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twondone twondone is offline
 
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School Psych worth it?
Old 02-29-2020, 07:41 AM
 
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I would like to hear input about School Psych as a career. I have taught 20yrs and a friend of mine suggested it. They retired and said it was a good job. However, I see that they are frazzled with lots of paperwork. Other career blogs explain that it depends on district climate. Nevertheless, It could be a welcome change from the classroom..


Thanks for any advice..


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Old 02-29-2020, 11:37 AM
 
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I would see if you can talk to or even shadow the one at your school or others in your district. It seems to me that in a lot of places, the job is used only for testing. While you wouldn't have to deal with the stress of the classroom, that seems quite tedious to me- only doing testing and writing reports. Do you enjoy writing and can you write pretty quickly/efficiently? Writing evaluation reports is quite a lot of work and if you're someone who struggles with writing, is a slow writer, or just doesn't like it, you won't like the job. The ones I've worked with spend quite a bit of time outside of the school day writing reports, and my district has them doing less testing than other places.

In my district, there is a full time psych in every building. In the two other districts I worked in, there were like 3-4 for the entire district. We were interviewing for an opening last year and we ran into that as an issue- most people we interviewed had no experience with actual mental health interventions as all they did was testing.

On the flip side, if you're not spending your days just doing testing, you will be spending them with the most challenging kids in the school. Would you enjoy being called to support every time a kid has a melt down and being looked to as someone that should have the answers in that situation? You also have to have pretty thick skin because classroom teachers often aren't pleased with the advice/services given and will complain. You may also be put in a position of having to explain why a child can't get a sped referral/IEP in certain circumstances and you will be the "bad guy" for that.

Another thing to consider is the additional schooling required. My understanding is that it would be an entirely separate/additional MA program you'd have to do. Financially I don't think that makes sense for someone with 20 years in. You may be able to find a program that will allow you to continue working while taking classes for the first few years, but then a full year internship is required. We take on an intern every year. The interns actually get paid, but it's something like $10K, so obviously a giant cut from your teaching salary for that year!
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school psych
Old 02-29-2020, 01:08 PM
 
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I am a school psych and Haley23 pretty much said it all. I do make more money than a teacher, but I had to do more schooling and the job is far from easy. See if you can talk to a psych in your district. Or let me know if you have any specific questions!
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Male School Psych?
Old 03-01-2020, 04:11 AM
 
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Thanks for the info...
I suppose my last question is about the prevalence of male School Psych. Even as a HS tescher; I make sure to keep distance and avoid being alone with female students in classroom. At times; male teachers have to be careful as they can be accused of harrassment. Is there a similar dynamic in school psych? I see that they often test elementary students 1-1...
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school psych
Old 03-01-2020, 10:58 AM
 
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I do test 1:1, but I can see why that would be worrisome for males nowadays, especially if you're doing counseling. I think this could be said about any profession and false accusations can occur in any setting. If this is something you want to do, I wouldn't let this be a deciding factor.


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Thanks!
Old 03-02-2020, 07:17 PM
 
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Thanks eeza!
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Old 03-20-2020, 07:34 PM
 
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I had no idea about this board- this thread title caught my interest when it popped up on my home page. I don't know if you'll be back to read this, but others might find it helpful!

I've been a school psych for over 20 years now, and I teach people how to be school psychs in graduate school. There is a demand for this profession, so there are job openings in many areas.

The job of a school psych looks drastically different according to the district (and sometimes even the school). In some areas, they operate much like Haley described. In other areas, school psychs manage all the data and run multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) types of systems. In yet others, there are different roles for different school psychs, depending on the needs in the district (e.g., specializing in mental health or testing or autism or early childhood, etc.). Some school psychs are strictly mental health specialists.

You can find out some information about programs and jobs at nasponline.org, the national accreditation unit (NASP).

More and more, school psych degrees across the country seem to be Educational Specialist degrees (EdS) versus master level degrees. An EdS is between a masters and doctoral level in terms of required credits. However, even a masters degree requires way more credits than other masters degrees (especially masters degrees that are accredited by NASP). As Haley mentioned, there is a full year internship, and if her school psychs are getting 10K for the year, that's a lot better than many places my students are interning. Some are at no pay.

As Haley mentioned, many school psych programs don't accept any previous credits from other masters programs. Many are lock-step programs where you take all the required classes with a cohort. Some are more flexible. You're likely to find more flexibility in non-NASP accredited programs, but it can vary. Some school psych programs are housed in Education departments and others in Psychology departments within universities.

I love being a school psych. I think it's one of the best professions in existence (when done well). But it really does depend on your district. In my last district, I was required to be a testing machine. I have a huge soapbox about people choosing appropriate tests for their populations and the referral question, but many psychs I know seem to use the same tests every time. That would get old really fast. The most commonly used cognitive test, for example, is the WISC-5 and many psychs use that and only that. But that is a really inappropriate test for students who are African American or Hispanic (on average, those students score almost a whole standard deviation lower than Asian or Caucasian students). When you can be thoughtful and really look at assessment and support as problem-solving, the job is so much more effective and feels so much more worthwhile. However, no matter what kind of job, it's likely there's a ton of paperwork, as others have mentioned.

Even in my last district job, I was able to carve out ways to do other activities and programs I thought were helpful. Consulting with teachers and staff, providing trainings, working with individual kids and small groups to teach skills, teaching lessons in classrooms, etc etc. In some districts, you can really carve out a space for yourself. In others, you have way fewer options. A lot can also depend on whether you are housed in the central office or in individual schools.

As far as being a male school psych, there are many, many male school psychs. I know some who make sure to test only in a room that has a window in the door (with the shade pulled up) so there is privacy, but also full transparency. That depends on where the room is, of course, because if it is in full view of other students, that may be a FERPA violation. In view of other staff members is a better solution.

A final thought- pay also really varies district to district. In some places, psychs make more and may be on the administrative pay scale. In others, they are on the teacher pay scale.

Haley's suggestion of doing some job shadow/interviewing school psychs in your district is a great idea. Best of luck!
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Thanks!
Old 03-23-2020, 05:18 AM
 
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I appreciate the thorough reply! I feel i have a better understanding of the career now. After 20 yrs in classroom, i am looking for change. I started at 23 and it is difficult to see another 15 yrs. It may not make much financial/education sense, however i would welcome the new challenge.
Thanks for the reply...
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