Educational Psychologist: Requirements, Duties and Outlook

School psychologists require significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Educational psychologists often work in schools where they help children get the most out of their academic career by working to enhance their learning experience. They may also perform research on ways to improve the educational environment. Job growth in this field is expected to be much faster than average at 20% through 2024.

Essential Information

An educational psychologist, also known as a school psychologist, helps children cope with social, emotional, behavioral and academic issues. These psychologists can work in a school setting or a private practice. They need a doctoral degree in psychology and supervised experience in the field or a specialist degree in school psychology. These professionals must meet state licensing requirements for psychologists and may want to obtain professional certification as a school psychologist.

Required Education Doctoral degree in psychology; supervised experience; education specialist degree in school psychology
Licensing State license required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 20% for clinical, counseling and school psychologists
Mean Annual Salary (2015)* $76,040 for clinical, counseling and school psychologists

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Educational Psychologist

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), educational psychologists must have a doctorate degree in psychology, as well as a year of supervised experience or an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) in School Psychology. The doctoral degree program takes about five years of full-time study and includes a dissertation, whereas, the Ed.S. generally takes three years to complete. The first two years of an Ed.S. encompasses 60 hours of full-time graduate work in research methods, human development, assessment methods and psychoeducational issues, while the third is designated for a full-time internship.

Once a student has completed the doctorate or Ed.S. program, he or she must complete all licensing requirements in the state where they will practice. Those who wish to work specifically in schools are eligible for the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) designation, which is awarded by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

Educational Psychologist Job Duties

Educational psychologists work with children, their parents and the staff of learning institutions to make a safe and optimized learning environment. They work one on one with students to help them overcome any behavioral or emotional barriers to learning. Educational psychologists educate parents and arrange support from community service organizations. They assist teachers in creating engaging classroom environments. Some educational psychologists choose a career in research, in which case they design or assist in studies and publish results that will improve the quality of educational psychology.

Educational Psychologist Outlook

The BLS projects that clinical, counseling and school psychologist jobs will rise by 20% from 2014-2024 ( School psychologists in particular should be in greater demand due to increased awareness of the effects of classroom environments on mental health. For example, issues such as drug abuse and bullying are now understood to profoundly affect a student's aptitude for learning. Even though demand for educational psychologists is expected to rise, competition for positions should be heavy. Psychologists employed by elementary and secondary schools earned a mean annual salary of $74,130 in May, 2015 according to the BLS.

To become an educational psychologist, one must possess a doctorate in psychology with relevant work experience, or a special credential in school psychology. Licensing is mandatory in most states.

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