MISSOULA – The school psychology doctoral program at the University of Montana successfully obtained full approval from the National Association of School Psychologists through 2020. The program also has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since October 2015.
Approval by NASP’s Program Accreditation Board is based upon meeting rigorous requirements of the Standards of Graduate Preparation of School Psychologists and preparing competent professionals who serve the mental health and educational interests of all children and youth.
School psychologists are experts in mental health, learning and behavior for children. They work closely with families, teachers and other school professionals to create safe, healthy and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school and the community. Doctoral-level school psychologists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, community mental health agencies and universities, as well as public and private schools.
Anisa Goforth, director for UM’s school psychology graduate training programs, said UM’s doctoral program is the only one in the state that prepares school psychologists.
“We are thrilled that our two national professional associations recognize our strong commitment to the preparation of highly competent professionals that meet the most rigorous standards in the preparation of school psychologists,” Goforth said. “Our graduate students are exceptional and they have obtained positions all across the country to serve the mental health and academic needs of children and adolescents.”
Zachary Shindorf, an advanced doctoral student, said that approval of UM’s program is crucial to his future employment.
“The UM school psychology Ph.D. program has given me the opportunity to really foster my interests, whether it be in my research or clinical work,” Shindorf said. “Given that Montana is primarily a very rural state, providing mental health services to the community can be a challenge. Nonetheless, I have been able to work closely with children with autism, complex trauma and a range of other mental health concerns.”
The School Psychology Program, housed in UM’s Department of Psychology, has three full-time faculty: Greg Machek, Jacqueline Brown and Goforth. The department also includes the Experimental Psychology Program, as well as the Clinical Psychology Program, which has been fully accredited by the APA since 1965.
To learn more about UM’s School Psychology Program, visit http://hs.umt.edu/psychology/school-psychology/. To learn more about the NASP approval process, visit http://www.nasponline.org/standards-and-certification/graduate-program-approval.