What Does a School Psychologist Do?

School psychologists serve many functions in academic settings. A master's degree or a doctorate is necessary to qualify for school psychologist positions. This article explains what school psychologists do. Schools offering Educational Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

School psychologists perform several job duties in schools at all grade levels, ranging from early childhood to college. Some of the most common tasks of school psychologists include designing supportive learning environments, assisting teachers with creating lessons, aiding in behavior management and counseling students.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education Doctoral degree
Licensure or Certification Required in all states
Similar Occupations Education administrator, vocational counselor, mental health counselor
Key Skills Communications skills, research skills, active listening skills, interpersonal relationship skills

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Learning Environment Design

School psychologists often work with teachers and school officials to design classroom settings where students feel safe to express themselves. School psychologists can help teachers implement classroom procedures designed to reward students for following proper procedures and participating in class. They can also help teachers and administrators curb problems that disrupt the learning process, such as bullying and name-calling.

Behavior Management

In addition to helping teachers design positive learning environments, school psychologists also help manage students' behavior. School psychologists can work with principals and other administrators to implement school-wide rules and procedures and create discipline programs based on psychological principles. School psychologists also create behavior modification programs for individual students if needed.

Diverse Lesson Planning

As more school administrations focus on multicultural awareness, they realize that teachers need to take the diversity of the student population into account when designing lessons. School psychologists can help teachers plan lessons that account for students of various backgrounds and learning abilities.

Student Counseling

Another major function of a school psychologist is to counsel students who suffer from emotional or mental issues. School psychologists can provide therapy for students who are stressed out from schoolwork, have a difficult home life, or need help coping with events in their social lives. School psychologists are trained to use numerous therapeutic methods ranging from cognitive therapy, psychoanalysis, and behavior modification.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the mean annual salary earned by clinical, counseling, and school psychologists was $74,030 in May 2014. The employment of such psychologists is expected to grow by 11% between 2012 and 2022, per the BLS.

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