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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.

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
Learning Specialist / Coordinator Miami University Oxford, Ohio US 05/13/2022
Job Title: Learning Specialist / Coord Salary/Grade: $40,000 - $43,000 Job Summary: The Learning Specialist/Coordinator is responsible for implementing academic support and services for students in the areas of effective learning strategies and to offer leadership and coordination of at least one of our support initiatives (e.g. teaching, Supplemental Instruction, virtual resources). ... More
2022-2023 School Psychologist The Villages Charter School The Villages, Florida US 05/12/2022
The Villages Charter School is currently hiring a school psychologist for the 2022-2023 school year. This position is full time (11 month, 220 days). Located in Central Florida between Ocala and Orlando, The Villages Charter School is one of the most successful public charter schools in the State of Florida. The Villages Charter School has been a High Performing Charter School based on the legislation passed during the 2011 Florida legislative session, earned a School of Excellence ... More
School Psychologist - 2022-23 School Year Contoocook Valley School District Peterborough, New Hampshire US 05/11/2022
POSITION TITLE: School PsychologistSUPERVISOR: Director of Special Education QUALIFICATIONS: NH DOE Certification as School Psychologist or Associate School Psychologist.Masters degree in ... More
Counselor University of North Texas Denton, Texas US 05/11/2022
Position DetailsPosition InformationUNT System Overview Welcome to the University of North Texas System , or UNT World as we like to call ourselves. UNT World includes the University of North Texas in Denton , the University of North Texas at Dallas and the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. We are the only university system based exclusively in the robust Dallas-Fort Worth region and we are committed to transforming lives and ... More
Child Development and Education (CHDV) Instructor - Part-time Adjunct Pool Kern Community College District Porterville, California US 05/10/2022
Child Development and Education (CHDV) Instructor - Part-time Adjunct PoolKern Community College DistrictSalary: $60.00 HourlyJob Type: Part TimeJob Number: FY21-22-00325Location: Porterville, CADepartment: Career & Technical EducationBasic Function Please Note: ... More
Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) Counselor, Part-time Adjunct Pool Kern Community College District Porterville, California US 05/10/2022
Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) Counselor, Part-time Adjunct PoolKern Community College DistrictSalary: $60.00 HourlyJob Type: Full TimeJob Number: FY21-22-00350Location: Porterville, CADepartment: CounselingBasic Function Please Note: Kern ... More
Child Development Center Instructor, Part-time Adjunct Pool Kern Community College District Bakersfield, California US 05/09/2022
Child Development Center Instructor, Part-time Adjunct PoolKern Community College DistrictSalary: $60.00 HourlyJob Type: Part TimeJob Number: FY21-22-00199Location: Bakersfield, CADepartment: Child Development CenterBasic Function Please Note: Kern Community ... More
Department Administrator (Administrative Generalist Coordinator) Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana US 05/07/2022
The Indiana University School of Education is known for preparing reflective, caring, and skilled educators who make a difference in the lives of their students in Indiana, throughout the United States, and around the world. Our graduates are regularly named the best teachers in the state for their innovative and creative approaches to educating students, and we prepare one third of the state's teachers. With 20 Indiana Teacher of the Year recipients, 197 Lilly Endowment fellowship winners, ... More
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