A licensed specialist in school psychology earns an average to above-average salary to work with teachers, administrators and the students' parents in fostering healthy and supportive learning environments. A school psychologists is employed by a school to help students achieve academic success while maintaining social, behavioral and emotional balance. In addition, school psychologists assist students in overcoming barriers to success by guiding them through behavioral struggles, family concerns and peer conflict resolution.
Salary and Benefits
Salaries for licensed school psychologists range from $37,900 to $106,940 annually, with an average of $65,710 for psychologists in elementary and secondary schools, and an average of $65,398 for university faculty. Salaries vary based on region, state, and school district. Employees in private educational institutions, and those employed in densely populated areas, earn a higher average salary than those working for public school systems, or those located in rural regions. School psychologists can expect to receive the same standard benefits as educators or administrators in their school, including medical insurance, life insurance, retirement planning and paid time off.
Education and Experience
A licensed specialist in school psychology is highly educated, and requires specialized training in the fields of psychology and education. Prior to licensing, a school psychologist must complete at least 60 hours of a targeted graduate degree emphasizing child development, learning and learning disabilities, educational curricula, counseling and behavior interventions, interpersonal communication and education law. School psychologists are required to pass a licensing exam in their state, and a nationally recognized certification is available through the National School Psychology Certification Board. Standards for ethics, training and continuing education are set by the National Association of School Psychologists.
Most school psychologists are afforded a private office to counsel students and parents in confidentiality. Work hours parallel the standard attendance hours for each school, though many school psychologists arrive earlier or stay later to accommodate the needs of individual students. Psychologists in elementary or secondary schools often enjoy summers or "school breaks" off, just as educators in those schools do. University psychologists who also double as faculty members must divide time between course instruction, counseling duties and administrative tasks.
Job growth for licensed specialists in school psychology is expected to parallel the national average for all job growth, rising at about 12 percent each decade. Demand for highly education school psychologists continues to increase as educators' awareness of how mental health, social interactions and behavioral issues affect learning and student success increases. School psychologists are also becoming increasingly important in ensuring students are well-rounded and prepared for college and life after graduation.