Graduate students' perspectives of academic positions in school psychology

Richard J. Nagle, Shannon M. Suldo, Sandra L. Christenson, Anastasia L. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


An increasing number of vacancies in school psychology academic positions and the reduced number of applicants seeking to enter academia have created projected shortages in academe. The purpose of the current study was to determine perspectives of academia held by current school psychology graduate students, who are in line to become the next generation of trainers. Based on information yielded from focus groups conducted with graduate students at two major doctoral school psychology training programs, a 42-item survey was designed to assess students' beliefs regarding benefits and drawbacks of an academic position, possible incentives that would encourage one to apply for an academic position, and past and current likelihood of applying for an academic position. Doctoral students from 98 school psychology graduate programs were invited to participate in the study; a total of 236 students returned completed surveys. Results indicated a significant trend toward increased consideration of an academic career as students progress through graduate school. The highest-ranked benefits of an academic career involved roles and activities inherent to the position, as opposed to potential benefits such as salary or prestige. Regarding perceived drawbacks to academia, job stress was ranked as the most significant deterrent, while the area of least concern involved current preparation to assume an academic position. Finally, respondents agreed on several incentives that would be helpful in overcoming hesitancy in applying for an academic position, including reducing politics in the tenure process, increasing salary, and increased availability of academic positions that emphasize applied work. Implications for current trainers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-326
Number of pages16
JournalSchool Psychology Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2004


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