School Psychologist vs. School Counselor

Compared to past generations, today’s children are increasingly likely to be diagnosed with anxiety and experience bullying in school. Problems like these can negatively affect children’s mental health and academic performance. As a result, school support personnel such as school psychologists and school counselors are increasingly important for school-aged children, as well as parents, teachers and others who work with kids. Knowing which of these professionals a student should be seeing is essential to ensuring they receive the proper support.

What is the difference between a school psychologist and a school counselor?

Generally, school psychologist jobs focus on providing mental health services for students, while school counselor jobs focus on aiding academic achievement. Both school psychologists and school counselors play critical roles in students’ lives, but their roles, responsibilities, and skill sets are distinctly different.

The process for obtaining jobs as a school psychologist and school counselor can also vary. School psychologist interview questions and school counselor interview questions will likely be different, as well as the staff members conducting the interviews.

Duties of a school psychologist vs school counselor.

What does a school psychologist do?

A school psychologist supports students’ mental health, emotional well-being, and academic success. Some examples of a school psychologist’s duties include:

  • Administer and score tests and screenings
  • Develop outreach and crisis intervention programs
  • Identify learning difficulties or disabilities
  • Implement strategies to promote positive behavioral and academic outcomes
  • Provide coaching and counseling to parents and families
  • Refer families to support groups
  • Serve as an advocate for children

School psychologists may also provide support and consultation to school staff on issues related to student behavior, learning difficulties, and special education services.

What does a school counselor do?

School counselors, also known as guidance counselors, help students in the areas of academic achievement, personal and social development, and career development. The duties and responsibilities of a school counselor include:

  • Teach structured lessons that meet students’ developmental needs
  • Reinforce interpersonal, studying and time management skills
  • Assist students with developing future goals, such as college applications, financial aid, and scholarships
  • Create plans and schedule upcoming coursework to meet those goals
  • Provide counseling, crisis response and referrals to others who can help
  • Collaborate with staff and parents on students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
  • Build positive relationships with parents and families
  • Provide support and facilitate parent workshops and meetings

School psychologist vs. school counselor education requirements

The educational requirements for school psychologists and school counselors are similar, but both positions require degrees in their distinct fields.

School counselor requirements include a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling, along with a certification from the state in which they work. To become certified, a person must complete a graduate supervised internship under the direction of a certified or licensed school counselor.

You may be wondering how to become a school psychologist and what the requirements are. School psychologist requirements include a bachelor’s degree, often in psychology or education, as well as at least 60 semester hours in a graduate program for school psychology. To earn certification through the National Association of School Psychologists, a person must complete an internship of at least 1,200 hours by acquiring work experience in an academic setting such as a school or university.

School psychologist vs. school counselor salary comparison

While the roles and responsibilities of a guidance counselor vs. a school psychologist may overlap in some areas, there are key differences between the two, including salary ranges. Understanding the salary comparison between school psychologists and school counselors can help you make a more informed decision about your desired career path.

What is the average salary of a school psychologist?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), school psychologists had an average annual wage of $87,450 in 2020, and a mean hourly wage of $42.05.

What is the average salary of a school counselor?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for school and career counselors was $58,120 as of May 2020, with a median hourly wage of $27.95.

Job outlook for school counselors vs. school psychologists

The job outlook for school counselors is promising, with a projected 10 percent growth in employment from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations. As school enrollment increases and families seek alternative pathways to viable careers, the demand for school counselors to provide information about career technical training and non-traditional routes will likely expand. With a psychology degree and graduate work in the field, becoming a school counselor is a meaningful way to impact the lives of students.

Similarly, employment of school psychologists, along with clinical and counseling psychologists, is projected to grow by 6 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations. The increasing attractiveness of school psychology as a profession for those with a psychology degree is evident in the expanding job outlook. Pursuing graduate work in school psychology can lead to a fulfilling career where one can make a positive difference in the lives of children and adolescents daily.

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