Psychologist (educational): job description

Psychologist (educational): job description

Educational psychologists work with, observe and assess the behavioural, social, emotional and educational problems and needs of children and young people below the age of 19 years.
Most educational psychologists are employed by local and county councils.

What does an educational psychologist do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • using psychological tests, theories and procedures
  • recommending, developing and administering appropriate therapies and strategies
  • carrying out psychological assessments to uncover a child's problem
  • writing reports
  • conducting research
  • providing training
  • meeting, advising and liaising with parents, teachers and other professionals
  • advising and making recommendations on educational policies

The work commonly requires local travel to visit clients in their homes or in schools, colleges and nurseries. Regularly dealing with the problems faced by children and young people can make the job stressful and emotionally demanding.

Typical employers of educational psychologists

The majority of educational psychologists are employed by local authorities. Other employers include: consultancies, social services departments, universities, child psychiatric units, paediatric assessment units, independent schools and voluntary organisations. There is strong competition for training places. Opportunities are advertised in national newspapers, the Times Educational Supplement, the AEP Broadsheet, Psychologist Appointments and their respective websites.

Qualifications and training required

A lengthy period of study and vocational training is required for qualification. You'll need a British Psychological Society accredited degree followed by a three-year professional doctorate that combines practical experience with academic knowledge. Applications for doctorates in England are made through the Association of Educational Psychologists. In Scotland, the postgraduate element of study and training is an accredited masters course in educational psychology followed by a further qualification in educational psychology.

Educational psychologists are registered and regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Key skills for educational psychologists

  • The ability to relate to children and young adults
  • Sensitivity
  • Ability to cope with emotional situations
  • Excellent listening
  • Observational skills
  • Verbal communication skills
  • Empathy and rapport