School Psychology Jobs & Career Guide 2024

What is a School Psychologist?

School Psychologists specialize in the psychology of children, adolescents, and young adults in a school setting.  They are skilled at identifying internal and external factors affecting a student’s ability to learn and thrive both in and out of the school setting. School Psychologists are trained in supporting students academically, mentally, and emotionally. This individualized approach helps students form a solid foundation for academic success, positive interpersonal relationships, and overall well-being.  

One key component in the field of School Psychology is helping students process problems  during critical times in development. These issues can include self-esteem, relationships, bullying, disabilities, LGBTQ concerns, and changes in environment.

What does a School Psychologist do?

School Psychologists work with students of all ages and grade levels. They help them individually to navigate academic, mental-health, and emotional issues. School Psychologists also work with individuals that have developmental delays and those who require special education. They often collaborate with parents, counselors, and faculty to implement therapeutic interventions.

To ensure all issues are properly addressed, a School Psychologist looks at problems individually and in conjunction with other factors. This individualized approach helps students form a solid foundation for academic success, positive interpersonal relationships, and overall well-being. A School Psychologist focuses on creating and maintaining a safe place for learning, where children and adolescents can thrive.

Many School Psychologists are passionate about mental-health awareness and advocacy in their schools and communities. They push back against the stigma often associated with mental health concerns and diagnoses, and encourage others to do the same. A School Psychologist may plan educational seminars or lectures. Some plan and carry out school and community activities to spread awareness.

While most School Psychologists work and interact with the entire student population, some opt to work with a specific population. They may specialize in working with students who have special needs or troubled individuals.

What is a School Psychologist Responsible for?

School Psychologists advocate for the overall well-being of students.  They create school policies and design and implement school and community programs to form a supportive network for students. A School Psychologist is tasked with evaluating students for academic, developmental, mental health, and emotional issues. If a learning disability or mental-health issue is identified, they may refer to additional resources for support. 

Where does a School Psychologist work?

Many School Psychologists work with school-aged children in grades K-12. Others work in a high-school setting or in higher education. Many are employed by public schools, private schools, or other educational facilities. Some work in childcare centers, juvenile facilities, mental health centers, and universities. Depending on a school’s available budget, size, and need, the building or district may have multiple School Psychologists on staff.

How to become a School Psychologist

Here are the steps to becoming a school psychologist:

1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

To become a school psychologist, you should pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology. You can also major in education or another related field based on state requirements. Before enrolling in this program, ensure the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) accredits it.

2. Earn a Master’s Degree

A master’s degree in psychology with a focus on school psychology is a specialized program designed to prepare students for careers as school psychologists.

This degree typically delves into subjects such as child and adolescent development, educational assessment, and interventions to support students’ emotional, social, and academic success. Students learn how to administer and interpret psychological tests and assessments, and how to implement evidence-based interventions in educational settings. The curriculum often includes courses on special education, crisis intervention, behavior management, and learning disabilities, equipping graduates with the skills necessary to address a wide range of challenges that students may face.

A master’s degree in this field often includes substantial hands-on experience through internships or practicum placements within schools. This real-world training is invaluable, allowing prospective school psychologists to gain experience under the supervision of experienced professionals in the field. Such experience not only enhances learning but also prepares graduates for state certification requirements, which may include a specific number of supervised hours in addition to passing a national exam.

Typically, a master’s degree will allow you to earn your state license and work as a school psychologist. It also increases your chances of working in academia, certain work environments, or private practice.

You can pursue a doctoral degree to be more marketable. A doctoral program takes 5-6 years with at least 90 semester hours and a year-long internship.

Requirements for licensure vary by state. Some states require candidates to have a certificate to prove they are Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSPs). This certification comes from the NASP and requires a master’s degree. Most states recognize the NCSP certification because it’s on the national level.

Other states may require the school psychology specialty (SPS) certification from the American Board of School Psychology. To acquire the SPS, candidates require a doctoral degree.

In both certifications, applicants must complete a supervised internship and an examination. Most states require school psychologists to meet the 1,200-hour supervised experience and 60 semester hours.

If your state requires the SPS certification, you must complete the 90 semester hours and at least 1,200 hours of supervised internship.

Additionally, candidates must pass the Praxis II School Psychologist (5402) Exam. Usually, the passing score is 155, but it changes after several years. You’ll need to check if your state requires this exam and the passing score required.

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers this exam before students can graduate. You must send your school transcripts and internship completion certificates for approval to sit for the school psychology exam.

Passing the Praxis II exams ascertains that candidates have acquired the minimum acceptable competency to work as professional school psychologists.

After receiving your state license, you can start working as a professional school psychologist. Most people find jobs as school psychologists in public schools. If you’re looking for more alternatives, you can try private schools, research settings, universities, student wellness centers, and preschools.

Remember, you’ll need to renew your state license periodically and take continuing education courses. Learn more about psychologist licensing by state.

4. Continuing Education

Securing a license and a job as a school psychologist is not the end of your education. Like other careers, school psychology requires professionals to maintain their certifications. They must take continuing education programs to keep them up-to-date with the latest techniques.

The courses expose them to new theories and techniques for handling students at different levels. Courses for renewing school psychologists’ credentials vary from state to state.

Some states require professionals to undertake continuing education courses every 2-5 years. This involves 20 to 30-hour training in child psychology each year. School psychologists can attend psychology classes, webinars, or conferences to meet these hours.

You’ll also need to take some tests to earn Continuing Professional Development credits (CPD credits). Professionals must attain 75 CPD credits within the required years to renew their credentials. You gain CPD credits through university coursework, in-service training, self-study, workshops, and conferences.

Some states don’t have specific continuing education requirements. However, practicing school psychologists within those states must renew their credentials. Learn more with our list of CE providers.

How is the Job Market for School Psychologists?

The need for School Psychologists is growing. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, just over 10 percent of all public-school students work with a School Psychologist annually; that’s approximately 6.5 million students per year. That need is expected to continue to grow over the next decade, as many School Psychologists reach retirement age and positions become open.

How much do School Psychologists earn?

The average salary for a school psychologist in the United States will fall between $60,000 and $90,000, with an entry-level position starting at around $60,000 annually.

Some School Psychologists decide to work in private practice to supplement their income. This is a particularly popular avenue for Psychologists who practice in school districts with extended summer breaks.

See our school psychologist salary guide for more information.

What Skills and Traits are Necessary to Work as a School Psychologist?

Successful School Psychologists are caring, conscientious, and empathetic. Other important traits and skills include:

– The ability to work independently and with a team

– A desire to work with school-aged children and/or adolescents

– A passion for advocacy and bringing awareness to the community

– The drive to be a lifelong learner

– An interest in mental-health research, especially as it pertains to children and adolescents

– Involvement in school and community events and activities

– The ability to create and implement policies and programs within the school district and community

– The understanding that ongoing education is necessary to stay up-to-date on advancements in the field of School Psychology

– The ability to be assertive and educate community members and colleagues about topics and issues that require sensitivity or are controversia

Latest School Psychologist Job Listings

PositionCompanyLocationPosted
School PsychologistDekalb County School District Stone Mountain, Georgia US06/04/2024
Under general supervision, facilitates the psycho-educational and socio-emotional development of DeKalb County School District’s (DCSD) students; provides comprehensive psychological services through consultation, promotion of primary prevention of academic, social, and emotional problems, intervention in crisis situations, assessment of problems and enhancement of staff development. More
School Psychologist InternBridges Preparatory School Beaufort, South Carolina US06/03/2024
Under general supervision of a qualified school psychologist supervisor, the school psychologist intern assists in ensuring that Bridges Preparatory vision and mission are achieved through the provision of a wide range of services to promote academic, social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health functioning for students with and without disabilities. The school psychologist intern, working in close collaboration with the school psychologist supervisor, will coordinate and consult … More
School Nurse, Paraprofessionals, School PsychologistUndisclosed Steamboat Springs, Colorado US06/02/2024
Steamboat Springs School District is Hiring Qualified Candidates for the 2024/2025 School Year: District and Teaching and Learning Office Manager Speech Language Pathologist School Psychologist Middle School Math Teacher Nutritional Services Sous Chef Building Daily Substitute Special Education Paraprofessionals Middle School Nurse Excellent pay, benefits, & Monday/Friday school schedule! We are … More
School PsychologistGunnison Watershed School District Gunnison, Colorado US05/31/2024
More
School Psychology InternshipTN Dept of Education School Districts Tennessee US05/31/2024
School Based Mental Health Internships – Stipends of $60,000 Apply Here Tennessee is seeking a cohort of school psychology interns for the upcoming school year (Fall 2024 – Spring 2025). Through the Project … More
School PsychologistLemont-Bromberek CSD 113A Illinois US05/31/2024
Job Summary: Provide services to 4th and 5th grade students within a collaborative environment. See attached job description for details: Psychologist More
Assistant Director for the Psychological Services Clinic (33735)Northern Illinois University Illinois US05/31/2024
Position InformationPosting Detail InformationWorking Position Title Assistant Director for the Psychological Services Clinic (33735)Classification Assistant DirectorPosition Number 00033735Open Date 01/05/2024Close DatePriority Review Date 01/28/2024Employee Class StaffFull-Time/Part Time Full-TimeFTE 1.00Position … More
School PsychologistKIPP Chicago Chicago, Illinois US05/30/2024
KIPP Chicago is looking for a dynamic and dedicated School Psychologist to become part of a vibrant educational community. The School Psychologist is specially trained to identify students current academic needs and is a vital member of the evaluation and IEP team. The position of School Psychologist is a regional position: It serves a case-load of students across KIPP Chicagos eight campuses on the west and south sides and requires regular travel between campuses. The School Psychologist … More
Position
Under general supervision, facilitates the psycho-educational and socio-emotional development of DeKalb County School District’s (DCSD) students; provides comprehensive psychological services through consultation, promotion of primary prevention of academic, social, and emotional problems, intervention in crisis situations, assessment of problems and enhancement of staff development. More
Company
Dekalb County School District
Location
Stone Mountain, Georgia US
Posted
06/04/2024
Position
Under general supervision of a qualified school psychologist supervisor, the school psychologist intern assists in ensuring that Bridges Preparatory vision and mission are achieved through the provision of a wide range of services to promote academic, social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health functioning for students with and without disabilities. The school psychologist intern, working in close collaboration with the school psychologist supervisor, will coordinate and consult … More
Company
Bridges Preparatory School
Location
Beaufort, South Carolina US
Posted
06/03/2024
Position
Steamboat Springs School District is Hiring Qualified Candidates for the 2024/2025 School Year: District and Teaching and Learning Office Manager Speech Language Pathologist School Psychologist Middle School Math Teacher Nutritional Services Sous Chef Building Daily Substitute Special Education Paraprofessionals Middle School Nurse Excellent pay, benefits, & Monday/Friday school schedule! We are … More
Company
Undisclosed
Location
Steamboat Springs, Colorado US
Posted
06/02/2024
Company
Gunnison Watershed School District
Location
Gunnison, Colorado US
Posted
05/31/2024
Position
School Based Mental Health Internships – Stipends of $60,000 Apply Here Tennessee is seeking a cohort of school psychology interns for the upcoming school year (Fall 2024 – Spring 2025). Through the Project … More
Company
TN Dept of Education School Districts
Location
Tennessee US
Posted
05/31/2024
Position
Job Summary: Provide services to 4th and 5th grade students within a collaborative environment. See attached job description for details: Psychologist More
Company
Lemont-Bromberek CSD 113A
Location
Illinois US
Posted
05/31/2024
Position
Position InformationPosting Detail InformationWorking Position Title Assistant Director for the Psychological Services Clinic (33735)Classification Assistant DirectorPosition Number 00033735Open Date 01/05/2024Close DatePriority Review Date 01/28/2024Employee Class StaffFull-Time/Part Time Full-TimeFTE 1.00Position … More
Company
Northern Illinois University
Location
Illinois US
Posted
05/31/2024
Position
KIPP Chicago is looking for a dynamic and dedicated School Psychologist to become part of a vibrant educational community. The School Psychologist is specially trained to identify students current academic needs and is a vital member of the evaluation and IEP team. The position of School Psychologist is a regional position: It serves a case-load of students across KIPP Chicagos eight campuses on the west and south sides and requires regular travel between campuses. The School Psychologist … More
Company
KIPP Chicago
Location
Chicago, Illinois US
Posted
05/30/2024