If you’re ready to start your career as a school psychologist, you might be wondering about the kinds of questions you’ll face in an interview.
School psychologist interview questions vary, covering everything from educational background and experience to how you would handle certain situations. Here’s an idea of what you can expect in an interview and some sample questions to help you prepare.
What is a School Psychologist?
A school psychologist helps school-aged children work through learning and behavioral needs by providing direct support. They also work with teachers, families, and other school professionals to improve support strategies within the school and collaborate with providers in the community when needed.
Role of a School Psychologist
School psychologists’ duties and responsibilities vary from day to day, depending on what is happening in the school. They might work one-on-one with children who are bullied or those with mental health issues or problems at home in the morning and then meet with the administration to put together policies to improve the overall support available in the school setting in the afternoon.
School Psychologist Requirements
School psychologist education requirements vary by state, but most require a master’s degree as well as state certification and a certification from the National Association of School Psychologists.
If you’re wondering how to become a school psychologist, most begin by pursuing a bachelor’s in education or psychology then go on to complete a master’s in school psychology. Generally, the undergraduate degree takes four years to complete and the master’s degree takes three, with two years of study followed by a year-long internship.
How To Prepare For A School Psychologist Interview
Keep in mind that the school psychologist interview questions will likely relate to the specific challenges at the school, so doing your research on the school and surrounding community is key. Remember, they’re not just trying to find a good school psychologist, they’re trying to find one who is a good fit for their school who can help them overcome specific challenges.
School Psychologist Interview Questions
Here are ten school psychologist interview questions and answers to use as examples when preparing for your interview.
Question 1: What type of interventions do you plan to design for students with behavioral problems or conditions?
The first thing I would do is talk to the teacher to get a better idea of what’s going on with the student. Any information they can give helps me determine why the student is misbehaving. Disruptive behavior is often a result of learning deficits, and their teacher should be able to identify any problems in that area. Then, I will talk one-on-one with the student to get to know them better and try to build trust. The specific plan would depend on the student’s needs, but I believe it’s important to ensure the student knows what is expected of them and give them regular feedback, especially when they’re improving.
Question 2: Can you develop effective programs to help instructors support their students?
Absolutely. My goal when working with teachers is to support them in giving their students everything they need to succeed, whether academically, emotionally, or behaviorally. I can help teachers develop strategies to deal with student behavior and take the information they give me to work with students one-on-one when needed.
Question 3: Explain how you would decide whether to place a student in a special education program.
Placing a student in special education should be taken very seriously. Many parents and teachers may think that all children should learn in a regular classroom, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Every child is different, but I would focus on the benefit to the child. Where would the child learn best right now? If the answer to that is special education, then that’s what I would recommend. But, with the understanding that they will be reevaluated periodically and can return to the regular classroom when possible.
Question 4: What do you like and dislike most about your job?
I like working with the students, and there is nothing more rewarding than seeing the progress they’ve made. I also enjoy working with teachers because they can provide insight that I can’t. The thing I like the least is the paperwork. I know it’s important and take it very seriously, but I would much rather be spending time working with the kids who need me.
Question 5: How do you approach working with teachers and parents?
I think that parents and teachers are the main adults in every student’s life, and they have the child’s best interest at heart. To do my job well, I have to cooperate with parents and teachers to make sure we are all doing what is best for the child. I make a real effort to include teachers and parents in any individualized counseling plan I make for students.
Question 6: What would you do if a parent insisted on an intervention with their child that you disagreed with?
Most parents want to do what they think is best for their kids, but behavioral and mental health can be touchy subjects, and they can get angry and aggressive. I see part of my job as supporting parents, and to me, that includes setting reasonable expectations. So, if a parent were to ask me to intervene in a way I didn’t think was appropriate, I would stand my ground and explain my reasoning for doing so. If they continue to push, I would reach out to an administrator or one of my superiors to support my decision.
Question 7: What would you do if you disagreed with a teacher or administrator over the diagnosis you made for a student?
Disagreements like this are pretty common, but I always try to focus on what is best for the child. That communicating my concerns and demonstrating to my colleagues why I made the diagnosis I did. But I would always be willing to listen, and if they have valid concerns, I would be willing to reconsider.
Question 8: What do you do to gain the trust of your students?
Something important to me is the idea of listening first. I think kids want to know that you value what they say, so I listen first and speak second. I also think it’s important to be present. I don’t like to just sit in my office, I make it a point to be involved in the day-to-day life of the school so they know who I am and that I’m here.
Question 9: What do you think are the most common mental and emotional problems children face today?
In my experience, some of the most common issues are mood and anxiety disorders and eating disorders. Many kids also have a lot of feelings of inadequacy and a poor self-image, sometimes brought on by lack of recognition.
Question 10: How do you address violence in schools in your role as a school psychologist?
Unfortunately, violence in schools is increasing, so it’s something I’ve thought a lot about. I think the best way to deal with it is to acknowledge it’s happening and reassure the kids that the adults in their lives are taking every step possible to keep them safe.
Although you may not be asked these questions specifically, the school psychologist interview questions above give you a good idea of the kinds of questions you can expect. School psychologist jobs are rewarding in so many ways, and being prepared for your interview is the first step to starting your new career.
If you’re interested in a new position in this field, search for school psychologist jobs at Sunbelt.