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The Top 10 Reasons To Become A School Psychologist
It doesn’t seem like long ago that I graduated from my school psychology program but it’s been 16 years. Time flies and there are many changes in the field of School Psychology. However, it seems that the reason why I became a School Psychologist still remains a mystery. Here they are:
1) The pay isn’t too bad. Although we are required to complete 3 years of high school with a one-year internship that is usually unpaid, School Psychologists are well compensated. The average salary seems to be around $60-80K after about 5 – 10 years of experience.
2) Vacation time isn’t bad either. School psychologists usually have 210-day contracts or thereabouts and do not work during the summer unless they want to make extra money. This leaves time to spend with family or go on long summer vacations.
3) School psychologists are well respected in the school community. Despite the fact that most people think that we are guidance counselors and very few school officials know exactly what we do, School Psychologists seem to be highly regarded and is often sought when looking for solutions to many different problems.
4) School Psychologists have a lot of autonomy in the workplace. You will usually be assigned to more than one school. This can be stressful with the workload but it can also be a blessing in disguise as you will be able to switch schools depending on the needs of each school. You usually don’t stay in an office where your boss can see you. If so, you may need to reconsider where you work.
5) Number 4 brings up another good idea. The job outlook for School Psychologists is good. I don’t have the statistics but it seems like there are a lot of jobs available to those who are willing to travel around the country. When the economy took a turn for the worse recently, I realized that even in tough economic times, there still seems to be opportunities for school psychologists. I found Schoolspring.com a great place to go to get a feel for how many schools are looking for new School Psychologists.
6) You feel that you are helping those who need help. Sure, the weeks and months go by as you search for documents and complete assessments. However, you often come across a situation where you can provide real help to someone who needs it. It always feels good. I highly recommend looking for places in the most economically depressed and troubled areas. This is where we are most needed and where we are most appreciated by parents, children and administrators. I work on the Mexican border and wouldn’t change it for anything. Despite the news, the people and the community here really appreciate and value their children’s education. I rarely get aggressive soccer moms yelling at me because their kids aren’t in gifted programs.
7) Opportunities to expand into other fields. With a Masters in Psychology you can teach at a community college, work weekends for a local counseling agency, conduct external evaluations for school districts in – location, and / or department of educational consulting. There aren’t many fields that are qualified to do many different things.
8) If you do not want to supplement your income in the various ways in #7, we offer a wide range of fields that you can choose from. your daily professional life at your fingertips. School psychology. There are graduate degree programs in School Neuropsychology as well as specializations in behavioral and/or life coaching, which can be applied to your students in the school setting.
9) We are called “Psychologists” but we are not licensed. This is up for review by the APA but thankfully we can still call ourselves “Psychologists”. It’s funny how many Clinical “Psychologists” tried to become school “Psychologists” because of the poor work for the clinical psychology degree but that’s another story and problem.
10) Helping is something you do. If you like to help children who really need a little support so that they can lead a successful life, the field of School Psychology may be right in front of you. I wish I could have read the ups and downs of being a school psychologist in the early 90’s before I got into this job. However, this article is available for those who want to consider this career. There is no perfect job and jobs vary greatly depending on location, boss, school board and so on. In my experience, Psychology School positions seem to be more similar than different and it’s all about the work you do. You have the freedom to start a program or specialize in an area of your choice. There are not many jobs you can do there.
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