You’ve chosen a career in school psychology so that you can help students improve their lives. It’s a challenging job but rewarding too.
You need a solid education and a license to practice. You’ll also stand a better chance of getting a job if you have experience.
To stand out when applying for a new job, you’ll need a super-special resume. So, we’ve developed examples section-by-section just for you.
Resume objective for school psychology
Many professional psychologists who apply for jobs in academia choose to submit a curriculum vitae (CV) rather than a much shorter resume when applying for jobs.
A resume will provide a more detailed account of accomplishments including training and experience as well as volunteer positions and membership in professional organizations like the American Psychology Association (APA).
According to the director of clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Mitchell Prinstein, it is beneficial to include anything that relates to the applicant’s professional experience and character in a CV.
Either way, a resume objective is a good way to present a quick, meaningful snapshot of who and what you are, and what you hope to achieve if/when you get the job you are applying for. You want to grab the attention of the recruiter by highlighting your competencies in terms of the job.
We sampled dozens of school psychology resumes and found that the strongest objectives were specific and clear. They also incorporated strong action words that are in keeping with professional psychologists.
Examples of adjectives often used include: professional, patient, ethical, reliable, empathetic, insightful, compassionate, contemplative, clear-thinking, analytical, collaborative, and communicative.
Highly motivated, ethical school psychologist with a strong ability to provide psychological and educational evaluations. Collaborative and clear-thinking. Insightful team player ready to add value to the school service team.
Resume skills for school psychology
As a school psychologist, you work hand-in-hand with teachers, school social workers, and other specialists, and your skills will hinge on their roles as well as your own.
According to ZipRecruiter, the top skills listed by employers of school psychologists in job postings are represented by these words, which make up nearly 75% of their needs: psychologist, psychology, interventional, instruction, and mental health.
Those that rank less, but are still important, are compliance, behavior analysis, clinic, case management, and fingerprints. The latter, according to research published in the US National Library of Medicine, helps to understand personality traits.
Top skills mentioned in resumes include these as well as cognition and (dealing with) autism.
When you list your skills in your school psychology resume, bear these in mind, but be sure to highlight any unique skills you think may set you apart from other candidates for the job.
Also, remember that the skills you mention should match the needs of the specific job you are applying for. While there are definitely skills that are universal to the profession, different employers may value one or more over others.
And don’t forget to add hard skills like gathering data and research and management.
Assessment | Data collection | Instructional interventions | Crisis prevention intervention | Collaboration | Interpersonal awareness | Problem-solving | Critical evaluation | Perspectives | Pragmatic
School psychology work experience
Most school psychologists are employed in public schools, but there are also jobs available in colleges and universities, private schools, faith-based schools, state departments of education, and even in hospitals or medical settings.
According to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), professional school psychologists will have expanding job opportunities for at least another two years (to 2022).
As they point out, this is because schools and surrounding communities are constantly under increasing pressure to supply both instructional and mental health support for children and young people.
While all your previous school psychology jobs should be listed under work experience, school psychology field experience and internships may also be included.
NASP requires at least 1,200 hours of internship for specialist-level school psychologists and 1,500 hours for doctoral-level, and they say it’s important to include this information on a CV or resume.
Graduate assistantships, which normally require 10-20 hours per week, should also be included.
Additionally, they suggest that you add any previous related experience that resulted in the development of your skills in school psychology.
It’s a good idea to include any milestones or achievements in bullet form that relate to every job you have had.
Sample Work Experience
Laurel Public Schools
School psychologist, 2017 – 2020
Participated in planning and developing interventions and assessment team activities. Conducted psychological and psycho-educational assessments. Led crisis intervention efforts and provided insights into behavior-intervention plans.
- Evaluated and utilized research and produced several successful program evaluations for the improvement of school psychologist services.
- Participated in four highly successful professional growth activities that involved recertification of materials needed for school psychology services.
- Contributed substantially to program development that the schools were able to use to further the integration of social, coping, and problem-solving in the classroom.
- Assumed various additional but appropriate roles as an adult model, behavior manager, and educator.
Random County Special School District
School Psychology Specialist (emergency temp), 2016 – 2017
Assessed the psycho-educational needs of school students referred for special education services. Provided support to schools in the district including behavior management techniques and intervention strategies.
- Coordinated numerous evaluation and programming conferences with parents, teachers, and administrators.
- Worked as a consultant to school personnel regarding behavior management plans and discipline of students with disabilities.
- Was in charge of ensuring the school district knew of any changes in federal and/or state laws that affected students with disabilities.
- Was awarded a special citation for efforts in increasing desegregation efforts.
Hampton School District
School Psychology Intern, 2014 – 2015
Functioned as a member of the educational team bringing specialized knowledge and skills related to learning processes, as well as techniques of assessment of learning and social adjustment.
- Completed the intern program fully.
- Produced reports relating to students that evaluated their progress.
- Counseled hundreds of students using the required psychological principles and techniques.
- Communicated with parents regarding programs and services available to meet the educational, health, behavioral, and mental health needs of their children.
School psychology education
School psychologists are required to have a master’s degree in psychology although some positions demand a doctorate.
According to NASP, 55% percent of school psychologists have a specialist degree or certificate of an advanced graduate degree, 20% have a master’s degree, and 25% a doctoral degree in school psychology.
So, the first step is to get a bachelor’s degree and then study further from there.
According to Brandman University in California, students aiming to become school psychologists usually study either a bachelor’s degree in psychology or education.
This is because school psychologists are credentialed by the Department of Education in most states. It also allows them to gauge their interest in the field more accurately.
Most states require a master’s degree to qualify for licensure. Additionally, a supervised internship is required for certification.
According to the US Bureau of Statistics, the job outlook for psychologists is expected to grow 3% between 2019 and 2029, but job prospects are best for those who specialize and/or have a doctoral degree.
Ultimately, to get a job, employers might prefer a candidate with a master’s and 15 years experience rather than a school psychologist with a doctorate and only a couple of years in the field.
Michigan State University
Psychology – Master of Arts (MA) & Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), 2014 – 2018
- School psychology doctoral program accredited by the APA and NASP
- 1-year predoctoral internship
Michigan State University
Psychology – Bachelor of Science, 2010 – 2013
The Every Student Succeeds Act recognizes school psychologists as specialized instructional support personnel, and NASP recommends a ratio of one credentialed school psychologist for every 500 students.
Credentialing involves either licensure or certification before the title school psychologist may be used and before a professional psychologist may provide school psychological services.
While licensing laws to become a Licensed State School Psychologist (LSSP) vary state-by-state, a good rule of thumb is to expect the need for a doctorate in psychology, an internship, and at least one or two years of supervised professional experience.
According to NASP, 96% of school psychologists are certified by state education departments and 11% are licensed through state boards of psychology or similar agencies. In 2018, more than 15,000 school psychologists held the credential of Nationally Certified School Psychologist.
Credentialing follows strict rules including a minimum specialist degree in school psychology. This includes a postgraduate EdS doctorate, a specialist-level SSP, a master’s, or a post master’s specialist PsyS.
The NASP certification exam to become a National Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) is strict, and all school psychologists that hold a credential need to participate in at least 75 hours of continuing professional development every three years.
- LSSP in a specific state
Complete school psychologist resume sample
We found many similarities in candidate requirements when we sampled school psychology job posts. But we chose one based in Illinois that required at least two years of experience in a school setting. The resume we have crafted is to show you how you can write a resume tailored to the school psychology job you are applying for.
The job advertised is for a school psychologist who is required to identify children, from kindergarten to grade 8, with social, behavioral, and emotional difficulties that are impacting on their school work.
The school psychologist will be expected to help parents to identify the needs of their children and help with support.
The education and experience required are clearly stated, as are the most important skills which include patience and respect.
Professional and compassionate school psychologist with eight years of experience in school settings. Master’s degree with state licensing and national certification.
Verbal and written communication | Highly organized | Patient | Calm | A people’s person | Caring and committed | Knowledge and respect of Montessori teaching methods
Boston Public School
School Psychologist, 2017 – 2020
Provided critical social-emotional support, assessment, training, and intervention to enable students to access their education. Collaborated closely with special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and parents.
- Developed multiple Individualized Education Program (IEP) plans that all had clear, measurable goals.
- Worked with the teachers to prepare IEPs that related to the mental health goals of individual students.
- Provided counseling and crisis intervention that met the needs of teachers and students.
- Prepared and published a succinct report on child abuse and neglect policy for the school, to help the team make sound judgment calls.
Cunningham Public Schools
Elementary School Psychologist, 2014 – 2016
Helped children and youth succeed emotionally, socially, and academically. Collaborated with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, supportive learning environments that strengthened the connection between home and school.
- Successfully demonstrated assessment skills including the full range of assessments – cognitive, achievement, curriculum-based, behavioral, threat, as well as attention, social and emotional functioning.
- Carried out hundreds of structured observations and made instructional recommendations.
- Produced research-based recommendations that were supported by data and all were accepted by the school board.
- Won a regional award in 2015 for promoting equity and diversity within elementary schools.
Hamilton School District
Intern – School Psychologist, 2013
Participated as a member of the multi-disciplinary assessment team that evaluated students with or suspected of having disabilities. Provided individual and group counseling under supervision of the school psychologist.
- Assisted the IEP team in a functional behavioral analysis that was needed to develop a legally defensible Behavior Intervention Plan.
- Assisted with interviewing students in crisis situations to determine the level of threat for self-harm or harm to others (under supervision).
- Acted as an advocate for students based on district and state standards as well as professional and ethical guidelines.
- Maintained accurate and complete records as required by law. These were checked by my supervisor and were 100% correct.
- LSSP – Illinois
Northern Illinois University, Department of Psychology
MA & SSP, 2010 – 2012
- Specialist in School Psychology Program
Northeastern Illinois University
Psychology, BA, 2012 – 2009
While most school psychology job positions follow a common theme and have fairly standard requirements, you need to pay careful attention to what the specific school is looking for.
Research the school and identify any public issues relating to student problems. It’ll be primarily your job to solve these.
- School psychologists must be highly qualified and licensed. The APA advises submitting a CV that gives extensive information about accomplishments, training, and experience rather than a shorter resume.
- The skills required for school psychology are a mix of hard and soft skills, but it is the soft skills that identify your personality and caring that are likely to help you stand out. These include your ability to communicate, your patience, ethics, and open-mindedness.
- The job prospects for school psychologists are good, but it is a known fact that specialization and experience are both key to getting the best jobs in the industry.
Tips from Experts
“In academia, we’re really using CVs almost to the exclusion of resumes because they provide more detail about an applicant’s background.” – Mitchell Prinstein, PhD, director of clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Adapt your CV (or resume) to each position you apply for. You don’t do one version and just copy and paste. You absolutely want to tweak a CV for the environment you want to work in.” – R. Eric Landrum, PhD, a psychology professor at Boise State University
“A psychology doctorate is extremely marketable because you develop valuable and transferable skills, such as writing, communicating, investigating and understanding behavior, which will serve you well in many different employment settings,” – Peggy Christidis, PhD, senior research officer at APA’s Center for Workforce Studies (CWS)
A good job as a school psychologist will be challenging but rewarding. Similarly, it can be a challenge to craft a resume that will be better than anyone else’s.
All school psychologists must, by definition, be highly qualified and licensed, so you need to make your abilities stand out. Use the skills required as keywords throughout your resume, and be precise about what you can offer.