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What Is an Educational Psychologist?

Educational Psychologists are scientists who study the learning process, including the social, emotional, and cognitive activities that comprise learning and understanding new concepts. These psychologists are interested in uncovering how people learn. They want to use their research to improve teaching methods and the instructional process.

Their specialty doesn’t mean they only work with children and teenagers though. Educational Psychologists study learning processes for all populations. Some may work exclusively with young students, but others study specific groups, like adult learners, or people with a learning disability such as dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Educational Psychologists may study how people learn best at school or work — they also examine how people function in social situations. Any situation that involves learning is of interest to this specialty.

What Is an Educational Psychologist Responsible For?

Within their role, Educational Psychologists focus on creating and maintaining the optimal learning environment, no matter what the task is. This space differs for both the type of person they’re working with and the setting they’re studying — for instance, a child with ADHD struggling in school compared to an adult trying to comprehend a new skill at work. Everyone has unique educational needs and preferences.

In their workplace, Educational Psychologists are often recruited to design curriculum. They must see what’s working and what’s not within a school system, business, or another organization so they can create the type of program that’s most needed for students.

These psychologists may also advise schools and other learning institutions with low test scores. In this situation, an Educational Psychologist will assess how the program is administering tests and the other factors that go into giving them and make suggestions on improvements.

Educational Psychologists can advise teachers on the best teaching methods for their subjects of expertise and also evaluate an organization’s educational technology needs.

On the job, a, Educational Psychologist can expect to:

  • Analyze tests, teachers, and educational materials to see what’s working and what’s not.
  • Research learning disabilities and stay current on the newest information about what people with these conditions need in education.
  • Collaborate with their Educational Psychology peers to create studies and analyze the results of their work.
  • Diagnose students with learning disabilities or other behavioral problems using interviews and psychological tests.

Where Does an Educational Psychologist Work?

Educational Psychologists are most commonly employed by a school system. This isn’t the only sector where they can find work though. Learning agencies, community centers, research institutions, and local, state, or federal government agencies also hire Educational Psychologists to improve their teaching initiatives.

What Other Career Options Are Available to an Educational Psychologist?

There is a plethora of great jobs you can get with a degree in Educational Psychology — the caveat is you’ll need at least a master’s degree for most of them. If you’re willing to put in the extra educational effort, you’ll be able to land a secure role with a reasonable salary.

An Educational Psychologist can expect to find a career in the following areas:

  • School Psychologist: Similar to an Educational Psychologist, a School Psychologist is often found in a school district. It’s their job to work with children who may have learning-related challenges and help them succeed. School Psychologists test and diagnose students with disabilities, counsel teachers and parents about these kids’ needs, and create Independent Education Plans. They may work with preschool-age children to high school students.
  • College Counselor: College students need plenty of help as they plan their future careers. This is where a College Counselor comes in. They meet with students to discuss their job aspirations, help them pick the right major, and make sure they’re meeting their degree requirements, so they graduate on time.
  • College Professor: Being a College Professor means conducting research in your field, sharing those findings, and teaching classes. Professors may work with undergraduate or graduate students. They’re expected to have at least a master’s degree in their subject, but many universities will require a doctorate as well. It depends on where they’re employed.
  • Sociologist: Sociology is the study of human behavior and the society we’ve created. Sociologists focus on the social institutions, cultures, and processes that developed through human interaction and how these impact our species. Their work often reveals social issues. Teaching professionals and the government can use a Sociologist’s research to develop laws and other regulations.

What Degree Is Required to Become an Educational Psychologist? What Do They Study?

Being an Educational Psychologist means preparing yourself for plenty of schooling and extra work after graduation, especially if you want to pursue Educational Psychology itself.

The first step is getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a closely related field, like sociology. Depending on your college, you may be able to major in a specific psychological branch, but these programs are still relatively rare. Be prepared for subjects like developmental psychology and statistics.

After graduating with your bachelor’s, it’s time to get a higher education degree. You’ll need at least a master’s degree, but if you want the ability to diagnose learning disorders, you’ll have to earn a doctorate.

When your education is completed, you’ll need to complete more licensing requirements (including 1,000 hours of internships) and take the professional practice in psychology test. If you need a second chance to pass, you can retake the exam up to four times per year.

Once you have your degrees, a license, and aced your test, you’ll be ready to find an Educational Psychology job.

What Skills are Required in Educational Psychology? 

Much like other public-facing psychological fields, Educational Psychologists must be adept at verbal and written communication. They also need to be a strong statistician and detail oriented. Public speaking is another important skill since Educational Psychologists are often required to present to large groups of people.

How Much Money Does an Educational Psychologist Earn?

Their place of employment and years of experience heavily influence an Educational Psychologist’s salary. They can expect to earn between $70,000-$100,000 once they are established in their specialty.

Latest Educational Psychology Jobs Listings

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Position Company Location Posted
FACULTY (ADJUNCT) - ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY/ DISABLED STUDENT PROGRAMS AND SERVICES- CREDIT INSTRUCTION Santa Rosa Junior College Sonoma County, California US 02/22/2022
Description EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: Santa Rosa Junior College is currently accepting applications to establish a pool for adjunct faculty assignments. Adjunct assignments may be temporary, part-time and/or on-call and may be immediate or as needed. This job posting is not for a specific assignment or for a full-time faculty position, but rather for a pool of candidates who may be considered for part-time teaching or allied faculty assignments. Allied faculty ... More
FACULTY (ADJUNCT) - DISABILITY RESOURCES: DEAF/ HARD OF HEARING PROGRAM Santa Rosa Junior College Sonoma County, California US 02/22/2022
Description EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: Santa Rosa Junior College is currently accepting applications to establish a pool for adjunct faculty assignments. Adjunct assignments may be temporary, part-time and/or on-call and may be immediate or as needed. This job posting is not for a specific assignment or for a full-time faculty position, but rather for a pool of candidates who may be considered for part-time teaching or allied faculty assignments. Allied faculty ... More
FACULTY (ADJUNCT) - COLLEGE SKILLS/TUTORIAL Santa Rosa Junior College Sonoma County, California US 02/22/2022
Description EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: Santa Rosa Junior College is currently accepting applications to establish a pool for adjunct faculty assignments. Adjunct assignments may be temporary, part-time and/or on-call and may be immediate or as needed. This job posting is not for a specific assignment or for a full-time faculty position, but rather for a pool of candidates who may be considered for part-time teaching or allied faculty assignments. Allied faculty ... More
Director of Psychology Training - Texas Child Study Center The University of Texas at Austin Austin, Texas US 02/17/2022
Description The Division of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School seeks a pediatric or clinical child and adolescent psychologist with a track record of training excellence to serve as our Director of Psychology Training at the Texas Child Study Center (TCSC). TCSC is a collaboration between Dell Medical School, the first medical school to be built at a tier one research university in nearly ... More
Adjunct Faculty, Psychology Lone Star College Texas US 02/15/2022
Commitment to MissionThis job carries with it the obligation to uphold the Mission of Lone Star College (LSC) in carrying out the duties of the position. A commitment to positive interpersonal behaviors, professional communication, diversity, integrity, leadership, stewardship, respect and accountability to LSC students and employees is essential. Cultural Beliefs One LSC Student Focused ... More
Child Development and Education (CHDV) Instructor - Part-time Adjunct Pool Kern Community College District Porterville, California US 02/06/2022
Child Development and Education (CHDV) Instructor - Part-time Adjunct PoolKern Community College DistrictSalary: $60.00 HourlyJob Type: Part TimeJob Number: FY21-22-00325Location: Porterville, CADepartment: Career & Technical EducationBasic Function Please Note: ... More
Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) Counselor, Part-time Adjunct Pool Kern Community College District Porterville, California US 02/06/2022
Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) Counselor, Part-time Adjunct PoolKern Community College DistrictSalary: $60.00 HourlyJob Type: Full TimeJob Number: FY21-22-00350Location: Porterville, CADepartment: CounselingBasic Function Please Note: Kern ... More
Adjunct Faculty, Psychology Lone Star College Texas US 02/05/2022
Commitment to MissionThis job carries with it the obligation to uphold the Mission of Lone Star College (LSC) in carrying out the duties of the position. A commitment to positive interpersonal behaviors, professional communication, diversity, integrity, leadership, stewardship, respect and accountability to LSC students and employees is essential. Cultural Beliefs One LSC Student Focused Own It Advance Equity ... More
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