What is a School Psychologist?

School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community for all students.

School psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education, completing a minimum of a specialist-level degree program (at least 60 graduate semester hours) that includes a year-long supervised internship. This training emphasizes preparation in mental health and educational interventions, child development, learning, behavior, motivation, curriculum and instruction, assessment, consultation, collaboration, school law, and systems. School psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which they work. They also may be nationally certified by the National Association of School Psychology (NCSP).  The National Association of School Psychologists sets ethical and training standards for practice and service delivery.

School Psychologists Work With Students and Their Families to:

  • Identify and address learning and behavior problems that interfere with school success
  • Evaluate eligibility for special education services (within a multidisciplinary team)
  • Support students' social, emotional, and behavioral health
  • Teach parenting skills and enhance home–school collaboration
  • Make referrals and help coordinate community support services

School Psychologists Work With Teachers to:

  • Identify and resolve academic barriers to learning
  • Design and implement student progress monitoring systems
  • Design and implement academic and behavioral interventions
  • Support effective individualized instruction
  • Create positive classroom environments
  • Motivate all students to engage in learning