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School Psychology (Specialist)

Students bring a number of personal issues with them when they walk into classrooms across the nation. Family problems, learning difficulties, negative peer pressure, stress, relationship issues, poor self-esteem, depression, anger … and the list continues. The Nicholls State University Specialist in School Psychology program prepares future school psychologists to serve as consultants to the entire school community. The graduate program, which is recognized by the National Association of School Psychologists, trains students to provide a variety of psychological services within educational settings. Students get hands-on experience during supervised field experiences in public schools and at the Counselor Training Clinic on campus. In addition to field experiences, the curriculum also focuses on the ethical, professional and legal standards of school psychology. Students learn the techniques of consulting with parents, teachers and school personnel as well as how to prevent and remedy problem behavior.

Throughout the program, applied supervised field experiences are emphasized in the following core areas:

  • psychological foundations;
  • educational foundations;
  • psycho-educational foundations;
  • intervention, consultations, and foundations;
  • practicum and externship experiences and
  • internships.

Contact us:
Dr. Carmen Broussard
278 College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Building
Phone: 985.448.4356
Email: carmen.broussard@nicholls.edu

  1. The Specialist program is formally recognized by the National Association of School Psychologists. Graduates of the program are eligible to apply for national certification, providing the minimum score on the PRAXIS II Exam in School Psychology is met. This exam is taken prior to graduation, and a passing score is a graduation requirement (this minimum score is set by NASP’s certification board).
  2. The Specialist program is a 72 hour program that is typically completed in 3 years. The university allows 6 years for part-time completion.
  3. 60 hours of coursework are completed on campus at Nicholls State University, prior to a 12 hour internship.
  4. The majority of coursework completed on campus is face-to-face. Approximately six courses (18 hours) are completed in a hybrid format, requiring 50% of class meetings on campus.
  5. A typical full-time course schedule is 12 hours each fall/spring, and 6 hours each summer for two years prior to Internship.
  6. During Year 1, all courses are held Monday through Thursday nights, typically from 5-8 PM.
  7. During Year 2, all courses are held Monday through Thursday nights, typically from 5-8 PM. In addition, the Externship during fall and spring requires 2 ½ days of field experiences (non-paid) as assigned in Lafourche Parish schools.
  8. A graduate student may work full-time during Year 1, but course requirements do not allow time for full-time work during year 2.
  9. All graduate students may apply for a Graduate Assistantship. If one is awarded, tuition is waived (not fees), and 20 hours of work on campus is required weekly during semesters. GA positions are available during fall and spring semesters, typically. All GA applications are managed by the Graduate Studies office (in the Dean’s office – College of Education and Behavioral Science). Separate letters of recommendation are required for the GA application.
  10. Respecialization requires completion of all program requirements in order to meet certification requirements in Louisiana (see policies at the end of this document).
  11. Up to eight classes (1/3 of the Specialist curriculum) may be considered for transfer if taken for graduate credit at another accredited university. A full syllabus of the course must be submitted to faculty for consideration. The remaining 48 hours of the curriculum (2/3) are completed at Nicholls State University.
    1. Transfer consideration requires a full syllabus review of the proposed course to determine equivalence.
    2. Transferred courses cannot be more than 3 years old at the time of entry to the program; this is due to the requirement that a course cannot be more than 6 years old at the time of program completion. If the program is completed in more than 3 years, this timeline is affected.
  12. Applications can only be reviewed when all application requirements are received. The GRE (Verbal + Quantitative only) score must be submitted in order for an application to be considered complete. The university requires that the GRE be taken within 5 years of program application. NOTE: The GRE requirement is waived for 2020-21 applicants due to closure of testing centers.
  13. Desired references would be current/former university instructors or employers/supervisors.
  14. The internship is a two-semester sequence of courses during which the intern is employed in a school district in a school psychologist role. It is the responsibility of the graduate student to seek and secure the internship placement. All placements must be approved by program faculty.
  15. All program requirements can be found on the program website and in the Program Handbook (also on the website).
  16. Questions can be directed to Dr. Carmen Broussard at broussard@nicholls.edu.

 

 

 

 

 

Specialist in School Psychology Program

 

Policies Directing Respecialization:

 

From the Ancillary Application posted on the Louisiana State Department of Education’s website, a Level B School Psychologist will provide evidence of:

“Official transcript showing the completion of a master’s or specialist degree in School Psychology, including an internship earned at a regionally accredited college or university.”

 

From the National Association of School Psychologists website:

“Individuals with a graduate degree in a closely related field (e.g., clinical psychology, counseling psychology) may be eligible for the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) designation, provided they have completed a respecialization or equivalent program at a NASP-approved graduate program. Please note that graduate programs handle applications from those with prior graduate degrees in different ways, but all NASP approved programs must assure that all program completers, regardless of backgrounds have met the same national standards for school psychology preparation. Not all graduate programs offer respecialization options, and many programs will enroll only students pursuing a graduate degree in school psychology. Please check with the graduate program to inquire about its options.”

 

From the Nicholls State University Catalog:

“Students entering the Specialist in School Psychology program with either a Bachelors degree or a Masters degree must complete all requirements within six years.”, and

“A student may transfer from a regionally accredited college or university a maximum of one third of the semester hours of degree program credit, with no grade lower than B, provided that such transfer credit shall be applicable to the degree program. Both resident and extension credits are thus acceptable. Transfer credits are subject to the six-year limitation.”

 

Currently, the specialist program at Nicholls State University requires that a student be accepted into the graduate program in order to enroll in coursework. In such cases, a review of transcripts is conducted to identify courses equivalent to those offered at Nicholls State University, and the timeline of such courses is considered. Any coursework considered for transfer must have been completed by an accredited institution. Professional experience is not considered in lieu of coursework.

To be admitted into the Specialist in School Psychology program at Nicholls State University, applicants should possess the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree or graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • A minimum GPA of 2.50 on the last 60 hours of coursework.
  • A minimum score of 286 (Verbal plus Quantitative) on the General portion of the GRE. The GRE score is required at the time of application.
  • Completion of undergraduate preparation requirements (an undergraduate degree in psychology from a regionally accredited university or 15 hours of undergraduate psychology to include statistics, research methods, physiological or abnormal psychology, psychology of exceptional children and three additional hours of psychology).

To begin the application process to the Nicholls Graduate School, individuals must submit the following at least one month prior to the semester of admission:

  • Graduate Studies application form (apply electronically).
  • Application fee of $20 (or $30 for international students), in the form of a check or money order payable to Nicholls State University.

Additionally, the following must be submitted to complete the application package:

  • Official transcripts from all higher education institutions attended, must be sent directly from those institutions. Download record request form.
  • Official GRE score reports must be sent from the Educational Testing Service to Nicholls State University.

Applicants must be admitted to the Graduate School prior to applying to the Specialist in School Psychology program. Applications are accepted at any time. Typically, the faculty determine acceptance of new students in November (for spring entry) and in April (for summer or fall entry).

Candidates may apply prior to completing all prerequisites; however, all application materials must be on file with the program director for admission consideration (including GRE score). Admission may be granted in spring, summer, or fall semesters.

Spring Entry:

Desired Due date October 15th
Application DecisionsNovember 15th

Summer or Fall Entry:

Desired Due DateMarch 15th
Application DecisionsApril 15th

Applications are encouraged at any time in order to be considered for any unexpected vacancies in the program.

These completed forms should be mailed to:
Carmen Broussard, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology, Counseling and Family Studies
P.O. Box 2075
Thibodaux, LA 70310

Applicants will also be required to complete an interview with faculty representatives of the School Psychology Specialist program. Candidates may apply prior to completing all prerequisites; however, candidates having outstanding prerequisites may not earn more than 12 hours in the program.

Visit the Nicholls catalog for more information regarding admission to the Specialist in School Psychology program.

Graduate coursework includes 60 academic hours plus 12 hours of internship credit. Graduate courses cover topics such as:

PSYC 507                           Statistical Analysis and Research Methods
PSYC 507                           Psychometrics
PSYC 504                           Adult and Child Psychopathology and Diagnosis
PSYC 511                            Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy
PSYC 512                            Theories of Learning
PSYC 509                           Practicum in Diagnostic Testing I
PSYC 522                           Interventions for Diverse Needs
PSYC 527                           Problems and Issues in School Psychology
PSYC 500                          Basic Facilitative Skills
PSYC 516                           The Psychology of Child & Adolescent Development
or PSYC 519                         Advanced Lifespan Developmental Psychology
PSYC 506                          Applied Behavior Analysis
PSYC 514                           Practicum in Diagnostic Testing II
PSYC 529                          Instructional School Consultation Strategies
PSYC 530                          School Psychology Externship I
PSYC 520                          Psyc Counseling Practicum I
PSYC 528                          Behavioral Consultation Strategies
PSYC 531                           School Counseling Externship II
PSYC 542                          Cognitive Behavior Theory and Applications
or PSYC 543                         Applied Psychopharmacology for Mental Health Counselors
PSYC 598                          Specialist’s Comprehensive Exam
PSYC 523                          Crisis Prevention and Intervention
ONE APPROVED ELECTIVE
PSYC 532                          School Psychology Internship I
PSYC 533                          School Psychology Internship II

Learn specifics about:

Q. How many years will it take to complete the specialist degree at Nicholls State University?
A. The specialist program is 72 hours, which includes 60 hours of coursework that is completed prior to 12 hours of internship. While some students complete the 60 hours of coursework in two years, many complete it in three years. Students complete courses in fall, spring and summer semesters.

Q. When are classes offered?
A.
At Nicholls, graduate courses in the Department of Psychology, Counseling and Family Studies are offered in the evening. One exception is the School Psychology Externship I/II, which requires fieldwork for two full days each week across two semesters, as well as two afternoon supervision meetings weekly.

Q. Are graduate assistantships available?
A.
Graduate assistantships are available and require 20 hours of work each week. Graduate assistantships are paid a stipend each semester and receive tuition waiver. Students are responsible for remaining fees. View assistantship pagefor more information and to download application forms.

Q. Can I work full-time while completing the specialist degree?
A.
Attending part-time is an option during beginning coursework. University policy states that a program of study is to be completed in six years. Coursework is generally offered at night, with the exception of the School Psychology Externship I/II, which requires fieldwork for two full days each week across two semesters, as well as two afternoon supervision meetings weekly.

Q. How do I find an internship?
A.
Students eligible for internship seek their own placement. Program faculty members will assist students with identifying prospective positions. School districts who hire interns must enter into a written agreement with the Nicholls Specialist program to provide necessary experiences. Students may seek internship placements within or outside of Louisiana.

Q. How likely am I to find a job after completing the Specialist degree?
A.
School psychologists are in high demand in Louisiana and across the nation. All graduates in the last three years have been employed in their field in the year following graduation.

Q. Can prior graduate coursework be transferred to this degree?
A. Up to eight classes (1/3 of the Specialist curriculum) may be considered for transfer if taken for graduate credit at another accredited university. The remaining 48 hours of the curriculum (2/3) must be completed at Nicholls State University. Program faculty review each course for equivalence to the Nicholls Specialist in School Psychology curriculum. Any course that is transferred cannot be more than six years old at the time of program completion.

Externships

Externship I/II (Psychology 530 / Psychology 531) are a two semester part-time placement in a school-based environment or an approved alternative setting which serves school-aged children. Only one semester placement in an alternative setting is allowed.

The primary focus of Externship is training, but candidates provide some service functions over the course of the year. The Externship provides opportunities for candidates to acquaint themselves with the roles, responsibilities, and functions of school psychologists and other pupil service personnel. Candidates are required to participate, at a minimum, in multidisciplinary team case staffing, school building level committee meetings, and general pupil appraisal staff meetings.  Candidates also participate in school-wide preventative services for academic, behavioral, and crisis needs. In addition to providing a general introduction to the structure and organization of educational institutions and school/community resources, candidates provide limited services. These activities can include the administration of diagnostic instruments, observations, student and parent interviews, and the design and implementation of academic or behavioral interventions, consultation and individual and group problems. Readiness to complete these activities is determined on an individual basis, and all activities are conducted under the direct supervision of the field-based supervisor, in collaboration with a university-based supervisor.

Internships

Internship is the final level of applied training in the NSU School Psychology Program. Typically, the internship is a full-time supervised off-campus placement which takes place in an approved public school setting. The school psychology faculty may approve an alternative internship site. The length of the Internship is typically one academic year with a minimum of 1200 hours. At least 600 of the total hours must be in a school-based setting.

The primary purpose of the Internship is to facilitate a candidate’s development into a competent professional school psychologist. This is achieved by candidate mastery of the skills they acquired during their training. Internship training occurs across all grade levels and involves services to students in regular and special education settings. To be eligible for internship, the candidate meets all of the following:

1. Successful completion of at least 60 hours of graduate coursework including two semesters of externship as previously outlined.

2. Prior to or concurrently with completion of PSYC 532 (School Psychology Internship II) candidates must successfully complete a comprehensive written and oral examination in school psychology.

3. Be eligible for and/or possess provisional school psychologist certification from the state in which they are completing their internship.

4. The internship setting must be approved by school psychology program faculty. A Memorandum of Affiliation must be signed by the internship site supervisor.

Program Faculty

Faculty members in the Nicholls Department of Psychology, Counseling and Family Studies possess extensive professional, academic and research experience.

Dr. K. Chris Rachal, PhD, MP, ABN

Title: Associate Professor of Psychology
Department: Psychology, Counseling, and Family Studies
Email: chris.rachal@nicholls.edu
Phone: 985.448.4350
Office Location: 256 College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Building

Dr. Carmen Broussard

Dr. Carmen Broussard

Title: Professor of Psychology
Department: Psychology, Counseling and Family Studies
Email: carmen.broussard@nicholls.edu
Phone: 985.448.4356
Office Location: 278 College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Building

CONTACT INFORMATION

College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Office Location:
220 College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Building
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 2053
Thibodaux, LA 70310
Phone: 985-448-4311
Fax: 985-448-4926
E-mail: Wanda Porche

LOCATION