The Importance of Lifelong Learning & Professional Growth in Psychology

Instructor: Laura Gray

Laura has taught at the secondary and tertiary levels for 20+ years and has a Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning.

This lesson will discuss the importance of lifelong learning and professional growth for the school psychologist as well as reasons why lifelong learning is important and suggestions for fostering professional growth.

It's Already Time to Study Again

You may be overwhelmed by the idea that, in addition to completing all of your coursework to be a school psychologist, you are now being asked to commit to lifelong learning and professional growth on a regular basis. There isn't any need for alarm, though. Your path to becoming a lifelong learner in your field will be painless, and as long as you maintain a relatively steady diet of professional growth activities, you will not get bogged down and have to 'cram' in order to accomplish these goals.

Why Do It? The Importance of Learning

There are several reasons why you need to continue to grow as a professional. First, your school district, or the one you will work for soon, is going to require that you have a prescribed number of hours devoted to professional growth in order to keep working there. In addition, your home state will also have similar requirements to maintain your license. Normally, the number of contact hours, or time that you must spend on professional growth and inservice, averages out to somewhere around 20 per year. So, realistically, going to your organization's yearly state conference (such as the state APA conference) should ensure that you get those hours.

Another reason you need to do this is because psychology is an ever-changing field. There are new theories and professional standards, or standards that you, as a school psychologist, should follow all the time. You will need to keep up-to-date on these. Technology, too, is changing all the time. Gone are the days when clients' charts are kept in a file cabinet. Now most records are kept by computer, and understanding the software involved in keeping these records, as well as knowing what you should record, can be a lifelong learning process in itself!

Finally, keeping abreast of new techniques in testing or counseling is really important. And it's not only important that you read journal articles, but it is also important that you surround yourself with other school psychologists who have read those same articles and who are trying out the latest techniques. This type of professional networking and discussion can be invaluable for continued success in your practice.

How Do I Accomplish This?

There are a few ways to make sure you keep up-to-date in psychology.

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