Becoming an educational psychologist
Educational psychologists help children or young people who are experiencing problems within an educational setting with the aim of enhancing their learning. It’s a highly specialised profession andthere are currently around 2,750 educational psychologists registered with the Health Professions Council to practise in England.
Educational psychologists are usually employed by local education authorities and pay is negotiated through the Soulbury committee.
Trainee and assistant ed psych: £22,000 - £30,000
Ed pschy: Pay scale £34,000- 50,000
Senior ed psych:£42,500 - £63,000
Officially 35 hours a week , often on a flexitime system. Actual hours vary quite a lot and if a report has to be finished by a deadline that will mean working late, for example.
Place of work
Office-based but visiting and working in a wide range of other settings including schools, colleges, nurseries and special units, and also home visits for young children.
Educational psychologists deal with social or emotional problems or learning difficulties both with individual clients or advising teachers, parents, social workers and other professionals. Client work usually involves an assessment of the child using observation, interviews and test materials and then recommending appropriate interventions. These consist of learning programmes and collaborative work with teachers or parents.
Typical work activities
- Assessing learning and emotional needs by observing and consulting with multi-agency teams to advise on the best approaches and provisions to support learning and development
- Developing and supporting therapeutic and behaviour management programmes
- Designing and developing courses for parents, teachers and others involved with the education of children and young people on topics such as bullying
- Writing reports to make formal recommendations on action to be taken, including formal statements as part of court proceedings or children’s panels
- Advising, supporting and negotiating with teachers, parents and other education professionals
- Attending case conferences involving multidisciplinary teams on how best to meet the social, emotional, behavioural and learning needs of the children and young people in their care
- Developing and reviewing policies
- Conducting active research
- Formulating interventions that focus on applying knowledge, skills and expertise to support local and national initiatives;
- A good honours degree in psychology. The British Psychological Society also offers conversion courses to graduates with eligible degrees and relevant work experience in order to achieve the required Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)
- A three-year doctorate degree in educational psychology that is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). For Scotland only, an accredited Masters in Educational Psychology followed by the British Psychological Society (BPS) Award in Educational Psychology. It is necessary to register with the HCPC in order to work as, and use, the protected title of Educational Psychologist
- The Teaching Agency offers some funded places for the post-graduate doctorate degree.
What is relevant work experience?
Relevant experience includes work as a teacher, a graduate assistant in an educational psychology service, a learning support assistant, an educational social worker, a learning mentor, a speech and language therapist, a care worker and a worker in early years settings. Voluntary experience of various kinds may assist applicants in demonstrating a breadth of relevant experience.