What is School Psychology?
Psychology has many sub-specialties. One of these includes school psychology, and this subject integrates educational practice with psychological theory. Together, the two define a number of educational problems and mental health needs that exist for children in classroom settings. Not only does school psychology define these issues, but it also outlines many solutions and treatments. Those people who become school psychologists work together with many educational professionals to meet the needs of students who endure difficulties when studying in classrooms.
What does a School Psychologist Do?
Being that teachers are the individuals who interact with children in a manner more than any other person besides the children’s parents, the role that they fulfill is very vital. In order for teachers to reach students in an effective yet educational context, they should always be aware of what is going on in their students’ lives. Since school psychologists are trained in counseling, they are able to enlighten teachers on the best methods to use so that they can effectively teach students, especially those students who struggle with learning and behavioral disabilities.
School psychologists cannot carry out their duties without interacting with teachers, students, and, many times, the parents of students. Once effective collaboration takes place, these types of psychologists can design individualized approaches for students with mental and physical learning disabilities. They design training plans as well as training schedules that appropriately match the behavioral science of a child who suffers from mental and/or physical issues. In addition, they also monitor the process of a child while at the same time train teachers. Most times, the training of teachers includes teaching them about psychological areas that need to be taken into consideration when working with disabled children. School psychologists don’t work with students for only a year or two. Instead, they monitor a student’s progress and areas of concern throughout the entire educational career of the child.
School Psychologist Education
Those psychologists that work in the field of school psychology can find employment through private schools or through school districts. In some instances, they may even find employment as a single student’s school psychologist. In order to become this type of psychologist a person will need at least a master’s degree in school psychology. There are different subfields of school psychology, and the requirements to enter into each one vary. Some people who enter into school psychology first earn a bachelor degree in counseling or psychology; however, to become prepared for the line of work that school psychologists work in, it is best to focus one’s studies on those topics that relate to school environments.
In addition to a master’s degree, many people find it beneficial to earn a doctorate degree in school psychology as this helps them enhance their career options. This type of degree usually takes 3 to 5 years to earn after earning a bachelor’s degree, and in order to get accepted to this type of program, most schools want applicants to have a large amount of previous experience and education relating to school psychology.
Furthermore, in order to become this type of psychologist, a person will need to obtain proper certification and license. The exact types of certification and license needed depend on the state or jurisdiction that a person will be performing his or her services in. Before gaining a license, most people can expect to pass an exam as well as take part in one or more internships.
Salary of a School Psychologist
The exact salary that a school psychologist will earn depends on his or her place of employment as well as his or her educational background. The average salary of this type of psychologist in the United States is about $63,000 a year. For those with a master’s degree, their salary is about $53,000 a year, while those with a doctorate tend to make about $60,000; however, those with 10 to 15 years of experience in the field can sometimes find themselves earning as much as $100,000 per year.
Excellent School Psychology Resources
NASP: The National Association of School Psychologists includes many resources for school psychologists, including training and educational resources.
The Black Briefcase: A now dormant blog, but has five years of archives detailing the journey of a school psychologist. Excellent for showing the aspiring school psychologist just what it is they are getting into.
School Psychology Blog with Dr. Gaston Weisz: This excellent blog touches on many topics, including school psychology, special needs children, parenting issues, and education.