How to Become an Educational Psychologist

Individuals who graduate from an accredited psychology degree program can become an educational psychologist. In this particular field of psychology, the psychologist will study how both children and adults learn in educational settings in an effort to improve upon current teaching methods. In order to achieve this, these individuals will conduct research on classroom dynamics, teaching styles, and learning variables. Some of the duties that are performed by educational psychologists include developing educational tests, evaluating educational programs, and consulting schools on how to implement teaching and testing changes.

What degree is required to become an educational psychologist?

Educational psychologists typically need to earn a degree in psychology at least at the master’s level. This will help to introduce the individual to research methodology, human learning, development, and cognition. Many who are pursuing this field will go on to earn a doctorate degree in one of two specialized programs.

One option is to obtain the education specialist (Ed.S.) degree in school psychology. This is a requirement for those who are becoming school psychologists. It is taken as a follow-up to a M.Ed. degree. The Ed.S. typically takes between one and three years to complete. The other option is to earn a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in educational psychology. Either of these degrees in psychology will take between four and six years to complete. Both of these focus on the field of educational psychology by honing the students’ skills in the areas of human development, research design, and behavioral, educational, and emotional issues. There are some graduate schools that will design their Ed.D. course work as a continuing program for Ed.S. certification. In addition, the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) offers certification exams that cover competency in a variety of areas, including assessment, intervention, consultation, and ethical issues.

How long does it take to become an educational psychologist?

Overall, the time that it takes for one to complete a doctoral degree in psychology can be anywhere from four to seven years. This will depend primarily upon whether a student opts to attend their educational program on a full-time or a part-time basis. There may also be a time factor involved with the completion of the individual’s dissertation, as well as a period of time that must be spent fulfilling clinical and/or internship requirements. Today, there is also the option of enrolling in online psychology programs that may help in fulfilling a student’s degree requirements. These distance learning psychology degree programs could help an individual to obtain their degree in psychology faster, as the time allotted for course work and study may be more flexible and more conveniently worked into the student’s schedule. This can be especially beneficial for those who may have work and/or family obligations to tend to while at the same time completing their psychology degree. The time that it takes one to become an educational psychologist may also depend upon the individual’s licensing requirements.

What is an educational psychologist’s salary?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for psychologists overall as of May 2010 was $68,400. However, an educational psychologist earns an average annual salary of $76,000. This can vary based on the individual’s specialty as well as their demographic area. Positions within the offices of certain health practitioners, for example, earn an average of $87,270, and those with a focus on individual and family services earn just below $70,500 per year.