Emotional and mental well being is the key to facilitate learning and development in children. This is where School Psychologists come into the picture. They are trained to help students overcome their emotional and behavioral difficulties and become successful academically as well as socially. This is a challenging role and requires years of training and knowledge. School Psychologists need to continuously interact and collaborate with students, parents, teachers, and school administrators to create a supportive environment where students can learn freely in a safe and healthy manner.
The job of School Psychologists encompasses a wide array of tasks such as –
1. Bachelor’s Degree - The first step to become a School Psychologist is to earn a Bachelor’s degree in a related field preferably Psychology, Education, Sociology, Child Development, or Social Work. One may also choose to earn the degree in an unrelated field; however in that case they must minor in psychology or other related courses. A score of at least 3.0 is a must in undergraduate program.
2. Master’s or Specialist Degree -The next stepping stone is to complete a three-year Master’s Degree or Education Specialist (Ed.S.) Program approved by the National Association of School in School Psychologists (NASP). These programs prepare prospective candidates for state licensing and national certification. The third year includes full-time supervised internship involving a minimum of 1200 practice hours that includes 600 hours in a school setting.
3. Professional Certification - The Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential offered by NASP is preferable as many states accept it as a minimum requirement for a license to practice. The certification is earned after one has successfully completed a graduate program (preferably NASP approved) and internship in school psychology and achieved a passing score on the Praxis II school psychology exam.
4. State License - State licensure requirements may be similar to those of NCSP credential. In fact, in many cases, individuals may only require to provide a proof of their NCSP certification to obtain the state license. However, the requirements may vary from state to state and must be understood by the candidates.
5. Doctoral Degree - An increasing number of School Psychologists, who are interested in specialized research and teaching at college or university level, opt for doctorate degree program (Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education) usually after several years of practice.
|Bowie State University||14000 Jericho Park Rd, Bowie, MD, 20715-9465|
|California University of Pennsylvania||250 University Ave, California, PA, 15419-1394|
|CUNY Brooklyn College||2900 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11210|
|CUNY Queens College||65-30 Kissena Blvd, Flushing, NY, 11367|
|Georgia State University||33 gilmer st, Atlanta, GA, 30303-3083|
|Hofstra University||100 Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, 11549|
|Howard University||2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, DC, 20059-0001|
|Seattle Pacific University||3307 3rd Ave W, Seattle, WA, 98119-1997|
|...View All School Psychology Program offering schools and colleges in USA|
The Employment Projection Program conducted by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated a surge in employment for school, clinical and counseling psychologists from 2012 to 2022 by 12 %. The career graph for School Psychologists is particularly bright as there is likely to be a greater demand for their services in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and social service agencies in the near future.
School Psychologists can advance in their career path by becoming Clinical Psychologists. Further career growth is also possible by becoming Neuropsychologist or Clinical Services Director.
According to PayScale Salary Survey conducted in 2015, School Psychologists in the U.S can earn an average of $58k annually. The annual salary range can vary between $41k and $89k based on the number of years in service and location. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics had found the median annual wage for clinical, counseling and school psychologists to be $67,650 in 2012.
Most School Psychologists work in public schools catering to students at elementary level to high school, college and university level. There is also a demand for their services in private schools and universities, day care centers, orphanages, juvenile detention centers, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. A majority of School Psychologists are self-employed and perform independent or private practice.
A career in School Psychology offers some significant benefits:
1. School Psychologists are able to derive inner satisfaction by helping students overcome their problems and achieve their goals.
2. They get to enjoy more time off as they need to work only during school days and as per a fixed schedule.
3. Moving from one state to another is quite easy as most states have similar school psychology requirements.
4. They get an opportunity to work closely with different members of the community.
The biggest shortcoming of this profession is that it may result in high stress level and anxiety, sometimes leading to even burnout.