What Degree Is Needed To Be an Educational Psychologist?

Educational PsychologistRegardless of where you are in your studies, now is a good time to look at the type of degree needed to be an educational psychologist. An educational psychologist is someone who studies how people learn and look for ways to make learning easier. They can work for schools and school district, publishers and in a wide range of other industries. Once you learn more about this position, you’ll find that psychologists need more than just a college degree.

What Do Educational Psychologists Do?

An educational psychologist looks at how and why people learn. Unlike a school psychologist, who works in a school and meets with students to discuss their emotional issues and other problems, an educational psychologist focuses on the bigger picture. Some psychologists work for publishers and create new textbooks that help students learn easier. Others work with school districts to develop new curriculum for local schools. Educational psychologists may also work with specific groups of students, including gifted and talented students and students with special needs to determine how to help those students learn more effectively.

How Do You Become One?

Looking at the degree needed to be an educational psychologist can help you determine how much time you will spend in school. As this is a specialized form of psychology, you cannot go to work in the field without an advanced degree. You need a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in school or educational psychology. Many employers also require a Ph.D in Education, Educational Psychology or Psychology. While you will focus on various areas of psychology at the undergraduate level, you’ll have the chance to work with students and focus on educational topics in your later years.

Is a License Required?

Educational psychologists who work in schools or with private patients must have a license. Though the requirements for obtaining a license vary in each state, you will generally need to show your education and experience. Most states ask that you submit a copy of each degree you have and that you show paperwork, which demonstrates that you have 300 to 500 hours or more of clinical experience. As your job may involve working around children, it’s likely that the state will ask you to pass a background check too. Certain types of felonies and other crimes may prevent you from getting your license.

How Much Can You Make?

Once you have the highest level of degree needed to be an educational psychologist, you can make a significant amount of money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest 10 percent of those working as educational psychologists earn a median wage of more than $110,000 a year. The median wage among all psychologists is over $72,000 a year. Those just starting out might find that they make around $30,000 a year. Once you graduate and finish your studies, you’ll likely see your earnings increase.

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Educational psychologists examine textbooks and other learning materials and research teaching methods to determine which methods of learning are most effective. They work in schools and research laboratories, but they also work for school districts and publishers. There is no one degree needed to be an educational psychologist, but you may find that most employers require that psychologists have a bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D before seeking employment.