Many people want to make a difference in their careers. If you share this sentiment, becoming a school psychologist allows you to do just that. School psychologists provide meaningful assistance and support to students every day, fostering a rewarding profession.
On top of this, school psychologists enjoy a high earning potential. Though you might not be entering the field for the money, salary is an important consideration of any profession.
So, to learn more about school psychologist salary and the current demand, read ahead.
What is a School Psychologist?
School psychologists have an advanced education in human development, mental health, learning practices, and behavioral assessments. They use their expertise to improve their students' experience and educational environments.
School psychologists support students academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. Students can seek out their services if they’re dealing with low self-esteem, bullying, social anxiety, family problems, and more. Likewise, students may be brought to a school psychologist if they exhibit a learning or behavioral disorder to receive the assistance they need.
The day-to-day work of a school psychologist consists of:
- Counseling students during one-on-one sessions
- Developing integrated plans with parents and teachers
- Conducting behavioral interventions
- Implementing innovative learning programs
- Administering tests to identify learning disabilities
- Advising school administrators on disciplinary situations
Where Do School Psychologists Work?
School psychologists work in several types of educational environments, with the majority in public schools. However, school psychologists can find jobs in any of the following workplaces:
- Public schools
- Private schools
- Colleges and universities
- Professional and vocational schools
- Juvenile justice centers
- Clinics and hospitals
- Community treatment centers
If a school psychologist holds a doctorate, they can find work in more specialized settings as well. For instance, they can open their own private practice or conduct research.
The Demand For School Psychologists is Growing Rapidly
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of psychology is expected to grow by 14% by 2028. School psychologists are valued now more than ever, since administrators realize the importance of mental health for their student body. By hiring a school psychologist, schools enhance their student’s health, well-being, and learning outcomes.
The demand for school psychology outpaces the supply. There has been a shortage of school psychologists for the past few decades. While this shortage exists across the nation, rural areas and the Northwest experience it to the greatest degree.
As a result, getting hired as a school psychologist is a breeze, as long as you have the proper credentials.
School Psychology is a Top-Ranking Career
The growth rate for school psychology outpaces many other occupations. Meaning if you want to get a job right out of graduate school, it’s an ideal choice.
Due to the outstanding job market and salary potential of school psychology, it was ranked as the 2nd best social service job of 2020 and the 36th best job of 2020, according to the U.S. News and World Report.
With this in mind, let’s now take a look at the salary potential and market demand for school psychologists.
How Much Do School Psychologists Make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists that work in school settings earn a mean annual salary of $78,200.
This salary is based on many factors, including:
- Your geographic location – In general, metropolitan areas offer higher salaries for school psychologists than rural areas. Furthermore, each state differs notably in its mean salary for school psychologists.
- Your experience level – The more experience you have in the field, the more you can expect to earn. Thus, advanced positions come with higher salaries than entry-level positions.
- Your degree of specialization – If you specialize in a specific area, you can increase your earning potential as well. For instance, you could specialize in working with kids with disabilities or in bullying prevention. Furthermore, being bi-lingual makes you an even more desirable candidate.
School Psychologists Salary By State
As mentioned, the average school psychology salary depends on which state you’re practicing in. Here is a breakdown of the mean salary for school psychologists in a few different states.
The best-paid states are as follows:
- California - $108,350
- Oregon - $103,870
- New Jersey - $98,470
- District of Columbia - $95,500
- Hawaii - $94,550
The lowest-paid states are as follows:
- Alabama - $74,041
- Mississippi - $73,292
- Missouri - $73,120
- Florida - $71,457
- North Carolina - $68,042
As you can see, even on the lower end, school psychologists still earn a comfortable living.
How Much Do School Psychologists Make With a Doctorate?
By getting your doctorate, you’ll join the top 10% of school psychologists who can earn up to $146,500, depending on the factors previously mentioned.
Also, having a doctorate enables you to open your own private practice. With a private practice, you decide how many clients you take on at a time and how much you charge per session. Thus, your annual salary is largely up to you.
Ready to make a difference in students' lives? Earn your PsyD in Educational Psychology with Alliant today.
Comparing School Psychology Salaries to Closely Related Professions
Compared to other educational professions, school psychologists earn some of the highest salaries. Here are the average salaries for other school professionals, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Special education teacher - $61,030
- High school teacher - $61,660
- Middle school teacher - $59,660
- School and career counselors - $57,040
- Preschool teacher - $30,520
School psychologists’ salaries exceed those of many other mental health professions as well. Take a look at the averages for other mental health-related professions:
- Psychiatrist - $220,380
- Social worker - $50,470
- Marriage and family therapist - $49,610
- Mental health counselors - $46,240
As you can see, aside from psychiatry (which involves extensive higher education), school psychology has the highest earning potential of these professions. It’s a great career choice if you want to make a meaningful impact and enjoy a lucrative position.
School Psychology Benefits Beyond Salary
School psychology presents incredible benefits beyond the money. Here are some of the perks worth mentioning:
- A school-year schedule – Since school psychologists typically work in schools, they get the added benefit of a short work year and extra time off. Most schools are only in session for nine or ten months out of the year. As a salaried employee, you’ll enjoy consistent pay during your long summer vacation, winter break, and spring break. This degree of work-life balance is hard to find in most professions.
- A short workday – Likewise, since most school days end around 3 pm, school psychologists end their day earlier than 9-to-5 workers. While you may have to schedule meetings before and after the school day, you will get off earlier than 5 pm on most days. If you have your own kids to pick up from school, this type of schedule can be incredibly valuable and convenient.
- Continuous learning opportunities – Psychology is continuously evolving in response to new research. In turn, school psychology is a career path that allows for lifelong learning and professional growth. There’s a lot of flexibility in terms of where you work and which demographics you focus your attention to, allowing you to change gears throughout your career and to tackle new challenges professionally.
- A meaningful impact – Most importantly, as a school psychologist, you improve the lives of the children at your school. You’re their advocate, as well as a trusted source of guidance and empathy. Many children face intense struggles during their school years. A school psychologist may be the only person they can turn to. Thus, your contribution makes a real difference in their lives.
What Are the Educational Requirements to Become a School Psychologist
To qualify as a school psychologist, you must first earn the proper degrees and licensure.
The requirements vary slightly state-to-state, but they typically include:
- A bachelor’s degree
- A master’s degree in school psychology
- An Education Specialist postgraduate degree (Ed.S.)
- The necessary state licensure
From there, you can choose to continue your education in a doctoral program. While earning a doctorate is optional, it increases your earning potential significantly.
Alliant University: Earn Your School Psychology Degree Today
If you’re ready to take the first step toward becoming a school psychologist, explore your options at Alliant International University. Through Alliant’s California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP), you can get a master’s degree or a doctoral degree in school psychology.
During these programs, you’ll receive the training you need to succeed in your future career. You’ll learn the fundamentals of school psychology, such as:
- Child development
- General psychology
- Special education
- Counseling theories
- Data analysis
- Research methods
- Educational instruction
Alliant is an accredited university, so you’ll receive practicum experience and be prepared for licensure. Alliant is also known for its hands-on training, small class sizes, and online course options. Check out Alliant International University’s graduate psychology programs today.
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