About the Program
The Department of School Counseling and School Psychology offers adult learners academic and practical preparation for careers in school counseling and school psychology. The department provides coursework and supervises field work leading to the Master of Arts in Education: Educational Counseling and the Master of Arts in Education: Educational Psychology degree. In addition, the department offers a credential-only program for those who hold a master’s degree and seek certification in school counseling or school psychology.
While the state-required credential for school psychologists is sufficient to secure employment, those with accompanying master’s and post-master’s degrees enjoy an undeniable advantage. Recognizing this, APU has embedded all the requirements for the Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology and the Pupil Personnel Services Credential: School Psychology within the Master of Arts in Education: Educational Psychology program for those candidates seeking a convenient, efficient track toward their ultimate education goals. The dual degree and credential combination—along with the program’s nationally recognized NASP accreditation—significantly increases graduates’ marketability by equipping them with a comprehensive approach to addressing diverse student needs.
Specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
Candidates who elect to complete this specialization acquire knowledge needed to provide intensive behavioral treatment and intervention services for students diagnosed with autism and related disabilities.
With 15 units, or five courses, in applied behavior analysis, the specialization is approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and meets the educational requirements for eligibility as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Additional requirements to achieve certification include successful completion of supervised clinical experience, as well as the certification exam administered by the BACB.
Faculty who teach ABA coursework are fully licensed and experienced BCBA professionals. This specialization also has the distinction of dual accreditation by both the BACB and NASP.
Specialization in Clinical and Educationally Related Mental Health Counseling
Candidates who choose this optional specialization gain advanced skills to effectively meet the needs of students with emotional and behavioral challenges.
Graduates are equipped to provide Educationally Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS) or Designated Instructional Services (DIS). Through supervised field experiences and classroom curriculum, candidates gain exposure to group and individual clinical counseling, addictions or substance abuse counseling and intervention, psychobiology/psychopharmacology, DSM-V diagnosis, and case conceptualization and treatment for school-based mental health services.
Faculty who teach in the sequence of five courses (15 units) are fully licensed and experienced MFT and LCSW professionals.
Azusa Pacific University recognizes the need to provide quality academic programs for graduate students with divergent professional goals and differing educational needs. The degree and credential programs are designed for a limited number of individuals eager to pursue a Master of Arts and a credential program concurrently. These embedded degree/credential programs are conditional and faculty advisement is required prior to enrollment in the program.
This program consists of a diverse representation of gender and national origin. Approximately 50 percent are teachers with at least 10 years experience. Twenty-five percent come from the field of professional psychology, while 25 percent enter the program directly following their undergraduate work.
Student Dispositional Expectations
All candidates in the Department of School Counseling and School Psychology will be evaluated on their professional attitudes, values, and beliefs demonstrated through both verbal and non-verbal behaviors as educators interact with students, families, colleagues, and communities. These positive behaviors support student learning and development. The two professional dispositions that NCATE expects institutions to assess are fairness and the belief that all students can learn.
Student Dispositional Assessment
Three times throughout the program, faculty will evaluate candidates with regards to student dispositions. The School of Education Candidate Disposition Rubric will be utilized to assess each candidate.
Student Dispositional Remediation
Any candidate who does not meet minimal expectations on the Candidate Disposition Rubric will be required to meet with the Department Student Remediation Team to develop an improvement plan. Students who fail to meet the remedial dispositional requirements will be evaluated for fitness to practice in the profession.
Candidates in the School Counseling and School Psychology programs will be required to sign up for a TaskStream account at the onset of their program. All courses, including field experiences, have required Signature Assignments that will be evaluated by faculty.