What is a School Psychologist?

school psychology

The North Carolina Job Description below provides an official (and rather dry) description of everything a school psychologist might be asked to do within the course of a year.  Rarely does any one school psychologist provide ALL of those job functions every year.  What school psychologists actually do varies not only from school year to school year but also from school system to school system.  There are literally hundreds of on-line videos made by school psychologists, their school systems, and educational institutions of varying length that can provide a microcosm view of an actual school psychologist’s life.  We’ve provided just a small sampling below.

Sampling of on-line videos: *

School Psychologists — What is a School Psychologist?  This positively reviewed 23 minute presentation describes the role of the school psychologist in the elementary, middle and high schools as members of the individual schools Student Support Teams. It also describes the process that is followed in evaluating and determining eligibility for special education services in the Millcreek Township School District, Erie, Pennsylvania.   A well prepared presentation; viewers are cautioned again that the activities described may or not reflect what a school psychologist would be asked to do in another school system.

What is a School Psychologist?  A NASP 37 slide presentation that may be adapted for use with teachers in training.  The annoying audio on this presentation is supposed to be replaced with narrative by the actual presenter.

Sources for Information on Graduate School Programs for School Psychologists *

Note:  these links will take you to pages that may or may not be up to date.  Contact the college in which you are interested for current information about a specific program and whether or not it is currently recognized by NASP.


One key aspect in choosing a school psychology graduate program is making sure that it focuses on an area appropriate to your goals. For example, one student might be interested in performing psychology and education research. In that case, they might look for a program that’s more theoretical.

Another student might be interested primarily in working directly with students. In that case, one that is practitioner-oriented might be a better fit

NASP Approved Programs

Note:  When reviewed on 12/27/2017, no less than thirty-four (34) links on this website went to a 404 (dead link) page.

Specialist level (60+ graduate credits) and doctoral level programs in school psychology are reviewed and approved by NASP by providing evidence of consistency with the NASP Standards for Graduate Preparation of School Psychologists. The NASP standards provide the foundation for program review and approval.   NASP is one of the specialized professional associations (SPAs) of the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), previously the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and conducts program reviews as a part of the CAEP unit accreditation process. CAEP accredits units (e.g., Schools of Education), not programs, but does provide “national recognition” status (full or with conditions) to NASP-approved programs in CAEP-accredited units. NASP also conducts reviews of school psychology programs that are not in CAEP units and that submit materials for review by NASP on a voluntary basis.

Exceptional Children


POSITION: School Psychologist
REPORTS TO: Superintendent; Associate or Assistant Superintendent; Director;
Exceptional Children’s Director; Building Level Administrator; Level II
or Level III School Psychologists.
PURPOSE: School psychologists help students succeed academically, socially, and
emotionally. They collaborate with educators, administrators, families,
and other mental health professionals to create safe, healthy, and
supportive learning environments for all students and strengthen
connections between home and school.



School Psychologist:

Professional Legal, Ethical, and Professional Practice
• Practice in ways that meet all appropriate ethical, professional, and legal standards.
• Understand and apply federal, state, and local policies and regulations in the delivery of
school psychological services.
• Maintain confidentiality of student records and information.
• Use technology in ways that are consistent with ethical and responsible professional

Student Diversity in Development and Learning
• Recognize issues of diversity that affect routine interactions with other people and
• Modify or adapt routine practice to effectively meet these diverse needs.
• Demonstrate sensitivity and skills needed to work with families, students, and staff from
diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Information Technology
• Establish and maintain expertise in using technology such as data management, report
writing, web pages, literature reviews, and data analysis.
• Use spreadsheets or other software programs to organize and graphically display data and
monitor progress when appropriate for use at the system, building, and individual student

Research and Program Evaluation
• Evaluate and synthesize a cumulative body of research findings as a foundation for
effective service delivery.
• Collect, analyze, and interpret program evaluation data in applied settings.
• Evaluate the effectiveness of school-based intervention plans.
School Systems Organizational Change, Policy Development, and School Climate
• Understand the organization of schools and systems change to provide leadership in
developing and implementing early intervention and prevention programs.
• Demonstrate knowledge and leadership when assisting in the development of school
policy that impacts student learning and safety.
• Demonstrate knowledge of school and classroom climates and use such knowledge to
assist in developing school improvement plans and classroom interventions.


School Psychologist:

Home/School/Community Collaboration
• Use empirically supported strategies to design, implement, and evaluate effective
• Employ practices that promote home, school, and community partnerships and enhance
learning and mental health goals for students.
• Identify diverse cultural issues, situations, and other factors that influence family, school,
and community interactions and address such issues when developing and providing

Enhancement of Student Wellness, Social Skills, and Life Competencies
• Demonstrate knowledge regarding the social, affective, and adaptive domains of child
• Identify and apply sound principles of behavior change within these domains to assist in
designing and implementing prevention and intervention programs.

Enhancement of Student Cognitive and Academic Skills
• Help schools develop challenging, but achievable, cognitive and academic goals for all
• Collaborate with others to develop appropriate cognitive and academic goals for students
with different abilities, disabilities, strengths, needs, and develop interventions to achieve
these goals.
• Implement appropriate and alternative ways to monitor and assess the effectiveness of
interventions and individual student progress toward goals.
• Assess students’ cognitive abilities using a variety of instruments and techniques that are
appropriate for the individual student.

Systems-Based Service Delivery
• Provide leadership in developing a safe, caring, and inviting school with a sense of
community where contributions of all persons are valued, where there are high
expectations of excellence for all students, and where home-school-agency partnerships
are valued.

Data-Based Decision Making and Accountability
• Demonstrate expertise in collecting, managing, and interpreting various types of
individual and group data.
• Apply sound principles of data-based decision making to all aspects of practice (e.g.,
designing interventions, monitoring student progress, consulting with school
administrators, and disseminating intervention research findings within the school

Consultation and Collaboration
• Demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work, communicate, and
collaborate effectively with teachers, other school staff, and families as part of a team
within the school setting.
• Ensure that students and families know about community services and programs and
assist them in accessing these, as appropriate.

Prevention, Early Intervention, and Crisis Management
• Participate in planning and implementing prevention programs to address the social and
affective needs of students (e.g., programs to address bullying, school violence, and
school safety).
• Have knowledge of universal screening, as well as early reading and math literacy.
• Participate in designing prevention and intervention methods to address programs that
influence student learning.

Group and Individual Counseling Techniques
• Provide direct services to individuals or groups of students (e.g., counseling, crisis
interventions, mentoring, and individual safety plans, when appropriate).
• Consult and confer with teachers, staff, and families about strategies to facilitate the
social and affective adjustment of students.
Promoting Safe and Effective Learning Environments
• Participate in planning and/or implementation of school or system-level crisis response.
• Identify resources and coordinate services with other professionals and/or agencies to
address students’ behavioral, affective, or social needs.