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School Psychologist

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree; State licensure required
Average Salary: $36,702-$79,909 per year
Job Outlook: Very good

School psychologists work with students from elementary, middle, and high schools to help them be aware of and deal with personal, social, and behavioral problems they may face. The school psychologist is often referred to as the school counselor and interacts with both individuals and groups of children.

The job of a school psychologist in an elementary school is to evaluate the classroom and observe children during work and play time to assist the teachers and parents of the child’s needs. The elementary and middle school psychologist spends more time with behavioral issues than that of a high school psychologist who focuses a majority of their time with academic and career counseling.

Education and Training Requirements

Education and training requirements for a school psychologist position consist of a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in psychology or a related field of study. In college, most students major in psychology with an emphasis on courses such as school counseling, social diversity, relationship issues, educational psychology, and conflict resolution.

Getting the Job

Getting a job as a school psychologist requires an extensive interview process. A master’s degree is almost always required along with state licensure. Depending on the school the position requirements may vary. Individuals pursuing licensure typically intern in an elementary or high school. Many candidates have found that the internship leads to a full-time position. Training is often provided for new school psychologists.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The employment outlook for school psychologists is very good according to the current data released by the United States Department of Labor and Statistics. Job growth is favorable and expected to expand over the next several years due to individuals at or nearing retirement age. As new schools are being built throughout the districts, a need for school psychologists is steadily increasing. Most school psychologists stay in the position hired for years and, in fact, retire from the job. Very few transfer into a new field but rather work for years within the same position.

Working Conditions and Environment

A school psychologist works in an office setting of a school either down the hall or adjacent to the main office. Although the school psychologist may have an office they also work with children in the classroom. School psychologists must be outgoing, friendly and excellent communicators to be able to interact effectively with the children and parents. School psychologists regularly meet with students and parents to discuss the needs and expectations of the children.

Most school psychologists work 35-40 hours per week. School psychologists are usually busiest throughout the day when student meetings are scheduled. Workshops and conferences may also take place during the day. School psychologists may be required to stay after hours on occasion to meet with a parent who works during the day. A daily schedule of dealing with high stress situations is highly likely.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a school psychologist varies by which type of school the individual is employed. Elementary and middle school psychologists earn less than secondary and post-secondary school psychologists. The typical salary range for this position is $36,702-$79,909 per year.

Excellent health and retirement benefits are likely for this profession. Most full-time school psychologists receive paid vacation and sick leave. Standard benefit packages from the school district include medical or health insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, paid annual leave and flexible time off. School psychologists are off when the school district is closed for all major holidays, school breaks, and summer vacations.

Where to Go for More Information

American Counseling Association
5999 Stevenson Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22304

American School Counselors Association
1101 King St., Ste. 625
Alexandria, VA 22314

National Board for Certified Counselors
3 Terrace Way
Greensboro, NC 27403

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine