School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments for all students that strengthen connections between home and school.
The UHV Specialist in School Psychology program is dedicated to providing students with a comprehensive, integrated program of study delivered by qualified faculty, as well as substantial supervised field experiences necessary for the provision of school psychological services which positively impact children, youth, families, and the schools that serve them. The training standards within the program are consistent with the standards of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychology (TSBEP) Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) credentialing, which complies with the nationally recognized standards for the practice of school psychology per the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) standards. The UHV Specialist in School Psychology program was notified on August 1, 2017 that the program has been approved for candidacy status for NASP accreditation by the NASP Program Approval Board. The program is in the process of collecting and analyzing student data for further review. Candidacy status granted by NASP is effective until December 31, 2021.
The mission of the UHV school psychology program is to train entry-level school psychology practitioners, namely, Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSP), in accordance to the standards set by the Texas State Board of Examiners (TSBEP). The program is designed around NASP standards to prepare students for the NCSP. With emphasis on best practice application of school psychology, faculty and students are expected to be both consumers and evaluators of empirically-based practice, while providing empirically-based school psychological services to a diverse population of individuals including children, families, school personnel, and other related professionals. Students are trained to adequately assess difficulties students may be having that impact their education, consult with teachers and parents regarding student difficulties and intervene with students through evidence-based academic, behavioral, and counseling interventions. The School Psychology program has a core philosophy that emphasizes student development of competencies in the delivery of practical, empirically sound services to a wide range of children in diverse learning environments.
The School Psychology Program is a 63-hour non-terminal degree, leading to a Specialist in School Psychology degree (SSP), which meets the academic requirements for the Texas Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) credential. With this licensing, you can practice as a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) in K-12 public schools.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where are your classes held?
70% of our coursework is taught online via Blackboard. The other 30% of our courses are offered either in person or via hybrid methods (combination of online and face to face components). Face to face courses are typically held in the evenings (4-6:45 pm or 7-9:45 pm) to accommodate working professionals. Please refer to the program handbook and the plan of study to reference course sequence, teaching methods for each course and the course location.
2. Can I enroll in the program part-time?
Part-time enrollment is available; however, it is important you work closely with School Psychology faculty regarding your course progression as the course sequence often builds upon one another and courses are only offered once per year.
3. What types of practical experience do I receive while in the program?
During the program, you will complete a practicum and a yearlong internship. Practicum takes place during your second year of the program after particular courses have been completed. Practicum students work beside an LSSP in a school district of their choosing for a minimum of 20 hours per week (300 hours during the Spring of the 2nd year). During your practicum, you are also completing coursework. Internship is the culminating experience of the program and takes place after all coursework has been completed, typically during your 3rd year. Interns are full-time employees of a school district of their choosing and intern positions are typically paid. Please refer to the Practicum and Internship handbooks available on our website for more information.
4. Can I hold a full-time job while enrolled in the program?
Past students have held full-time jobs and successfully completed the program. However, please note that past students typically report spending 20-30 hours per week on course requirements. This should be factored into your decision when considering outside employment. Please be aware that traditional full-time employment (Monday-Friday from 8-5) is particularly difficult during your 2nd year in the program when you are required to work in the school setting for your practicum. Practicum positions are unpaid but required by the program. During your 3rd year internship, this becomes your full-time job, as you are employed as an LSSP Intern by a school district. Internships are typically paid and interns generally earn $20-30,000 per year, depending on the district.
5. What are students in your program like?
We pride ourselves on recruiting diverse students with an array of experiences who contribute to our program and surrounding school districts. The majority of our students live in the Houston area, although many live in Victoria and within rural communities in the Gulf Coast area. About 50% of our students are full-time students, while 50% are part-time. The majority of our students have families, children and prior careers before deciding to come back to school. We have past teachers, speech-language assistants, and business men and women who have been successful in our program.
6. I already have a Master’s degree. Can I transfer credits towards the School Psychology program?
Per the UHV graduate handbook, credit may be transferred only for graduate credit courses completed with a grade of A or B and completed in residence under a graduate degree program at a college or university with recognition in some form from the U.S. Department of Education or the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. These courses must be certified as graduate level by the Office of the Registrar and Student Records of UHV.
If you are transferring credit from another UH institution, up to 50% of the program’s hours could be transferred (a maximum of 31 transfer credit hours). If you are transferring credit from an institution outside of the UH system, up to 25% of the program’s hours could be transferred (a maximum of 15 transfer credit hours).
After being admitted to the program, you will work with the program director and other School Psychology faculty to determine which courses may meet our requirements for transfer credit.
7. I’ve never heard of a Specialist in School Psychology degree. What is this degree?
Starting in 2006, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board allowed graduate School Psychology programs to grant the Specialist in School Psychology (SSP) degree. The degree reflects the increased number of hours that students obtain, as most School Psychology programs are a minimum of 60 hours. The degree is often viewed as more than a Master’s degree, but less than a Doctorate degree.
8. UHV sounds great but I’m also interested in other programs. Why should I choose UHV to continue my education?
We pride ourselves on making sure that our students have a wonderful learning experience and become strong school psychology practitioners. Here are some of the reasons our students love our program-
- Small cohorts and class sizes make it easier to get to know your professors on a personal level
- Core faculty members have worked in the schools and continue to work as LSSP’s in the field. They know the challenges you will face and prepare you adequately for your future roles.
- Core faculty members do school-based research. They understand the problems facing children and you have opportunities to get involved in this research if that interests you.
- Our program cost is significantly lower than other graduate programs.
Admission to the counseling psychology, forensic psychology or school psychology program is based on an evaluation by the program's admission committee of the following information.
- A 1-2 page essay that states the applicant's reasons for applying to the program and the applicant's career goals.
- One Letter of Recommendation (including the Graduate Recommendation Form for Graduate Psychology Programs) from a non-UHV, non-family source.
- Evidence of having completed undergraduate or graduate courses in statistics, research, and abnormal psychology. A particular course will be waived as a requirement if the student passes a comprehensive final or its equivalent for the designated course with a grade of C or better. The exam may be taken no more than once for a particular course.
- Graduate Admissions Index of 980 or higher. Official GRE General Test scores are required in order to calculate your Admissions Index.
- Official transcripts sent directly to the Office of Admissions from every institution previously attended.
- An interview with UHV graduate faculty in psychology.
All applications must be completed by February 15 to be considered for admission for the fall of that year. Students may start the psychology M.A. programs only during the fall semester.
For more information about UHV's School Psychology program, please contact the Program Director Dr. Shannon Viola.
Jennifer Reeder is available for advising. Appointments are required. Please call 281-396-3712 to schedule an appointment.