How to Find a Psychologist that is Right for Your School

  • December 23, 2020
  • Bilingual Therapies

Introduction

School psychologists serve an ever-increasing role in schools, providing many different students with needed services. They have many responsibilities, assisting the school community in a myriad of ways. Find out how a well-qualified specialist can help students achieve optimal success.

Roles and Responsibilities of a School Psychologist

Part of both monolingual and bilingual psychologists’ job is to be aware of the cultural underpinnings of a child’s responses to the various activities that they engage with during assessments. Psychologists spend time interviewing parents about their child’s experiences both at school and, if relevant, at home as well. That is one of the many reasons to make sure you are hiring the most qualified candidate for your school. 

School psychologists are essential to a schools’ team for both students and their group of teachers. They provide insight into the correlation between a students’ mental health and how it can be applied to provide success academically, emotionally, and socially. Their work goes beyond the classroom in that they can identify what a student needs to succeed in their home environment. School psychologists can work with the students’ parents and their team of teachers to provide peak collaboration with each other. 

Aside from working with the students’ team of teachers and parents, school psychologists support students by identifying goals and needs. This is followed by creating actionable plans through IEPs and monitoring students’ progress to ensure they achieve their goals and adjust their plans as needed. Some of the areas that school psychologists focus on are bullying, academic difficulties, problems at home, diverse learning needs, and mental health issues. They also focus on supporting students with disabilities.  Overall, the main objective is to offer students support to achieve academic, behavioral, mental, and emotional success. 

The Difference Between School Psychologists and School Counselors

Both the psychologist and counselor are critical to schools, but each has unique roles and responsibilities. The goal of each specialist is to maximize student success by providing services that nurture healthy development. The primary difference is that psychologists take a more specialized, analytical approach than counselors, usually involving assessment and testing. Counselors, meanwhile, operate through group and individual counseling sessions, with the aim of improving student mental health.

Some school psychologist-specific tasks include:

  • Providing services to children with various mental health challenges, from early childhood through high school
  • Understanding behavior issues, academic struggles, developmental challenges, and social struggles in children at schools
  • Developing and tailoring assessments to understand student challenges better
  • Working with families, teachers, administrators, and other specialists to maximize student outcomes
  • Designing plans to ensure student success
  • Researching current studies and literature to maintain best practices
  • Actively participating in student IEPs

School counselors have similar roles, but often take a different approach to deliver services. Some responsibilities of counselors are:

  • Ensuring that students utilize academic strategies
  • Helping students control emotions to help them be successful
  • Preparing students for post-secondary opportunities, such as college, trade school, and the armed forces
  • Assisting individual students with goal setting and planning
  • Providing counseling lessons to classrooms
  • Listening to student challenges and developing solutions
  • Collaborating with families, teachers, and administrators

School psychologists and counselors provide different services, but have the same goal: to help all students reach their fullest potentials.

How to Recognize a Qualified Applicant vs. an Unqualified Applicant

Finding the right candidate is crucial, and making sure that your applicant is qualified is the first step. Qualified school psychologists undergo a rigorous certification process. After obtaining their bachelor’s degree, usually in psychology, child development, or education, these specialists need to get a master’s degree in school psychology. Some districts also require a doctorate. 

All states require applicants to take and pass a standardized licensing exam. Also, some candidates obtain the Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential. This program includes passing the national exam, completing 60 training hours, and going through 1,200 hours of intensive practice.

Often, unqualified applicants will not be able to produce proof of the various certification requirements. You can look up online whether an applicant is currently licensed in your state and ensure that the candidate is qualified to work for a district.

The way the applicant handles him or herself in the interview is telling, too. They should be professional, knowledgeable, and able to answer the tough questions about school psychology’s nuances. You can often tell a lot by candidates’ responses as to whether they will be a good fit for a school setting. The overall message given off by a candidate should center around children and their mental well-being.

The Benefits of Using Bilingual Therapies for Staffing

Here at Bilingual Therapies, we believe that student success is a top priority, and our candidates reflect that belief. We offer both monolingual and bilingual professionals who are ready to contribute to your site immediately. We are dedicated to providing only high-quality candidates. To do this, we screen each of our school-based professionals, ensuring that schools receive exceptional specialists. We continually support our candidates with consistent training, continuing education, and more. Above all, our specialists are part of the Bilingual Therapies family, which means they deeply value compassion, culture, and community. 

Qualified, professional school psychologists can add extraordinary value to schools. With a vast range of roles and responsibilities, these specialists provide services to all students in need, helping them grow and develop healthily. Finding the right candidate is critical. At Bilingual Therapies, we are here to pair our superior candidates with your school, no matter your hiring needs. Contact us, and we can help you become part of the vibrant Bilingual Therapies community today.

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Together, let’s create brighter futures for culturally diverse students.