When choosing a career path in education, it’s essential to evaluate the prospective job market first. This is especially true if you are considering higher education. Graduate school involves a significant investment of time and money, so you want to make sure ample job opportunities await you on the other side.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in school psychology, you’re in luck. There is a high demand for school psychologists and they get paid very well.
Keep reading to learn more about the job outlook for this rewarding profession.
What is a School Psychologist?
While there are many different types of counseling careers, school psychologists play a unique role. School psychologists are mental health professionals who have a specialized understanding of childhood development, learning, and behavior. They use their expertise to support students’ well-being and improve their educational environments.
School psychologists help students in the following areas of life:
- Academic – If children fall behind in class or exhibit signs of a learning disability, school psychologists provide them with academic support.
- Emotional – Children of all ages experience tough emotions and go through challenging situations. A counseling psychologist offers kids a safe space to discuss their feelings and work through their problems. For many of these children, their school psychologist is the only mental health professional they’ll ever have access to.
- Relational – School psychologists work to prevent bullying, mediate social tensions, and help children navigate increasingly complex social landscapes.
- Behavioral – If a child is acting out, a school psychologist can evaluate them and develop a plan to address their behavior in collaboration with teachers, parents, and administrators.
What Do School Psychologists Do?
Depending on their place of work, school psychologists spend most of their time conducting:
- Holding one-on-one school counseling sessions with students
- Consulting with parents, teachers, and administrators
- Conducting student assessments
- Organizing school-wide prevention programs
- Arranging behavioral interventions
Using these tactics, school psychologists enhance their students’ development and improve their schools’ outcomes.
Thinking of becoming a school psychologist? Learn about the different school psychology degrees and certificates at Alliant today!
Where Do School Psychologists Work?
Public schools employ the majority of school psychologists in the country. However, school psychologists also have plenty of employment opportunities at private schools, charter schools, colleges, and universities.
In addition to schools, school psychologists also work in:
- Mental health centers
- Community treatment centers
- Juvenile justice programs
- Private practices
Are School Psychologists in Demand?
Yes, school psychologists are in high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of psychology is expected to grow by 14% between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than most occupations.
Why is this?
These days, people are more aware of the importance of mental health. Schools have a vested interest in supporting their students emotionally, socially, and academically. Happy, healthy students perform better with their course work and behave appropriately during the school day.
School psychologists are also uniquely qualified to improve schools’ curriculum and learning environments. They’re a valuable asset to any educational institution that wants to upgrade its community.
What Is the Job Outlook for School Psychologists?
With such high demand, the job outlook for school psychologists is quite promising. Due to the current shortage of school psychologists, it’s very easy to find a job once you’ve completed your degree and licensure.
To compound this shortage even further, many school psychologists are expected to retire in the next ten years. Thus, new job openings will be abundant in the upcoming years. The next generation of school psychologists will enjoy a favorable job market.
Moreover, an estimated 99% of graduates who’ve completed their school psychology education find a job within the first year. In other words, entering this field means that a secure job awaits you, as long as you’re willing to get the required certifications.
What Factors Impact School Psychology Employment Opportunities?
While scoring a job shouldn’t be a problem, your job prospects depend on a few factors. These include:
#1 Your Geographic Location
Depending on your city and state, the demand for school psychologists differs. The states that have the highest employment levels of school psychologists are as follows:
- California - 16,960 jobs
- New York - 11,030 jobs
- Texas - 8,430 jobs
- Florida - 5,270 jobs
- Illinois - 5,100 jobs
Conversely, the states with the lowest employment levels of school psychologists are:
- Alaska - 210 jobs
- Mississippi - 210 jobs
- North Dakota - 240 jobs
- South Dakota - 270 jobs
- Louisiana - 290 jobs
As you can see, some states have more educational psychology jobs than others. Thus, you should research your state’s and city’s job markets. If your city is lacking school psychology jobs, another one nearby could have better options.
#2 Your Degree of Specialization
In addition to where you live, your job prospects depend on your degree of specialization. Here are some desirable traits that will set you apart in the job market:
- Being bi-lingual – Bi-lingual school psychologists are in high demand. If you can improve your fluency in a second language, you’ll differentiate yourself in an advantageous way.
- Being culturally diverse – Similarly, having a well-rounded cultural background makes you better-equipped to serve culturally diverse populations. Even if your personal background is not very diverse, traveling and volunteering abroad can expand your perspective and make you a better school psychologist.
- Earning a doctorate – By getting a Doctorate in Educational Psychology, you will be qualified to work in a broader range of school settings, be eligible for more advanced positions, and make yourself more desirable to potential employers. You will also be qualified to open your own private practice.
- Taking specialized courses – There are many courses you can take to gain specialized knowledge in specific areas. For instance, the American Psychological Association provides continuing education courses on bullying prevention, classroom management, and improving learning practices.
#3 Your Years of Experience in the Field
As with most careers, the more experience you have in the profession, the better your job prospects, and the more you can expect to earn. According to Zip Recruiter, the average entry-level educational psychologist salary is $55,392.
The states with the highest average entry-level salaries are:
- New York - $60,757
- Massachusetts - $60,183
- Washington - $59,763
- New Hampshire - $58,572
- Hawaii - $57,801
The states with the lowest average entry-level salaries for school psychologists are:
- Alabama - $48,488
- Mississippi - $47,997
- Missouri - $47,885
- Florida - $46,796
- North Carolina - $44,560
How Much Do School Psychologists Earn?
Looking beyond entry-level salaries, the average salary for school psychologists of all levels is $78,200, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Once you’ve been in the field for a while, your potential salary could skyrocket up to $146,500, depending on your state.
Regardless of where you work, school psychology provides impressive earning potentials. In sum, you’ll enjoy a fulfilling career and a comfortable lifestyle simultaneously.
How to Become A School Psychologist
To land a position as a school psychologist, you need to get your education and licensure first. From there, finding a job should be easy, especially if you take advantage of networking tools.
Here’s the step-by-step process to getting employed as a school psychologist:
#1 Get Your Degrees and State Licensure
To practice as a school psychologist, you need to have the proper qualifications first. Your graduate education and practicum experience will provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to satisfy your job requirements.
The specific qualifications vary between states, but in general, you will need:
- A bachelor’s degree
- A master’s degree in school psychology
- A postgraduate specialist degree in education (Ed.S.)
- The state-required license and certification
While not required, a doctoral degree in educational psychology can also improve your job options.
What Skills Do You Need to be a Good School Psychologist?
It helps to possess specific skills before committing to the field of school psychology. These include:
- Active listening skills
- Complex problem-solving skills
- Time management skills
- Outstanding interpersonal skills with both children and adults
- Patience, flexibility, and empathy
#2 Network as a New School Psychologist
Once you’ve completed your preparation, finding a job is expedited by partaking in networking opportunities. There are a plethora of school psychologist conferences, networking websites, and national organizations that can connect you with potential employers.
Some organizations to check out are:
- American Board of School Psychology (ABSP)
- National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
- International School Psychology Association (ISPA)
Each of these organizations provides valuable resources for your professional development as a school psychologist.
Psychology Programs Offered at Alliant
At Alliant, we offer several psychology degree programs to help provide you with the education you need for a successful career as a school psychologist. Below we’ll be highlighting three different school psychology programs that are offered all online
Credential in Pupil Personnel Services, School Psychology
Our Credential in Pupil Personnel Services program teaches students how to help others during their most formative years of childhood. This credential program will educate you on several factors that are needed to be a school psychologist for children. Master the concepts of counseling, psychology, and other educational fields when studying this credential program at Alliant.
MAE in School Psychology with Pupil Personnel Services Credential
Next on our list is our Master’s in School Psychology Online Degree program. Our master’s program provides students with all the essential skills and tools needed to succeed as a school counselor. Our courses teach students the foundational knowledge that will help guide and assist young learners both in and out of the classroom.
PsyD in Educational Psychology
Take your career to the next level by enrolling in our PsyD in Educational Psychology program. With this higher education psychology program, you’ll be given the opportunity to learn more about leadership, supervision, psychopharmacology, developmental psychopathology, and so much more. If you’re looking to make a difference in children’s personal and academic lives, our PsyD in Educational Psychology program can help you get there.
Alliant International University: Get Your School Psychology Degree
Are you ready to start your school psychology career? If so, take a look at the master’s and doctoral programs at Alliant International University.
Alliant’s California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) offers an accredited psychology program. In turn, Alliant students complete their licensure with ease. During your school psychology program, you’ll explore the ins and outs of child development, general psychology, counseling theories, research methods, and much more.
Whether you’d prefer to attend courses at one of our California campuses or learn online, Alliant is the perfect place to get your school psychology career off the ground. Check out Alliant's graduate psychology programs today.
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- National Association of School Psychologists. A Career in School Psychology: Frequently Asked Questions. https://www.nasponline.org/about-school-psychology/selecting-a-graduate…
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2019: 19-3031 Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193031.htm#(1)
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- ZipRecruiter. Entry Level School Psychologist Salary. https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Entry-Level-School-Psychologist-S…
- ZipRecruiter. School Psychologist Salary. https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/School-Psychologist-Salary
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- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Psychologists: Pay. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists…