What is school psychology

School psychologists support a healthy school environment in which students can optimize their learning capabilities. Working closely with teachers, school administration and parents, these professionals use their expertise to help students strengthen academic, social, emotional and behavioral skills to achieve success in school and life.

Interactive observation of students and how they learn is crucial to this profession. By incorporating elements of developmental, child and adolescent psychology, school psychologists study a wide range of factors affecting how students learn and how instructors teach. They aim to accentuate strengths and improve weaknesses, such as learning disabilities and behavioral disorders, in individual students. School psychologists may play a part in reshaping learning practices, especially for K-12 schools.

Below we review how to become a school psychologist and explore careers in school psychology.

What does a school psychologist do?

Most school psychologists work in K-12 schools, though some may be employed by private organizations, local mental health centers or residential treatment facilities. Regardless of where they work, school psychologists should possess the following professional skills and capabilities:


  • Complex Decision Making and Sound Judgement
  • Sensitivity to Privacy Concerns
  • Critical Thinking
  • Understanding of Child Psychology
  • Understanding of Adolescent Psychology
  • Knowledge of Broad and Acute Spectrum Behavioral Disorders
  • Knowledge of Common Learning Disabilities
  • Data Analysis and Evaluation
  • Mathematics
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Information Technology Skills

Professionals in this specialty are often responsible for diagnosing and treating learning disabilities and mental health disorders in students and exploring special services that may be available to students and their families.

The following four specializations common in school psychology careers include detailed

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