SPOKANE, Wash. — The State Board of Education has approved the new school psychology certification program offered jointly by Washington State University Spokane and Eastern Washington University. With the approval, students who successfully complete the program and meet requirements of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction are recognized as eligible to practice in the state.
By having their graduate course work and internship experience during their first master’s degree recognized, candidates can complete the certification program at an accelerated pace compared to the three-year programs now available. Other universities offer three-year master’s degree programs in school psychology, including a program at EWU.
Washington and the nation face a growing shortage of school psychologists. In the last year, about 107 positions were advertised in the state, and at least 22 went unfilled. Of school psychologists hired, only about half were educated in Washington, indicating that existing programs are not producing enough graduates to meet in-state need. National data indicate about 10 percent of those practicing will retire by 2002. Another 5-10 percent growth in the field is expected through the creation of new positions, so the gap between supply and demand will continue to increase.
The collaborative WSU Spokane/EWU program was developed to address the shortage by allowing teachers, counselors and clinical psychologists with master’s degrees to change careers into school psychology without having to complete a second master’s degree. The National Association of School Psychologists has recognized an alternative approach to certification, such as the program, as one tactic to address the growing shortage.
For more information, contact Steve Hirsch, WSU Spokane, 509/924-2622, or Mahlon Dalley, EWU, 509/359-6147. Program information is online at www.schoolpsych.spokane.wsu.edu. Information on the EWU master’s degree in school psychology is online at www.ewu.edu:80/catalogs/graduate/Programs/Psychology/AboutProgram.htm..