Educational Psychology and Counseling
As an educational psychologist or counselor, you could help people succeed in learning, developing skills and advancing in the workforce. Read more about degree programs, career possibilities, employment outlook and salary.
Is the Field of Educational Psychology and Counseling for Me?
The field of educational psychology and counseling involves assessing learning programs, instructional processes and student needs in the classroom or in the community. You could study brain functioning, learning development techniques and human development. You might work with teachers, school administrators or community leaders to design and evaluate school or community programs. You'll need to possess strong analytical skills yet have an empathetic nature.
Educational psychologists frequently work as school counselors, but you could further specialize to work with special needs children, troubled kids, or gifted and talented students. You could also work independently as a family counselor, practice in a mental health facility or community assistance center, or enter the corrections field as a counselor for inmates or parolees. You could choose to pursue advanced training to conduct field research on cognitive theory.
Salary and Employment Outlook
In May 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the average annual wage for educational, guidance and school counselors nationwide was $53,600. Counselors who worked at junior colleges averaged $56,510, while voc-rehab counselors made $39,420. The majority worked in elementary through high schools and earned an average of $63,100.
How Can I Become an Educational Psychologist?
Educational psychologists and counselors are highly educated. Within an educational psychology or counseling program, you can usually select from among many degree tracks. You can pursue an undergraduate major in counseling, but you usually need an advanced degree to work as an educational psychologist or counselor in a school. Courses in an educational psychology degree program focus on counseling theories and methods, developmental psychology and behavior modification. Some of these schools have online programs in educational psychology that cater toward working adults.
A master's degree in educational psychology qualifies you to work as a teacher, psychologist or counselor in high schools or community colleges. A Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Counseling is required to become a licensed psychologist. With a Ph.D., you can also pursue university professor or higher education administrator positions or conduct research on learning methods for schools, districts or state education departments, among other institutions.