School psychologists are mental health professionals who help students succeed academically, emotionally, and socially. They work directly with students of all ages and collaborate with teachers and parents to create a positive learning environment.
The job outlook is very promising for school psychologists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 14% growth in employment rates due to a greater need for mental health services in schools.
School psychologist salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school counselors earned an average annual salary of $78,200 in 2019. This breaks down to about $1,504 per week and $37.06 per hour in a 40-hour workweek.
During this same year, NurseFly data reported an average gross weekly salary of $1,774 for travel school psychologists. Traveling school psychologists who claim a permanent tax home can also receive additional tax-free compensations, such as housing allowances and meal stipends, as part of their pay package. When you consider this additional compensation, travel school psychologists can expect to earn more than in a staff position.
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School Psychologist (Certified) FAQs
What do school psychologists do?
School psychologists identify, diagnose, and treat students of all ages with learning disabilities, mental health disorders, and cognitive, emotional, social, and behavioral problems. As mental health professionals who understand the link between mental health and learning, they develop plans to address specific issues and, if necessary, refer students to special services or other mental health resources. Other duties may include:
Engaging in school-wide mental health activities
Engaging in crisis prevention and intervention
Providing individual counseling and support groups
Assisting educators in implementing safe classrooms and schools
Consulting with teachers, administrators, parents, and community mental health providers
Serving students with disabilities through special education assessments and placement
Where do school psychologists work?
The majority of school psychologists (81%) work in public school settings, according to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). They also may work in private schools, colleges and universities, day care centers, community agencies, juvenile detention facilities, hospitals, clinics, research centers, and private practices.
What skills make a good school psychologist?
School psychologists must have an in-depth understanding of child and adolescent psychology. They also need advanced knowledge of common learning disabilities, broad and acute spectrum disorders, and behavioral disorders. Other desirable skills include:
Team building and de-escalation techniques
Complex decision making
Data analysis and evaluation
Sensitivity to privacy concerns
Understanding of legal and compliance rules in a school setting
How to become a travel school psychologist?
Aspiring travel school psychologists must earn a bachelor's degree and then complete a graduate degree in school psychology in a program accredited by NASP's Program Accreditation Board, the American Psychological Association or another approved accrediting organization. Most graduate programs require supervised fieldwork and an internship in addition to academic coursework. Some work environments and/or positions may require a doctorate.
School psychologists must obtain a license, with licensing requirements varying by state. Most states require completion of a specialist-level program in school psychology with 60 graduate semester credits and 1,200 internship hours, plus passing the Praxis II school psychology exam. Additionally, national certification is offered through the National Association of School Psychologists.