School Psychologist Jobs
Aimed at helping individual students and the school community as a whole have a healthy social, emotional, and behavioral outlook, the school psychologist is an integral part of the school system.
While each state has specific requirements, most school psychologists are required to have a specialist degree in school psychology (Ed.S). It typically takes three years of graduate courses to earn and involves a 1,200-hour internship. The coursework is heavy in education and psychology. Doctorate degrees in school psychology are also available and provide increased job opportunities in education. Five to seven years are needed to complete a doctorate program. State or national certified exams must also be passed successfully.
The average annual salary for a school psychologist as of 2008 is US$68,340 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This compares to an average salary of US$64,170 in the general field of psychology. Some school psychologists are considered part of the school's administration while others are part of the union.
Much of a school psychologist's time is spent helping students in the special education program. When a student is recommended for testing for a learning or behavioral problem or giftedness, the evaluation is often done by the school psychologist. She must be able to adequately administer and evaluate test results. The school psychologist often decides if a child qualifies for special services or not.
When special services are deemed necessary, he helps to develop an individualized education plan or an alternative appropriate plan. Strong communication with teachers, parents, and students is needed during this process.
The school psychologist is sometimes directly involved in the student's intervention process. Counseling for students and parents may be provided in response to tragic situations or to help cope with learning or behavioral difficulties.
School psychologists are an important reference person within the school district. They may be required to plan professional development activities for the staff on topics like ADD/ADHD and behavioral issues. Also, they should be available for teachers to consult with questions.
Preventive measures should also be part of the school psychologist's position.
Many school districts only employee one school psychologist. Therefore, a lot of time may be spent traveling between school buildings and the board of education office. She should enjoy working with students across the grade span.
An emotional burden may exist with the role of school psychologist. Each day will likely feature a busy schedule with many meetings and other tasks. A large amount of paperwork is required that may detract from the time the school psychologist would like to spend directly with students. However, a career focused on helping students, their families, and the entire school community brings endless joy. Each day brings a new problem to be solved.
For more information visit the following resources.
National Association of School Psychologists
International School Psychology Association