School Psychology Workforce Trends: Recommendations for Graduate Preparation and Policy

  • James P. Van OverscheldeEmail author
  • Jon Lasser


Recent concerns about the psychoeducational needs of children and adolescents have drawn increased attention to the importance of psychological services in public schools. In particular, media reports on issues related to school safety, special education supports, and appropriate service delivery for culturally and linguistically diverse students have underscored the demand for school psychologists. The need for school psychologists to address these critical concerns is compounded by the fact that, for many years, there have been documented shortages of school psychologists. For the most part, reporting on shortages has been either anecdotal or based on surveys. In this article, we identify trends in graduate preparation and workforce data to better understand current and future needs by analyzing public data on graduate students, public-school employees, and workforce records from Texas. Following this analysis, we provide recommendations for policy and practice.


School psychology Shortage Workforce analysis School policy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

The current research was exempt from the informed consent requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act because the researchers were authorized agents of the state education agencies as defined in §99.31(a)(3).


  1. Anand, H., & Douglas, A. (2016). Workforce trends in occupational therapy. Occupational Therapy Now, 18(2), 5–7.Google Scholar
  2. Castillo, J. M., Curtis, M. J., & Tan, S. Y. (2014). Personnel needs in school psychology: A 10-year follow-up study on predicted personnel shortages. Psychology in the Schools, 51, 832–849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Youth risk behavior surveillance. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 67(8), 1–114.Google Scholar
  4. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Measurement Initiative. (2016). Retrieved from
  5. Cornell, D., Maeng, J. L., Burnette, A. G., Jia, Y., Huang, F., Konold, T., et al. (2018). Student threat assessment as a standard school safety practice: Results from a statewide implementation study. School Psychology Quarterly, 33, 213–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Eisman, E. J., Brown, K. S., & Martin, J. N. (2018). Marketplace and workforce issues. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 49(5–6), 314–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fagan, T. K., & Wise, P. S. (2007). School psychology: Past, present, and future. Bethesda: National Association of School Psychologists.Google Scholar
  8. Geiger, T., & Pivovarova, M. (2018). The effects of working conditions on teacher retention. Teachers and Teaching, 24, 604–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Howe, N., & Strauss, W. (2007). The next 20 years: How customer and workforce attitudes will evolve. Harvard Business Review, 85(7/8), 41–52.Google Scholar
  10. Johnson, J. M., & Ng, E. S. (2015). Money talks or millennials walk: The effect of compensation on non-profit millennial workers sector-switching intentions. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 36, 283–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Merrell, K. W., Ervin, R. A., & Peacock, G. C. (2012). School psychology for the 21 st century: Foundations and practices. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  12. Miller, D. C., Cheramie, G. M., & Black, D. L. (2016). History of credentialing in school psychology in Texas. Research and Practice in the Schools, 4, 1–17.Google Scholar
  13. Morgan, P. L., Farkas, G., Cook, M., Strassfeld, N. M., Hillemeier, M. M., Pun, W. H., & Schussler, D. L. (2018). Are Hispanic, Asian, Native American, or language-minority children overrepresented in special education? Exceptional Children, 84, 261–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. National Association of School Psychologists. (2017). Shortages in school psychology: Challenges to meeting the growing needs of U.S. students and schools. Retrieved from
  15. National Association of School Psychologists. (2018a). PREP a RE training curriculum. Retrieved from
  16. National Association of School Psychologists. (2018b). Shortages in school psychology resource guide. Retrieved from
  17. Paschall, K. W., Gershoff, E. T., & Kuhfeld, M. (2018). A two-decade examination of historical race/ethnicity disparities in academic achievement by poverty status. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 47, 1164–1177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Phillips, B. N. (1990). School psychology at a turning point: Ensuring a bright future for the profession. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  19. Rossen, E., & von der Embse, N. (2014). The status of school psychology graduate education in the United States. In P. L. Harrison & A. Thomas (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology foundations (pp. 503–512). Bethesda: National Association of School Psychologists.Google Scholar
  20. Texas Demographer. (2018). Population projections for the State of Texas. San Antonio, TX: Author. Retrieved from
  21. Texas Health and Human Services Commission. (2017). Retrieved from
  22. Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (TSBEP). (2019). Retrieved from
  23. Texas Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey. (2013). Retrieved from
  24. Thomas, K. C., Ellis, A. R., Konrad, T. R., Holzer, C. E., & Morrissey, J. P. (2009). County-level estimates of mental health professional shortage in the United States. Psychiatric Services, 60, 1323–1328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Walcott, C. M., & Hyson, D. (2018). Results from the NASP 2015 membership survey, part one: Demographics and employment conditions. Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.Google Scholar
  26. Ware, L. (2017). Discriminatory discipline: The racial crisis in America’s public schools. UMKC Law Review, 85, 739–772.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© California Association of School Psychologists 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA

Personalised recommendations