School Psychology - Frequently Asked Questions

School Psychology Program

Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs (6/2022)

The Profession of School Psychology

1. What is a school psychologist?

As per the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), school psychologists provide direct support and interventions to students, consult with teachers, families, and other school-employed mental health professionals (i.e., school counselors, school social workers) to improve support strategies, work with school administrators to improve school-wide practices and policies, and collaborate with community providers to coordinate needed services. They help schools successfully: improve academic achievement; promote positive behavior and mental health; support diverse learners; create safe, positive school climates; strengthen family-school partnerships; and improve school-wide assessment and accountability.  

2. What credentials are needed to practice school psychology in California?

At minimum, you will need a master’s degree in school psychology from an accredited program and certification through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

3. What is the career outlook for school psychologists?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, 2014), school psychologists will have expanding job opportunities through 2022. Compensation across the nation is largely dependent on the geographical location of your work site. However, a $71,320 mean salary for a 200-day contract has been reported (Castillo, Curtis, & Gelley, 2012). 

4. How is the role of a school psychologist difference from a licensed professional counselor?  

Federal and state regulations explicitly state that school psychologists must be involved in evaluations determining potential eligibility for special education services. School psychologists are more typically involved in special-education related activities. 

Admissions to Cal-Poly Humboldt’s School Psychology Program

5. Does the program accept part-time students?

Completing the program on a part-time basis is difficult because of practicum and internship requirements. Many coursework assignments are completed in the practicum setting (approximately 18 hours per week) and the 1200-hour internship is completed on a full-time basis during a traditional academic calendar year.  

6. My undergraduate degree is in a major other than psychology.  Must I complete another degree in psychology in order to apply to the program?

Applicants to the school psychology program must have an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related discipline (i.e. child development, education, social work) AND satisfy the prerequisite course requirements (see below). Satisfying the prerequisite requirements in-and-of-themselves does not supplant the requirement for a relevant undergraduate degree. 

7. How many students are accepted annually, and must I submit GRE scores?

10-12 students are accepted annually and GRE scores are not required.

8. What is the average undergraduate GPA of admitted applicants?

A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required for consideration of acceptance into the program. Applicants accepted to the program have an average undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.

9. I have a GPA below 3.0.  Should I still apply?

A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required for consideration of acceptance into the program. Applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0 will need to have other aspects of their application packet that are truly stellar in order to compensate for their low GPA.

10. I took and passed the CBEST a few years ago, do I need to retake it in order to apply for the program?

“Once the CBEST examination has been passed, it need not be taken again since it indefinitely satisfies the basic skills requirement necessary for certification and program enrollment.” (

11. I am an out of state applicant, do I need to pass the CBEST prior to applying to the program?

The CBEST needs to be passed prior to the end of the first semester enrolled.

12. Are there prerequisites for the program?

Yes. Students must have successfully completed: General Psychology, Research Methods, Developmental Psychology (lifespan), Introductory Statistics, Tests and Measures; and Personality Theory OR Abnormal Psychology.

13. Do all prerequisites need to be completed before beginning the program?

The purpose of the prerequisites is to help ensure success in coursework specific to the school psychology program. All prerequisites are to be completed prior to beginning program coursework. However, in some cases, students enroll in Tests and Measurements during their first semester in the program, as many undergraduate programs do not offer this course at other universities.

14. I want to gain experience in the field. What are some of the jobs of current students?

Students typically obtain related experience working as: behavioral technicians, counselors for at-risk populations, substitute teachers, and teachers’ assistants.

Program Specific

15. Is it possible to work while I attend the program?

The program is time and coursework intensive and outside employment over 10 hours per week is not recommended during the fall and spring semesters.

16. How long is the program and can it be completed in a more expedient fashion?

The program is accredited through the CTCC and follows a specific scope and sequence of coursework and field based experiences. As such, the minimum amount of time to complete the program is 3 years.

17. When are classes typically offered?

Classes are typically offered on Monday through Friday during daytime and early evening hours.

18. Are there summer courses?


19. Are classes typically on-line or in-person.

By default, the primary mode of instruction for all courses is in-person.

20. How many students complete the program in three years?  

Based on data from 2015-2022, 75% or more of those students retained completed the program in three years. 

21. What assignments do students have to complete?

Students complete assignments directly relevant to their coursework across the ten domains of school psychology practice. Some of these assignments are completed as part of students’ practicum experiences. Other assignments are completed independently. Students will need to be resourceful and have access to children and youth outside their practicum experiences in order to complete assignments. 

22. Am I required to take a final test before internship? 

Students are required to successfully defend the 12 products in their professional portfolio prior to beginning their internship experience. 

23. Am I required to take a final test before graduating?

Students are required to successfully defend a minimum of 4 professional products in their internship portfolio upon completion of their internship experience and immediately prior to being recommended to the CTCC for the school psychology credential.

All students are required to take the Praxis-School Psychology exam prior to graduation for accreditation and program planning purposes. Students who wish to become nationally certified (NCSP) must successfully pass the Praxis-School Psychology exam, complete other NASP requirements, and independently submit their NCSP application packet to NASP (see 

24. Will I need to complete Master’s thesis in order to graduate?

Completion of a thesis is an option, but it is not required. In place of a thesis, students complete two professional portfolio’s that are defended prior to beginning the internship and at the conclusion of the internship, respectively. Portfolio completion and defense serve as the capstone experience of the program. 

25. What kinds of support and mentorship are provided during the program?

The program has one full-time faculty member and four part-time instructors. These faculty teach the majority of classes in the program and also serve as university-based supervisors during students’ practicum and internship experiences. Faculty inherently recognize the need for strong faculty-student relationships to support student professional growth.

26. Are graduate assistantships and/or graduate work-study opportunities available?

Graduate assistantships and work study opportunities are dependent on funding for faculty research and finances made available through student financial services. Since 2017, the program has typically supported 2-3 graduate student workers on a part-time basis each year.

Internship Requirements for the School Psychology Program

27. Is the third year required internship paid?

Students are responsible for seeking-out and acquiring their 1200-hour field based internship and all internship sites are approved by the program director. Internships within California are typically paid; although the stipend varies depending on location. 

28. Must the internship be completed in California?

Internships can be completed in states other than California. However, the internship site must ultimately be approved by the program director and students should plan appropriately to physically return to campus periodically during their internship experience.

29. If I graduate from HSU’s school psychology program, will I be able to work as a school psychologist in another state?

Yes. Program graduates earn a school psychology credential to practice in California. Those who wish to work in other states must contact the other state’s department of education, share that they have a California credential, and request to be credentialed in that state.