The best part about being a school psychologist will most likely be the satisfaction that comes from helping students overcome personal, academic and home problems. This is important because personal satisfaction is often very low in the majority of professions that deal with the public.
Helping students overcome their individual challenges is very rewarding. School psychologists are able to help students improve the quality of their lives, academic performance and future career success. On any given day, a school psychologist may help students who are adapting to a new disability, struggling with mental health problems and experiencing high stress, emotional turmoil and clinical depression. School psychologists work with clients from all cultures and backgrounds. The average school psychologist who works full-time may earn between $50,000 and $70,000 a year, but most earn about $60,000.
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School psychologists who run their own private practice and consulting service may earn between $150,000 and $200,000 a year. On the other hand, school psychologists tend to enjoy flexible work schedules because they do not work during the summer break. Most school psychologists are contracted to work around 210 days a year. School psychologists who establish their own practice will enjoy a very flexible schedule because they arrange their own meetings and may come and go as they please. Overall, most school psychologists will be able to spend more time with their family and friends.
Some school psychologists may not enjoy a flexible schedule because they may be required to handle two to four schools in a district, which means that they have more travel time and less office and personal time. School psychologists are often called upon to deal with serious student issues that unexpectedly arise at inconvenient and non-work times. It’s not uncommon for school psychologists to end up meeting in the evening with student-clients who are experiencing serious personal problems. Sometimes, they may be called out of bed to help respond to a student who is experiencing a mental health crisis.
Dealing with students who are upset, angry and rude can be quite stressful and emotionally draining. Helping students who are experiencing serious problems, such as child abuse or domestic violence, can cause anxiety and emotional struggles for the school psychologist. Schools psychologists must learn how to leave work at their office when they return home and how to effectively deal with their own struggles without it affecting their employment performance. Successful school psychologists must master how to quickly and completely separate their work life and personal life through effective cognitive management techniques.
According to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), most states require candidates to first complete at least 60 graduate credit hours related to school psychology. Many states also require candidates to complete an internship with at least 1,200 hours. Almost all school psychologists work in public school settings, but some may also find employment in private schools, community organizations, educational agencies and non-profit foundations. A graduate degree in school psychology will allow the holder to work in most states as a practitioner, but also an administrator if they have the right administrative credentials. Those who hold a doctoral degree may become a practitioner, administrator and researcher.
The BLS states that the employment outlook is very good for school psychology nationwide. Because most current school psychologists will retire within the next 10 years, there are many future openings for students.