A career as a school psychologist is a rewarding and fulfilling career path. They play an essential role in a student’s life, education and wellness. School psychologists help students overcome emotional, academic and behavioural challenges. If you enjoy dealing with children and want to help them flourish emotionally, socially and academically a career as a school psychologist could be an excellent career path for you.
A school psychologist works with children in school, from elementary school through secondary school. They diagnose and treat mental health disorders. School psychologists can also assist children in dealing with the anxieties they face about their future, responsibilities and future. Pursuing a career as a school psychologist allows you to support students, parents and teachers through impactful therapy.
Pursuing a career as a school psychologist requires that you meet strict qualifications. It takes careful preparation, years of study and persistence. In this piece, I will guide you on the steps to take to start a career as a psychologist.
Steps to Becoming a School Psychologist
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
The first step to starting a career as a school psychologist is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Before you can become a school psychologist, you must have undergone training to pursue a career in psychology. Additionally, you can also obtain a bachelor’s degree in education with courses such as developmental psychology, social psychology, statistics and educational psychology.
Obtain a Master’s Degree
You should pursue a master’s degree after a bachelor’s degree. This will enable you to choose school psychology as the specialisation to pursue. Furthermore, you can seek a master’s degree in school psychology, education or counselling.
Get a Practical Experience
You need to gain a high level of practical experience before you can start a career as a school psychologist. You can do this by applying for internships. During your training, you will put your knowledge and skills to use in a professional context under supervision. Furthermore, this opportunity allows you to develop skills in assessment, intervention and programme evaluation.
Develop Relevant Skills
As a school psychologist, you should have important skills that will enable you to thrive in this career. You should build and develop skills such as empathy, analytical, communication and ethical knowledge.
Pursue a Doctoral Degree
Pursuing a doctorate can give you access to more opportunities. You can advance to a career in consulting or research with a doctorate. Additionally, you can transition into a role at a private practice or clinical setting. Furthermore, it can increase your earning potential and work with different clients.
You can obtain certifications from the National Association of School Psychologists. Before you can obtain this certificate, you should have completed a graduate program and an internship. This certificate is essential in showing your credibility.
You need a license before you can practice as a school psychologist. Obtaining licensure can be one of the simplest steps in becoming a school psychologist if you have the correct educational background.
Join Professional Association
You can join a professional organisation for school psychologists or attend networking events. School psychology is a relatively competitive field. However, expanding your network can increase your opportunities.
Types of School Psychologists
- School Neuropsychologists: School neuropsychologists are experts in examining and comprehending the connection between brain functioning and learning. Additionally, they carry out tests to detect students’ cognitive strengths and their impact on their academic performance.
- Child Psychologists: Child psychologists are concerned with children’s mental health and socio-emotional development. Furthermore, they give counselling, behaviour management and support services to pupils.
- School-based Research and Program Evaluators: These school psychologists specialise in research and programme evaluations in the school setting. They analyse the programmes and make evidence-based recommendations for better educational practices.
- School Psychometrists: They collaborate to give and score psychological examinations. Additionally, they assist with data gathering, conduct observations and contribute to the evaluation process.
- School-Based Behavioural Specialists: These specialists concentrate on dealing with behavioural issues in the school setting. They create behaviour management plans and engage with teachers, parents and administrators to help kids achieve positive behavioural outcomes.
Required Skills for School Psychologists
- Active Listening
- Thorough understanding of mental health issues
- Ability to work with children and teenagers
- Open-mindedness and lack of judgement
- Ability to cultivate a safe environment for students
- Compassion and Kindness
- Stress management
Work Place of a School Psychologist
A school psychologist works largely in educational settings such as public or private schools, preschools and educational institutes. School psychologists often work from an office within a school to conduct exams, consult with children and parents, and complete administrative chores.
A career as a school psychologist can be both personally and professionally rewarding. This career path will continue to be in demand as there will always be children who have different developmental needs than their peers. Additionally, mental health is increasingly being recognised across the country as having a significant impact on everyone’s lives particularly those of children.