Salary and Career Information for School Psychologists

Sep 20, 2019

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

School psychologists are usually required to have a doctoral degree in school psychology and be licensed. They assist students with social, behavioral, developmental and academic issues.

Essential Information

School psychologists specialize in assisting children with issues in development, academics, behavior, and socialization. These psychologists work not only with children, but also with families and faculty members to help children find the right path to success.

A master's degree in school psychology is the minimum needed for this career, although it's common to have a doctorate. School psychologists also need to obtain state licensure. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) offers voluntary certification for these professionals.

Required Education Master's or doctoral degree in school psychology
Other Requirements State licensure; voluntary certification
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 14%* for all psychologists
Median Annual Salary (May 2018) $76,990* for all clinical, counseling, and school psychologists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

School Psychologist Career Information

School psychologists typically work in elementary, middle, and high schools; some also might work with early childhood programs. They work with children who have behavioral problems, as well communicate with teachers to identify learning-disordered or gifted children. School psychologists also collaborate with parents and teachers to help children overcome learning or behavioral problems.

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the median annual salary for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists working in elementary and secondary schools was $76,990 in May, 2018 ( The BLS projects a 14% increase in employment for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists for 2018-2028. Rising awareness and increased concern over drug and alcohol use, bullying, learning disabilities, and other problems in school-age children has created an increased demand for school psychologists.

Education Requirements

School psychologists are typically required to have a master's degree in school psychology; many jobs also require a Ph.D. According to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), prospective school psychologists often earn their undergraduate degree in a field such as education, psychology, child development, or sociology.

Licensure and Certification

All psychologists who work with patients or clients, including school psychologists, must meet state licensing requirements to practice; education and experience requirements vary by state, but all states require applicants to pass a standardized test, according to the BLS.

In addition, school psychologists can earn voluntary certification from NASP. The Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential requires completion of 60 hours of graduate-level training specific to school psychology and 1,200 hours of experience, in addition to passing the National School Psychology Examination.

Job growth for psychologists is projected to be 14% from 2018-2028, a rate that is much faster than average. Although a master's degree may be sufficient for some positions, applicants with a doctoral degree and state license should find many employment opportunities in their career field.

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