What is a School Psychologist?
A school psychologist is someone who helps children and youth succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. School psychologists help students by applying the values of learning and behaviour to improve school-related difficulties and by encouraging the learning and development of children. They get together with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments for all students.
What does a School Psychologist do?
School psychologists provide a wide range of skills in order to address student needs and to improve school support systems. They offer psychological evaluations, and consult with school teachers and principals in regards to the students’ learning, behaviour, and environments. They also provide individual and group interventions, as well as counseling.
School psychologists provide training to teachers regarding learning and mental health topics, such as behaviour management, referral process, ADHD, etc. Although they are not generally trained teachers, school psychologists do bring a unique presence to the educational arena. They look at the effectiveness of school programs, and their skill in research and planning provide a strong base in the development of interventions.
One of the main duties of a school psychologist is assessment. Assessments are conducted with students suspected of having a disability in order to determine eligibility for special services. A cognitive battery is administered to obtain a level of intellectual functioning, learning potential, and an understanding of the student’s strengths and weaknesses. Personality assessments obtain data about a student’s emotional and behavioural functioning. A strong part of the assessment is obtaining the teachers’ and parents’ perspectives; this allows the school psychologist to develop a complete picture of the student, his or her abilities, and how interventions can be developed. By using this process, a multidisciplinary team is developed to establish if a disability is interfering with a student’s ability to learn.
School psychologists also offer consultations to teachers as a way of providing an intervention for a student in a classroom. This is a way for school psychologists and teachers to promote success for students who are struggling or displaying behavioural, emotional, or academic difficulties. Together, the school psychologist and the teacher identify the problem, develop certain goals, create interventions, and hopefully help the student become more successful.
What is the workplace of a School Psychologist like?
The majority of school psychologists work in public schools, however, other workplaces include private school systems, clinics and hospitals, private practice, and universities. School psychologists are trained to serve all age groups from infancy through college, although they primarily serve school-aged children.
Frequently Asked Questions
Steps to becoming a School Psychologist
Every step in the process to becoming a school psychologist exemplifies a synergy between education and mental health care.
What are School Psychologists like?
Based on our pool of users, school psychologists tend to be predominately social people, who genuinely care about the welfare of the communities in which they work. They call upon a long list of traits and characteristics – especially compassion and patience – to effectively carry out the diverse responsibilities of their role, one which is a delicate mesh of education and mental health care.
Should I become a School Psychologist?
If you enjoy helping children and youth succeed in all aspects of life – academically, socially, and emotionally – a career as a school psychologist may be the career for you. However, before making the decision to pursue this occupation based solely on the opportunity to help people, it is vital to gain an understanding of the competencies that it demands:
Active Listening / Communication Capacity to offer undivided attention, understand another person’s point of view, and lead productive discussion
Social Perception / Sensitivity to Privacy Concerns Awareness of the reactions of others and understanding of why an individual may react in a particular way; attention to the sensitive nature of the responsibilities
Persuasion / Negotiation A sense of how to change the minds and behaviors of others, resolve differences, and create cohesiveness
Critical Thinking / Complex Problem Solving Ability to identify problems and use specific information to assess options and execute solutions
Complex Decision Making / Sound Judgement Capacity to identify and understand the advantages and disadvantages of an action and select the most appropriate action
Time Management Management of personal time, as well as the time of others
Systems / Data Analysis and Evaluation Ability to determine how a system should work and implement changes to improve performance
Mathematics / Statistics
Consider this diverse skill set; then ask yourself if you are ready to: -Counsel students one-on-one and in groups -Help set district-wide policies to make schools safer -Evaluate academic programs to determine if certain teaching methods work -Help teachers improve classroom management skills -Help parents improve parenting skills -Help students with disabilities -Accept the stress and potential frustration that are often associated with dealing with students and parents struggling to manage complex issues -Manage the mental/physical exhaustion that can accompany the intense work of a school psychologist
How long does it take to become a School Psychologist?
Becoming a school psychologist takes between six and eight years, based on a four to five year course of study for a Bachelor’s degree and another two to three years to earn a Master’s. Many states also require an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree, but some allow prospective school psychologists to obtain a license with a Master’s degree. The Ed.S. program combines advanced study of psychology with educational training needed to help foster students’ mental, social, and educational development. Some schools format these programs so that you can earn your Master’s and the Ed.S. degree concurrently.
An additional two to five years of study are needed to obtain a Doctorate in the field; however this is generally only required for positions in research and academia.
Are School Psychologists happy?
School psychologists rank as moderately happy among careers. Overall they rank in the 60th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores. Please note that this number is derived from the data we have collected from our Sokanu members only.
Here’s how the profession rates based on three job satisfaction metrics:
Upward Mobility / Opportunities and advancement Rating: Average
Stress Level / Complexities of the job’s responsibilities and work environment Rating: Above Average
Flexibility / Alternative working schedule and work/life balance Rating: Average
School Psychologists are also known as:
Educational Psychologist Early Intervention School Psychologist Consulting School Psychologist