There is often some confusion about the role of the educational psychologist, and how these professionals differ from school psychologists. While both professions are engaged in helping students learn, they go about this in different ways.
A school psychologist is more of a hands on, counseling psychologist who helps individuals improve their ability to learn.
The educational psychologist leans more towards the research end of the scale. They are focused on developing a greater understanding of learning in general and how to deliver education in the most effective way.
What Does An Educational Psychologist Do?
One of the key aims of educational psychologists is to study how children and adults learn and apply this information to various educational settings so that the people delivering the education in a way that as many people as possible can understand.
The thing with humans is that we’re all different, and the way in which we learn is a good example of this.
For example some people learn better by being able to study the theory of something, while others need more of a hands on experience to fully grasp the material being taught. Some people are auditory while others are more visual.
Delivering education successfully involves understanding these different learning styles and trying to cater to them as much as possible with the style of teaching and the delivery of education. Educational psychologistsalso look into the learning abilities of various sub-groups of the population.
So for example people who are more intellectually gifted will benefit from a different style of teaching than someone who lacks those gifts.
The relationship between age and learning is another area that that the educational psychologist would be interested in. So some of the roles of the educational psychologist would include:
- Creation of various tests designed to give a greater understanding of the learning process.
- The evaluation of educational courses and programs to identify areas where improvements can be made.
- Working with education provers to help them better understand how they can more effectively deliver their teaching
How To Become An Educational Psychologist
The first step in becoming a psychologist, regardless of what specialty you’d like to eventually go into, is to go to college where you’ll earn a degree, usually with a major in psychology.
During this time you may also choose to be involved in helping professors and other graduate students with their research into various aspects of educational psychology. From there you’ll continue on with your studies earning a Masters in educational psychology and possibly a Doctorate as well.
The exact courses and degrees that you choose to undertake and complete may vary slightly depending on the courses offered by your educational institution along with your own specific interests.
Careers As An Educational Psychologist
Once you’ve achieved the necessary qualifications you’ll be able to decide which particular areas of educational psychology you want to focus on.
For example you may have a particular interest in special needs education or some other specific group and so choose to focus your attentions there. Or maybe you’ll find that you have a knack for helping educators become better at their jobs and so this is what you will choose work on.
For some people this will have been decided before their studies are over. For others it may be something that only comes to them once they have gained some real world experience working with other educational psychologists.
Either way, a career as an educational psychologist can be extremely interesting and rewarding. Knowing that you’re helping people learn more effectively and potentially creating opportunities for those people that they may otherwise never have had, can be very satisfying.