What is a School Psychologist?
School Psychologists have specialized training in both psychology and education. They use their training and skills to team with educators, parents, and other mental health professionals to ensure that every child learns in a safe, healthy and supportive environment.
School psychologists understand school systems, effective teaching and successful learning. Today’s children face more challenges then ever before. School psychologists can provide solutions for tomorrow’s problems through thoughtful and positive actions today.
What training does a School Psychologist have?
The training requirements to become a school psychologist are a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours including a year-long internship. This training emphasizes preparation in mental health, child development, school organization, learning, behavior and motivation.
To work as a school psychologist, one must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which services are being provided. School psychologists may also be nationally certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board.
What do School Psychologists do?
- Gives healthy and effective alternatives to teachers, parents, and administrators about problems in learning and behavior.
- Helps others understand child development and how it affects learning and behavior.
- Strengthens working relationships between educators, parents and community services.
- Works in close cooperation with mental health clinics, physicians, courts and other agencies capable of assisting schools with the problems of individual children.
Uses a wide variety of techniques at an individual, group, and systems level to evaluate:
- Academic skills
- Learning aptitudes
- Personality and emotional development
- Social skills
- Adaptive skills
- Functional behavioral skills
- Learning environments and school climate
- Eligibility for Special Education
- Works directly with children and families.
- Helps solve conflicts and problems in learning and adjustment.
- Provides psychological counseling for children and families.
- Provides social skills training, behavior management, and other strategies.
- Helps families and schools deal with crises, such as separation and loss.
- Provide suicide assessments, violence assessments, and depression screenings.
- Identifies potential learning difficulties.
- Designs programs for children at risk for failure.
- Provides parents and teachers with the skills to cope with disruptive behavior.
- Helps foster tolerance, understanding and appreciation of diversity in the school community while helping to reduce incidents of bullying, harassment, and intimidation.
- Helps develop school wide initiatives to make schools safer and more effective, as many school psychologists are Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support program coaches for their school buildings.
- Offers in-service training to teachers and community members on topics of interest based on school and/or community need, such as Attention Deficit Disorders, crisis intervention procedures, and behavior management/parenting support.
- Holds membership on a number of school based support teams such as Student Support Teams and Special Education Individual Education Program teams.