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21st Century Careers: School Psychologist

By Abby Bordeau ('22)

Dr. Hyde

A school psychologist is someone who assists students with adjustment and/or mental health issues. These issues can include family, career, academic, or personal issues. Psychologists diagnose and help treat disorders as well as perform long-term assessments, interviews, and diagnostic tests.

SBHS school psychologist, Dr. Rebecca Hye said, “A school psychologist must have a master’s degree, but it is really based on the state that you work in.”

So, in New Jersey, that means a school psychologist needs about six years of education. It usually takes four years to get a bachelor’s degree and two extra years to get a master’s degree.

Some subjects that psychologists study are: biology, psychology, English, health and statistics. For instance, at Columbia University these students will take: general psychology, history of psychology, the evolution of behavior, and psychobiology of stress.

A Master of Psychology degree costs around $30,000. To start, a school psychologist earns an average entry-level salary of $54,024. The median salary is $78,690. The unemployment rate of school psychologists is 1.8%. The projected number of new jobs is 20,900. The projected growth rate is faster than average at 14%.

According to Dr. Hye, a school psychologist works with all students, from elementary school to college. They will also listen to and try to resolve students’ worries about their problems. Their problems can include school-related problems as well as outside-of-school problems, such as family issues.

School psychologists are trained in behavioral techniques and put them to use. Some personality traits needed for this job, according to Dr. Hye include displaying empathy and being trustworthy.

Dr. Hye noted that among these important traits are: “being able to compromise, organize, time manage, and plan.”

This is the life of a school psychologist but Dr. Hye noted what she thought was the most important task of all when she said, “Showing students unconditional love and support is where a school psychologist sees the most impact.”

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