A school psychologist assesses students for mental, emotional or behavioral disorders or illnesses. She diagnoses students' troubles and determines and prescribes appropriate treatment. Primarily using talk therapy and counseling, she will refer students to a psychiatrist if necessary.
A school psychologist provides student assessment, identifying developmental, learning and behavioral needs of students. She uses the information she collects to determine the best course of treatment. She consults with teachers, school employees and parents about how to improve the mental and emotional development of students. She designs and implements programs to meet the developmental needs of the student population. She performs direct interventions with students and families in need. She effectively serves as a liaison between students, parents, teachers and school personnel.
Prospective school psychologists can find employment by applying directly to the school or school district in which they would like to work. They can find job postings in the local newspaper, on traditional online job boards and on niche online job boards such as the career center of the website of the National Association of School Psychologists.
A successful school psychologist must have a strong interest in human development. Additionally, he must possess excellent listening and communication skills.
In most states, school psychologists must possess a master's degree in psychology or counseling, with an emphasis on education, child development or related course of study. To work in Hawaii or Maine, a candidate must possess a doctorate degree. If a required number of internship hours have been complete, only a bachelor's degree is required in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Nebraska. Additionally, the psychologist must be certified in school psychology through the National Association of School Psychologists in the state where he intends to work.
According to Salary.com, in 2009 the average school psychologist working in the United States earns an annual base salary of $78,692.