In Summary - Educational Psychologist
Educational Psychologists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos & Interviews
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).
The Work - Educational Psychologist
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.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- 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.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- 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.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Interests - Educational Psychologist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
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 Requirements - Educational Psychologist
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
Pay & Salary - Educational Psychologist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 32k - 86k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Educational Psychologist
Useful Contacts - Educational Psychologist
Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI)
British Psychological Society
Department of Education and Skills