Frequently Asked Questions about School Psychology:

1) Is a Licensend Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) the same as a School Psychologist?

The credential that permits the practice of psychology in Texas public schools is called Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP). The Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists TSBEP sets the required sets the requirements for the LSSP credential, which include completion of a graduate degree program in School Psychology, a passing score on the School Psychologist Praxis exam, and a passing score on TSBEP Jurisprudence Exam. More information can be found on the TSBEP website.

In Texas, the title of “School Psychologist” is limited to individuals who are licensed psychologists with a doctorate in School Psychology.

2) If I am not in the applied behavior analysis certification program, will I still receive training in behavioral interventions?

Yes. Behavior therapy has a long history in the field of psychology, and all School Psychology students receive training in this evidence-based intervention. By completing the applied behavior analysis (ABA) certificate program, students are eligible to earn a certificate and can have the additional title of Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Generally, certification is voluntary process conducted by a private organization for the purpose of providing the public information that individuals have successfully completed the certification process, which typically involves education, testing, and demonstration of competent practice. There are many certifications available in psychology, such as NASP’s Nationally Certified School Psychologist and ABPP’s board certification in School Psychology. School Psychology students wishing to earn a certificate in ABA have to (a) take four additional courses (8 hours), two of which are one-hour ethics courses specifically related to the practice of ABA; and (b) have additional clinical experiences in ABA; and (c) be supervised by someone who is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. For more information, see the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. Website or contact Dr. Tonya Davis, the BCBA coordinator at Baylor.

3) What is the difference between training at the Educational Specialist (EdS) and the Doctoral (PhD) level in School Psychology at Baylor?

The focus of the Specialist program is to train individuals who will primarily practice psychology in school-based settings. It requires 60 graduate semester hours, including three practica and a 1200-hour year-long internship. Typically graduates of the Specialist program immediately go on to practice psychology in schools, although some graduates have entered doctoral programs in School Psychology. The focus of the School Psychology specialization in Educational Psychology Doctoral program is to train scholars who can advance the theories and practice of psychology as they relate to diagnosis, assessment, intervention, prevention, and program development and evaluation services for children and youth within the context of schools, families, and other related systems. The School Psychology doctoral specialization requires at least 90 graduate semester hours, including five practica and a 1500-hour year-long internship. Training at the doctoral level extends Specialist-level training in two ways. First, there is additional coursework that allows students to develop strong skills in research and data analysis, including the completion of a dissertation. Second, there are additional practica experiences that allow students to gain supervised field experiences in settings that provide services to children/adolescents and their families other than P-12 schools. 

4) Is the School Psychology specialization of the Doctoral (PhD) program at Baylor accredited?

While the specialization is not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), it is designed to comply with the guidelines specified by APA for professional psychology training programs as well as the requirements for practice as both a school psychologist (independent practice) and a licensed specialist in school psychology set forth by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists. We will seek NASP approval for the doctoral specialization during the next program review.

5) What is the difference between a School Psychologist and a School Counselor or School Social Worker?

All three professions are trained to provide direct counseling work with children and adolescents. School Psychology training typically includes a broader range of activities, however, including comprehensive psychological and educational evaluations; teacher and parent consultation regarding academic achievement, mental health, and problematic behavior; staff and parent training; problem solving to better understand disabilities and risk issues; and conducting applied research to answer school-related questions. School Psychology training brings together the knowledge base of several disciplines, including child/adolescent psychology, development, general education, and special education. In addition, most School Psychology graduate programs require three years of training, including a 1200-hour internship. In contrast, school counseling and social work programs typically do not include training with special education populations, require fewer hours of graduate training, and require fewer practicum and internship hours. More information can be found at NASP website.

6) What is the difference between training in School Psychology and Clinical or Counseling Psychology?

Like, Clinical and Counseling Psychology, School Psychology is a general practice and health service provider specialty of professional psychology. Consequently, there is a lot of overlap between training in all three specialties. What makes School Psychology unique is the focus of training and practice, which is: • the science and practice of psychology with children, youth, families; • learners of all ages; • the schooling process Basic education and training in School Psychology, both at the Specialist and the Doctoral level, prepares individuals with a wide array of skills, such as: psychological assessment and diagnosis, individual and system interventions, prevention, health promotion, and program development and evaluation services. For more information, see the definition of the School Psychology specialization and NASP’s Who Are School Psychologists?

7) What is the difference between training in Educational Psychology and School Psychology?

Although the terms are used somewhat differently across universities, School Psychology and Educational Psychology are closely related as professionals in both disciplines often design research programs, publish, present, and evaluate programs or policy. Nonetheless, the fields are not synonymous. At Baylor, there are two major differences between training in School Psychology and Educational Psychology.

  • School Psychology is a branch of professional psychology along with Clinical and Counseling Psychology (see the Definition of School Psychology. Consequently, School Psychology students receive training in psychological assessment, consultation, and both direct and indirect service delivery to students, their families, teachers, and other child-oriented professionals. In addition to traditional coursework, School Psychology students are also required to have clinical practica and a year-long internship (1200-1500 hours) that are supervised by licensed psychologists or licensed specialists in school psychology. In contrast, students in Educational Psychology programs typically focus on training in the science of learning or measurement, and are not required to any have any clinical practica or an internship.
  • Graduates of Baylor’s School Psychology programs are eligible for state licensure to practice psychology in schools and school-related settings. Thus, School Psychology program graduates are able to conduct comprehensive psychological and educational evaluations, practice various modalities of psychotherapy, and provide consultation to teachers and parents regarding behavioral, academic, and mental health issues. Graduates of traditional Educational Psychology programs typically are not eligible for state licensure to practice psychology.

8) If I am admitted into a School Psychology program, will I receive financial aid?

While there is no guarantee of financial aid, departmental faculty have a history of working hard to provide generous financial support to students in both the Educational Specialist (EdS) and Doctoral (PhD) levels of training though graduate assistantships and tuition remission. 

9) Will I receive experience in the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities?

Yes. In their first year of training, all School Psychology students are required to have a practicum experience in the Baylor Autism Resource Center BARC, which is a unit within the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities BCDD. Some students elect to have additional experiences in the BCDD through work with individual faculty members.

10) What types of hands-on experiences will I get the first year in the program?

All students are required to complete a practicum their first year in the program, which both introduces them to work in Waco P-12 schools as well as working with children who have developmental disabilities. In addition to the formal practicum, some of the other courses students take require a clinical component where students gain additional hands-on experiences.

11) What is the Costa Rica program? Does everyone go? Is there funding to help with this if I want to go?

The EDP Department offers an optional study abroad program in Costa Rica as one section of the Cultural Issues with Children and Families course (EDP 5393). More information about the Costa Rica experience can be found on the departmental webpage. Students who choose the Costa Rica study abroad option have had success acquiring scholarship to help defray the trip fee cost. For more information, see the Baylor study abroad department BearsAbroad.

12) Can I complete my internship or be employed anywhere in the United States, or do I have to stay in Texas?

Because it is NASP approved, students in the Ed.S. program are eligible to complete their internship and work in any of the 50 states and territories in the US. For example, students in the program have previously had internships or found employment in: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.

13) Do faculty place students at practicum sites or do students have to find their own sites?

The School Psychology practicum coordinators work with students to place them in practicum sites where students will have valuable experiences and there will be adequate supervision by LSSPs or licensed psychologists.

14) What is the difference between a licensed specialist in school psychology (LSSP) and an educational diagnostician?

LSSPs and diagnosticians substantially differ in their training and practice. The LSSP is a psychology license, regulated by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists. The basic degree required for the LSSP is typically the Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) or a doctoral degree (Ph.D/Psy.D.). Training must include at least 60 hours of training in school psychology, focusing on mental health, academic, and behavioral interventions, assessment, and consultation for individuals in school-based settings. In addition, it requires supervised practicum experiences and a full-time year-long internship. The educational diagnostician credential is an education certificate, regulated by the Texas Education Agency. It is designed for practicing teachers (typically special education teachers) who want advanced training in assessment and interventions for students with learning difficulties or who want to change their roles in the schools to focus more on academic assessment. It requires a Master's degree in education (usually special education), which are typically around 30 hours. No practicum or internships are required, although some training programs may include them.