School Psychologist Job Description
School psychologists apply psychological principles and techniques to educational programs. They often address learning and developmental issues, and offer counseling to families.
School psychologists work with students both individually and in groups. When working individually with a student, they perform a psychological evaluation or just listen to the problems that a student is struggling with. In group settings, they may evaluate the learning developments of a class as a whole, and pass that information on to teachers and administrators so they can identify strengths or weaknesses in their curriculum.
School psychologists also provide training to teachers. Training can serve many different purposes. In some cases, it is often geared towards helping teachers better understand behavioral disorders like ADHD. In other cases, its purpose is to help teachers understand the effectiveness of their classroom agendas and curriculums.
School psychologists also play an important role in special education. They use many different tests to evaluate a student’s ability to learn, and then work with a multidisciplinary group to develop a plan on how the student might best develop their abilities.
In elementary schools, school psychologists often evaluate the abilities of new students and place them in classes that best fit their skill level.
Most school psychologists work in public schools, all the way from kindergarten through high school. Employment opportunities are also available in universities, clinics, and private schools.
Most school psychologists work a regular schedule during normal business hours. Those who work for a public or private school system normally get the same time off that students and teachers do, which means a nice break in the summer and holiday season.
If you want to work in education but don’t want to be a teacher, then a career as a school psychologist could be right for you.
How to Become a School Psychologist
A minimum of a master’s degree is required to work as a school psychologist, but some people in this occupation have a specialist or doctoral degree. Regardless of the degree earned, the academic curriculum for school psychologists should include coursework in education as well as psychology.
Getting into a graduate program in psychology can be very competitive. When applying, schools take your GPA, letters of recommendation, and work experience into account. Getting an internship can be very beneficial. To learn more about the internship options available to you, stop by the career center at your college or university.
School psychologists need to be licensed to practice in a school. The licensing requirements vary from state to state, but most states require a master’s degree in psychology, the successful completion of the National School Psychology Examination, and an internship. You can learn more about the exact requirements where you live here.
The American Board of Professional Psychology also offers a certification in school psychology. This certification is rarely required for employment, but it demonstrates competency in the field and can help get a job. Learn more about the certification here.
There are currently 154,300 school psychologists in the United States, with 8,230 new school psychologist job openings created each year.
School Psychologist jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
School Psychologist Salaries
School Psychologist salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most school psychologists make between $50,800 – $88,000 per year, or $24.43 – $42.32 per hour.