School psychologists work with adolescents and teens in school settings. They participate in both students’ academic and personal journeys. Whether it’s an immediate family crisis or an ongoing mental health issue, school psychologists support educators and families in creating a positive environment for students.
While the majority of school psychologists work in K-12 public school settings, they can also provide services in private schools, administrative offices, universities, mental health facilities, community centers, or private practice.
The key to career advancement for school psychologists is education and training. Here are four components necessary to ensure you’re on the path to a rewarding career as a school psychologist.
A career as a school psychologist begins with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, or a related field, followed by completing a master’s degree in school psychology or educational psychology. There are also options for doctorates in psychology. Post-graduate education takes about three to six years to complete, while an undergraduate degree can be earned within four years.
And because not all psychology programs are alike, a few things to consider when choosing a National Association of School Psychologists-approved school are where do you plan to live after graduation and what focus areas are you planning to pursue. If you plan to practice privately, but don’t want to invest in earning a doctorate, choose a school that provides a specialist-level degree.
Because each state has its own regulations for licensing school psychologists, it’s best to check with your state for specific regulations and requirements. However, typically, a state will require an examination and continuing education hours to receive and renew state licensing.
Board certification for school psychologists is essential in the hiring process. Getting board certificated by either the American Board of Professional Psychology for a doctoral degree or certification by NASP for master’s degrees is critical in receiving state licensure and ultimately employment.
Both graduate and doctoral students pursuing careers in school psychology are required to complete 1,200-1,500 internship hours. This provides students the opportunity to apply academic learning in supervised settings. This is also a great time to focus on an area of interest or specialty.
Ready to pursue a career as a school psychologist? Pioneer Healthcare Services is here to help.