A school psychologist has a major role to play in the development of a child. For more details on the same, scroll down.

How To Become A School Psychologist

With exposure to the outer world at an early age, children are growing up faster than ever – mentally and physically. There are many cases of violence being reported in schools these days wherein students carry guns and do not think twice before killing their school mates at the slightest provocation. This emotional volatility if left unaddressed can lead to serious aberrations in children who are not yet equipped to handle their emotions. Furthermore, there are students with serious physical and mental disabilities who have altogether different needs as they face challenges of a different kind. Such complex problems led to new demands paving way for school psychologists who stepped in to fulfill these demands. Every school likes to ensure that their students do well academically, socially, behaviorally and emotionally. A key role in this regard is played by school psychologists who work together with educators, parents and other professionals. They try to create a safe, healthy and supportive learning environment in order to eliminate all barriers to a child’s learning. Here’s all you want to know about becoming a school psychologist.
Becoming A School psychologist
Since educational psychology deals with students who face hurdles during the process of growing up and learning, it makes sense to acquire an undergraduate degree in educational sociology or psychology regardless of the field you have chosen in high school. Having a graduate degree in ‘education’ is a good choice as it makes you familiar with school environment and lesson planning. Upon obtaining your Bachelor’s degree, you need to enter a master’s program in professional school counseling that takes about 2-3 years and covers skills such as listening, verbal and non-verbal cuing etc. After the program ends, students need to intern in schools before they earn their degree. There is a comprehensive exam at the end to assess knowledge and understanding of the counseling program. Once you have completed your education and exam, you become eligible to apply for license to the state. Only after this can you apply for the post of a counselor in a school.
Courses Required
A certificate from the ‘National Board For Certified Counselors’ helps you gain credential as a ‘National Certified Counselor’. This is different from state licensing and those who clear the national exam need not take the state certification exam. To be certified, you need to hold a Master’s degree in counseling from a regionally accredited college or university.
Skills Required
  • A very important skill that you must possess is listening. Students would feel comfortable talking to you and confiding in you only if you listen to them.
  • You must be genuinely caring, friendly, encouraging and helpful while resolving the students’ concerns.
  • You must be flexible to cope with several situations that might come up at once. You must have the knack to make students feel that their needs are of utmost importance.
  • Strong communication skills are extremely important. Even one word can have a great impact. Criticism should be avoided so that students do not feel you are judging them. You should motivate students so that they strive to do better.
  • It is important that you take care of your health, both physically and mentally. You must manage stress and pressure in your personal and professional life and never let yourself be distracted by other things while at work.
Roles And Responsibilities
  • As the school counselor, one is expected to provide social, educational, career and personal assistance to students.
  • They also have to offer advice to students about colleges and universities, give them information about applications, admissions, college entrance exams, financial aid and also equip them with job-finding skills.
  • For students with adjustment issues, counselors need to work with school administrators, teachers and parents to solve problems.
  • They must be able to respond to emergencies and school crises and involve concerned authorities when needed.
  • School counselors also need to plan and lead workshops and group discussions on important issues such as anger management, alcohol abuse, drug prevention, peer-pressure and study skills.
  • They must work with computers, books and videos for presentations on various issues.
  • They also maintain records of students and their performance to monitor the development.
Career Prospects
The education industry can never stop flourishing and the fast paced world can never really slow down to give kids time to stop and reclaim their lost innocence. In such trying times, the importance of a school psychologist cannot be over-emphasized. And unfortunate as it is, children’s minds are getting corrupted more and more every passing minute and this just means more jobs and fatter pay packages for school psychologists for years to come. However, they must ensure that such perks don’t distract them from their main track of helping students come to terms with themselves.

The role of a school counselor is very important for the proper development of children. Hope this article has filled you in with details regarding this profession.

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