School Psychologist Salary

School psychologist salary

The average annual salary for a school psychologist just entering the job market will be $39,060 but a lot depends on their educational background, any work experience, their geographical location, etc. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics if a school psychologist works in the elementary schools their average annual salary would be $71,730. They also predict that from 2010-2022 there could be a 22% increase in employment opportunities for school psychologist. Some of the factors that may be attributing to this high of a percentage increase us bullying, more learning disabilities are being diagnosed, increased concern and rising awareness concerning alcohol and drug use, and other problems in school-aged children and teenagers.

The top 10% of school psychologists are earning an average annual salary of $112,380 and the lowest 10% are earning an average annual school psychologist salary of $39,020. Some specialization like the age level the student wants to focus on like a certain age level will not make a big different in salary. One of the main factors in helping to dictate what the average annual salary will be is experience. The position they hold is not a big factor in what their average annual salary will be and the reason is that the work is shared with 2 or 3 other school psychologists or they are the only one in that particular working environment. Another factor that can have an impact on their salary is the state where they are working. For example if you were working in Alabama their average annual salary would be $85.800 but if you worked in Puerto Rico your average annual salary would be $35,450.

Five of the top paying states are:

  • $92,580 in Rhode Island
  • $90,420 in Hawaii
  • $84,850 in New York
  • $83,870 in New Jersey
  • $80,430 in Alabama

There is also the benefit package which can vary according to where they are working but most benefit packages include paid vacation and sick days, paid holidays, summer months off if working in a school but it is not paid, vision and dental care, life insurance, health insurance that may cover the family, 401K, pension, social security, and more. This can add to what their average annual salary would be.

Salary of a School Psychologist in 2015

In 2015, the salary of a school psychologist is estimated at an average of about $63,010 per year. The salary will depend mainly on some influential factors such as the location, the qualification degree and the area of specialty, the gender and the years of experience.

Your degree will clearly make a difference. For instance, if you have completed your Master’s degree then your salary as a school psychologist is estimated at about $53,010 per year. Those who already earned a doctorate will receive a salary that reaches about $60,010 per year. School psychologists will always be the professionals that are very searched in this field and the job opportunities in this field are very numerous.

School Psychologist Salary in 2016

In the United States, the income of a school psychologist for the year 2016 has a median average that usually reaches at $58,092 per year. The starting point in the salary of these professionals has a range situated from $40,833 per year and up to $85,431 per year. The bonuses that are usually received tend to reach up to $4,093 while the profit sharing reaches at $4,010. This will lead to a total payment that is comprised from $41,062 and up to $88,748, according to the salary data information provided by PayScale.

There are various factors that affect and influence an income. For this particular group the career duration and the geographical location – such as state, city, area of residence are with large influence. Other factors that impact the earnings of these professionals are the years of experience, type of employment, and the level of education.

Having a certification as a licensed psychologist will lead you to an annual income that usually is estimated to vary between $40,432 and $85,281, while if you have a teacher certification your earnings will start from $42,137 and $99,743. Those professionals that have the qualification of NCSC else known as the National Certified School Counselor can expect to receive incomes that are comprised between $39,172 and up to $93,559.

A school psychologist with the qualification of BCBA or else known as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst has annual earnings that range from $56,510 and up to $97,010. The annual salaries of these professionals are also influenced as mentioned earlier by the geographical location. There are differences between the earnings of each state.

For instance, a school psychologist, who works in Texas can expect to take home an income estimated between $34,522 per year and up to $61,561 per year, while those located in Ohio have an annual payment that ranges between $35,242 and $74,673. A professional located in New Jersey can expect at earnings that are estimated from $38,439 and up to $79,856, according to the salary figures provided by PayScale.

The highest incomes for these specialists according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (or else known as the BLS) can be found in Hawaii where the annual earnings are $90,421, New York with $84,851, Rhode Island with estimated figures that reach at $92,581 and other few as well.

School psychologist salary in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom

  • UK—their salary is based on their age bracket. If they are in their 20’s the average annual salary would be up to 36,750, in their 30’s it would be up to 48,020, and in their 40’s and 50’s it would be up to 56,840;
  • Australia—the average annual salary is AU$40,851-AU$91,065;
  • Canada—the average annual salary is C$40.638-C$88,411 with an average annual bonus of C$4,750.

School Psychologist Career

What is a school psychologist?

School Psychologist incomeA school psychologist is a medical professional who helps to develop social, behavioral, adaptive, and academic strategies for students along with the interventions to achieve them. They are a specialist who has an understanding of child psychology and the influence it has on the behavior and learning of teenagers and children. One important trait that a school psychologist must have is to be comfortable working with children and teenagers. They must also be able to handle children and teenagers who have a variety of issues such as behavioral, mental, etc. You should also have good communication skills and have the ability to communicate with anyone.

Job description of a school psychologist

When becoming a school psychologist your responsibilities/job will all relate to all of the steps that are taken for providing solutions to the issues and problems that are faced by the students in their schooling. The main duty/job of a school psychologist is to encourage the students to deal with their everyday problems along with motivating them to get good grades by studying well.

Some of the main duties/job can include:

  • For study purposes carry out personality assessments and psychological tests in the school
  • Keep records of the tests that have been conducted and take any necessary action
  • Using the basis of the psychological test results conduct sessions for students who have social and behavioral problems
  • Conduct training sessions for parents so they will know how to deal with their student’s problems like having difficulty with learning, lack of problem-solving skills, behavior problems, etc.
  • Set up communities for problem referrals of parents, teachers, and students
  • Working closely with the teachers to develop programs that will help students who have learning barriers
  • Helping to develop students interests in academic programs
  • To help carry out therapy sessions with student along with maintaining a steady re-evaluation process to track the progress of the student
  • Implementing polices that are related to psychology as per the guidelines that are given by the school
  • Working with students individually or in groups to promote academic success
  • For the teachers and administration staff engage in staff development activities through counseling sessions
  • Maintaining the confidentiality of the students psychological evaluation data records
  • Designing new techniques that will help staff and students to overcome emotional/social/behavioral/mental problems
  • Helping to guide family members of disabled students to mental healthcare physicians
  • Providing crisis intervention
  • Upgrading one’s knowledge by attending seminars, training programs, and continuous reading
  • Providing referrals of external psychology agencies for training programs and conducting counseling sessions
  • Analyzing and assessing the effectiveness of the current schedule and academic programs.

How to become a school psychologist?

To become an entry-level school psychologist you must have either a specialist-level or master’s degree along with being licensed. If you want to teach at the university level or conduct research you will need to consider furthering your education to get a doctoral degree. The first step is to get your bachelor’s degree in a related field like psychology or education. If you decide to get your bachelor’s degree in another unrelated field you need to make sure that you are taking some key courses in subjects like social psychology, educational psychology and statistics, abnormal psychology, or developmental psychology. You might consider getting some experience in a school psychology related field like working or volunteering with school-aged children.

After getting your bachelor’s degree you need to work on your graduate program in school psychology like Education Specialist (Ed.S), Master of Arts (M.A.), or Master of Education (M. Ed). There are some programs that will combine the Ed. S certificate with a master’s degree. It does not matter what the degree title is that the student chooses but the program that they choose to enroll in must be approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Enrolling in an approved program will prepare the student for either a state or national license.

These approved programs usually consist of 3 years of study. In the 1st year the students will take foundational coursework that will teach them about the professional and scientific roles of a school psychologist which could include statistics and research methods, psychopathology, and counseling techniques. In the 2nd year the student will be required to complete 1 or more practical while they are taking classes in advanced counseling and intervention techniques. The 3rd year will be doing a full-time internship which usually requires 1,200 hours and 600 hours has to be in a school setting. If you can develop skills in the Spanish language you may find an increase in job opportunities.

Some of the NASP approved programs are:

  • Arizona State University
  • San Diego State University
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Florida
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Connecticut

To obtain the credential of Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) that is offered by NASP you are required to complete an internship and graduate program in school psychology that is preferably from an approved program. The student must also have a passing score on the Praxis 11 School Psychology exam. This certification is voluntary but there are many states that will accept in place of other licensing requirements or else require the student to have the certification.

In all states school psychologist must be licensed by the state where they are going to practice. The requirements to receive your license are usually similar, and may even be identical, to the requirements for getting your certification. It is possible that the student may only have to provide proof of their certification in order to get their state license. If the student does not have the certification they will have to present proof of their internship experience, the grade they received on the Praxis 11 School Psychology exam and their graduating degree.

At this time you will need if you need a doctoral degree or just stay with a master’s degree. You must enter the Doctor of Education (Ed. D) or the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph D) program after completing a master’s degree or directly after getting your bachelor’s degree. If the student wants to enter either of these programs they must demonstrate a commitment to school psychology either through work experience or research and meet the course prerequisites. Getting your doctoral degree will require another 2-5 years of research and study, a dissertation, and internship. Have your doctoral degree may be able to command a better salary working as a specialist along with possibly more employment opportunities.

Work environment and schedule

Although most school psychologist work in a school there are some who prefer to have their own private practice instead of being affiliated to a certain school system. Other school psychologists will provide their services as a consultant to hospitals, mental health facilities, or educational institutions. They can also pursue innovative research on teaching methodology and learning behavior or other allied areas in this type of field.

Working in a school environment a school psychologist may find the school has a rough and chaotic learning environment while other have serene, comfortable learning environments. When stating that a school psychologist works in schools this can include public or private schools from the elementary level to high school level, universities, and colleges. Some may even work in daycare centers, orphanages, and juvenile detention centers.

A school psychologist may have an office in their work environment where they and the students can meet in private or in some schools they may find themselves working in classrooms that are not used between class periods, working in a used storage area, or sharing an office with another teacher.

Most will work a standard teaching day which is usually from 8-4 or 9-5 Monday –Friday. If they have a private practice their hours can vary. They may work a couple of evenings to help accommodate working parents and their children or even work half days on Saturdays. If there is an emergency they may have to work overtime. If they work in other work environments like a juvenile detention center with one or more other school psychologists they may take turns being on-call for emergencies.

Pros and cons of being a School Psychologist

School psychologist career can be very rewarding if you know how to handle everything and pass over the disadvantages that accompany this job. If you like to help people and help them find their balance and their place in the society this job is more than a dream for you, it will become a clear reality.

As a school psychologist, you’ll be fully equipped to help students succeed in their path. Working in settings like elementary or secondary school will allow you have a great work schedule, and very predictable.

Another pro that can be found in this job is the salary that is considered to be very attractive. Besides the good wages, you can collaborate with teachers and parents for the benefit of every student that needs your aid.

However, cons can be found in this job especially since you are working with people. One of the major con is linked with the difficult students and parents that have a very difficult way of thinking and behavior. This part of your work can often lead to a high level of stress, and additionally because sometimes cases can be that complicated you’ll experience high level of frustration related to the job.

The future outlook of this job is very promising especially since the number of demands is very high. The constant demand is due to an increasing number of students who are seeking for the help of these professionals in order to identify emotional or physical problems.

The educational requirements will differ according to each state. Many of the school psychologists will complete a bachelor’s degree in school psychology or other related fields such as educational psychology, counseling psychology and other.

Many states will require a minimum level of education that future school psychologist should possess: two or even three years of graduate school. Some states will require even a national certification this assuming completing an internship in the school psychology. However, if you want to be a very successful school psychologist you should keep in mind that many of these professionals have completed a master’s degree or even a doctoral one.

At the end of every training, you’ll have to pay the student loan that you’ve made during the years of training. This can take a while up until you’ll have your salary without any debt to pay.

School Psychologist job growth

The employment job growth for school psychologists has a rate of projection estimated at 20%, according to the BLS. Compared with other occupations this career has a rate that is faster and high above them. The growth for these professionals is mainly due to the number of demanding since in schools there are plenty of children that are bullied and that need help.

School psychologists address mental health issues that interfere with schools, or other problems such as family crises, substance abuse or special needs. Their services are much needed in schools, providing great job prospects and plenty of job satisfaction.

Child psychology related services are in great demand in various other institutions that are not only schools such as in social service agencies, mental health centers, and hospitals as well as other employment opportunities that can be found all around the US.

Conclusion on school psychologist salary

Yes, the average annual starting salary is on the low side when considering all the education, certification, and licensure that you must have before you can become a practicing school psychologist and it is quite possible to make that salary in a factory, working in a business office, or a manager in a restaurant without all those years and expenses of school to get your master’s or doctoral degree. Adding in the benefit package does make it more desirable. Many times they get their degree and accept that low starting pay because they love children and want to help them to grow up to be successful adults and if they have a learning disability or other disability like behavioral or mental they want to help them learn how to accept their disability and do well in school and also be able to handle their disability.

Post Revisions
  • First Published Date: 19 November, 2014
  • Last Updated Date: 6 September, 2016