How to become a School Psychologist

How to become a School Psychologist
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School psychologists promote a healthy learning environment and inspire students to reach their full potential. School psychologists work collaboratively with teachers, school officials, and parents to help kids develop academic, social, emotional, and behavioral skills that will help them succeed in school and in life.

Students and how they learn are observed by school psychologists. These psychologists examine the aspects that influence how students learn and how instructors teach by adding elements from developmental, child, and adolescent psychology. They also work with individual kids to improve their deficiencies, such as learning difficulties and behavioral issues. School psychologists, particularly in K-12 schools, may also play a role in altering learning processes.

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What are the responsibilities of school psychologists? 

School psychologists use their knowledge of mental health, learning, and behavior to assist children and adolescents in achieving academic, social, behavioral, and emotional success. They assess, support, and intervene with students; collaborate with families, teachers, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments; work with school administrators to improve school-wide policies; and collaborate with community providers to coordinate student services.

How to Become a School Psychologist: A Step-by-Step Guide 

Obtain a diploma 

A bachelor’s degree in psychology or a closely related discipline, as well as a graduate degree in school psychology, are usual requirements for school psychologists. Many school psychologists obtain an Ed.S. in school psychology since most states need at least 60 graduate credits for licensing or certification. Students in a school psychology program study classes on areas such as behavioral analysis, learning psychology, and research methods. Internship or practicum requirements are also included in certain programs to provide students with hands-on experience in the profession.

Obtain a state license 

To practice, school psychologists must get a state license. The qualifications for licensure vary by jurisdiction, but most candidates need a master’s degree in school psychology from a recognized program. In most states, at least 1,200 hours of supervised experience are also required. Many states require passing results on a school psychologist examination, such as the Praxis II exam, in addition to education requirements.

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Obtain a Position as a School Psychologist 

School psychologists might hunt for careers in their field after completing their education and license requirements. Over 80% of school psychologists work in public schools, but they also work in private schools, universities, preschools, student wellness centers, and research. During their graduate program, psychologists can begin looking for work. During an internship, school psychology students can network with professionals in the industry and create connections, which can help them get into the workforce.

Keep your certification current. 

Professionals must keep their certifications and stay current in the field even after landing a job as a school psychologist. Each state has its own process for renewing licenses. School psychologists in several states are required to satisfy these standards every 2-5 years to keep their licenses. Other states may not have particular continuing education requirements for school psychologists, although they are still required to renew their licenses.

Salary for School Psychology 

Annual Salary Median 

A school psychologist is a professional that works in elementary and secondary schools as well as school district offices to help students with their academic and behavioral issues. School psychologists are educated in both psychology and education. Here are some salary, job growth, and employer statistics.

The median national annual pay for school psychologists is $82,180, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) 2020 Occupational Outlook Handbook. Actual pay varies widely depending on area specialty, geography, years of experience, and a variety of other criteria.

Is there a market for this job? 

According to the BLS, school psychologists are predicted to have the same job outlook as all other occupations, with demand for psychological services in schools increasing as the number of pupils increases. Specialized school psychologists will be required to work with students who have special needs, disabilities, or behavioral issues. Others may analyze students and do study into how elements both within and outside of the classroom influence learning. This information can assist instructors and administrators in improving the educational experience for students.

How do I grow in my job as a school psychologist? 

Whether you choose a specialty or doctoral degree, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) recommends that you get your training from a NASP-approved school because many businesses prefer to recruit graduates from these schools. You could also think about being nationally certified, as this is seen as a sign of professionalism by employers.

While specialty programs grant a master’s degree and produce the bulk of currently working school psychologists, you should choose a doctoral degree program if you want to take your profession to the next level.

Psychology programs are available at several schools. 

Barry University is a private university in Barry, Florida 

Barry University offers a school psychology program in which students can earn a Master of Science (MS) in School Psychology, which can be followed by a Specialist in School Psychology (SSP). Students in the MS program will complete 30 credits before going on to the SSP track, which will consist of 41 credits. Full-time and part-time students are both welcome at Barry. Both the MS and the SSP can be completed in three years for full-time students, encompassing two years of classroom and one year of fieldwork internship. Prospective students with a master’s degree in a related field may be able to directly enroll in the SSP program. In order to be admitted to the SSP program, MS students must maintain a 3.4 GPA. The completion of these two programs at Barry meets NASP’s educational requirements and effectively prepares graduates to apply for a Florida school psychologist licensure.

Brigham Young University is located in Provo, Utah. 

The Counseling Psychology and Special Education (CPSE) section of Brigham Young University’s School of Education offers a NASP-approved EdS in School Psychology. Graduates of the program are prepared to work in K-12 schools after graduation, solving problems, designing and implementing interventions, and creating safe learning environments for children in collaboration with teachers, students, and parents. Prospective candidates must have a bachelor’s degree with a desired major in teaching or the social sciences in order to be considered for admission. GRE scores in the top 45 percent are preferred, as is a GPA of 3.0 or better. The program lasts three years, with the final year devoted to a full-time, 1,200-hour supervised internship in an elementary or secondary school. Ethics and Professional Roles and Standards, Human Growth and Development, School and Family Consultation, Child Social/Emotional Assessment and Intervention, Crisis Intervention, and Learning Theories are among the courses offered.

Indiana University-Bloomington is a public research university in Bloomington, Indiana. 

Indiana University-EdS Bloomington’s degree in School Psychology, which is approved by NASP, prepares students for a practitioner career as a school psychologist. It leads to licensure in Indiana and eligibility for licensure in other states. The EdS degree at Indiana University consists of 65 credit hours spread out over two years and focuses on three main areas: professional studies in school psychology, psychological foundations, and research/inquiry methodologies. Academic Assessment and Intervention, Behavioral Analysis and Consultation for School Psychologists, and Developmental Psychopathology of Childhood and Adolescence are among the courses available. Each semester of the first two years, students participate in a school-based practicum, and all students complete a 1,200-hour full-time internship at a school during the third year to receive real-world experience. Every student also chooses a minor (normally in counseling or special education). A capstone project or comprehensive test marks the end of the program. The majority of graduates work as psychologists in public and charter schools, however some work in private schools.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a public research university in Madison, Wisconsin. 

Since 1960, the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) has offered a school psychology program that leads to a PhD in Educational Psychology. The program is APA-accredited, and US News & World Report has listed it among the Best Graduate Schools for Educational Psychology. The PhD program at UW-Madison is structured around the scientist-scholar-practitioner model, with a focus on research and preparation for academic employment. Research and evaluation are among the program’s goals and objectives, as are assessment, professional issues, human relations, intervention, consultation, human abilities and diversity, and schools and schooling. Students in the school psychology department can pursue a minor in Prevention and Intervention Science. The curriculum takes five years to complete and includes a three-year master’s degree. The fifth year is dedicated to completing a full-time internship. The University of Wisconsin-Madison also provides a three-year Master of Science (MS) Educational Specialist Certificate in School Psychology, which prepares graduates to work as school psychologists in Wisconsin.

Why Should You Consider a Career in School Psychology? 

Job Opportunities 

For decades, the United States has had a scarcity of school psychologists, resulting in a high employment placement rate for graduates of school psychology schools. According to a recent study, nearly 99 percent of school psychology graduates find work within the first year of graduation (Gadke, Valley-Gray, & Rossen, 2018). School psychologists are needed throughout the United States, but the largest demand is in the northwest and Rocky Mountain regions, as well as rural areas.

School Psychologist is one of the 100 Top Jobs (#45), one of the greatest Social Services Jobs (#2), and one of the best STEM jobs (#20) according to the 2019 US News & World Report. They rated School Psychology as a 10/10 work market, with a typical pay of $75,090 and an unemployment rate of 0.9 percent, which is substantially below the national average.

Lifestyle

The majority of school psychologists work in schools for nine or 10 months each year. As a result, employment as a school psychologist often entails two months of summer vacation, a winter holiday break, and a spring break.

Despite minor differences in school psychologists’ regular working hours, the majority of them adhere to the school day. School psychologists’ workdays usually end about 3 or 4 p.m., despite the fact that they may conduct meetings before and beyond school hours. This timetable is especially beneficial for school psychologists who have children or who expect to have children in the near future.

The Effect 

Individual children, families, instructors, classrooms, and even entire school systems can benefit from the services of school psychologists.

School psychologists can try to prevent problems from occurring in the first place, as well as to remedy problems that have already occurred.

Working in a school gives you the chance to affect change from the inside out and form important bonds with your coworkers.

The Prospects 

School psychologists have always worked in public schools. School psychologists may also work in private schools, preschools, district level offices, universities, school-based and mental health centers, community-based treatment centers, residential clinics and hospitals, juvenile justice programs, and private practice, depending on the individual practice laws in each state.

The availability of school psychological services varies by school, district, state, and geographic region. Assessment, counseling, consultation, crisis readiness and response, school-wide prevention and intervention, behavior support, or any combination of these tasks may be the focus of a school psychologist depending on where they work.

How to find a job as a school psychologist 

CV

A well-written resume is required while applying for school psychologist positions. When putting this paper together, make sure to show that you have all of the qualifications the employer is looking for. Your educational history and certain certifications may be among these qualities. You may also need to demonstrate that you have past experience in this or a similar capacity. Highlighting these elements throughout your resume will help potential employers see your qualifications as a contender.

Improve your abilities. 

Developing your talents as a school psychologist might also help you establish credibility as a job prospect. You can look through job advertisements to see what businesses are looking for in terms of hard and soft talents. Hard skills are abilities that you gain through school or training, whereas soft skills are behaviors or abilities that you learn through experience. Data analysis, computer abilities, and scientific skills are all important hard skills for school psychologists. Communication, empathy, and problem-solving are among the soft skills required of school psychologists. On your resume, you can highlight key talents and prepare to discuss them during employment interviews.

Make use of your connections. 

Your job hunt can also be aided by reaching out to your professional contacts. You reach out to people in your professional network to inquire about employment openings if you built one while in graduate school. These discussions may also assist you in locating employment that aren’t advertised on job boards and establishing new relationships with possible employers. To enhance your professional development as a school psychologist, you can also consult your network for job search and career advice.

Make direct contact with possible employers. 

You can approach potential companies directly in addition to browsing for current job positions. If you locate a school that you’d want to work for, you can ask about school psychology opportunities with them. This method displays that you are interested in working for the company. Even if they don’t have any openings right now, having this conversation can help you make friends at the school. If you keep this relationship going, the company may be more inclined to consider you when a position becomes available in the future.

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