Once you obtain your masters in educational psychology, you are on the verge of a fascinating and varied career that will allow you to make a real difference in the lives op people. Your role will be to work directly with students, but also to do research and to develop, implement and monitor programs designed to increase how effectively people are able to learn. Your duties will be very vast and depend mainly on where you work in terms of the organization and geographical location.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational psychologists who work in elementary or secondary schools would earn a median salary of $63,340 per year. Those who work in research and development would earn significantly more, with a median salary of $84,060 per year. These figures were calculated in 2009 and are likely to have increased since then.
About Educational Psychology
If you are thinking of becoming involved in educational psychology, a good starting point would be to get a foundation degree first, such as a bachelor’s degree in school psychology. This is a great starting point, as it will let you know what the job is about and whether it will truly interest you. You can then decide whether or not you want to proceed to a master’s degree as well.
With a masters in educational psychology, many different job opportunities will open up for you. You could work as a consultant or become a school counselor for instance. To complete a master’s degree in school psychology, you will need two to three years. However, it is now also possible to choose a direct entry master’s degree, which means you don’t have to hold the bachelor in school psychology first. These programs can also be accelerated, meaning that you can be fully ready to start work in a much shorter period of time. Lastly, many of the master’s degree programs are available online.
Once you hold your master’s, you could decide to study on towards a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. in educational psychology. This will open up even more career prospects for you, and you will be able to earn even more money. However, you can expect to spend up to six years in order to complete a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. Once completed, you will be able to work in school administration management or do research jobs and faculty jobs in academia.
What Jobs Does This Lead To?
As an educational psychologist, you are likely to get to work for government agencies or schools, although positions also exist in the private sector. Many of those with a master’s degree will start to develop instructional materials and methods and they will review the existing tools and processes to see whether they can be improved in order to encourage greater efficiency. Also, you could get to work in training direct educators so they are better able to deliver the curriculum, or you could develop tests and even the curriculum itself.
The duties you will be charged with depend on the specialization you have chosen. Some common options include learning sciences, human development and school psychology. For instance, it is possible that you will counsel students and then create communication lines and partnerships between the teachers and family of that student so as to make improvements on their educational attainment. Naturally, you will likely also work with students who have learning or behavioral difficulties, including dyslexia, ADHD, autism and so on.
More and more, we see educational psychologists being employed by the U.S. Department of Education. Here, you would be charged with developing new regulation for the nation’s education systems. You could take part in various university studies, for instance, where you can evaluate the educational tools that are at the disposal of teachers, or create new techniques to ensure they are better able to do their jobs. One of your main focuses in these types of roles would be culture and diversity in the classroom.
Although most people get involved in school psychology because they have a genuine interest in education and a desire to ensure attainment is possible for all people, it is also a very financially rewarding career. The highest earners are those who hold a doctorate degree, as they can expect a median salary of $110,000. However, even those with a master’s degree can expect significant earnings, depending mainly on where they gain employment. The highest salaries are enjoyed in business and industry consultation, with a median of $100,000. Working directly with schools to deliver human services offers a median annual salary of $87,000.
There are many teaching positions that require someone with a master’s in educational psychology. Interestingly, however, a third of those with the master’s degree do not teach directly and are involved in other educational positions. Testing and administration are particularly popular. All areas of psychology can expect to see a faster than average growth over the coming years according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is due to a number of factors, including:
- The lack of master’s in educational psychology who take on teaching positions.
- The aging workforce, with many of the current staff approaching retirement age.
- The greater awareness of psychological issues in schools and how these affect educational attainment.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth by 2020 will be 22%, which is well above the national average. School psychology is particularly interesting because there is increased awareness not just of children with behavioral difficulties, but also of issues such as school bullying. As the stigma on mental health is being lifted, it is also increasingly common for students to seek counseling to help with their issues. Although all school psychologists will be in demand, the greatest demand is for those with a doctorate degree. And the demand for those with a bachelor’s is relatively low.