What is Educational Psychology?
The field of psychology is extremely broad with a number of sub-categories, of which educational psychology is a part of. Educational psychology itself is quite an expansive field that revolves around understanding and analyzing how human beings learn and respond in educational settings.
One can say that the end purpose of educational psychology is to make academic learning, understanding and comprehension effective and successful.
Educational psychology focuses on various factors such as teaching setup, teaching methodology, student’s environment, learning equipment, communication barriers, and so on. Educational psychology also deals with creating and enhancing learning initiatives for children with disabilities.
If you are interested in adding value to the educational system so that students and teachers benefit from their efforts, then you should definitely become an educational psychologist.
What Does an Educational Psychologist Do?
As mentioned above, educational psychology revolves around the application of psychological techniques to support learners and facilitate their social and emotional development. Typically, educational psychologists work with children, adolescents, and teenagers who have a learning disability, social difficulties, or emotional problems that negatively impact their ability to learn.
When working with students, educational psychologists will assess their functioning and level of performance through classroom observations, interviews and direct psychological testing. Based on their findings, educational psychologists will often devise a program that seeks to improve the child’s functioning and manage any behavioral or emotional problems through therapeutic interventions.
Educational psychologists also work directly with families in order to help them develop strategies for supporting their child’s learning. Oftentimes, this includes consulting with parents or guardians about creating a home environment that has a positive influence on the child’s growth and development.
Educational psychologists may connect families with local resources that can help their child, and also often serve as a liaison between the school and the family.
An educational psychologist also conducts research about how children learn best, identifying educational programs, teaching methods, and testing methods that are effective, as well as those that are not appropriate for challenged learners.
Educational psychologists use this data to devise learning materials and teaching strategies that increase the likelihood that a child can achieve his or her potential. In this regard, educational psychologists work with whole schools as well as individual educators to employ these strategies in the classroom, serving as a consultant to improve the educational process. They might be involved directly in the classroom-based learning process, or they might conduct in-service trainings to acquaint educators with the latest interventions for troubled learners.
Because educational psychology serves as a bridge between the world of education and the world of psychology, workers in this field typically have extensive knowledge of educational policy, psychological theory, and child development.
Keeping up-to-date with the latest educational best practices and psychological interventions is a key component of the duties of an educational psychologist as well. Much of their time not spent working directly with children or consulting with educators or families is spent in research.
The work of an educational psychologist is not all done with children in a school setting, however. Some educational psychologists make inquiries about learning throughout the lifespan, investigating topics like memory and memory loss, teaching, learning, and motivation. How these processes interact with one another, and their impact at various stages of life, are a central area of examination.
Why Do We Need Educational Psychologists?
Educational psychologists are trained in the field of education psychology, which is the study of how our brains learn and retain knowledge. We need educational psychologists because they are equipped to support and enhance education opportunities for people, both young and old.
Education gives humans the opportunity to expand their knowledge and develop the ability to read, write, and speak, as well as many other key skills we need in life. Our society places a tremendous value on education for all, which makes the role of an educational psychologist all the more important.
Many educational psychologists work in educational settings. They look at and study the learning that takes place in educational institutions, such as schools. They are often involved in evaluating existing learning programs using a variety of tools, as well as developing new and improved learning programs.
They might also provide training to teachers on how to implement teaching programs. Evaluation and development of these teaching programs helps ensure that our school and education systems are effective so that students can get the most out of them.
The work of an educational psychologist can be focused on people of all ages. Most of the time, the focus is on school-aged children. Students may be affected by learning disabilities or behavioral problems that impact on their ability to receive a good education. Educational psychologists are essential for helping students overcome these learning difficulties and facilitating suitable teaching methods.
Additionally, educational psychologists may take part in important research that can help uncover what we don’t know about learning, and can pave the way for improved education methods.
What are the Requirements to Become an Educational Psychologist?
The best way to start your career in educational psychology is by getting a degree. There are a number of degree options available for interested students which include associates degrees, bachelors, diplomas, masters and doctorates. Each carries its weight in the academic and career track which can be used to your advantage.
To become an educational psychologist, it is necessary to complete coursework up to Ph.D. level.
The first step to this is to obtain a bachelor’s degree – most useful majors are psychology and education. At this point you must already have successfully completed your high school with a major in the sciences, preferably.
A bachelor’s degree offers students a thorough understanding of general psychology and other academic fields which help form a foundation for you. It is necessary for students to undergo a degree in general psychology as it creates a comprehensive foundation for students which will help them in later studies. Some courses that students come across in this degree program may include introduction to psychology, physiology, communication skills, sociology, statistics, and so on.
Next step is to obtain a master’s degree. Master’s programs allow students to focus completely on educational psychology. Courses and training that are more focused on educational psychology are taught at this level which may include cognition, research methodology, human learning and so on.
Final step is to enroll and complete a doctoral degree. A doctorate level qualification offers students the opportunity to discover and focus on a niche within educational psychology. This depends on the direction they want to take. At this level you will be focusing on research and may be required to complete a dissertation or thesis paper.
It is not easy to pick a grad school for those who desire to be educational psychologists. The field is typically research based, and a great Ph.D. program will be important to thrive post-graduation.
A research internship will be important to anyone pursuing an advanced degree in educational psychology. Every Ph.D. candidate must complete an internship in the field of education/school psychology.
To become a fully licensed, an educational psychologist must eventually complete an average 3,000 supervised hours of practice. This figure changes depending on the state. Graduated doctoral students can collect these supervised hours via a combination of internships and entry level positions.
To work as an educational psychologist you may need to be board certified. Each state have its own requirements. For certification needs you should consult with the American Board of Professional Psychology and the National Association of School Psychologists.
What are the Career Opportunities for New Graduates?
Many recently graduated education psychologists may find work in a school system, assessing teaching methods and acting, in some cases, like a school psychologist working with students with behavioral problems. Jobs in research are also offered to freshly graduated educational psychologists – working on studies that focus on learning and development at universities or agencies that specialize in educational psychology.
Educational psychologists can also serve as consultants to education-based business –such as companies that create learning materials or provide adult or online education – advising on how best to ensure learning through the process.
What Can You Do With a M.Ed. in Educational Psychology?
A M.Ed. (Master’s in Education) in EP (Educational Psychology) can prepare an individual to do educational testing, or counseling in a school setting, as a school counselor. A school counselor is a position, or job title, to be differentiated from a psychologist, who is a holder of a state license to practice psychology. School counselors operate exclusively within elementary, middle, and high schools.
Another option with an M.Ed. is educational consulting, such as developing tests, or intervention programs for at risk students. Teaching psychology or education courses at a community college, or with experience, at a four year college are other possibilities.
In some jurisdictions, if specific coursework has been a part of the degree, or if supplemental graduate courses and an appropriate internship are completed, a M.Ed. in EP may qualify the holder to sit for the state licensing exam to be a mental health counselor.
What is the Salary for an Educational Psychologist?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a school psychologist – similar to the educational psychologist – makes a median salary of $82,770, as of May 2021.
As Americans are becoming more and more competitive with the global education system, educational psychologist are becoming increasingly important. To improve the US learning system as a whole is a big challenge for this branch of psychology; the goal is to study how the brain works when it is learning and apply it to make learning easier for the majority of students.