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UVA hopes to address a serious shortage of school psychologists

Professor Mike Lyons will direct UVA's new graduate program in school psychology.
Dan Addison
University of Virginia
Professor Mike Lyons will direct UVA's new graduate program in school psychology.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital Association say this country faces an emergency, with more kids suffering from depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness and thoughts of suicide. At the same time, Virginia faces a shortage of school psychologists according to Mike Lyons, a professor at UVA’s School of Education and Human Development.

“Vacancy rates for teachers are about 6%, so that means about 6% of positions are unfilled year over year," he explains. "School psychologists – it’s just under 12%.”

And while the National Association of School Psychologists recommends a ratio of one mental health professional for every 500 kids in a school system, many don’t come close. In Henrico County, for example, the public system has just one psychologist to serve more than 1,800 students.

That’s why the University of Virginia will offer a new graduate degree called Education Specialist in School Psychology. Professor Lyons will direct the program.

“There are two years of course work that includes learning alongside practicing school psychologists along with a year-long internship. Graduates will get a masters of education in school psychology after their first year in the program, and then they will get the Ed.S. degree after another two years.”

UVA joins Radford, James Madison, William and Mary and George Mason in offering a program of this kind. Instruction will begin in August, but the deadline to apply is February 1st.

Learn more about UVA's program here: 

School Psychology: Ed.S. - Education Specialist | University of Virginia - School of Education and Human Development

Updated: January 14, 2024 at 1:51 PM EST
Editor's Note: The University of Virginia is a financial supporter of Radio IQ.
Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief