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Bringing It Home – The Saint Rose Blog

Good to know: school psychologists: educators who wear many hats

Offering support through a crisis or just a quiet place to spend an hour

Robert Dickinson was considering various career options — psychologist, educator, investigator — when someone suggested a field that combines elements of each; school psychologist. Intrigued, he returned home to shadow the school psychologist at Queensbury High School. He liked what he saw.

“I didn’t want to teach, but I wanted to do something in education that would enable me to impact as many students as possible,” said Dickinson G ’12, an elementary school psychologist in the Coolidge Unified School District in southeast Arizona. “Now, I get to watch the progression of the students I work with and get to really know the families.”

School psychologists are educators who provide a guiding hand that follows young people through their years at a given school. Whether they see a student once or assist over many years, they borrow from a long list of tools to identify a disability, enlist resources and provide assessment and evaluation. They are a sounding board for teachers, an advisor to families and a mentor to students. The school psychologist can support a student through a mental health crisis or simply provide a quiet place to spend an hour.

“We get to wear a lot of hats,” acknowledged Dickinson, who is completing his third year in the Coolidge schools. school-psychHe said the nationally accredited master’s in school psychology program at Saint Rose had thoroughly prepared him. The three-year course of study combines grounding in theory with the practical experience that is essential to doing the job effectively. Also distinguishing the program is its certification by the National Association of School Psychologists. After graduating, students take an exam to become nationally-certified school psychologists.

“This is the gold standard to securing jobs across the country,” said Professor Steven Hoff, an associate professor of school psychology.

Hoff also noted that hiring, which had slowed in recent years, is on the rebound.

The degree integrates courses in mental health, assessment, counseling and special education. Requirements include field work, a 240-hour practicum and a full-year internship.

Another plus: Saint Rose school psychology students work closely with faculty who are invested in their futures. Approaching his graduation, Robert Dickinson was anxious to experience a different part of the country. A professor contacted another Saint Rose graduate working in Arizona who notified Dickinson of the opening in Coolidge.

“And now I am in my third year, and I still call my Saint Rose professors with occasional case questions,” noted Dickinson, “and they are always so willing to help out.”

Click here to learn more about the Saint Rose Master’s in school psychology.


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