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. For more information on the professional practices and employment conditions of school psychologists, check out the results from our latest membership survey.
School psychologists will enjoy expanding job opportunities through 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics (2021). They cite school psychologists with a doctoral degree as among those having the best prospects.
School Psychologists are employed predominately in public schools (85%), although thousands work in other settings. These include colleges and universities (8%), public charter schools (6%), independent practice (5%), private schools (4%), and hospitals/medical settings (1%) (Goforth, Farmer, Kim, Affrunti, Naser, & Lockwood, 2021).
The median salary of full-time, school-based practitioners in the U.S. in the 2019-2020 school year was $74,000. However, differences in salaries by region were observed, with the Northeast and West reporting higher salaries, on average, than the Central and Southeast regions (Goforth et al., 2021).
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.
Approximately 74% of school psychologists have a specialist degree or certificate of advanced graduate degree; 9% a master's degree; and 17% a doctoral degree in school psychology (Goforth et al., 2021).
The majority of school psychologists hold certification from a state department of education (89%). Approximately 13% are licensed through a state board of psychology or similar agency (Goforth, Farmer, Kim, Naser, Lockwood, Affrunti, in press). More than 15,000 school psychologists hold the credential of Nationally Certified School Psychologist. Review NASP's School Psychology Credentialing Fact Sheet (PDF) for more information.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2021). Occupational outlook handbook. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
Goforth, A. G., Farmer, R. L., Kim, S. Y., Affrunti, N., Naser, S. C., & Lockwood, A. B. (2021, February). School psychology: A national perspective from the 2020 Membership Survey. Session presented at the Annual Convention of the National Association of School Psychologists, Virtual.
Goforth, A. G., Farmer, R. L., Kim, S. Y., Naser, S. C., Lockwood, A. B., & Affrunti, N. (2021, July). Status of school psychology in 2020: Part 1, Demographics of the NASP Membership Survey [Research Report]. Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.
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.