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Psychologist - Educational

Job Zone

Most of these occupations require post-graduate qualifications. For example, they may require a masters degree, and some require a Ph.D., or M.D.

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Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialised medical training to be able to do their job.

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Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organisational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and most scientists.

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At a Glance... header image

Investigates processes of learning and teaching, and develops psychological principles and techniques applicable to educational problems.

Videos & Interviews header image

1Total Records: 1

Elaine MacDonald
Psychologist - Clinical  

Elaine MacDonald works as a Clinical Psychologist in St Michael's House. She did a BA degree in English literature and Philosophy in Trinity College Dublin. After a period of time teaching in Japan she decided to return home and train as a Clinical Psychologist. She completed the Higher Diploma in Psychology (DipPsych) in UCD which then allowed her to undertake training to be a Clinical Psychologist which she completed at the University of North Wales (Bangor).

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The Work header image

Educational psychologists deal with the psychological and educational development of people in the education system. This may include students of any age, their parents or guardians and the people who work with them.

Their work can involve both assessment and intervention within the education setting. They are also likely to be involved in training and research on related issues.

Educational psychologists encounter a wide range of problems, when assessing young peoples' learning and emotional needs. For example, some children have learning difficulties in reading and writing. Others have social and emotional problems that lead them to display challenging behaviour in the classroom, or make them unable to make friends. Some children may have a specific learning problem like dyslexia. Very intelligent or 'gifted' children have their own needs and may have problems coping with teachers' and parents' expectations of them.  
Educational psychologists usually begin to tackle a case by carrying out a full psychological assessment. This means looking at the young person's needs, both at school and at home. Educational psychologists can work either directly with a child (assessing progress, giving counselling) or indirectly through their work with parents, teachers and other professionals.  
In direct work, an assessment can involve observing young people's behaviour, or using interviews and test materials. From this assessment, the educational psychologist may make recommendations to decide the most appropriate educational programme to meet the child's needs.  
Recommendations may include counselling, family therapy sessions or planning special teaching techniques to improve the young person's learning and tackle any behavioural problems they have.  
In indirect work, educational psychologists contribute their views and findings in careful consultation with other professionals, including education officers, social workers, medical consultants and health visitors.  
Educational psychologists also train teachers in different teaching techniques. They help schools to think about and put into practice policies on special needs. Educational psychologists may organise courses and workshops for parents, teachers or other professionals, providing training on issues such as stress management, bullying, specific learning difficulties and behaviour management.  
Some educational psychologists are involved in research, helping to create effective education policies. For example, they may assess how effective a school's policy on bullying has been.


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Compile and interpret students' test results, along with information from teachers and parents, to diagnose conditions, and to help assess eligibility for special services.


Select, administer, and score psychological tests.


Interpret test results and prepare psychological reports for teachers, administrators, and parents.


Counsel children and families to help solve conflicts and problems in learning and adjustment.


Provide consultation to parents, teachers, administrators, and others on topics such as learning styles and behavior modification techniques.


Report any pertinent information to the proper authorities in cases of child endangerment, neglect, or abuse.


Maintain student records, including special education reports, confidential records, records of services provided, and behavioral data.


Assess an individual child's needs, limitations, and potential, using observation, review of school records, and consultation with parents and school personnel.


Collect and analyze data to evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs and other services, such as behavioral management systems.


Promote an understanding of child development and its relationship to learning and behavior.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships:  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.


Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates:  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.


Provide Consultation and Advice to Others:  Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.


Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


Analyzing Data or Information:  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.


Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others:  Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work:  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.


Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others:  Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Psychology:  Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.


Therapy and Counseling:  Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.


English Language:  Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Education and Training:  Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.


Sociology and Anthropology:  Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Social Perceptiveness:   Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Active Listening:   Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Writing:   Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Judgment and Decision Making:   Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Speaking:   Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Learning Strategies:   Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.


Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Monitoring:   Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Time Management:   Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

You must have a very strong commitment to helping children and young people overcome learning and behavioural problems. You must be able to use a logical and objective approach to solving problems.  
You will need a caring personality and the ability to empathise with your clients. You must be able to build a trusting relationship with young people, through the use of sensitivity, tact and diplomacy.  
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are needed to work with parents, teachers and other professionals. You will also need good administration, good aptitude with understanding and time management skills - this career can involve a lot of paperwork.  
This work can be very demanding, so you must be resilient and not become burdened by the problems you encounter. You must be patient, and prepared to work with children and young people who seem to make little, or very slow progress.

Entry Routesheader image

In order to become an Educational psychologist a primary degree in psychology is required. You also need to complete a training course in educational psychology, preferably at Masters level.

You can enhance your chances of achieving a place on such a programme by gaining a teacher qualification or teaching experience, or experience working with young people in an educational setting. Working with students with disabilities would also be helpful.

Courses are currently offered by:

  • University College Dublin
  • Queen’s University Belfast

Last Updated: May, 2015

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

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Go..School Psychologist - from:  YouTube Video

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI)
  Address: CX House, 2A Corn Exchange Place, Poolbeg Street, Dublin 2
  Tel: (01) 474 9160
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: British Psychological Society
  Address: St Andrews House, 48 Princess Road East, Leicester LE1 7DR
  Tel: +44 (0)116 254 9568
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Department of Education and Skills
  Address: Marlborough St, Dublin 1
  Tel: (01) 889 6400
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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