With a masters in school psychology, your job will be interesting and varied. You will likely be involved in a lot of research and use that knowledge to develop and implement programs to encourage better learning. It is a position that is in high demand and the job outlook is very good.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for a school psychologist is $67,650. The top 10% earn $109,340 or above and the bottom 10% earn $38,450 or below. The highest paid areas of work include computer and management training, business schools, retirement communities and employment services. Furthermore, geographically speaking, the best areas of work are San Luis Obispo, CA, Allentown, PA and Boulder, CO.
About School Psychology
If you want to be a nationally certified school psychology, you must hold a master’s degree as a minimum. This is achieved through a three-year program, although accelerated programs also exist. Some 60 hours of coursework must be completed, as well as 1,200 hours at an internship at least. Usually, the internship will be within a school. Furthermore, you must pass the Praxis II exam. Some of those who hold a master’s in school psychology will study on to achieve their doctorate degree. This means that they will no longer work with children and students, but instead focus on studying and teaching human behavior.
What Jobs Does This Lead To?
There are many different jobs you can do as a school psychologist. You may work for government agencies and schools, or you could be employed in the private sector. Your job could include such things as developing educational materials and methods, and studying the existing ones to assess their effectiveness. Furthermore, you may have to train educators in terms of delivering a curriculum and you may also develop tests and assessments.
Your area of specialization will determine the specific duties you are likely to hold. This can include such things as learning science, human development or school psychology. For instance, you may have to counsel students and work closely in teams of parents and teachers in order to resolve any issues that a student may be experiencing. Furthermore, you are likely to work closely with pupils who have learning or behavioral difficulties, such as ADHD, autism or dyslexia.
You could also work at the federal level, for instance for the U.S. Department of Education. Here, you could be involved in creating regulations relating to the education system. You could also take part in university studies, where your role will be to evaluate the educational tools that are available, improving existing techniques and focusing strongly on diversity and culture in a classroom setting.
Generally speaking, you will work with groups of students and individual students alike. You will address any academic difficulties they may have, but also their personal behavior, any disabilities and other issues they face. You will liaise between the students’ families and their educators and develop techniques to improve behavior in the classroom and at home. Furthermore, you will provide training to parents, teachers and students, particularly in relation to dealing with substance abuse and crisis situations.
The National Association of School Psychology has identified five areas in which someone with a master’s in school psychology is likely to work. These are:
- Planning and research
As a school psychologist, you are also expected to be an educator yourself. You will teach others about behavioral problems, child development and techniques that can be employed to improve someone’s mental health directed towards their educational attainment.
The majority of school psychologists will work in elementary and secondary schools. However, more and more hospitals, private clinics, universities and state agencies are also employing school psychologists. Furthermore, there seems to be a growing trend of starting a private practice, particularly to deliver consultancy services to educational establishments. However, a doctorate degree is preferred here rather than a master’s.
The employer and specialization are the main contributing factors in determining the average salary of a school psychologist. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median salary of $67,650. Those who work in elementary and secondary schools earn a median salary of $71,730, making that one of the most interesting fields in terms of earnings.
The outlook in terms of jobs for those with a master’s in school psychology is very good. The expected growth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is 22% by 2020. It is believed that this growth is due to the fact that there is now far more awareness about school issues, such as bullying. Furthermore, as the stigma on mental health is being lifted and school children have a greater requirement for counseling services. The best job prospects are for those who hold a doctorate degree, as they earn the most and have the greatest amount of opportunities.