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What Type of Degree is Needed to Be an Educational Psychologist?

Educational psychology is an important field that deals with students and education, and many wonder what type of degree is needed to be an educational psychologist. This position requires extensive education and training including a graduate degree. At the very least, an educational psychologist must have at least a master’s degree. Here is an overview of what educational psychologists do and what type of educational psychology degree is required.

What is an Educational Psychologist?

An educational psychologist is a psychologist who focuses on students, schools, education and on finding the best ways to ensure schools provide an exceptional education to its students. They may work in the capacity of consultants or educators. An educational psychologist will study a school and the students’ performances and determine ways the school may improve to get the best results.

They work with students of all ages including adult learners. Educational psychologists focus their studies and data on different areas, such as classroom environment, testing and teaching methods and ways that behavior and social issues can affect learning.

Educational Psychologist vs School Psychologist

Because educational psychology deals with students and schools, many people think that educational psychologists and school psychologists are the same, however, they are two very different types of psychologists. A school psychologist will work with a specific student and help that student deal with issues affecting his or her school and home life. An educational psychologist deals with the school as a whole and how it affects all the students and their learning capacities.

How to Become an Educational Psychologist

Aspiring educational psychologists must earn a graduate educational psychology degree. Educational psychologists must have at least a master’s degree and the type of educational psychology degree the individual chooses depends on what he or she wants to do for a career. Students who pursue the master’s degree often complete a blended curriculum developmental psychology courses and applied educational psychology courses.

Candidates who are interested in teaching may earn a master’s degree in educational psychology while the doctoral degree is generally chosen by those who are interested in teaching at the college level or a career in research. Students pursuing a doctoral degree will need to complete a dissertation based on research.

Coursework may include courses in program evaluation, educational research, data analysis, psychological methodologies and advanced research design. Many colleges and university offer educational psychology degree programs through distance learning.

Related Resource: Top 5 Online Doctorate in Educational Psychology

Career Outlook for Educational Psychologist

According to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists overall are in demand, and school psychologists can expect a 14 percent increase in job growth during the 2016-2026 decade. All other psychologists are expected to see a growth of 11 percent.

Clinical, counseling and school psychologists earn annual wages ranging from $44,040 to $129,310 or more with the average wage at $85,340 as of May 2017 BLS report. Certain factors, such as education, experience, employer and geographical location can all affect earning potential. An educational psychologist with a doctoral degree typically sees better career opportunities and has a higher wage potential.

Working as an educational psychologist can be very rewarding because these individuals are in a position to implement positive change into school systems and their curriculum. Earning an educational psychology degree can be the first step towards a career in a growing and in-demand field.

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