Do you have a burning desire to help kids make the most of their school days so that they can move forward in a positive manner and succeed in life? If so, a career as a school psychologist might be a rewarding one for you, so learn more about what qualities you need and how to become a school psychologist.
How to become a school psychologist—what exactly does a school psychologist do?
A school psychologist is there to help students with a variety of social, psychological, behavioral and family problems. They can provide counseling services for students and their parents on topics such as substance abuse and teenage pregnancy, advise the school on learning programs, evaluate disciplinary practices, and keep the teaching body up to date on the latest behavioral management techniques. School psychologists normally work with several different schools in a specific geographical area.
How to become a school psychologist—what educational qualifications do I need?
In order to become a school psychologist, you will need an undergraduate degree in psychology, education, or counseling. A degree in school psychology is obtained via a combined degree in education and psychology, plus a one year internship. You are also advised to take extra English and communications classes. The next step on the career ladder towards becoming a qualified school psychologist is to study for a master’s degree in psychology. This can be followed by a three year doctoral degree in school psychology or education if you wish to continue your learning to gain greater in-depth knowledge.
How much clinical experience do I need to gain certification as a school psychologist?
Once you have gained your master’s degree in school psychology, you will have to embark on a supervised internship in order to gain essential experience in the field. Certification as a school psychologist can be obtained from the National Association of School Psychologists after completing 1200 hours of supervised clinical work via an internship. However, different states have different requirements, so you are always advised to check the latest recommendations for certification and/licensing requirements for your own state.
Is a career as a school psychologist a rewarding one?
There is no doubt that a career as a school psychologist can be a very rewarding one and there are lots of pros to embarking on this particular career in psychology. On the plus side, a career as a school psychologist is very rewarding and you can feel like you are really making a difference. You can also enjoy the benefits of a regular working schedule and the chance to collaborate with a wide network of professional colleagues within the education system.
However, although working with young people can be very satisfying, especially when you help them overcome their problems and succeed in life, on the flip side, you are likely to encounter high levels of stress. Dealing with troubled students from dysfunctional families can often lead to frustration, work related stress, and eventually burnout. You are also likely to be very overworked with a busy schedule, which might negatively impact on your home life.