it would be possible under certain circumstances.
The School Psychology program accepts students with various backgrounds. We take a holistic view of the application and weigh many of the components of the application equally. Faculty does not just focus on GPA when reviewing an applicant, but will look carefully at their personal statement, letters of recommendation and past experiences. If a student’s GPA falls below a 3.0, they are still highly encouraged to apply but will need to submit a GPA exemption petition letter requesting that the 3.0 requirement be waived.
Students complete 450 hours of practicum and assignments will vary throughout the program. The first year, many of the practicum assignments are geared towards learning more about the K-12 school environment. This may involve interviewing a school principal or observing a classroom. The second year, students have more intensive practicum assignments to apply what they have learned in the classroom. An example of an assignment would be for students to pick a learning theory and do an observation of a learning theory at a school or playground.
Every state has its own credentialing practices and requirements. Students are encouraged to check with their state of interest regarding credentialing requirements.
Students can apply for advanced standing for the PsyD in their second year. If admitted, students can start their PsyD concurrently during their third year when they begin the PPS internship. Students can then complete the master’s program, PPS credential and PsyD in five years.
The comprehensive exam incorporates mostly vignettes ranging from 1-2 paragraphs to 3 pages. If students do not pass the exam, they are put on a remediation plan so that they can emerge successful.
Alliant strives to ensure that all students are fully supported during the internship year. Students have two supervisors during their internship that are available for support and mentorship. One supervisor is a faculty member that coaches and meets with the student regularly. The other supervisor is a school psychologist on site at the school system. Site supervisors write a midterm progress report (at 600 hours) and then an evaluation at the end of the year on the student. This allows for the student to receive feedback and progress while at their internship.
Students begin internship during their third year. The internships typically begin either the 1st of August or 1st of September. The start date will vary from district to district.
Many current students work in the school systems to make connections and to get familiar with the K-12 school environment. Some work as teacher’s aids, special education teacher’s aids, or work as behavioral specialists with Autism agencies prior to embarking upon their school psychology career.