What Is a School Psychologist?
School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments for all students that strengthen connections between home and school.
School psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education. They must complete a minimum of a post-Master’s degree program that includes a year-long internship and emphasizes preparation in mental health, child development, school organization, learning styles and processes, behavior, motivation, and effective teaching.
School psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which they work. They also may be nationally certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB).
What School Psychologists Do
School psychologists work to find the best solution for each student and situation and use different strategies to address student needs and to improve school and district-wide support systems.
In addition, most school psychologists provide the following services:
• Collaborate with teachers, parents, and administrators to find effective solutions to learning and behavior problems.
• Help others understand child development and how it affects learning and behavior.
• Strengthen working relationships between teachers, parents, and service providers in the community.
• Evaluate eligibility for special services.
• Assess academic skills and aptitude for learning.
• Determine social-emotional development and mental health status.
• Evaluate learning environments.
• Work directly with children and their families to help resolve problems in adjustment and learning.
• Provide training in social skills or anger management.
• Help families and schools manage crises, such as death, illness, or community trauma.
• Design programs for children at risk of failing at school.
• Promote tolerance, understanding, and appreciation of diversity within the school community.
• Develop programs to make schools safer and more effective learning environments.
• Collaborate with school staff and community agencies to provide services directed at improving psychological and physical health.
• Develop partnerships with parents and teachers to promote healthy school environments.
Research and Planning
• Evaluate the effectiveness of academic and behavior management programs.• Assist team in analyzing assessment data, including students' Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtII).
• Identify and implement programs and strategies to improve schools.
• Use evidence-based research to develop and/or recommend effective interventions.
The National Association of School Psychologists:
Suite 402, 4340 East West Highway,
Bethesda, MD 20814;
NASP represents and supports school psychology through leadership to enhance the mental health and educational competence of all children.
This was adapted from a handout developed by Arlene Silva, University of Maryland school psychology graduate student intern at the NASP office (summer 2003),with contributions from NASP staff and leadership.