Workforce & Salary Information
Demand for school psychologists is exceptionally strong and on the rise. As life has become more stressful, schools and communities have come under increasing pressure to provide mental health and instructional support for children and youth.
School psychologists will enjoy expanding job opportunities through 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics (2014). They cite school psychologists with a specialist degree as among those having the best prospects.
School Psychologists are employed predominately in public schools (86%), although thousands work in other settings. These include colleges and universities (10%), private schools (8%), independent practice (7%), faith-based schools (6.7%), hospitals/medical settings (1.5%), and state departments of education (1.6%) (Walcott, Charvat, McNamara, & Hyson, 2016).
The mean salary of full-time, school-based practitioners in the U.S. in the 2009-2010 school year was $64,168 for those with 180-day contracts and $71,320 for those with 200-day contracts. The mean for university faculty was $77,801 (Castillo, Curtis, & Gelley, 2012).
Many school psychologists are paid according to a district or state approved pay scale that computes a person's salary based on years of experience, and graduate degrees or graduate semester hours earned. Occasionally, it is necessary for a school psychologist to advocate and share information with the school district representative about the level of training that a school psychologist has to ensure fair pay. For practitioners who find themselves in this advocacy position, NASP has compiled a memorandum explaining what the school psychology degree represents, as well as an adaptable letter for university programs to provide to their graduates.
Fifty-five percent of school psychologists have a specialist degree or certificate of advanced graduate degree; 20% a master's degree; and 25% a doctoral degree in school psychology (Walcott et al., 2016).
The majority of school psychologists hold certification from a state department of education (96%). Eleven percent are licensed through a state board of psychology or similar agency (Walcott et al., 2016). More than 14,500 school psychologists hold the credential of Nationally Certified School Psychologist (Rossen, 2017).
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2015). Occupational outlook handbook. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
Castillo, J. M., Curtis, M. J., & Gelley, C. (2012). School Psychology 2010: Demographics, employment, and the context for professional practices–Part 1. Communiqué, 40(7), 1, 28-30.
Rossen, E. (2017, July). The Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential: Number granted in the past year by institution and state and total active. Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists. Retrieved from http://www.nasponline.org/research-and-policy/nasp-research-center/school-psychology-workforce
Walcott, C. M., Charvat, J., McNamara, K. M., & Hyson, D. M. (2016, February). School psychology at a glance: 2015 member survey results. Special session presented at the Annual Convention of the National Association of School Psychologists, New Orleans, LA.
Please note that these are national figures for school psychologists who are NASP members, and there is likely significant variability by state, school district, and so on.