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How To Become An Educational Psychologist: Degree & Career Guide
Learning is the most vital part of life. Everything we know and do as human beings stem from our fundamental ability to learn. While many people acquire "learning" quite easily and they can easily adapt and integrate into a classroom setting and classroom-based learning environments, there are some who struggle with the generic form of learning and teaching.
To help those who struggle with classroom-based learning, educational psychologists step in to assist children in overcoming their learning difficulties or challenges that they may face. Many people confuse school psychologists with educational psychologists, but there is a big difference.
School psychologists aim to help children deal with and work through any emotional difficulties they may face in a school setting. Essentially, they are psychologists who practice psychology at a school. Educational psychologists help children and support them, specifically during their learning and educational journey.
To become an educational psychologist, you need to earn a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and a doctoral degree, you would need to complete relevant research as a part of your graduate degree program, and you would need to gain experience, licensure, and certification.
Let us take a closer look at the field of educational psychology.
What Is An Educational Psychologist?
We know that each person is different, but this even extends to our learning. Even the way we acquire knowledge is different and what might suit the majority, may not work for a single individual.
Educational psychologists take their theoretical knowledge and understanding of cognition, development, and other psychological elements to help teachers, educators, and institutions design educational programs that are effectively absorbed by learners.
They also work with schools and institutes to design assistive programs to aid learners who may be struggling with mainstream programs and mainstream learning.
Educational psychologists have the authority and expertise to diagnose learning disabilities, and they have the expertise to design individualized education plans. They work together with the learner, the teacher, and the family to make sure the best development and advancement of education can be achieved.
After all, the aim of educational psychologists is to make sure that no learner gets left behind.
What Does An Educational Psychologist Do?
Educational psychologists will closely assess and analyze coursework materials within schools and educational institutes to make sure the work is acceptable and at the correct level that is needed for students to thrive. They have an understanding of developmental stages, and they know and understand what concepts learners should be able to grasp at different stages of life.
They work closely with schools, teachers, parents, and learners to ensure the best learning outcomes for all learners. In so doing, they also stay abreast with all psychological theories and advancements that pertain directly to education. They utilize the best methods and best practices to gain effective learning results in learners.
While they also diagnose and treat learning disabilities, they contribute to, and design research studies, and they keep detailed progress reports on learners to ensure that they are showing academic improvements.
Steps To Become An Educational Psychologist
Step One: Earn A Bachelor's Degree
The first step on this journey begins with enrolling in a bachelor's degree program. In your bachelor's degree, you would need to take coursework directed towards abnormal psychology and, to some extent, courses that are directly related to child psychology.
Step Two: Obtain Your Master's And Doctoral Degree
Next, you need to obtain a master's degree and a doctorate. Obtaining these graduate degrees in educational psychology is guaranteed to equip you with the skills you need to correctly perform and execute your duties as an educational psychologist.
During your master's degree and your doctorate, you will also be equipped with appropriate research and data collection and analysis skills that will help you when you perform your own research. You will also learn appropriate ethical considerations as you will be working with young children who are considered a vulnerable population.
Step Three: Gain Experience
You then need to take the knowledge and skills you have acquired during your studies and put them into practice. This means enrolling in an internship program. In these programs, you will work under the tutelage of a more experienced educational psychologist who will show you the ropes and help you in your career.
Step Four: Obtain Licensure
You will then need to complete the examination for professional practice in psychology (EPPP) and any required state examinations that you need to obtain your educational psychology license. This will allow you to practice as an educational psychologist in your desired state, provided you have met all minimum requirements.
Step Five: Step Into Your Dreams
You can then begin applying for roles as an educational psychologist and earn your dream role for which you have worked so incredibly hard.
What Degree Do You Need To Be An Educational Psychologist?
As with every career in psychology, it first starts with a bachelor's degree. But you cannot practice or appropriately fulfill the role of an educational psychologist without a master's degree in some states, or a doctoral degree in other states. It is therefore always recommended that depending on the role you hope to assume, you pursue a doctorate.
What Is The Average Salary For An Educational Psychologist?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Psychologists earn a median annual salary of $81,040. The BLS also states that School psychologists earn a median annual salary of $78,780.
What Makes A Good Educational Psychologist?
Aside from being equipped with the knowledge and expertise, you need to be a psychologist; you need to have extreme patience and a passion for working closely with kids. You need to have the ability to rationalize with parents and children alike on steps they need to take for the educational advancement of the child.
What Does An Educational Psychologist Do Each Day?
During a normal workday, educational psychologists will look through student files, comparing data on learner outcomes and mapping the trajectory and improvement of the student. They may meet with parents, teachers, and learners during their workdays, and they may work on academic research and journal articles.
What Is The Difference Between Educational Psychologists And School Psychologists?
School psychologists work with children as normal clinical or counseling psychologists in a school setting. On the other hand, educational psychologists work with educators in devising and creating optimal learning content and programs for students.
What Do Educational Psychologists Investigate?
They investigate how children learn and how they process cognitive, social, and emotional stimuli as they respond to these stimuli.
Educational psychologists play an important role in optimizing education programs for children. They create an opportunity for each individual to thrive in a learning environment. If you have a passion for learning and a passion for kids, this may be one of the best career paths for you.
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