Accredited School Psychology Graduate Programs and Schools in Illinois [2024]

In the state of Illinois, the demand for qualified and passionate school psychologists continues to grow. School psychology programs play a crucial role in preparing professionals to address the diverse needs of students in educational settings.

School psychology programs aim to equip aspiring school psychologists with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively support the academic, emotional, and social well-being of students.

There are several reputable psychology colleges in Illinois that offer accredited school psychology programs. These programs provide comprehensive training in assessment, intervention, consultation, and counseling, as well as a strong focus on cultural competence and ethical practice.

In this article, we will explore various school psychology programs available in Illinois.

School Psychology Graduate Programs in Illinois

Listed below are some of the popular schools offering school psychology graduate programs in Illinois:

  • National Louis University
  • Capella University
  • Western Illinois University
  • Grand Canyon University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Butler University
  • Northern Illinois University

National Louis University

National Louis University (NLU), a private institution, has its principal campus in Chicago, Illinois. The university enrolls both undergraduate and graduate students in over 60 programs throughout its four colleges. In addition to its presence in the Chicago metro area, NLU maintains a regional campus in Tampa, Florida, catering to learners from 13 central Florida counties.

Established in 1886, NLU has held a significant position in the educational arena. The institution’s founders were key figures in initiating the National Kindergarten Movement, founding the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and advocating for the value of scholarly and professional education in early childhood education concepts and implementation.

First and second-year students at NLU are required to reside on campus unless they meet specific exemptions, such as commuting from a parent’s residence, being married, or having served in the military for a minimum of two years. Approximately 90% of first-year students reside on campus, with all accommodations reserved solely for freshmen.

Opportunities for campus leadership roles are available to students as early as their second semester during their freshman year.

Ed.S. in School Psychology

The Education Specialist degree at NLU is designed for individuals who are passionate about using research-backed methods to support students and schools in achieving academic, emotional, and social success. This program allows candidates to build on their bachelor’s degree and pursue leadership opportunities while advocating for social justice and equality.

Throughout the program, candidates learn how to employ evidence-based practices within a Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) framework. They gain valuable skills in instructional and behavioral consultation, working with teachers, administrators, and families to enhance academic achievement and social-emotional learning, improve schools, and foster healthy family environments. The program also covers evidence-based academic interventions and mental health services.

Upon completion of the program, candidates receive an Educational Specialist degree (Ed.S.) and qualify for the Professional Educator License (PEL) for School Psychologist in Illinois. As a National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)-approved program, graduates are eligible to become certified school psychologists.

With additional training, graduates can pursue district leadership positions, such as supervisors, specialized district coaches, directors of special education, or principals. These leadership roles allow them to advocate for students and social justice. Graduates can also further their education by pursuing a doctorate and working in higher education.

The first-year practicum is a one-credit experience per term, repeated for two additional terms. This practicum is directly connected to three courses, allowing students to gain hands-on experience, observe school psychologists in practice, and understand how schools provide instructional and behavioral support. Students complete many class assignments in their practicum school.

The second-year practicum is a three-credit experience per term, repeated for two additional terms. This practicum requires students to spend two days per week working under the supervision of approved school psychologist supervisors and receiving a minimum of 2.5 hours of weekly university-based supervision.

Students have the opportunity to practice skills they learned in their first year and expand the tools and skills they are learning in their second year.

Capella University

As a private, profit-driven virtual university, Capella University is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and falls under the ownership of Strategic Education, Inc., a publicly traded corporation. The majority of its educational offerings are conducted via the internet.

With 52 academic programs and more than 1,900 web-based courses, Capella enrolls around 38,000 students from every US state and 61 other nations. Among these learners, 23% are pursuing doctoral degrees, 47% are working towards master’s degrees, and the remaining 27% are engaged in bachelor’s programs.

Online Master of Science – School Psychology

The Master of Science (MS) in School Psychology program introduces students to the realm of school psychology, blending organized coursework and hands-on clinical experience. This program follows the standards for school psychologists, incorporating the service model in the curriculum.

This program also prepares students for higher education in either the Eds in School Psychology or Doctor of Psychology in School Psychology programs.

In compliance with the Council of Chairs of Training Councils (CCTC) principles and guidelines, the program’s faculty and staff are committed to ensuring students possess the skills required for effective professional relationships, emotional maturity, interpersonal stability, and intellectual judgment when working with vulnerable populations.

Throughout their graduate studies, students’ suitability and fitness for the profession are assessed by faculty and staff.

This MS in School Psychology program is not intended to lead to licensure, endorsement, or professional qualifications. If you are  aiming to acquire state or national licensre or certification as a school psychologist, you should pursue either an EdS in School Psychology or a PsyD in School Psychology.

EdS in School Psychology

The Education Specialist (EdS) in School Psychology program offers advanced training for individuals seeking state licensure or certification as a school psychologist.

The curriculum emphasizes the school psychologist service model, focusing on data-driven decision-making, embracing diversity, and promoting social justice. This prepares students to serve diverse, constantly changing communities effectively.

To apply for the program, applicants must submit the following materials:

  • A Master of Science (MS) in School Psychology
  • Official master’s degree transcripts, showcasing a 3.0 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • A valid photo ID issued by the government
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae (CV)

Western Illinois University

Founded in 1899, Western Illinois University came into existence when Macomb’s Freemasons contributed the required land to the state of Illinois. Macomb triumphed over other contenders such as Quincy, Illinois, to become the chosen site for this “western” university, as determined by the Illinois legislature.

Initially known as the Western Illinois State Normal School in 1899, the university underwent two name changes: first to Western Illinois State Teachers College in 1921, and later to Western Illinois University in 1967.

Comprising four main academic colleges—Arts & Sciences, Business & Technology, Education & Human Services, and Fine Arts & Communication—this university also includes an Honors College and the School of Extended Studies, which specializes in nontraditional programs.

Specialist in School Psychology

The School Psychology Program at Western Illinois University follows a practical training approach. This method combines aspects of the scientist-practitioner and professional models, stressing the need for students to fulfill national and state credentialing criteria.

To meet these standards, students need a solid foundation in psychology and education. It is also crucial for school psychologists to operate legally and ethically within their work environments and have strong communication, collaboration, and consultation abilities to effectively share their knowledge with service users. The program is accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

The main goal of the school psychology program is to prepare school psychologist practitioners and professionals who help enhance learning and development for all students, especially those at risk of academic or behavioral challenges. The training aims to build expertise in facilitating pre-referral interventions, providing counseling services, conducting thorough psycho-educational assessments, planning and preventing crises, and improving school environments for safety and support.

As school psychologists play a vital role as data-driven leaders for academic and mental or behavioral health services, the program emphasizes developing consultation and counseling skills to effectively support students and work well within the entire school system.

The program’s objectives include:

  • Training school psychologists to understand schools as systems
  • Promoting cultural competence in service delivery
  • Advocating for safe schools that enhance well-being for all children

During their first and second years, students are placed in Western Illinois area schools or special education cooperatives without needing to find their own practicum placements. Placements change between the first and second year to broaden experiences and training across different sites, considering students’ commuting and class schedules.

While most practicum work occurs in public school settings, there is an on-campus Psychoeducational Clinic that accepts parent referrals for second opinions. Students work on these cases under faculty supervision.

Eastern Illinois University

Eastern Illinois University (EIU), a public educational establishment, was created in 1895. With over 8,000 students, the university is set in an urban environment and occupies 320 acres. The institution follows a semester-based academic structure.

Situated in Charleston, EIU is approximately 180 miles south of Chicago and around 140 miles northeast of St. Louis. Students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees have various options in disciplines such as arts and humanities, psychology and counseling, business and applied sciences, education, and general sciences. There are over 25 master’s degree programs available.

Beyond academics, EIU offers students the opportunity to participate in over 200 clubs, multiple fraternities and sororities, and student government activities. For those interested in sports, intramural games are available, or students can try out for one of the numerous EIU Panthers varsity teams, which are part of the NCAA Division I Ohio Valley Conference.

Specialist in School Psychology

The Specialist in School Psychology program at EIU aims to deliver top-notch education and training to prepare skilled school psychologists who can address the educational and personal needs of children and adolescents in both public and private schools.

Following the scientist-practitioner model, students acquire abilities in research, evaluation, prevention, academic and behavioral support, consultation with school staff and parents, program creation, and personnel training. While the program’s main focus is to certify school psychologists in Illinois, many graduates also qualify for state certification in other states.

Eastern’s School Psychology Program provides a well-structured, comprehensive curriculum and extensive hands-on experiences. Guided by scientific evidence, ethical principles, legal considerations, respect for diversity, and a commitment to ongoing learning, the program prepares graduates to address the learning, mental health, and social/behavioral needs of children on both individual and systemic levels.

Students participate in two capstone experiences: a thesis and a developmental portfolio. The thesis allows students to conduct original research, develop expertise in a specific area, and contribute significantly to the field.

Additionally, students complete two portfolios, one at the end of their coursework and another after their internship experiences, evaluating knowledge and performance competencies, respectively.

Program highlights include:

  • A favorable student-faculty ratio, encouraging student-faculty collaboration
  • Core courses taught by experienced school professionals
  • All courses led by faculty holding doctoral degrees
  • A strong sense of unity among students
  • Numerous opportunities to apply classroom learning in school environments through three semesters of practical experiences
  • A focus on the scientist-practitioner training model
Copyright © 2024 All Rights Reserved. Program outcomes can vary according to each institution's curriculum and job opportunities are not guaranteed. This site is for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional help.