School Psychologist Career Facts

School psychologists have one of the most important jobs in their profession. Their role is to deal with the trauma, behavioral and social aspects of student issues. They're trained educators, as well as trained psychologists.

The Work Environment

This type of work can be difficult and in some cases school psychologists have to deal with serious, traumatic issues affecting students. These issues can be complex, some relating to dangerous situations where kids are at serious risk. Although many issues are transitory problems, some are major issues related to the circumstances of students who are facing domestic and social issues. This is real case management work, and it takes a lot of management to get good results out of these terrible situations. Some cases may involve substance abuse, bullying or physical violence.

A lot of work is done to get children out of destructive behavior patterns. Another role of the school psychologist is to help create a healthy learning environment. School psychologists also assist with maintaining best practice in their schools, where their professional expertise integrates with teaching practices. The major roles of school psychologists are:

  • Consultation: Face to face discussions with students and parents or guardians.
  • Assessment: Part of the case management process, assessing student situations, needs, and issues.
  • Intercession: Action taken to deal with an issue getting out of control.
  • Prevention: Remedial action to prevent harm or further deterioration of a situation.
  • Research: Gathering information and checking regarding issues related to individual or group situations and ongoing study of professional methodologies for application.
  • Education: Explaining the role of school psychology, child development, behavioral issues and behavioral management methods.

Salaries and Hours

The median wages of a school psychologist is $65,710. Income varies with experience and the nature of employment and related institutions. The career can also include different career options which enhance income. The hours are usually business hours, but may include scheduled projects, emergency issues and the need to conduct duties after school-based hours.

The Career Environment

School psychologists usually work within the school system, but may also work in other areas. They also work for state clinics, hospitals, private clinics, hospitals and universities. Some may also find work in consultancies at higher levels of the profession.

The career progression for school psychologists isn't necessarily straightforward. Although the school system does provide a range of career advancement options, school psychologists are also professional psychologists and that creates a lot of additional career options. They may go into specialist practice, or may develop their profession in other ways.

This is a very high profile profession. School and child psychology is a primary health issue in the US, and there's a very strong market demand for both research and education in the field. School psychologists, in their purely psychologist role, may develop new theories and educational concepts from their school experience. They may be motivated to publish new practices derived from their research and experience, and educate others in the field. 

Media products are another area of career advancement which is usually overlooked in the traditional view of school and child psychology careers. Parenting information, books, media and seminars are major consumer and professional market products.