Education is essential to obtain good employment and be a well-rounded citizen. Parents encourage their kids to work hard in school and obtain as much education as possible. Teachers and school administrators work long hours to ensure students receive good educations. Educational psychologists participate in research projects designed to improve teaching methods.
Educational psychologists focus on human learning, by studying sociology, teaching methodologies, and learning settings. To improve understanding about human learning, educational psychologists study students with high IQs, students who test well, and students with learning disabilities. Educational psychologists are often confused with school psychologists, but they differ significantly. School psychologists usually counsel students with behavioral and learning problems, while educational psychologists specialize in research.
Educational psychologists work at government agencies, universities, private practices, and private companies. They typically spend their days conducting research, gathering data, observing teachers, and developing learning tests. Educational psychologists must complete formal training in statistics and possess analytical skills.
Education and Training
Many universities offer master’s degree programs in educational psychology (MEd). During these programs, students learn about cognition, teaching evaluation methods, sociology, human development and learning, and research methodology. Since MEd programs are research intensive, graduates will immediately be ready to contribute to research and participate in teaching improvement projects.
Students pursuing school psychology careers must successfully finish an education specialist (EdS) program, which typically takes 1-3 year to complete after earning a master’s degree.
Graduate students can complete a doctorate degree in education (EdD) in 4-6 years. Graduates from these programs typically enjoy better job opportunities. During these programs students conduct research, complete advanced courses in cognitive and human development, and learn how to help children with learning, behavioral, and emotional problems. Universities with EdD programs typically offer classes intended to prepare graduates for EdS certification.
Required Skill Sets
Educational psychologists must have these skills:
- Verbal and written communication
- Behavioral assessment
- Test development
Effective educational psychologists are caring, performance oriented, and willing to assist students with serious learning and behavioral problems. Additionally, they must remain current with new research and be good leaders.
Educational psychologists are typically employed at secondary and elementary schools, or they work as researchers at universities. Educational psychologists frequently consult with textbook publishers, standardized test companies, government agencies, and online universities.
Educational psychologists holding PhDs in school psychology, counseling or related subjects typically have better job opportunities than other educational psychologists with less education. Those with experience in quantitative research and information technology enjoy excellent job prospects.