As a student, you have likely interacted with teachers, counselors, administration, student teachers, and other staff. However, did you know that there may have been a school psychologist in your building as well? Many people do not know about school psychology. This often overlooked role is incredibly important!
What is a School Psychologist?
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) describes the various roles involved.
Domain 1: Data-Based Decision Making
Domain 2: Consultation and Collaboration
Domain 3: Academic Interventions and Instructional Supports
Domain 4: Mental and Behavioral Health Services and Interventions
Domain 5: School-Wide Practices to Promote Learning
Domain 6: Services to Promote Safe and Supportive Schools
Domain 7: Family, School, and Community Collaboration
Domain 8: Equitable Practices for Diverse Student Populations
Domain 9: Research and Evidence-Based Practice
Domain 10: Legal, Ethical, and Professional Practice
What are the education and training requirements?
While some school psychologists have a Ph.D. or Psy.D. (doctoral degrees), those are not required to practice as a school psychologist in the public school setting. A majority of school psychologists have Master’s/Specialist level degrees.
These programs involve advanced graduate education in topics related to education, psychology, child/adolescent development, psychopathology, assessments, interventions, consultation, statistics, and research.
Based on my experience, there is much overlap between different programs regarding the curriculum. Other than the foundation coursework, several programs include experiences to practice skills in schools and/or other settings (e.g., psychological clinic). There is also a research component, such as a directed research project or a thesis. The first two years of the program is coursework and these applied experiences. The third year of the program is a full-time internship.
Want to explore more?
Compared to other fields (e.g., medicine), there are very limited resources for those interested in pursuing a degree. However, I managed to find a few! I’ll share them below:
- National Association of School Psychologists website is an awesome resource to check out!
- It’s Always about the Children – Charles A. Barrett
- This one seems quite popular. In fact, during a grad school interview, a professor said that all of their grad students read this book!
- Today in School Psychology: This is why a Day without Direct Contact with Students is Wasted – Charles A. Barrett
- This one is very brief. It provides some snippets into the day of a school psychologist, like a series of diary entries.
- The Thriving School Psychologist: 4 Steps to Better Time Management, Lower Stress, and More Impact in Your School Community – Beyond Testing – Rebecca Branstetter, Ph.D.
- This one illustrated the complexity of school psychology. There are many issues to overcome. Stories of many school psychologists are used as examples of issues and how steps were implemented to improve the situations at their respective schools.
- Check out social media!
- I’m not even joking! There are so many current school psychology graduate students creating content (e.g., Instagram informative posts, vlogs on YouTube, blogs). Such content includes tips for new students or early career school psychologists. These accounts definitely provide some insight into the field. I’ll link some examples below!