School psychologists apply their knowledge of psychology and education to address the mental health needs of students. They provide counseling and support to students with special needs, learning disabilities, and behavioral issues. School psychologists also work with teachers, administrators, and other education professionals to improve teaching strategies and school-based learning environments. Some job responsibilities of school psychologists include:
- Identifying mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders in students
- Counseling and providing support to students with behavioral issues, learning disabilities, and other special needs
- Collaborating with teachers, administrators, and parents to address the mental and emotional health needs of students
- Making recommendations based on assessment, observation, and other types of research to improve the safety and effectiveness of the school-based learning environment
The BLS reports that employment for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists will increase 22% from 2010 to 2020. Population growth is contributing to a growing number of children in the nation's schools, which in turn is increasing the demand for school psychologists. School psychologists will also enjoy more career opportunities due to the relatively small number of graduates in this specialty.Read More
Job Growth for
Becoming a School Psychologist
School psychologists must hold a master's, specialist, certificate of advanced graduate studies, or doctoral degree in school psychology. To become licensed or certified, most states require at minimum the completion of a 60-credit-hour specialist program in school psychology and completion of a year-long supervised internship. Degree programs will include coursework in education and psychology.
School psychologists must also be licensed or certified to practice in schools. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides information about each state's requirements for licensure or certification, which can vary state-to-state. The NASP also awards the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) certification, which is currently recognized by 30 states as a route to licensure or certification.
A sampling of classes you may take in a school psychology program, drawn from course listings from Fort Hays State University's master's of science in school psychology program, include the following:
- Behavior Therapy
- Development Psychology
- Methods of School Psychology
- Appraisal of Children
Most school psychologists work as practitioners, administrators, and faculty in the public school system. They are also employed in private schools, hospitals and clinics, and universities.