About School Psychology

A question I am often asked is, "What is a school psychologist?"  I used to try to explain it in terms of our typical role within the school system and theoretical service models, but I quickly learned that isn't what most people want to know.  Most people want to know what we DO for students.  Because I hear this question so often, and I want to give a standardized response each time, I decided I would create a section of this site to address the question.

And no, school psychologists are not school counselors.  Both professions share similar responsibilities and professional training, but there are key differences between the two professions.

Admittedly, when I first entered graduate school to become a school psychologist, I had several misconceptions about the profession.  For example,  I recall in my introductory course to school psychology, the professor asked us to all write down one thing we knew about school psychology, and one thing we were unsure about.   My factual statement was that school psychologists are able to diagnose mental health disorders and write prescriptions for psychological medication.  I now realize that was an entirely erroneous statement: school psychologists are not credentialed to diagnose mental health disorders, or prescribe psychotropic medications. 

With any career, providing a written description is a challenge, and could never fully describe the scope of responsibilities, challenges, or rewarding experiences the job entails.  However, below I have outlined some key elements of a typical school psychologist's job description and duties:
For additional information, I highly suggest you read a more thorough description from the National Association of School Psychologists.  You can read it here.

And from another school psychologist's perspective, we are not the folks who "put people into special ed."