School psychologists work with diverse cross sections of students with special, common and exceptional needs. Job candidates must hold a valid school psychologist license through their state. School psychologists are members of at-risk, performance and special education teams. They provide support, evaluations and psycho-educational services to students.
School Psychology Careers
School psychologists are assigned to a specific school groups. They may work under the direction of the district coordinator of psychological services. School psychologists consult with school staff to develop informal interventions for referrals. They may observe students in the classroom and other relevant settings such as playgrounds and lunchrooms. They may consult with regular education teachers and related services staff to implement effective strategies.
School psychologists communicate with parents, doctors, social workers, private psychologists and government agency contacts regarding specific student’s progress. They may conduct evaluations of the student’s social, cognitive, academic and emotional development. They often participate in multidisciplinary team and Individual Educational Programming (IEP) activities for assigned students. School psychologists should use non-biased testing policies and procedures. They must know which risk factors may limit development and which intervention strategies work best for emotional and social development.
School Counseling Careers
Some school psychologists are referred to as school counselors who help students with more personal, academic and performance related problems. They may provide support and instructions to students dealing with socio-emotional issues like problem solving, emotional control, bullying prevention and study habits. They often collaborate with other school staff, teachers, counselors, psychologists and administrators to develop and implement counseling programs that focus on career, personal and academic success.
School counselors maintain ongoing professional communication with parents and external stakeholders. They use counseling tactics and intervention strategies relative to individual needs, events and situations. They may host group counseling meetings for specific groups. School counselors maintain detailed records and progress notes about risk factors, counseling sessions, treatment progress and student performance. School counselors must maintain knowledge of human development and milestones patterns typically achieved at different ages.
School Psychology Degrees
All school psychologists should earn a graduate degree that is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Their approved curriculum emphasizes the theoretical aspect of school psychology, which prepares graduates to become scientists and scholars, and also the professional aspect, which involves school-based interventions, consultations, behavior analysis and psychometric evaluations. School psychology degrees should also emphasize standard age groups, such as preschoolers and adolescents, as well as and population groups, such as the disabled and the emotionally disturbed.
School psychology degree programs should teach students about effective problem solving, multiple school stakeholders and complex academic variables. Students should learn how to strategize consultation processes and collaboration methods with professionals and management. These degrees should teach students how to create, monitor and evaluate interventions for academic performance and personal development. The curriculum should focus on counseling tactics and programs that improve life, social, behavioral and academic skills.
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The best degree programs for teachers will be accredited through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) offers the best and most comprehensive advice on how to become a licensed school psychologist. Keep in mind that all states require a graduate degree for official licensure.