Psychologists work in a wide variety of settings, and many people wonder, “What is a typical day for an educational psychologist?” Educational psychologists usually work in a school setting, which could include elementary schools, high schools, community colleges or universities. They work with other professionals in the educational and medical systems in order to provide services to students.
The Importance of Educational Psychology
Those who have no trouble learning may not fully grasp what it’s like for those who do have trouble with learning. That’s where the educational psychologist comes in. When students have trouble learning, it is often the early intervention of this education professional that gets to the heart of the matter and allows these students to make satisfactory progress in their educations.
What additionally compounds this issue is the fact that many learning theories exist. Indeed, more than one approach may be necessary to help a learner improve. Certainly, there are plenty of learning theories that could address a learner’s learning issue. Among them are behaviorism and constructivism.
Educational psychologists, along with neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, physicians and advanced practice registered nurses, are among the people who can diagnose learning disabilities, like ADHD.
Additionally, it’s important to note that many learning disabilities run in families. If a parent had trouble with learning, then his or her child may have issues with it, too. Meeting with an educational psychologist to discuss these issues may help immensely.
Finally, many of these education professionals may have an area of specialization. Some work with children only. Others opt to work with adults. Many choose a focus, like dyslexia.
Work One-on-one With Students
Educational psychologists work one-on-one with students. They may meet with a student after an episode or period of problematic behavior. They may work with the parents or caregivers and the student in order to create an individualized education plan if a child has a learning disability that was already diagnosed. If a student’s academic progress or evaluations are of concern, an educational psychologist may conduct an assessment for a learning disability. Most schools require some standardized testing, and an educational psychologist may proctor the exams of students who have special accommodations for those tests.
Meet With Teachers, Parents and Administrators
During a typical work day, an educational psychologist may also have meetings with teachers. A teacher might request a meeting in order to discuss a classroom problem such as bullying. They may also meet in order to discuss a particular student. The educational psychologist may also meet with school administrators in order to discuss resource allocation and procedures for students who have learning disabilities or who are at risk of dropping out of school. An educational psychologist may also meet with an elementary or high school student’s parents or guardians, especially if the student has an academic or behavioral problem or chronic tardiness or absenteeism.
Coordinate Services With Teachers, Counselors and Medical Providers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational psychologists may coordinate their services with those of the school counselor, a student’s medical providers and teachers. For example, a student who is at risk of dropping out of high school may be on a plan of care that includes working with the educational psychologist, a social worker and a school resource officer. A student who has one or more learning or developmental disabilities may require combined services provided by their pediatrician, medical specialists and the educational psychologist. This is done in order to set up a learning environment that is in the student’s best interests.
Review Evaluations, Assessments and Referrals
Educational psychologists also review the evaluations performed on students. For example, they may review cognitive or behavioral evaluations and work with the student’s counselor or physician. This may be done in order to confirm a diagnosis and set up a treatment plan. They may also review in-classroom assessments so that an individualized education plan can be set up for a child who has a learning disability. If a student is found to be in a situation that requires additional resources, the educational psychologist may make those referrals. For example, they may refer a student to a private counselor or substance abuse treatment program.
Educational Psychologist Career Projections and Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those who pursue careers in educational psychology have many opportunities ahead of them. The projected growth for this job is at 14% until the year 2028, which is much faster than the national average.
Additionally, these professionals don’t have just one career path they follow. They have many. True enough, there are a few stepping stones that most will take. They’ll start off in a bachelor’s degree program, possibly in psychology or educational psychology.
They then must move on to graduate school and at least get a master’s degree if not a Ph.D. Internships along the way allow them to learn more about the different career paths they might choose. While many of them will choose to work in an educational setting, there are some who follow a purely research-based career.
Educational psychologists make a comfortable living. On average, they earn $38.64 per hour or $80,370 per year. While most educational psychologists require a doctoral-level degree in order to work in the field, some positions only require workers to hold a master’s degree. Finally, in order to work in their profession, they must hold a license.
Final Thoughts on an Educational Psychologist’s Typical Day
A typical work day for an educational psychologist is a busy one. Unlike classroom teachers, they may work year-round. Like teachers, they are mandated reporters and must maintain a state licensure in order to practice. Given that these professionals are among the few who can diagnose certain learning disabilities, they play an important role in education.
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Additionally, their educational training allows them to specialize in the field. Many opt to work with just kids or just adults. Others may specialize in elementary school settings. Still others may be specialists in a particular area of educational psychology, like learning disorders. Understanding what is a typical day for an educational psychologist could help a person choose the career path that is best suited to their abilities and strengths.
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