Being a school psychologist requires you to juggle many different tasks at a time while continuing to add to your plate.
In talking with a few school psychologists I work with, they were able to offer some tips for individuals considering pursuing a career in psychology, or those psychologists interested in jumping into the school psych world.
Being able to keep track of evaluation and reevaluation due dates as well as IEPs can be a full-time job in itself. This was the number one tip offered by multiple school psychologists. They all reported different ways they stay organized from Google spreadsheets to physical calendar planners. Being able to stay on top of the timely due dates can make your life easier in the long run.
Provide Clear Expectations
Teachers and other staff members in the school need to be aware of the process when referring to the school psychologist whether it is for special education testing or gifted education testing. Each school district may have a slightly different process, but it can fall on the school psychologist to make sure their colleagues understand when to refer and when to try other interventions first.
Find Out Who Your Team is!
School psychologists often work closely with the special education department as well as guidance counselors. The special education department can be large and encompass not only teachers but also speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, paraprofessionals, vision/hearing therapists, etc. These individuals you are going to want to have close contact with to be able to work closely on reports with!
This goes for ANY job, but the role of a school psychologist can be especially demanding with timelines that don’t stop over weekends or days off from school. It is important for your career’s longevity as well as your mental health to make sure you set clear boundaries and separate work from home. That being said, take some time at the beginning of the year to set clear expectations for yourself. Maybe that means leaving work at work and shutting off your school email from your personal phone.
The roles of a school psychologist seem to be ever-changing and growing day by day. Although the to-do lists may appear to never end, following these tips from other professionals will allow you to be set up for success.
Author: Camryn Hess, M.S. CCC-SLP