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Educational Psychology

Educational psychology is an exciting field that allows professionals to work directly with children, or alternatively, allow them to work within a research setting. Within these settings, they will identify ways to improve children's experience of education, as well as pinpointing issues that they might be having with regards to their education. Professionals within this field tend to work within schools, as well as within the wider community and their main focus is the development, learning and overall well-being of children.

Skills And Job Prospects

Those working within the field of educational psychology will usually have skills that allow them to assess children and implement intervention techniques that will aid in improving their abilities within an educational setting. These interventions might be specifically tailored to meet with a child's special needs, or they could be aimed at all children within a classroom.

While many professionals in this field work in the public sector, there are a wide range of professionals who choose to consult on a more freelance basis. These individuals might work from home and they consult with patients on a one-on-one basis. The financial prospects for these professionals are quite appealing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational psychologists make a median salary of just over $67,000, although it is possible for them to make much more if they become well known within their field.

Preventative Measures

While most of what educational psychologists do entails the assessment of children with developmental, behavioral or social difficulties, in other instances these professionals might be involved in coming up with preventative measures. These measures might revolve around eating plans, early interventions and even rehabilitation's to ensure the optimal development of the children that the professional is dealing with.

It is quite common for these professionals to deal with children that range in age from 0 to 19 years of age, and this means that they could come into contact with a very broad range of issues. It is important for anyone looking to enroll in a master's or doctoral course to ensure they will be flexible enough to be able to tackle these issues if they intend on working directly with children.

Working With Parents and Teachers

Educational psychologists do not simply work with children; they also work with parents and teachers to ensure that their interventions and policies are appropriately implemented, as well as to keep them informed of the children's progress when necessary.

Consultation and Research

Another opportunity open to master's and doctoral degree holders is that of consultant for groups and institutions throughout the country. These professionals work with organizations such as school in order to optimize their training and development. They also offer evaluation and analysis services to these institutions.

Specializing

As with any field in psychology, individuals who are opting for a master's or doctoral degree will have the chance to specialize as they go further into their studies. Some educational psychologists specialize in the pre-school years, which means that they work with children under the age of 5. Others work with school aged children in order to promote their learning. In order to accomplish this, a professional will need to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a child, as well as a range of environmental factors to determine which solutions will work best within their educational setting.

Not all educational psychologists work with children. There are a variety of individuals who work with adult learners, as well as groups to optimize their learning potential. There are also those professionals who specialize in special needs cases, and this is something that allows them to obtain a lucrative reputation within their field for their specific abilities.

Research

Undertaking research is an exciting opportunity for master's and doctoral students. These positions allow professionals to study the effectiveness of current interventions, as well as various educational methods to determine whether they need to be upgraded or replaced altogether. Professionals within this category will need to be familiar with both the qualitative and the quantitative research methodologies utilized within the field of psychology, including various methods of data analysis.

Duration of Study

Students looking to enroll for a master's degree in psychology will usually be expected to complete a minimum of two years in order to be able to graduate. In some instances, these professionals might be required to complete a thesis as part of their graduate requirements. In those instances where a student is completing the course on a part time basis, they might lengthen their duration of study.

Students enrolling for a doctoral degree will find that they need to complete a minimum of three years before they can graduate, while others might study for up to seven years before completing this course. Individuals will be able to choose between a PhD and a PsyD when enrolling for their doctorate. The first is a research based qualification that will require them to complete a thesis before they can graduate, while the other will require them to obtain practical experience within the field of their choice.

Become a Qualified Educational Psychologist

In order for a professional to start practicing as an educational psychologist, they will need to be registered with the American Psychological Association (APA). This organization requires that an individual receive a qualification from an accredited institution. The accreditation organization sets the standards to which the university will need to comply and it is imperative that the APA recognize the accredited institution in question.

It is up to the graduate student to make sure that they are studying through the appropriately accredited institution, otherwise they could end up obtaining a qualification that is not recognized by the APA.

The field of educational psychology is an exciting one and it is allowing professionals the chance to make advancements that could end up affecting people throughout the country. Since this is a relatively new field, there is a call for more research, as well as more practitioners to continue the important work within this industry that will eventually have such an impact on the students of the future.

References:

  • http://ced.ncsu.edu/cice/educational-psychology
  • http://www.prospects.ac.uk/educational_psychologist_job_description.htm

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