If you’re considering a career in school psychology, you’ll start by reverse engineering the skills you need for the job. Generally, you’ll need a number of soft skills like intuitive people skills, social perception, and complex problem-solving. But what is a job in this field really like? How can you know if you have the skills you’ll need to do the job well? This article will help you gauge what you need to know about being a school psychologist.
What Do School Psychologists Really Do?
When you were in high school, it’s likely you had a counselor on staff. You may have gone to them with academic or family troubles or for career counseling or advice. School psychologists perform many of these same functions, helping students deal with behavioral issues, academic problems, personal disabilities or any other area where a student is being held back from performing in the classroom.
The school psychologists also work one-on-one and in groups with teachers to help prepare them for the job. For parents, a school psychologist can be their best resource if a child is having trouble coping in the classroom. A school psychologist has a number of tools at their fingertips, but one of the best is their own troubleshooting ability. These professionals work to mitigate problems and help parents, teachers, and children to solve crisis situations.
There are typically six areas where school psychologists offer services and provide support to parents, children, and teachers. The categories include:
- Research and planning
- Education and counseling
School psychologists teach, hold accountable, and support students in school, as well as the teachers, and the parents or guardians. School psychologists work in elementary and secondary school settings, primarily. Some school psychologists work as consultants and work in private practice. This model is typically for the professional that has gone on for their doctoral degree.
Top Skills for a School Psychologist
In addition to their academic training, which is extensive, the top skills for a school psychologist include:
- A love of people
- Time management
- Teaching skills
- Social and communication skills
- Anger management and emotional intelligence
- Effective reading and writing skills
- Active listening
- Social perception
- Complex problem solving
- Decision-making skills
- Negotiation and persuasion skills
- Tech savvy
More than any other skill, a school psychologist must have a real love of people, especially children and their families, and an understanding of today’s challenges in our society. School psychologists deal with easy issues, such as helping kids and families decide which career path to take, but also the hardest of issues up to and including classroom trauma like bullying or even the potential for violence.
For today’s school psychologists, the challenges are myriad but that makes the rewards even more fulfilling. If you’re considering this career path, or if you’re a current school psychologist considering a change, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Therapia. We understand the rigors of the profession and can help you succeed on your career path.