School psychology is a dynamic and exciting field. If you want to impact student behavior and academic success directly, this pathway is hard to beat. Read our blog to learn the basics of what you need to know from what a school psychologist does to how to become a school psychologist.
What is a School Psychologist?
School psychologists bring a unique and diverse skill set to the school community, making them valuable members of the academic team at public and private K-12 schools. Each day is different from the last, and these professionals need to be flexible and quick-thinking. They must be organized, think outside the box, pay attention to detail, and be observant to succeed. A school psychologist’s job description can include a lengthy list of responsibilities and expectations, including:
- Listen to students’ academic and emotional concerns and issues.
- Guide teachers in the best ways to help their students meet educational and behavioral objectives.
- Provide guidance and counseling in one-on-one or group sessions.
- Administer psychological assessments, evaluate the results, and develop plans to address concerns.
- Create reports, including for Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), that summarizes students’ academic, cognitive, and behavioral performance.
- Meet with families to discuss student progress, ways to support children at home, and meet social and emotional goals.
The day-to-day responsibilities of school psychologists vary from school to school. However, all these specialists help to nurture positive relationships, build student confidence, and create a safe and supportive environment for all learners.
How to Become a School Psychologist
To work as an SLP, you must obtain a master’s degree in speech-language pathology or speech therapy and a license, though licensing requirements vary by state. Other requirements are specific to the role you’re applying for and may include practical experience working with a particular age group or specific disorders.
SLP certifications are also available for speech-language pathologists who want to specialize in a particular area. These include Board Certified Specialist in Child Language (BCS-CL), Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (BCS-S), Certification of clinical competence in speech-language pathology (CCC-SLP), and Board-Certified Specialist in Fluency (BCS-F).
School Psychologist Salary
The school psychologist’s salary varies by state and the setting where these specialists work. The average salary across the nation is $82,770, with the bottom 10% of school psychologists making $49,260 and the top 10% earning $124,950. A school psychologist’s geographic location matters significantly to wages, as a school psych in Idaho will make $53,760 on average, while the mean annual salary is $103,240 if you live in Colorado. The job growth outlook for school psychologists is 10.4% between 2020 – 2030, so there is a strong demand for these specialists.
A school psychologist position can be perfect if you are caring, dedicated, meticulous, and focused. You will find it exciting and satisfying: full of daily challenges, rewards, and benefits. You will need extensive education to get your degree, giving you the knowledge and expertise to deliver top-notch services to students who need your support. School psychologist jobs can unlock your potential, providing the platform to boost student behavioral, emotional, and academic outcomes.