School Psychologist or School Counselor, Meaning, Definition, Characteristics, Features, Importance, Issues, and Problem. It can be confusing when thinking about the role of a school psychologist; especially when you compare them to a guidance counselor. A guidance counselor, who is very important to the everyday functioning of a school and students; focuses more on getting a student through their school career academically; and, if the student wants to attend a college they see to it that the student is equipped for the transition.

Here is the article to explain, School Psychologist or School Counselor, their Characteristics, Features, Importance, Issues, and Problem!

School Counselor or School Psychologist Meaning and Definition? Both occupations are important to a school’s function and at times go hand in hand; but, it is what a school psychologist can do that makes them vital. The school psychologist can work with a student on a much more personal level and find out; what is making them tick or what may be troubling them on a deeper level. The school counselor many times works with the student and their issues and how it pertains to their education. There are times that the guidance counselor looks upon to serve the students in both arenas and the same goes for the school psychologist.

The guidance counselor is more than likely going to have opportunities to counsel and work with a student especially; if they form a relationship with that student; but depending on the situation or issue that is occurring; it is in the best interest of the student for the school psychologist to work with them. However, it’s the individual expertise that makes them stand apart. While the guidance counselor is going over college plans and preparing transcripts for a student; the school counselor may be having a group counseling session with students who are dealing with a specific issue.

Futures or Characteristics of School Psychologist or School Counselor;

So, what does the future hold for the world of school psychology? The education realm will always be in existence but to what extent? Technology is always evolving and growing and that means there will be more and more opportunities for students to engage in specialized learning. The alternative setting may become more prominent, such as homeschooling and online/internet-based schools. This type of learning will suddenly become the normal way of educating.

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The future of school psychology and educating and training new psychologists is vital. In the year 2000, the recommended ratio of students to school psychologists was 1000:1 (Curtis, Chesno Grier, & Hunley, 1998). That would be mean roughly one school counselor per school in a school district. The ratio also depends on the types of services that are being provided to the students by the school psychologist. Some students may never come into contact with their designated school psychologist; but, many need the services provided to be successful in their school career.

Other things;

In 2000, a call was made to see a shift in how a school psychologist approached their day. An ecological perspective was requested to see a change in how children were approached. It was felt that a school counselor could have more of an impact on a child’s life; if moved away from the old style and focused on making sure that the child had a healthy environment. Shifting the focus this way would also adapt to the shortage of school psychologists in an area. Making use of families, school, individual, and group settings would show genuine involvement for all who involve in a child’s life.

The role and involvement of a school counselor are where the question comes into the picture. With the homeschooling option becoming more popular a school psychologist will have to be more consultative; and, train more problem-solving skills when working with those adults (parents, teachers, administration) involved in homeschooling. School psychology is extremely important to a school and its daily function. As previously stated a school psychologist can involve very heavily in a student’s day and can be vital to their success.

Benefits or Importance of a School Psychologist or School Counselor;

It can be difficult to place a level of importance on any career; but, becoming a school psychologist is choosing a career where you could make a major impact. In the educational system, the ultimate satisfaction is seeing a student succeed not only during your time with them but watching them succeed outside of school. Unfortunately, each child or student is different and requires different approaches. Something that may bother or cause a problem for child A may not cause the issue for child B. Understanding what you are facing is key for a school counselor. The National Center for Children in Poverty or the NCCP states that one in five children from the ages of birth to 18 years old has a diagnosable mental disorder (Stagman & Cooper, 2010).

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The School Psychologist must evaluate and create a plan of action for each unique as they arise and see to it that the student has the best available services. Life at home for a child is not always the best situation and it is beyond their control. The NCCP reports that fifty-seven percent of children and youth with mental health issues come from homes living at or below the federal poverty line. Students with special needs and/or mental disorders need someone that will advocate for them and has a desire to see breakthroughs and success at all levels.

Problems or Issues for School Psychologist or School Counselor;

The day for a school psychologist is not always an easy one. Each day they could be present with stressful anxiety-filled moments that would make many not envious of their career choice. School psychologists have a heart for helping and want nothing more than to see a child succeed not only in the classroom but in the real world as well. One glaring problem that the world of education is facing is that there is not enough funding in some parts of the country to hire a school counselor. If they currently have one, there is a good chance that steps are being taken to slowly eliminate that position (Weir, 2012). Schools are looking for ways to save money and have taken measures to eliminate “nonessential” school personnel and programs.

More issue to know;

In 2009, School Psychology International reported that there was an estimated 32,300 school psychologist in the nation and the task with servicing more than 6.5 million public school students (Weir, 2012). Having this much difference in the two numbers creates more of a workload for the school counselor. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, the ratio for psychologists to students is 1 to 500-700, but unfortunately; it is much higher and in some special cases can be close to 1 to 3,500. With numbers being so low, it forces school counselors to work longer hours and many times take their work home.

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All careers have issues and all schools and places of education have problems; but, it’s how the issues handle and by whom. In 1995, The American Academy of School Psychology was founded to prepare and train those to deal effectively with problems or issues that stem from learning and/or human behavior (Cassel, 1999, p. 584). A school psychologist can be the most valuable person on your staff to deal with issues and problems when they pop up. That is why it is so important that funding for these positions continues and doesn’t dwindle.

Why you Becoming a School Psychologist or a School Counselor;

Before you can begin changing lives in the world of school psychology you must be willing to obtain specific education requirements. Throughout the United States, there are approximately 240 institutions that offer psychology graduate programs (“Becoming a School Psychologist,” n.d.). When deciding on an institution, the National Association of School Psychology or the NASP approves many universities that APA accredit.

How to become a school psychologist?

To become a school psychologist, you will need to either have a specialist-level degree designed for school psychology or a doctorate. Some graduate programs that offer degrees for school psychology may require that a student not only completes academic work; but, also has supervised fieldwork and possibly an internship that would equip you with the knowledge, skills, and the learning experience for working every day as a school counselor. During your graduate program, you may require to do a practicum or an internship.

This will allow you to work closely with a trained school psychologist and begin to discover what you will face when you have completed your training. Once you have completed the required schooling for this career you will need to become certified; and, depending on the state that you work in will determine if you have the requirements needed. Each state is different on what is required but the National Association of School Counselor or NASP requires minimum specialist-level training. The work and training need to become a school counselor can be daunting but it can pale in comparison to the issue that a student endures and the sheer idea that you can assist the student with their matters can make the process worth it and rewarding.

Reference; Benefits of a School Psychologist. Retrieved from https://www.ukessays.com/essays/education/benefits-of-a-school-psychologist.php?vref=1

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