School Psychology

What is School Psychology?

School psychology is dynamic career for graduates who are interested in combining their love for psychology with a desire to work with children and families in schools. School psychology is consistently one of the top jobs in social services with an excellent job outlook. School psychology is an ideal career for individuals who are interested in:

  • Working directly with children and families
  • Working in schools
  • Freedom to practice psychology independently without a doctoral degree
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Excellent job prospects
  • Doing something new and exciting every day
  • Average salary: $73,270

What Do School Psychologists Do?

As a school psychologist, you would work with children, youth, and their families to address behavioral issues, learning problems, disabilities, emotional problems, and other concerns. Specific job responsibilities include:

  • Administering psychological assessments
  • Developing treatments for learning and behavior problems
  • Counseling students
  • Special education eligibility
  • Training parents
  • Coordinating community supports
  • Providing professional development to staff

Where Do School Psychologists Work?

School psychology is best defined by a set of skills and experiences rather than by location. This means that school psychologists can find employment in schools, mental health clinics, outpatient centers, residential clinics, children’s hospitals, juvenile justice centers, and private practices. School psychologists are also quickly becoming leaders in specialty clinics for children with special needs. 

How is School Psychology Different from Clinical and Counseling Psychology?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions by graduates. According to the American Psychological Association, school psychology is defined as the “general practice of professional psychology that is concerned with the science and practice of psychology with children, youth, families, learners of all ages, and the schooling process.” There are three main differences between school psychology and other programs:

  1. School psychologists are trained experts with children and their families. School psychology coursework and field experiences focus exclusively on these populations. Other programs typically train students to work with clients of all ages.
  2. School psychologists can practice psychology independently with a non-doctoral degree. School psychologists perform a full-spectrum of psychological services in schools (e.g., assessment, consultation, academic interventions, counseling, prevention). Other non-doctoral psychology professionals must practice under a doctoral-level psychologist or a separate credential in order to practice psychology (e.g., licensed professional counselor, or LPC). These professionals are also required to only practice in their respective disciplines.
  3. School psychologists are experts in two separate fields: psychology and education. Schools are complex environments that require specialized training to navigate effectively. This means that school psychologists can offer unique perspectives and effectively advocate for children and families in truly innovative ways.

Resources

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