How To Become a School Psychologist

How To Become a School Psychologist

What many people don’t realize when they are thinking about earning a degree as a school psychologist is that they will be called upon to work not only with children, but they also work with teachers, parents, and even with the school administrators. Being a school psychologist isn’t simply assisting at-risk students or working through emotional issues with various student groups and individuals. The school psychologist performs a wide variety of duties, not just in the schools, but across the community. Within this article you’ll find more information about the school psychology field in terms of education, certification and salary expectations.

What Is a School Psychologist?

School psychologists work directly with students in order to help them succeed academically, socially and emotionally. Overall, the school psychologist’s job is to be an advocate for children in a school setting. They are primarily there to work for and with children in whatever capacity may be necessary. This position can play an essential role in a student’s education and growth. School psychologists work closely with student’s teachers and parents in order to develop plans that aim to assist a student in both their school and home environment. Additionally, school psychologists develop outreach programs for the school district, provide support to students after a crisis-situation and assist parents/families by teaching them coping skills.

School Psychologist Requirements

To become a school psychologist, a master’s degree or education specialist degree is required. These programs are typically equivalent to three years of study. Positions that involve research and academia typically require a doctoral degree. Within this curriculum, an internship will be required of which you will need to complete in order to attain your degree. Once your education has been completed, there will be additional certification and credentials required in order to become a school psychologist.

Visit this link for a list of state school psychology credentialing requirements including credentialing requirements to practice in schools, continuing education to maintain credentials and contact information for state departments of education.

School Psychologist Certification

As with other professions, school psychologists are required to be licensed by the state that they are practicing in. The requirements to attain this licensure include proof of degree, internship experience and passing score on the Praxis II school psychology exam. Specific states may also have additional requirements, possibly including department of education certification in addition or instead of the state licensure. Refer to the specific state guidelines for additional resources.

Certification through the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) is a voluntary certification however several states do require it or will accept this in place of other licensure requirements. To earn this certification, you will have needed to complete your graduate program as well as the mandatory school psychology internship that is required within your program’s curriculum. Finally, achieving a passing score on the Praxis II school psychology exam is required to earn this certification.

School Psychologist Salary

The approximate average salary for a psychologist in the United States is $85,340. Average salaries vary depending on location. Take a look at some of the average salaries for psychologists in these top-paying states:

  • California: $108,350
  • Oregon: $103,870
  • New Jersey: $98,470
  • Hawaii: $94,550
  • New York: $94,140

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