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What Is an Academic Psychologist?

An academic psychologist, or school counselor, works with elementary, middle, and high school students, assisting the children with psychological needs that relates directly to their learning styles, academic challenges, family environments, potential learning disabilities, and social interactions. School counselors prepare for this profession through the proper psychology education and training.

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Entering the field of academic psychology can be rewarding career option, especially since academic psychologists are able to help school-age kids through life’s difficult issues. Making an impact is vital in this profession, and academic psychologists need to fully understand what all it takes to become successful in this field.

What Do Academic Psychologists Do?

Academic psychologists focus on the coordination of the goals and actions of students, teachers, parents, and involved parties through informal and formal treatment plans. Designing and implementing school-wide educational programs, school psychologists counsel students who struggle with developmental changes, family challenges, sexual abuse, or bullying. In many schools, academic psychologists are responsible for the development and coordination of individualized educational plans (IEPs), helping pupils with behavioral issues or learning disabilities.

Arranging meetings for the students, parents, teachers, and staff is vital to successfully implementing the IEP. School counselors may also be responsible for school-wide programs on important social issues. Depending on the current administrative concerns, the counselor may implement awareness and education programs on issues concerning sexual abuse, bullying, sexism, and racism. The methods and details for effectively communicating the plan depend on the school’s grade level and specific demographics.

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, counselors assist teachers who suspect a student has a learning disability, parents who want answers for their child’s poor performance, and principals who identify chronic behavioral issues. When academic psychologists meet with the students, they determine the actions needed to correctly identify the problem, such as seeking an outside referral from a physician or specialist to identify possible organic causes. Academic psychologists conduct certain evaluations, such as academic examinations and diagnostic screenings.

What Is the Required Education for Academic Psychologists?

Most states require aspiring academic psychologists to complete a minimum of 60 graduate semester credits in school psychology, which includes an internship with 1,200 work hours. Academic psychologists can also earn their doctorate’s degree, which entails five to seven years of schooling, 1,500-hour internship, and a dissertation.

What Is the Salary for Academic Psychologists?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), academic psychologists earn a median salary of $68,640 annually, which averages out to $33 per hour. The salary may vary according to the company, training, and location. Academic psychologists can work independently, in a health care team, or in a private practice. The BLS states that the employment opportunity for psychologists is believed to increase by 22 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is faster than the national occupation average.

Choosing a new career path can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to making an impact on others’ lives. Academic psychology is a rewarding industry that many will enjoy, allowing them to make a difference in children’s lives before they reach adulthood.

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