Ideal for professionals with a strong interest in both education and psychology and excellent interpersonal skills, this degree can open the door to a variety of rewarding careers. As experts in the psychology of learning and motivation, educational psychologists work as counselors, consultants, and psychologists to assess learning needs and recommend actions that students, parents, educators, and organizations can take to improve educational outcomes. These professionals work in private practices, schools and school districts, and companies and organizations. This guide explores more about some of the careers for educational psychology graduates. A master's degree is the minimum requirement for most jobs in this field, though many employers prefer a doctorate. Some positions also require certification or state licensure. Earning your master's in educational psychology online, rather than on campus, gives you the flexibility to study according to your schedule.
Many rewarding careers in education offer steady job growth and excellent benefits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects school counselor jobs, for example, to grow by 13% from 2016 to 2026. Wages in education and psychology vary greatly by position, employer type, and location and typically increase with education and experience. Many positions related to educational psychology, including school counselors, require or prefer a master's degree. As seen in the table below, these counselors can earn average salaries above $60,000.
|Industry||Annual Mean Wage|
|Elementary and Secondary Schools; State, Local, and Private||$62,990|
|Other Educational Services; State, Local, and Private||$49,570|
|Junior Colleges, Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools; State, Local, and Private||$49,150|
|Healthcare and Social Assistance||$37,300|
Professionals with expertise and graduate-level training in both education and psychology can enter a variety of career paths. Many work in schools or for school districts. Some work directly with students, parents, and teachers, and others serve in an advisory capacity. Jobs, like those listed below, require an understanding of the psychological processes that impact learning, a passion for education, and strong interpersonal skills.
Annual Median Salary: $55,410
School counselors advise students on issues related to academics, peer and social relations, course selection, and college applications. They help students develop the academic and social skills they need for success. States typically require public school counselors to hold a master's degree and state licensure.
Annual Median Salary: $74,809
Psychologists use their knowledge of human cognitive, social, and behavioral development and processes to help people improve their behavior. Educational psychologists use their specialized expertise in learning and motivation to assist schools and organizations in developing appropriate and effective instructional programs. Many positions in this field require a doctoral degree, although some may only require a master's.
Annual Median Salary: $59,970
These psychologists work directly with students in schools and may advise teachers, administrators, and parents. They assess student needs; identify learning, emotional, and behavioral disorders that may interfere with learning; and make recommendations about appropriate interventions and strategies. This position requires a master's degree, and many employers require or prefer a doctorate.
Annual Median Salary: $61,731
Some psychologists with specialized training in education work as consultants for companies developing educational products or materials, school districts seeking to improve educational services, or parents looking for advice on educational options for their children. Many of these consultants remain self-employed. Professionals working for a school system or organization typically hold at least a master's degree.
Annual Median Salary: $58,289
These education experts assess educational needs and processes to improve access to appropriate services, teacher effectiveness, and student learning. Many focus on testing students with disabilities and recommending educational interventions to schools and parents. Educational and licensure requirements vary, but many employers prefer graduate degree holders.
Required courses for a master's in educational psychology online differ by school and according to program emphasis. All educational psychology master's programs train professionals to apply psychological theory and research to educational practice and include courses in human development, learning theories, and child psychology. Other courses prepare graduates to assess educational needs for individuals, groups, schools, or organizations. These courses also design appropriate interventions and may include field experiences. See sample courses are listed below.
This course explores the psychological, physical, and cognitive changes that occur over the lifespan and cultural influences on development. Topics of particular emphasis include the development of young children and adolescents and methods of assessing developmental differences in individuals. Participants learn to identify developmentally appropriate instructional strategies and behavioral interventions.
In this course, participants learn to apply psychological concepts and mental health principles to the learning and behavior of young children and teens. This course introduces research-informed strategies for maximizing student mental health and learning in classroom and school environments.
This course explores the cognitive, social, cultural, and psychological factors that can influence learning as informed by psychological theory and research. With the goal of applying psychological theory to educational practice, participants apply learning theories to instructional design and delivery.
This course introduces participants to social psychology theory, research, and practice, enabling them to apply their understanding to educational settings, activities, and programs. Participants explore the influence of relationships and social contexts on educational outcomes and learn to develop appropriate interventions.
This course introduces participants to the identification and use of research-based behavioral interventions intended to meet the social-emotional needs of students. Participants learn to set behavioral goals for students, design school-based interventions, and monitor student progress.
Practitioners in the educational psychology field can gain networking, training, and career opportunities from a variety of professional organizations. Associations such as those listed below offer benefits to members that include networking events, journals, and job boards. They also provide valuable research updates, policy briefs, provider listings, and other resources to professionals along with policymakers, the media, and the public.
American Psychological Association: This large scientific and professional organization represents the psychology field and the interests of practitioners, educators, and students. APA promotes professional standards through its writing style guide and certification of continuing education programs. This website features access to policy and research briefs, resources, publications, and an online help center.
APA Division 15: An APA organization, Division 15 promotes the interests of educational psychologists and seeks to expand psychological knowledge related to education. The organization offers an educational psychology journal, newsletter, conference, and job board to members and unique opportunities for graduate students.
Association of Educational Therapists: This professional membership association serves therapists who provide educational interventions and personalized instruction to individuals with learning challenges or disabilities. AET offers networking and training opportunities through its national conference, webinars, workshops, and regional study groups.
American School Counselor Association: This association supports school counselors to help students achieve success and lead full, healthy lives. ASCA also advocates for best practices in the field and offers resources and publications to school counselors, administrators, and parents.
The National Association of School Psychologists: This professional association represents school psychologists in their work to help students thrive through access to mental health resources. NASP delivers resources, publications, research, and standards to its members and offers professional development and certification.
American Educational Research Association: This national research society promotes and shares educational research. AERA supports members of the educational research community through its divisions, special interest groups, and graduate student council. The association also offers training to professionals and monitors federal policy.
National School Climate Center: This national nonprofit seeks to improve school climate and safety through comprehensive, data-driven school reform. The nonprofit offers resources and publications along with educational services and an online learning center to educators and schools.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children: This professional membership organization promotes high-quality learning experiences for young children through age eight with advocacy, professional development, and programmatic accreditation. NAEYC offers professional networking opportunities through conferences, online forums, advocacy efforts, and other events.
The Society for Research in Child Development: This research society seeks to advance the needs of children through research on child development and advocacy. The society holds regular meetings and publishes journals, reports, monographs, and policy statements.
Society for the Study of Human Development: This professional society takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of human development. SSHD holds a conference, publishes position papers and a journal, offers webinars, and gives awards.
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