Educational Psychologist: Requirements, Duties and Outlook

School psychologists require significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

An educational psychologist, also known as a school psychologist, helps children cope with social, emotional, behavioral and academic issues. These psychologists can work in a school setting or a private practice. They need a doctoral degree in psychology and supervised experience in the field or a specialist degree in school psychology. These professionals must meet state licensing requirements for psychologists and may want to obtain professional certification as a school psychologist.

Required Education Doctoral degree in psychology and supervised experience or education specialist degree in school psychology
LicensingState license required
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 11% for clinical, counseling and school psychologists
Mean Salary (2013)* $71,840

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Educational Psychologist

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), educational psychologists must have a doctorate degree in psychology, as well as a year of supervised experience or an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) in School Psychology. The doctoral degree program takes about five years of full-time study and includes a dissertation, whereas, the Ed.S. generally takes three years to complete. The first two years of an Ed.S. encompass 60 hours of full-time graduate work in research methods, human development, assessment methods and psychoeducational issues, while the third is designated for a full-time internship.

Once a student has completed the doctorate or Ed.S. program, he or she must complete all licensing requirements in the state where they will practice. Those who wish to work specifically in schools are eligible for the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) designation, which is awarded by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

Educational Psychologist Job Duties

Educational psychologists work with children, their parents and the staff of learning institutions to make a safe and optimized learning environment. They work one on one with students to help them overcome any behavioral or emotional barriers to learning. Educational psychologists educate parents and arrange support from community service organizations. They assist teachers in creating engaging classroom environments. Some educational psychologists choose a career in research, in which case they design or assist in studies and publish results that will improve the quality of educational psychology.

Educational Psychologist Outlook

The BLS projected that clinical, counseling and school psychologist jobs would rise 11% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). School psychologists in particular should be in greater demand due to the increased awareness of how classroom environments and mental health issues, such as drug abuse and bullying, affect a student's aptitude for learning. Even though the demand for educational psychologists was expected to rise, competition for positions should be heavy. Psychologists employed by elementary and secondary schools earned a mean annual salary of $71,840 in May 2013, reported the BLS.

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