School psychologists assist children with emotional, learning, and social problems and depression at secondary and elementary schools. Schools keep school psychologists on staff to counsel children and address problems that inhibit learning.
School psychologists meet individually with children struggling with learning and behavioral problems. They also consult with parents, school administrators, doctors, and teachers to discuss troubled students. School psychologists also frequently develop and supervise school health and student improvement initiatives.
School psychologists also counsel groups of students about bullying and other conflicts affecting the learning environment. They also supervise peer counseling and support groups.
Having school psychologists on staff is a huge benefit to students since it provides them with opportunities to discuss learning and behavioral problems in a safe and confidential setting. School psychologists are typically able to identify minor behavioral and learning problems before they become more pronounced. Elementary and secondary students frequently deal with the following problems:
- Substance abuse problems
- Learning disabilities
- Physical Abuse
Education and Training
Schools only hire school psychologists with graduate degrees. School counseling graduate students must complete an internship prior to graduation. Graduate students should take advantage of opportunities where they can work with students in supervised environments. School psychologists can specialize in these fields:
- Deaf or blind studies
- ESL (English as a Second Language)
- Childhood or adolescent psychology
- Childhood depression and anxiety
School psychologists must be excellent communicators, be empathetic, and have the ability to resolve problems.
School psychologists must also be able to work with students from varying ethnic and cultural backgrounds. They frequently encounter these problems:
- Family problems
- Depression and suicidal thoughts
- Low self-esteem
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Learning disabilities
- Academic problems
- Drug abuse
School psychologists can never permit students to manipulate them. They must be forthright with students and never shy away from being honest with children about individual responsibility. School psychologists are responsible for reporting suspected physical and sexual abuse to the police.
Prior Work Experience
Aspiring school psychologists can acquire counseling experience by volunteering with a community center, social welfare agency, or school. Graduate students should take advantage of group and individual research projects.