As a specialized professional in the dynamic field of psychology, school psychologists work within the educational system to assist children and adolescents with academic, emotional, behavioral, and social problems.
School psychologists are often responsible for providing consultation, assessment, intervention, and prevention services. In collaboration with parents, educators, administrators, and other academic support staff, school psychologists seek to promote a healthy learning environment that meets the diverse needs of all students.
Daily Duties for School Psychologists:
- Supporting students’ social, emotional, mental, and behavioral health
- Providing individual or group counseling to students struggling with barriers
- Identifying and addressing problems that interfere with academic or career success
- Increasing achievement by determining the best instructional strategies for learning
- Promoting wellness through instruction on communication, social, problem-solving, and self-regulation skills
- Evaluating students’ eligibility for special education services
- Developing and implementing student progress monitoring systems from interventions
- Designing school-wide prevention programs for a more positive school environment
- Promoting school policies that ensure school safety by reducing school violence, harassment, and bullying
School Psychologist Job Description
What do school psychologists do? The vast majority of school psychologists conduct these daily duties in public or private elementary, middle, and high schools. However, school psychologists can also find employment at universities, school-based mental health centers, juvenile justice facilities, day-treatment clinics, hospitals, residential care facilities, and private practices.
While school psychologists who work in healthcare settings may work evening or weekend hours to accommodate the needs of their clients, most work full-time schedules during regular business hours with holiday vacations and summer breaks. Throughout their workday, it is common for school psychologists to work in multi-discplinary teams with general education teachers, special education teachers, administrators, social workers, other psychologists, and families to find the best interventions for students.
Skills Needed to Be a School Psychologist
School psychologists must be highly trained in both psychology and education through the completion of at least a master’s specialist-level degree or a doctoral degree. Due to their daily duties, school psychologists must have thorough knowledge in mental health interventions, child development, learning strategies, curriculum instruction, assessment techniques, consultation, school law, and educational collaboration.
In order to be a successful school psychologist, individuals must possess strong analytical skills to draw logical conclusions from testing, interpersonal skills for working with students’ families and other educators, observational skills for studying abnormal attitudes or behaviors, and problem-solving skills for developing effective interventions. School psychologists should also possess high levels of compassion and patience for working in sensitive challenging situations.