What Does Educational Psychology Focus On?
Educational psychology focuses on the social, emotional, and cognitive factors that influence learning. This field enhances education by exploring the cultural dynamics within the home, school, and community that impacts student performance.
In its early stages, professionals in this field focused primarily on addressing the educational challenges of young children in the school setting. However as more adults return to school, a significant amount of attention is now being given to adult learners.
Educational psychologists work with children and teenagers who are dealing with learning or emotional problems, youth who are experiencing social issues, and individuals who have more complex disabilities and disorders. Helping teachers and administrators create methods to overcome learning obstacles is a goal for many professionals in this field. Educational pychologists also help with developing instructional methods for adult learners both in the classroom setting and in the workplace.
The demand for professionals in the field of educational and school psychology is expected to increase (source). As educators continue to focus on meeting the educational needs of children who have developmental disorders, behavioral challenges, or have been impacted by bullying and other social issues, the need for educational psychologists will continue to grow.
Career Path and Options
Conducting research is a popular career option for professionals in the educational psychology field. Various public and private organizations as well as the military and other government agencies often employ researchers to help with organizational improvement.
Professionals in this role research how certain settings and instructional techniques impact learning. The results are then used to improve the instructional strategies of various educational and training programs in schools, within the government, and in the corporate world.
This research is fundamental to the development of new educational initiatives and policies nationwide.
Although a specific wage for educational researchers was not noted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the related field of Survey Research earns an average mean wage of $54,730 annually, as of May 2014.
School psychologists are often employed by public school districts as well as some private schools and learning centers. In this role, professionals focus on making the educational process easier for students.
School psychologists work directly with students to help them overcome any challenges related to disabilities, emotional issues, social adjustment, or other behavioral problems that impede learning. They use observations, assessments, tests, and interviews to evaluate the effectiveness of the educational process for students. Based upon the results, school psychologists then utilize available resources or develop new tools and strategies to help students improve performance. These tools might include enhanced worksheets, individualized lesson plans, creative videos, and audio instructional tools.
School psychologists also help students indirectly by working with teachers, parents, and school administrators. Developing individualized educational programs for students who are struggling to learn are often a priority. In many school districts, they also help administrators with the development of programs for Gifted learners. The goal is to support teachers and parents in implementing individualized instructional strategies for students.
Some individuals specialize in working with specific groups of students such as children with Learning Disabilities, Gifted learners, or Adult learners.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, school psychologists earn an average mean wage of $74,030 annually, as of May 2014.
Some educational psychologists choose to become private practitioners. These professionals often contract with government agencies, corporations, court systems, and other public and private organizations as a Consultant. Private practitioners use their skills to help organizations provide more effective trainings and workshops for their employees. They are also asked to evaluate existing programs or to develop new educational curriculums. Private Practitioners are also known to analyze educational data to determine what program changes should be initiated.
These professionals are often hired by school districts to evaluate teaching strategies, assessment measures, and program quality. The results often give school administrators valuable insight into various areas that are not working for specific groups of learners. The recommendations of Private Practitioners are often implemented by schools to improve the overall quality of their educational programs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists in various specialties, including private practice earn an average mean wage of $89,810 annually, as of May 2014.
University or College Faculty
You will find many educational psychologists employed as Teachers and Faculty at various educational institutions. From small colleges to larger universities, Faculty are found teaching courses, conducting research, developing research methods, and working with colleagues on various projects. You might also find some faculty members with an educational psychology background running study groups to help students who are struggling academically. Many faculty members also use their skills to develop curriculum and improve instructional and enrichment programs.
Although a specific wage for University Faculty was not noted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the related career of Postsecondary Education Teacher earns an average mean wage of $65,180 annually, as of May 2014.
- How to Become a Research Psychologist
- How to Become an Educational Psychologist
- What is the Difference Between School and Educational Psychology?
- What Can You Do With a Degree in School Psychology?
- What is the Difference Between a School Psychologist and a Clinical Psychologist?