I once heard, “one of the most important things in an individual’s life is to help in a child’s mental growth.” By becoming a school psychologist, you can achieve this position and listen to the student’s queries. Many people play their individual roles in helping individuals to turn their passion into a career. Among these roles, one of the significant ones is that of a school psychologist. Individuals who serve in this role do a great service to children and help through many difficult situations. School psychologists must go through several steps to achieve their certifications. The following information explains more about what to expect when becoming a school psychologist. Other similar roles that one can follow to help the students include becoming a school counselor.
School Psychologist Degrees: Courses and Requirements
Those looking to become a school psychologist must realize the immense amount of training involved in the process. A school psychologist, to become certified, must have to get at least a graduate level of education. There are several programs available to individuals in the U.S. looking to find the appropriate school. There are around two-hundred programs available for training in this way. Each may have their flare on how they teach, but they are all certified and able to teach courses that will prepare individuals for the position. Schooling for a school psychologist will also involve a level of fieldwork as well. The school psychologist aspirants must try a hand at internships to gain the knowledge required in their profession.
How Long Does it Take to Become a School Psychologist?
There must be at least three years of study at a graduate level to become a school psychologist. This is three years beyond a bachelor’s degree and requires at least sixty semester course hours. Also, the mentioned duration also consists of the internship period of practical skills. Usually, this lasts approx one year for an individual to get absorbed in the program and understand the job role. This is important, too, because it allows instructors to see how prepared the student. Also, it allows the student to decide if this is becoming a psychologist the right pathway for them.
Become a School Psychologist: Philosophy Involved
Psychology programs can hold different philosophies and approaches to study. School psychology is no different. There are different philosophies behind teaching methods for the completion of the course. This is important to note and understand before entering into a program for becoming a school psychologist. Further, it allows you to know if another program is more in line with the methods that you want to use in your career and practice.
Is Financial Aid Available in Becoming a School Psychologist?
Attending any graduate-level course can be expensive, and a school psychology program is no different. For that reason, it is important to understand whether financial aid is available. This financial aid can come in the form of loans, grants, scholarships, and other financial rewards. To understand your options in the financing, talk to both your institutions of choice and the department of education. These two locations may offer you financing options so that you do not carry the full brunt of the financial burden.
Further, ask your school of choice, whether they have work opportunities while you are in school. Fellowships can have you working while you attend classes as a way to diffuse the cost of attendance. Knowing your options before entering school can save you the debt of having to pay for it for years to come and leave you to concentrate on your career.
The Scope of Practicing School Psychology
School psychology is one of the most practiced domains of psychology. This fact can be better understood by the reports published by the National Association of school psychologists.
The report asserts that there are thousands of males and females practicing in this field. Not, there are more women than men who are practicing in this domain. These trained professionals serve students and families, as well as several other agencies. Not to forget, the functions of these professionals are very much like the ones performed by an educational psychologist.
Most of them work in public and private schools—the other options to work in universities, school-based health centers, and research organizations. Integrating the components of educational and psychological health services is most suited. They also work in making worthy contributions for the mentally handicapped children. In fact, they bring in core components of educational and psychological knowledge under one banner. So, it is quite visible that in the upcoming years, the scope of this field is likely to go beyond folds and bounds.
What is the Scope of Practicing School Psychology?
To understand the scope of becoming a psychologist in the U.S., here is a brief summary of the same:-
Experienced school psychologists and trained problem solvers are having a great deal of knowledge. Their scope goes about in all the dimensions and perspectives of psychology. While becoming a school psychologist, they gather, analyze, and interpret the collected data. After these initial steps, they decide how to incorporate collected information. The present educational settings have to move into various institutions and health centers. All these forms of assessment and accountability orientation points to all the activities. Their prime duty is to do the tasks associated with the educational settings.
Besides, they also have knowledge about the mental disorders associated with the school children. To count a few, ADHD, Mood Disorders, etc. As the complexity of these disorders is increasing, so in response, the scope of this field will also increase.
They also engage themselves in the assessment of educational and instructional implications. They make use of several tests, student portfolios, and curriculum data. In this way, they contribute to maintaining the physical and psychological well-being of the students.
School psychologists also design several tests to test the group performances of the students. Since not all the students feel comfortable in working in a group, they get to perform in groups. This type of group assessment tasks reveals important information about children’s personalities.
They also analyze the environment of the classrooms and playgrounds. Becoming a school psychologist works on the social, academic, and emotional development of the students. To achieve this task, they make use of certain ecological and functional data assessment tools and techniques.
They also go into a one to one communication with the parents and guardians to help with face problems faced at their homes and in the classrooms. Helping the staff members in enhancing their instructional strategies is also a part of their job.
What Does a School Psychologist in Do?
Psychology is not a science, but it is more like the rare art of changing mental behaviors. Since the times of its start, this field has always been on its boom. No matter what the critics say, psychology indeed one of the most difficult sciences in the world. The prime reason for the complexity of this field is the fact that each human thinks and behaves at different ranges. Each person has his or her patterns of interactions and cognition. These days, becoming a psychologist can trace out jobs in limitless spheres of life. One of the most popular domains in psychology these days is School Psychology. Many are showing a great deal of interest in this field, like becoming a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist. The school psychologists have their separate settings and area of focus.
Duties of Becoming a School Psychologist
People who specialize in school psychology work in academic and educational settings. Their major task is to ease the students and to enhance their learning curve for the better. At the same time, they also get into a one to one communication with the parents and teachers. Their role is to help them solve any problems they encounter while dealing with children. Solving the learning and personal problems of the students and teachers is all a part of their daily routine. Also, the school psychologist also designs the study curriculum, method of teaching, and the course. To further explain the duties of becoming a school psychologist, look at the following list.
Regular meetings with the parents to discuss any mental or physical problems that the students might suffer. Besides, they also provide coping strategies to the parents to help them in dealing with the children and their relationships.
Doing continual research on educational programs, at the same time introducing new innovative study designs and techniques for the students.
Providing counseling to the staff members and guiding them so that they understand the psyche and the mindset of the children. It is quite imperative for developing a healthy relationship with the students.
How to Apply for a School Psychologist Degree?
All you need do is to apply for a graduation program, but before entering graduate school. But, before that, you’ll have to take some prerequisite courses to opt for a major in psychology. For doing the M.S. and so on, you should have a graduation degree in school psychology. To excel in the field, it is imperative that you do a P.HD and always remain focused on what you want from it. Then, you’re all set to become a school psychologist.
5 Steps to Become a School Psychologist Now
Even with a terrific education, in this competitive market and economic crisis, it can be hard to find a job even for long time school psychologists. While it can be difficult to land the perfect job, it’s not impossible. With a few helpful hints, you could make all the difference in sipping the celebratory champagne or woofing down the Hagen Dias of defeat. Whether you are struggling to land a new job or if you are ready to start looking for your first one, read on to find three simple ways to get hired now.
Decorate Your Résumé
Whether you went to an Ivy League school or a community college, when it comes to landing the job of your dreams, it all comes down to an impressive résumé. While writing a professional résumé, there are two things that can make all the difference in getting the job. One way is how you write your experience and schooling on paper, and the other is the font and spacing you use. So, use proper formatting if you got to become a school psychologist.
Call Area School, Even if They Aren’t Hiring
A lot of applicants think that if a school isn’t advertising hiring that they can’t contact them, but this isn’t true. While oftentimes, there may indeed be no openings, schools are a very tight-knit community. You may call and find out that while, no, they aren’t hiring now, their sister school is. Asking to have your résumé kept on file is also a smart move. Even school psychologists have to take maternity leave. So, you never know when you hear your roll call to fill in. While it might not be permanent, it will add a great reference to your résumé and give you real-life experience in your field.
Consider an Internship
While an internship seldom pays, if you can handle daytime interning along with a second job, then an internship will look amazing on your résumé. If you can’t find an internship at a local school, try an internship as a private practice assistant. Both can make a difference.
When you can’t find a job at home, relocation may be the answer. Since your final destination is to become a school psychologist, you got to try many ways. It’s never easy to move, but it never hurts to explore the option of moving if it means that you get to do what you love.
Don’t Shy Away from Difficult Areas
Working at difficult schools can be a lot to take on, but it can also be very rewarding. Don’t immediately shy away from schools with a bad reputation. Giving these kids a chance could be the very best thing you ever did not only for your career but for yourself.
Finding the perfect job isn’t always easy. Expect delays but always stay positive. Because you haven’t gotten the call back yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen soon. With a little perseverance and the right amount of dedication, you’ll be getting a call back before you know it.
Skill Sets Needed to Become a School Psychologist
The skills and abilities required in a school analyst’s job are interacting with people, and there are other skillsets including:-
Must be a mature, stable, and a person who can deal with people.
Should be sensitive and compassionate, with the ability to lead and inspire people.
I should have excellent interpersonal skills, i.e., oral and written communication skills.
Have problem-solving abilities.
Must have oodles of patience with both children and adults.
Have flexibility, understanding of assessment principles, educational measurement, and child needs.
Must know how to garner information and use it for the betterment of students.
Should be dependable with good social skills and judgment.
If you have the above skillsets, you can also try your hand at becoming a physical therapist.
How Much Does a School Psychologist Earns?
The personal earnings of a School Psychologist depend on various factors. The main factors include years of experience, geographical location, and certification. As per the BLS, The average annual salary of a School Psychologist is $53660 inclusive of bonus. Below are the various factors that affect the change in salary.
Average Annual Salary as per Years of Experience
- less than one year, the salary range is between $ 31,299 and $ 54,268
- One to four years the salary range is between $ 34,648 and $ 6,704
- Five to nine years the salary range is between $ 43,673 and $ 78,837
- Ten to nineteen years the salary range is between $ 46,251 and $ 87,278
- More than twenty years, the salary range is between $ 52,901 and $ 94,620