School Psychologist

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School psychology is one of the most prominent speciality or discipline of professional psychology. It is the practice of psychological studies that is associated with the schooling process, children as well as learners of all ages. Expert school psychologists support the students regarding their ability to learn; and support the teachers regarding their ability to teach.

These experts often partner with school administrators, families, teachers and other professionals, so that a learning environment is created for the students; that is healthy, safe and supportive. The entire support is provided in terms of learning, mental health and behavioral aspect. This helps students socially, emotionally, academically and behaviorally.

What Does the School Psychologist Do?

The main aim of the school psychologists is to create a better learning environment for the students. They have to work with different groups of people.

  • Students:
    The school psychologists have to work with students to understand their emotional, social and mental problems as well as their learning disabilities. They help students in overcoming and solving social and personal issues and problems such as abuse, bullying and home or life problems.
  • Teachers:
    The school psychologists have to work with the teachers to create a smooth and healthy learning environment for the students. They help teachers in solving the misunderstandings between teachers and students.
  • School administrators:
    The school psychologists closely work with the school administrators in creating better policies. They also help the teachers and school administrators in creating discipline programmes for the undisciplined and unruly students.
  • Families:
    Not just the school, but also the home is an important learning medium and platform for the children. Hence, the school psychologists also work with the families in guiding them properly, regarding how a better learning and healthy environment for the students can be created at home.

Skills Needed to Become a School Psychologist:

The school psychologist must have skills that can help them to create a better relationship with the students, teachers, families and the school administrators, so that they can develop a level of trust on the psychologist. This is crucial for the success of any program. The skills that one needs are

  • Active listening
  • Social perceptiveness
  • Critical thinking
  • Monitoring
  • Reading, writing and speaking
  • Judgement and decision making
  • System analysis and evaluation
  • Complex problem solving
  • Management of personal resources
  • Motivating and persuasive
  • Instructing and coordinating

Working with students is not an easy job. The school psychologists must have the patience, tolerance, control and leadership to conduct the job.

Educational qualifications required to become school psychologists:

  • 1. Bachelors Degree:
  • The study of school psychology is often considered as a combination of educational and clinical psychology. Hence, an understanding and thorough educational qualification in either of these should be reflected in the degree of the individual. Hence, a Bachelors degree in educational, counselling, school or general psychology is a must. Along with these, major in developmental psychology is also a must. One must take each of these disciplines during their course. This is a 4 years course.

  • 2. Experience:
  • After completing the Bachelors degree, one has to complete a 1,200 hours internship. Often 60 credit score during the Bachelors degree is also a must, in order to become a qualified school psychologist.

  • 3. Masters Degree or Doctoral Degree:
  • Whether this is mandatory or not, is largely dependent on the state rules, in which the school psychologist will be practicing. Depending on the state licensing and university rules, a Masters Degree and a PsyD or PhD degree must be completed. The Masters degree takes about 2 years and the Doctoral degree takes about 2 to 4 additional years to complete.

  • 4. EdS:
  • This is a 3 year course and a special degree that the students of school psychology have to complete.

  • 5. Licensing:
  • Just like every other field of psychology, in order to be an approved practitioner and to become a school psychologist in any registered institution, one has to have a valid license. The licensing rules vary from state to state. One has to take a test for passing the licensing examination and thus, become an approved license holding school psychologist. For that the individual has to check out the licensing regulatory board of the state to know the rules and regulations.

Career Outlook:

School psychologists have a very bright career in the current social and educational system. They have a very good salary prospect as well. As per the reports of the Bureau of Labour Statistics in 2010, the median salary of a school psychologist as well as a clinical and counseling psychologist is about $73,090.

Find Your State Licensing Requirements

Whether you need to complete an internship or a doctoral degree, licensing requirements may vary from state to state. Click name of state below to find licensing requirement for that particular state.

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