What Is a School Psychologist?

A school psychologist has earned a masters or doctoral degree and is certified and/or licensed by the state. The school psychologist has completed internships in school or clinical settings and may practice in a school, hospital, clinic, or private practice, with the appropriate credentials. Training in school psychology includes intelligence testing and learning disability identification, research design and statistics, therapeutic techniques, and special education law and procedures.

The school psychologist is different from the school counselor or guidance counselor in their training and role. Like the school psychologist, the guidance counselor helps students succeed academically and socially by meeting with them for counseling; but, they refer students with serious psychological, emotional, or intellectual problems to the psychologist. The guidance counselor also gives advice and is in charge of course selection, internships, post-secondary vocation, and college applications.

All students who are classified as requiring the services of special education, whether due to a physical, intellectual, or emotional disability, will be served by the psychologist. The school psychologist is always a member and often the chairperson of the Committee on Special Education, the team of individuals who create, maintain, and implement the Individualized Education Program (IEP) of every student in special education.

Check out the National Association of School Psychologists for more info.

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