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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 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

  • Have a variety of career options

then …


School Psychology could be the career for you!


What is a School Psychologist?


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 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 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 Do?

  • Assessment

  • Consultation

  • Prevention

  • Intervention

  • Education

  • Research and program development

  • Mental health care

  • Advocacy


Assessment

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


Consultation

  • 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


Prevention

  • 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


Intervention

  • 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


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 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 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


Advocacy

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 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 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)


“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 Psychologists

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


Ethnicity of the U.S. Population

Source: 2000 U.S. Census


Ethnicity Comparison

U.S. Population

School Psychologists


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 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 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


Alabama

Kentucky

Mississippi

Tennessee

(Hosp & Reschly, 2002)

Arkansas

Louisiana

Oklahoma

Texas

States With Most Serious Shortages


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 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


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


So how do I become a School Psychologist?


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 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 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 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 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 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 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 www.nasponline.org/about_nasp/minority.html


“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 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


“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


QUESTIONS?


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

    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/work/articles/020218/18tracks.htm#school


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 counselor?


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 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 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’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, contact:

National Association of School Psychologists

(301) 657-0270

www.nasponline.org


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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