What can you do with a masters in educational psychology degree? There are many educational psychology jobs for someone with a master’s degree. The field of educational psychology focuses on studying how people learn.
This can be applied to many different types of careers. There are multiple jobs in educational psychology. Graduates can look for jobs in:
- public policy
Typical settings where education psychologists work include:
- health care facilities
- government offices
Typically, a masters in educational psychology degree will take around two years. After that, you can look for education psychology jobs.
The website gradschoolhub.com lists some courses that you have to take to earn a master’s in psychology. One of these is, not surprisingly, educational psychology. Specifically, this course teaches about “science-based theories of learning” It also teaches about the effect these theories have on the day-to-day process of learning in the classroom. Some other courses include:
- quantitative methods & instruments for assessment
- lifespan development
- learning & behavior
These classes give educational psychology degree graduates the skills they need to be successful in a career. Some of the most common jobs for graduates with master’s degrees in educational psychology are discussed below.
See Also: Online Master’s in Educational Psychology
Educational Psychologist Jobs
Are you wondering “What can I do with a masters in educational psychology?” Both public and private schools often employ a school psychologist. This is one of the options for masters in educational psychology jobs. In this role, educational psychology degree graduates work closely with administrators. They work to create an environment in which students can learn and thrive. Their work often involves applying research to create school-wide policies and teaching strategies. School psychologists can help teachers address issues with student behavior. They also work with individual students and parents to address emotional and psychological factors that may affect the learning process.
Bestpsychologydegrees.com describes a trait that makes someone a good school psychologist. This is an approachable personality. Many times, children will be talking with the school psychologist about deeply personal issues. Most children will not immediately want to put their confidence in an adult that they don’t know. Another good trait for school psychologists is the ability to handle kids’ or teens’ emotions. They have to analyze them without getting emotional themselves. Children may react in anger, sadness, or withdrawal. The school psychologist must know how to deal with these emotions and begin to determine the root of the emotion.
A large part of the work of school psychologists is also training adults. They train parents and teachers to be aware of the problems that children face. According to the article, “4 Issues School Counselors Confront,” school counselors must often deal with difficult issues, including bullying. Often, children do not know how to react to being bullied. Yet according to the article, 90 percent of children are bullied while in elementary school. At the same time, 60 percent say that they act as bullies themselves. The counselor must help the child being bullied. They often also need to find out why the bully is behaving the way they are.
Something else that school counselors must deal with is home issues. If a student’s life at home is stressful, a school counselor may be the only one that can help them. In some cases, this involves dealing directly with parents. Other times, simply talking through the issues with the children themselves is enough. School counselors also deal with darker issues, such as substance abuse and suicide threats. This is why school counselors need to have a good deal of courage. School counselor jobs for educational psychologists require a commitment to helping others.
See Also: What Is a BCBA? What Does a Behavior Analyst Do?
Many educational psychology jobs are in university settings. These educational psychology jobs involve offering counseling services to students. These students may be struggling with personal or academic problems. Some specialize in helping students who are having trouble with academics. The student may be on the verge of dropping out of the university or failing a class. One way that a college counselor can help at-risk students is by helping them revise their goals to be more realistic. A student can be pursuing goals that are unrealistic. They will begin to realize their goals are unachievable. They may begin to see dropping out as the best option. Another way to help at-risk students is by encouraging them to be more engaged with others. It’s important that they form more connections with other people.
College counselors also deal with first-generation college students. First-generation college students may struggle with a feeling that they have changed their family structure. This was the case with Linda Banks-Santilli, who was once a first-generation college student and is now a professor. She states that the students may feel that they have two different lives. One life at home and one in college. They may also lack resources and the support of their family. For example, they may need to fill out financial aid forms on their own. First-generation college students might feel that others look down on them because their parents did not go to college. College counselors help first-generation students as they figure out for themselves how college works.
College counselors also help returning students with their problems. Often, it is hard to return to the mindset of studying (emeraldgrouppublishing.com). Once someone has stopped learning for years, they have to “learn how to learn again.” There is also the work-life balance. Mature students have far more responsibilities now than they would have had as an 18-year-old. They may have work, family, or other things that demand much of their time. However, mature students are often motivated in their studies. Counselors help to harness the motivation of returning mature students to help them reach their goals.
College counselors may also work with students who are living with disabilities. According to bestcolleges.com, students with disabilities often feel they cannot tell anyone about their disability. They are afraid people will think they are not intelligent. They are often highly intelligent people who need the content they are learning to be presented in different ways. College counselors can help them to deal with interpersonal issues. They also help with academic accommodations. They are there to help with any other areas they might struggle with. Education psychologists may work as part of academic support services, within student health centers, or as part of specialized counseling centers.
See Also: What Types of Certifications are Necessary for an Educational Researcher?
Have you completed a master’s degree in educational psychology? When you graduate with a master’s degree, you can find employment as an educational researcher. Educational researchers can do educational research in many different settings. Local, state, and federal government departments concerned with educational policy hire researchers. Non-profit foundations and NGOs focused on education often have educational researchers on staff and sponsor large-scale research projects. Companies involved in educational services may also employ researchers with master’s degrees in education psychology. These might include companies offering:
- course management software
- online learning platforms
- for-profit education
According to topeducationdegrees.org, someone who wants to be an educational researcher must hold at least a master’s degree. Relevant work experience is also helpful. An educational researcher should have the personal experience of teaching in a classroom. Educational researchers often work with a team of academic researchers. They use their skills with design and measurement tools to come up with new solutions for learning. They work to eliminate issues in the system and ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible. They are responsible for supporting the professional development of teachers and administrators.
See Also: What is a Typical Day for an Educational Researcher?
Teaching at a four-year university requires a doctoral degree. But graduates with master’s degrees can teach at two-year or community colleges. Also, people who have a master’s in educational psychology degree may obtain paid research positions. They can also get teaching assistantships if they choose to continue on to their doctorates. In the article “What Do Education Professors Do?” some of the everyday activities of college professors are listed. These include:
- keeping students’ academic records
- grading students’ exams and papers
- conducting research in their field
- teaching in the classroom
According to this article by Russell L. Herman, there are ideal characteristics for a college professor. These include:
- willingness to invest in students’ lives
- resourcefulness for teaching
- passion for the subject
- able to challenge and motivate students
- being prepared, informed, and organized
- familiar with technology and how to use it
University and School Administration and Services
An educational psychology degree may also be a path to work in academic administration and student services. In many universities, educational psychology professionals may work in areas such as assessment. Assessment refers to the process of testing. It is a way of seeing how well students are grasping materials. Educational psychologists may work to improve assessments at the college level.
Educational psychologists in university administration may also work with those who have disabilities. This is different than what college counselors do. Administrators work behind the scenes to make sure that students with disabilities are given the accommodations they need.
Educational psychologists working as administrators for a university may work in residential life. Residential life involves students who are living in the dorms. This is a job that might have quite a lot of paperwork, as students fill out forms and other paperwork. It might also mean being called to solve problems. An administrator dealing with residential life often works with RAs, or resident assistants. These are college students who help to run the dorm and make sure problems are taken care of. Sometimes problems arise that are greater than they can deal with. In that case they may contact the administrator for help.
Someone working in university administration might help run study skills centers. According to skillsyouneed.com, study skills include:
- time management
Study skills centers help students who are struggling in these areas. Studying is an essential part of education. This is especially true at the university level. Everyone has their own approach to studying. Still, study skills centers can make all the difference to students who need help with their study process. A university or school administrator with a master’s degree in educational psychology might help run these study skills centers.
University administrators might also work with faculty to improve the quality of teaching. Students usually come to college for an education. This means it is important that professors are giving students the education they are paying for. Educational psychologists in this setting must know how to assess whether or not a teacher is teaching well, and how the teaching could be improved.
Other jobs with masters in education are in the area of online education. In 2020-21, many schools were thrown into online learning. Educational psychologists helped with this process. As many universities offer online classes regardless of current events, there is a need for educational psychologists. They may work at developing instructional strategies for online learning. This can include both synchronous classes and asynchronous classes.
Synchronous classes take place at a set and specific time, usually over a video call. Asynchronous classes can be completed whenever the student has the time. In asynchronous classes, students must determine when to complete work; this demands a great deal of motivation. Educational psychologists may help determine which learning format is best for the classes in question. Also, they may offer support to remote students. Online learning is not always easy. This means that students often need help.
Final Thoughts on Becoming an Educational Psychologist
There are educational psychology careers the for-profit and non-profit sectors. With a degree in educational psychology you can work in healthcare settings helping struggling students, in government departments concerned with educational policy, or in schools or universities. Positions can focus either on research and educational design or on working directly with students. School counseling, government agencies, private organizations or school districts may be places you want to consider. Do you prefer abstract concepts and working with numbers, or speaking directly to individual students? The answer to this question might help you to determine which of these careers in educational psychology you wish to pursue.
ABA Staff, Updated June 2023