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Area of Study: School Psychology

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What is a school psychologist? Resources explain this field.

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School Psychology and its facets are explored, including an overview of the field, the application process, and typical course work. Resources are also included.

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Area of Study: School Psychology

School psychology programs teach people how to treat behavior and social growth problems in schools. School psychologists learn how to identify students who are at risk or discouraged. They learn to counsel, guide, and encourage students.


As part of their education, all teachers and school administrators study some psychology. But schools also need people who are trained in psychology at an advanced level. When you are a school psychologist, you use skills from a number of different branches of psychology.

A teacher may come to you thinking that a student has a learning disability; your job is to administer the right tests and interpret the results correctly. Another teacher may report that a student has a problem of uncontrolled outbursts; your job is to teach the student anger management techniques. A teacher may consult with you about the individualized education plan for a student with a disability. Another teacher may ask for tips on how to reduce chatter in the classroom.

To do this job, you must be certified or licensed by your state. Requirements vary, but the most common requirement is a specialist's degree (such as "educational specialist," Ed.S.). This is a graduate degree, so before you enter the degree program you need a bachelor's degree. That usually takes four years of full-time study beyond high school. Your undergraduate major should include courses in psychology and statistics.

More than 200 universities offer graduate programs in school psychology. (Some programs are offered in departments other than psychology.) Some programs ...

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