SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY: A Career That Makes a Difference

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1 SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY: A Career That Makes a Difference 2003 National Association of School Psychologists

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

3 School Psychology could be the career for you!

4 What is a School Psychologist?

5 School Psychologists understand 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

6 School Psychologists link 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

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

8 What Do School Psychologists Do? Assessment Consultation Prevention Intervention Education Research and program development Advocacy Mental health care

9 Assessment School psychologists work with children, parents and staff to help determine a child s: Academic skills Cognitive strengths and weaknesses Personality and emotional development Social skills and behavior issues Learning environments, school climate Special education eligibility

10 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

11 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

12 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

13 Education Train 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

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

15 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

16 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

17 How does a school psychologist differ from a guidance counselor? The roles of school psychologists and counselors complement each other, but there are some important differences. School psychologists are more likely to work on a system-level in schools (e.g., working with the district administration to set up a new way to track student progress) than are school counselors. Training: State and national certifications exist in both fields. MS. vs. SSP. degrees. Additional requirements (e.g. internship) vary. Less focus on assessment, psychometrics, or research.

18 How does a school psychologist differ from a school counselor? Areas of focus: Problem-solving with individual students. Group counseling (divorce groups, deaths in the family, et cetera). Individual counseling. Consultation with parents, teachers and other educators Connecting students to community services. No formal assessment role.

19 FAQ: How does a school psychologist differ from a school counselor? Service ratios: ASCA recommends 1:250 for counselors. NASP recommends 1:1000 For more info on school counselors:

20 How does a school psychologist differ from a child psychologist? Again, differences exist in training, areas of focus, as well as theoretical background and place of employment Training: Child psychologists usually go through graduate training in clinical psychology; school psychologists receive training in educational psychology. Both have at least a Master s degree, plus additional hours for certification/licensure. Doctorates are available in both fields.

21 How does a school psychologist differ from a child psychologist? Areas of focus: Child psychologists are usually less focused on academics and more focused on issues of mental health and mental disorders. Theoretical background: Child psychologists diagnose using the DSM, school psychologists classify students using federal and state educational law. Place of employment: Most (but certainly not all) school psychologists work in schools or are somehow connected to school systems. Most child psychologists work in clinical settings, i.e. hospitals or private practice.

22 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

23 Who Are Today s School Psychologists? 75-80% are women 45% work in suburban school districts 30% work in urban school districts 25% work in rural school districts (Curtis et al., 1999, 2002)

24 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

25 Ethnicity Comparison Caucasian Hispanic/ Latino African American Asian American American Indian U.S. Population School Psychologists

26 Career Opportunities Pending retirements: 70% of school psychologists are over the age of 40. The median respondent from the following states report[ed] that they plan to retire within the next ten years: Alaska, Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio and Oklahoma. -NASP Communiqué, Vol. 28, No. 8 (2000)

27 There s a shortage Approximately 40,000 school psychologists nationwide. Only five states meet or exceed the NASP recommended service ratio of 1:1000. The national median is 1:1500. Seven states report ratios of over 1:2500. This means that there are a lot of places where there are not enough school psychologists to serve the children who need them. NASP Communiqué, Vol. 28, No. 8 (2000) Salary: national average is $55,000/year. A lot depends on your state/area or place of employment. Benefits

28 Career Opportunity Shortage of faculty in school psychology graduate education programs

29 A Great Career Choice You can 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

30 So, how do I become a School Psychologist?

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 Undergraduate degree in ed or psych not required.

32 Graduate Training Degree 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 (Ph.D, Psy.D or Ed.D/D.Ed)

33 Graduate Training Program Length Specialist/CAGS/AGS: 3 years (60-70 hours) of full-time education 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.

34 Graduate Coursework Normal and abnormal development School organizational systems Learning theory Counseling theory and practice Statistics and research Behavioral interventions Psychological assessment Consultation skills Diversity and multiculturalism

35 Choosing a Graduate Program Consider: 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)

36 Applying to a Graduate Program You will need: The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) Some programs may require the GRE Psychology as well. Undergraduate transcripts Letters of recommendation Personal statement(s) It would be a good idea to have a general idea of your research interests as well. Some experience with children and/or schools a plus

37 For more information, contact: National Association of School Psychologists (301)

38 NASP Staff Contributors Kathy Cowan Meaghan Curran Ted Feinberg Mary Beth Klotz Linda Morgan Libby Nealis Summer National Association of School Psychologists, 4340 East West Highway, Suite 402, Bethesda, MD

39 Indiana University of Pennsylvania Contributors Shannon N. Price, Ed.S. Emily M. Billing, M.Ed. Christina M. Marco, M.Ed. Michael T. Paff, M.Ed. Christian D. Giannone, M.Ed. Fall 2006

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