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SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY:. A Career That Makes a Difference. © 2003 National Association of School Psychologists. If you want to … . Help children reach their potential Promote children’s mental health Work collaboratively with others Develop interpersonal and communication skills

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School psychologySlide 1


A Career That

Makes a Difference

© 2003 National Association of School Psychologists

If you want toSlide 2

If you want to …

  • Help children reach their potential

  • Promote children’s mental health

  • Work collaboratively with others

  • Develop interpersonal and communication skills

  • Have a variety of career options

then …

School psychology could be the career for youSlide 3

School Psychology could be the career for you!

What is a school psychologistSlide 4

What is a School Psychologist?

School psychologists understand that all children learn when givenSlide 5

School Psychologistsunderstand that all children learn when given:

  • Adequate supports and resources

  • Recognition of their individual needs

  • Connection to and trust in adults

  • Opportunities to achieve

  • Acceptance and encouragement

  • Cooperation between school and home

School psychologists link mental health to learning and behavior to promoteSlide 6

School Psychologistslink mental health to learning and behavior to promote:

  • High academic achievement

  • Positive social skills and behavior

  • Healthy relationships and connectedness

  • Tolerance and respect for others

  • Competence, self-esteem, and resiliency

Why children need school psychologistsSlide 7

Why Children Need School Psychologists

  • Learning difficulties

  • Behavior concerns

  • Fears about war, violence, terrorism

  • Problems at home or with peers

  • Depression and other mental health issues

  • Attention problems

  • Poverty

  • Diverse populations with diverse needs

What do school psychologists doSlide 8

What Do School Psychologists Do?

  • Assessment

  • Consultation

  • Prevention

  • Intervention

  • Education

  • Research and program development

  • Mental health care

  • Advocacy

AssessmentSlide 9


School psychologists work with children, parents and staff to help determine a child’s:

  • Academic skills

  • Learning aptitudes and styles

  • Personality and emotional development

  • Social skills and behavior issues

  • Learning environments, school climate

  • Special education eligibility

ConsultationSlide 10


  • Help teachers, parents, and administrators understand child development and learning

  • Provide positive alternatives for helping children with learning and behavior problems

  • Strengthen working relationships among educators, parents, and community services

PreventionSlide 11


  • Implement programs to build positive connections between students and adults

  • Identify potential learning difficulties early

  • Design programs for children at risk

  • Help adults to address problem behavior(s)

  • Foster tolerance and appreciation of diversity

  • Create safe, supportive learning environments

InterventionSlide 12


  • Work face-to-face with children and families

  • Develop individualized solutions for learning and adjustment

  • Plan and implement crisis response

  • Provide

    • Counseling

    • Social skills training

    • Behavior management solutions

Education train teachers and parents inSlide 13

EducationTrain teachers and parents in:

  • Teaching and learning strategies

  • Parenting techniques

  • Classroom management techniques

  • Working with exceptional students

  • Strategies to address substance abuse and risky behaviors

  • Crisis prevention and response

Research and program developmentSlide 14

Research and Program Development

  • Recommend and implement evidence-based programs and strategies

  • Generate new knowledge of learning and behavior

  • Evaluate effectiveness of programs and interventions

  • Contribute to school-wide reform and restructuring

Mental health careSlide 15

Mental Health Care

  • Deliver school-linked mental health services

  • Coordinate with community resources and health care providers

  • Partner with parents and teachers to create healthy school environments

AdvocacySlide 16


NASP and state professional associations are dedicated to advocacy

School Psychologists Encourage/Sponsor

  • Appropriate education placements

  • Education reform

  • Legislative involvement

  • Community services and programs

  • Funding for adequate resources

Where do school psychologists workSlide 17

Where Do School Psychologists Work?

  • Public and private schools

  • Private practice

  • Colleges and universities

  • Community mental health centers

  • Institutional/residential facilities

  • Pediatric clinics and hospitals

  • Criminal justice system

  • Public agencies

Who are today s school psychologistsSlide 18

Who Are Today’s School Psychologists?

  • 70% are:

    • women

    • over 40 years of age

  • 45% work in suburban school districts

  • 30% work in urban school districts

  • 25% work in rural school districts

    (Curtis et al., 1999, 2002)

School psychologySlide 19

“When I review my career, what stands out most is helping parents of different cultures view the school as a helpful resource to successfully address the needs of their children.”

--Robin Satchell, School Psychologist, Anne Arundel County, MD

Ethnicity of school psychologistsSlide 20

Ethnicity of School Psychologists

Source: 2003 NASP membership survey (69% response rate)

Ethnicity of the u s populationSlide 21

Ethnicity of the U.S. Population

Source: 2000 U.S. Census

Ethnicity comparisonSlide 22

Ethnicity Comparison

U.S. Population

School Psychologists

Linguistic diversitySlide 23

Linguistic Diversity

  • 17.9% of the U.S. population over the age of five speaks a language other than English at home

  • Approximately 11% of the U.S. population is foreign born

    For example, more than 100 foreign languages are spoken by students in the Fairfax County Public Schools in VA.

Source: 2000 U.S. Census

Demographic variationSlide 24

Demographic Variation

  • 26-61% of the population in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, and D.C. is African American

  • 25-42% of the population in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas is Hispanic

  • Only 5% of school psychologists are African American or Hispanic (Curtis et al., 2002)

Source: 2000 U.S. Census

Career opportunitiesSlide 25

Career Opportunities

  • Wide gap between ethnicity of practicing school psychologists and students served

  • Serious need for more ethnic and linguistic diversity in the field

  • Pending retirements will lead to shortage of qualified practitioners

  • Current shortage of qualified university faculty in school psychology

States with most serious shortagesSlide 26





(Hosp & Reschly, 2002)





States With Most Serious Shortages

A great career choiceSlide 27

A Great Career Choice

  • Work with children who need you

  • Help parents and educators

  • Enjoy a flexible school schedule

  • Have a variety of responsibilities

  • Receive training in useful skills

  • Choose from a variety of work settings

  • Have confidence in the stability of your position

Rise to the challengeSlide 28

Rise to the Challenge!

  • Children in difficult situations need solutions to difficult problems

  • Parents need ideas for managing children’s behavior and mental health

  • Teachers need help working with students’ varied educational needs and behaviors

  • Society needs mentally healthy, well-educated children

School psychologySlide 29

“Each day is different. Each situation is challenging and unique.”--Charles Deupree, School Psychologist, Ionia, MI

So how do i become a school psychologistSlide 30

So how do I become a School Psychologist?

Undergraduate trainingSlide 31

Undergraduate Training

  • Must complete a Bachelor’s degree

  • Consider an education or psychology major

  • Take courses in

    • Child development

    • General and child psychology

    • Statistics, measurement, and research

    • Philosophy and theory of education

    • Instruction and curriculum

    • Special education

Graduate training degree optionsSlide 32

Graduate TrainingDegree Options

In most states, certification as a school psychologist requires training beyond the Master’s degree.

  • Specialist or Educational Specialist (EdS)

  • Certificate of Advanced Graduate Standing (CAGS)

  • Advanced Graduate Studies Certificate (AGS)

    - or -

  • Doctorate (PhD, PsyD or EdD)

Graduate training program lengthSlide 33

Graduate TrainingProgram Length

  • Specialist/CAGS/AGS: 3 years (60 hours) of full-time training

  • Doctorate: 5 years or more, plus dissertation

  • One-year, full-time internship embedded in training programs at both levels. At least half of the internship (600) hours must be completed in a school setting.

Graduate courseworkSlide 34

Graduate Coursework

  • Normal and abnormal development

  • School organizational systems

  • Learning theory

  • Counseling theory and practice

  • Statistics and research

  • Applied behavior analysis

  • Psychological assessment

  • Consultation skills

  • Diversity or multiculturalism

Choosing a graduate programSlide 35

Choosing a Graduate Program

  • Specialist vs. Doctoral degree

  • NASP and/or APA approval

  • Size and location

  • Department of Education or Psychology

  • Theoretical orientation

  • Specialties (e.g., early childhood, deaf/blind)

  • Research opportunities

  • Financial support (assistantships/fellowships)

Applying to a graduate programSlide 36

Applying to a Graduate Program

  • GRE: Graduate Record Exam

  • Some programs may require GRE—Psychology

  • Undergraduate transcripts

  • Letters of recommendation

  • Personal statement(s)

  • Research interests

Nasp ert minority scholarship programSlide 37

NASP-ERT Minority Scholarship Program

  • To foster diversity among professional school psychologists, NASP offers an annual $5,000 scholarship to minority students pursuing careers in school psychology

  • Only students newly entering graduate training in school psychology are considered for the scholarship

  • For more information or an application, see

School psychologySlide 38

“School psychology seemed the perfect career to positively impact children’s learning and psychological health, and to reach those who might otherwise be missed by the mental health system.”--Sonya Lanier, Graduate Student, University of Maryland, College Park

School psychologySlide 39

“School Psychology is like growing a garden, because you have to do a lot of ground work before you can see the rewards and see growth … with the children, staff, and community, but the results are definitely worth it!” --Sarah D’Elia, EdS, School Psychologist, Braintree, MA

School psychologySlide 40

“Working within the school setting creates the possibility [of] having a positive impact not only by working directly with students but also by consulting with teachers and administrators.”--Lorrie Wizda, School Psychologist, Baltimore City, MD

QuestionsSlide 41


How is the job market for school psychologistsSlide 42

How is the job market for School Psychologists?

  • Excellent both at present and long-term!

  • Not enough graduates to meet demand

  • Retirement will soon open many positions

  • School Psychology was named one of the top ten “hot professions” for 2002 by US News and World Report

What types of salaries do school psychologists receiveSlide 43

What types of salaries do School Psychologists receive?

  • National average annual salary: $50,000

  • Doctoral level school psychologists on average earn about $5,000 more annually than Specialist level school psychologists

  • Salaries for school psychologists vary according to state and regional differences

    Results from 1999 NASP membership survey(Thomas, 2000)

Faq how does a school psychologist differ from a school counselorSlide 44

FAQ: How does a School Psychologist differ from a school counselor?

Faq how does a school psychologist differ from a child psychologistSlide 45

FAQ: How does a school psychologist differ from a child psychologist?

School psychologists focus on how social emotional issues, family problems, neurological factors, and mental illness affect learning

Child clinical psychologists:

  • Usually work in a hospital, mental health center, private clinic, or university setting

  • Are not typically trained in education, instruction, or classroom management

  • Do not focus primarily on the multiple factors that affect learning

Faq can i get into a graduate program if my undergraduate degree is not in education or psychologySlide 46

FAQ: Can I get into a graduate program if my undergraduate degree is not in education or psychology?

  • It can be done!

  • Degree in ed/psych is not necessarily required, but you…

    • Should have basic background in psychology and education

    • May need to do some coursework before starting grad school (e.g., prerequisites)

  • Emphasize your skills—English majors are probably good writers, science majors may have a strong research background

Recommended resourcesSlide 47

Recommended Resources

Curtis, M. J., Hunley, S.A., Walker, K. J., & Baker, A. C. (1999). Demographic characteristics and professional practices in school psychology. School Psychology Review, 28, 104-116.

Curtis, M.J., Chesno Grier, J.E., Walker Abshier, D., Sutton, N.T., & Hunley, S. (2002). School psychology: Turning the corner into the twenty-first century. Communique, 30, 1.

Fagan, T. K., & Wise, P. S. (2000). School psychology: Past, present, and future. Bethesda: NASP.

Recommended resources cont dSlide 48

Recommended Resources (cont’d)

Hosp, J. L., & Reschly, D. J. (2002). Regional differences in school psychology practice. School Psychology Review, 31, 11-29.

Thomas, A. (2000). School Psychology 2000: Average salary data. Communique, 28, 28.

Thomas, A. & Grimes, J. (2002). Best practices in school psychology IV. Bethesda: NASP.

For more information contactSlide 49

For more information, contact:

National Association of School Psychologists

(301) 657-0270

Nasp staff contributorsSlide 50

NASP Staff Contributors

Summer 2003

© 2003 National Association of School Psychologists,

4340 East West Highway, Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814 – 301-657-0270

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