If the field of psychology interests you, you may be wondering how to become a school psychologist. This is a specialized field of psychology that requires a certain type of individual, and it also requires a specific set of academic and professional qualifications. The following information should help you understand what it takes to become a school psychologist and determine whether this career might be right for you.
School psychologists works in elementary or secondary schools. If you become a school psychologist, you will work primarily with children; the only adults you will work with will be your fellow staff members. This is clearly not the right job for someone who feels uncomfortable around children.
The goal of any school psychologist is to ensure the best educational experience and open up as many opportunities as possible for each student. On a typical day, your duties may include any of the following:
• Administering school-related psychological tests
• Counseling individual students on various issues
• Helping teachers plan special education classes
• Meeting with parents and teachers to resolve in-class student problems
• Referring students to the proper services and authorities when necessary
• Working with special education students
The field of school psychology is very specialized. There are strict regulations for every college student who wants to enter into this profession. The first step is completing a Bachelor’s in Psychology degree with satisfactory grades and then, applying to an accredited graduate program with a specialization in school psychology. Many graduate programs require a passing score on the GRE exam for psychology and have various other steps that must be completed by applicants, so check these out before you apply.
Assuming you are accepted into a master’s, specialist or doctorate program in school psychology at an accredited institution of higher learning, your next step will be to complete the necessary coursework. The minimum requirement to become a licensed school psychologist is 60 graduate hours of coursework. You will also be required to complete a one-year supervised internship, either during the last year of your graduate program or shortly after receiving your master’s or doctorate. This will include 1200 hours, at least half of which must be in a school environment.
Once you’ve finished your graduate degree and completed the internship requirements, you should be ready to sit for the licensing exams in your state. Once you are professionally licensed, you can begin applying for jobs as a school psychologist.