If you enjoy helping children and youth succeed in all aspects of life, such as academically, socially and emotionally, you’re probably thinking about becoming a school psychologist. However, although you have your career in mind, you may have no idea what degree to pursue in order to become a school psychologist.
What Type of Degree?
As you probably already know, school psychologists are highly trained professionals, which means they need to go through a lot of schooling before they can go into practice. Generally, to become a school psychologist, you will need to have at least a Master’s degree. If you don’t have a Master’s degree, you will find yourself unqualified for many positions.
Also, if you’re thinking of practicing privately at one point in your career, you may want to consider obtaining a doctorate degree because it’s usually required for private practice.
What Type of Program?
In order to become a school psychologist, you should attend a program that’s accredited by the NASP (National Association of School Psychologists) in college. You will be studying subjects like educational psychology, general psychology, education and clinical psychology. Learning about these subjects will aid you greatly when you go into practice as a school psychologist.
Your undergraduate degree can be in any of a variety of disciplines, such as child development, psychology, education and sociology. If you can, the NASP recommends that you have specialist training. An example of specialist training would be an EdS degree, or Educational Specialist. This degree requires that you have at least 50 hours in various graduate courses that are part of your curriculum.
Best Degree for a School Psychologist
You should choose either psychology or child development as your undergraduate major. As long as you graduate with at least a grade point average of 3.5, you won’t experience too much trouble getting into a graduate school in order to get your a graduate degree in school psychology.
Between psychology and child development, the former is more recommended than the latter, but a child development undergraduate degree is definitely an excellent alternate. If you want to have a minor, choose Spanish or education (special or regular). Also, if you like numbers, math and statistics are excellent minors.
Overall, you should take as many research methods and stats courses as you possibly can, especially if you know you can handle it, as these courses will help you greatly. Get as much research experience as you possibly can during your undergraduate years. Also, ensure that you obtain a lot of experience when it comes to working with children and adolescents. If possible, the experience should be in a psychology-related venue. There are also other jobs that might be well suited for those interested in this type of a career.
Becoming a school psychologist is an excellent choice for anyone who loves psychology and children. However, it requires a lot of schooling in order to become a school psychologists, which is why it is very vital that one selects the correct undergraduate degree, to ensure the best chances of obtaining a graduate degree for school psychology.