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What Is an Educational Psychologist?

Educational Psychologists are scientists who study the learning process, including the social, emotional, and cognitive activities that comprise learning and understanding new concepts. These psychologists are interested in uncovering how people learn. They want to use their research to improve teaching methods and the instructional process.

Their specialty doesn’t mean they only work with children and teenagers though. Educational Psychologists study learning processes for all populations. Some may work exclusively with young students, but others study specific groups, like adult learners, or people with a learning disability such as dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Educational Psychologists may study how people learn best at school or work — they also examine how people function in social situations. Any situation that involves learning is of interest to this specialty.

What Is an Educational Psychologist Responsible For?

Within their role, Educational Psychologists focus on creating and maintaining the optimal learning environment, no matter what the task is. This space differs for both the type of person they’re working with and the setting they’re studying — for instance, a child with ADHD struggling in school compared to an adult trying to comprehend a new skill at work. Everyone has unique educational needs and preferences.

In their workplace, Educational Psychologists are often recruited to design curriculum. They must see what’s working and what’s not within a school system, business, or another organization so they can create the type of program that’s most needed for students.

These psychologists may also advise schools and other learning institutions with low test scores. In this situation, an Educational Psychologist will assess how the program is administering tests and the other factors that go into giving them and make suggestions on improvements.

Educational Psychologists can advise teachers on the best teaching methods for their subjects of expertise and also evaluate an organization’s educational technology needs.

On the job, a, Educational Psychologist can expect to:

  • Analyze tests, teachers, and educational materials to see what’s working and what’s not.
  • Research learning disabilities and stay current on the newest information about what people with these conditions need in education.
  • Collaborate with their Educational Psychology peers to create studies and analyze the results of their work.
  • Diagnose students with learning disabilities or other behavioral problems using interviews and psychological tests.

Where Does an Educational Psychologist Work?

Educational Psychologists are most commonly employed by a school system. This isn’t the only sector where they can find work though. Learning agencies, community centers, research institutions, and local, state, or federal government agencies also hire Educational Psychologists to improve their teaching initiatives.

What Other Career Options Are Available to an Educational Psychologist?

There is a plethora of great jobs you can get with a degree in Educational Psychology — the caveat is you’ll need at least a master’s degree for most of them. If you’re willing to put in the extra educational effort, you’ll be able to land a secure role with a reasonable salary.

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An Educational Psychologist can expect to find a career in the following areas:

  • School Psychologist: Similar to an Educational Psychologist, a School Psychologist is often found in a school district. It’s their job to work with children who may have learning-related challenges and help them succeed. School Psychologists test and diagnose students with disabilities, counsel teachers and parents about these kids’ needs, and create Independent Education Plans. They may work with preschool-age children to high school students.
  • College Counselor: College students need plenty of help as they plan their future careers. This is where a College Counselor comes in. They meet with students to discuss their job aspirations, help them pick the right major, and make sure they’re meeting their degree requirements, so they graduate on time.
  • College Professor: Being a College Professor means conducting research in your field, sharing those findings, and teaching classes. Professors may work with undergraduate or graduate students. They’re expected to have at least a master’s degree in their subject, but many universities will require a doctorate as well. It depends on where they’re employed.
  • Sociologist: Sociology is the study of human behavior and the society we’ve created. Sociologists focus on the social institutions, cultures, and processes that developed through human interaction and how these impact our species. Their work often reveals social issues. Teaching professionals and the government can use a Sociologist’s research to develop laws and other regulations.

What Degree Is Required to Become an Educational Psychologist? What Do They Study?

Being an Educational Psychologist means preparing yourself for plenty of schooling and extra work after graduation, especially if you want to pursue Educational Psychology itself.

The first step is getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a closely related field, like sociology. Depending on your college, you may be able to major in a specific psychological branch, but these programs are still relatively rare. Be prepared for subjects like developmental psychology and statistics.

After graduating with your bachelor’s, it’s time to get a higher education degree. You’ll need at least a master’s degree, but if you want the ability to diagnose learning disorders, you’ll have to earn a doctorate.

When your education is completed, you’ll need to complete more licensing requirements (including 1,000 hours of internships) and take the professional practice in psychology test. If you need a second chance to pass, you can retake the exam up to four times per year.

Once you have your degrees, a license, and aced your test, you’ll be ready to find an Educational Psychology job.

What Skills are Required in Educational Psychology? 

Much like other public-facing psychological fields, Educational Psychologists must be adept at verbal and written communication. They also need to be a strong statistician and detail oriented. Public speaking is another important skill since Educational Psychologists are often required to present to large groups of people.

How Much Money Does an Educational Psychologist Earn?

Their place of employment and years of experience heavily influence an Educational Psychologist’s salary. They can expect to earn between $70,000-$100,000 once they are established in their specialty.

Latest Educational Psychology Jobs Listings

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Position Company Location Posted
Child Development and Education (CHDV) Instructor - Part-time Adjunct Pool Kern Community College District Porterville, California 02/01/2023
Child Development and Education (CHDV) Instructor - Part-time Adjunct PoolKern Community College DistrictSalary: $60.00 HourlyJob Type: Job Number: FY21-22-00325Location: Porterville, CADepartment: Career & Technical EducationBasic Function Please Note: Kern ... More
Child Development Center Instructor, Part-time Adjunct Pool Kern Community College District Bakersfield, California 02/01/2023
Child Development Center Instructor, Part-time Adjunct PoolKern Community College DistrictSalary: $60.00 HourlyJob Type: Job Number: FY21-22-00199Location: Bakersfield, CADepartment: Child Development CenterBasic Function Please Note: Kern Community ... More
Open Rank Tenure-Track Joint Faculty Position Between Counseling Psychology and the Kinsey Institute Indiana University Indiana 02/01/2023
Position SummaryThe Indiana University-Bloomington School of Education and the Kinsey Institute invite applications for a tenured/tenure-track faculty position with a joint appointment in the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology ( CEP ) and the Kinsey Institute. This is an open-rank search with a preference for applicants at the associate or full professor level whose research expertise is at the intersection of counseling/clinical/community ... More
Assistant/Associate Professor East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina 02/01/2023
Job Description: The Department of Elementary Education and Middle Grades Education at East Carolina University (ECU) is seeking applicants for one tenure-track, nine-month, full-time, elementary education faculty position. Candidates from historically underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. The position begins August 2023. Rank and salary are commensurate with qualifications.Responsibilities include teaching a variety of undergraduate and/or graduate Elementary ... More
Teaching Instructor, Teaching Assistant Professor, Teaching Associate Professor East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina 02/01/2023
Job Description: The Department of Elementary Education and Middle Grades Education in the College of Education at East Carolina University is seeking applications and nominations for a fixed term, nine-month, full-time faculty position available January 2023, or August 2023. Title and salary are commensurate with qualifications. Responsibilities include teaching K-6 elementary courses in curriculum, language arts methods, and/or classroom management on campus, off campus, ... More
Associate Dean of Faculty Excellence & Community Development Miami University Oxford, Ohio 01/31/2023
Job Title: Associate Dean of Faculty Excellence & Community Development Job Summary: Associate Dean of Faculty Excellence and Community Development, reporting to the Dean, to work in partnership with department chairs to support and direct initiatives in four main areas of responsibility: Faculty Recruitment, Retention, and Development; Staff Development and Support; Advancing the Teacher-Scholar Model; ... More
OASIS/Occupational & Academic Skills for Independence & Success (AEWD): Non-credit (Adult Education) Part Time Instructor - Pool Saddleback College Mission Viejo, California 01/31/2023
Title: OASIS/Occupational & Academic Skills for Independence & Success (AEWD): Non-credit (Adult Education) Part Time Instructor - Pool Job Category: Faculty CTA Job Opening Date: February 22, 2022 Job Closing Date: Locations: Saddleback College Pay Grade, for more information click on this link: http://www.socccd.edu/humanresources/hr_salary.html Pay Rate Type: Hourly ... More
Learning Center Instructor Part-Time - Pool Saddleback College Mission Viejo, California 01/31/2023
Title: Learning Center Instructor Part-Time - Pool Job Category: Faculty CTA Job Opening Date: April 08, 2022 Job Closing Date: Locations: Saddleback College Pay Grade, for more information click on this link: http://www.socccd.edu/humanresources/hr_salary.html Pay Rate Type: Hourly Work Days: Work Hours: Hours Per Week: 0 ... More
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