What is a School Psychologist?

School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community for all students.


School psychologists in Missouri have specialized training in mental health and educational interventions, child development, learning, behavior, motivation, curriculum and instruction, assessment, consultation, collaboration, school law, and systems. School psychologists typically complete either a specialist-level degree program (at least 60 graduate semester hours) or a doctoral degree (at least 90 graduate semester hours), both of which include a year-long 1,200-hour supervised internship. They must be certified by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and may be certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board. All school psychologists adhere to the professional standards and code of ethics of the National Association of School Psychologists.


School psychologists training emphasizes preparation in 

  • Data collection and analysis
  • Assessment
  • Progress monitoring
  • School-wide practices to promote learning
  • Resilience and risk factors
  • Consultation and collaboration
  • Academic/learning interventions
  • Mental health interventions
  • Behavioral interventions
  • Instructional support
  • Prevention and intervention services
  • Special education services
  • Crisis preparedness, response, and recovery
  • Family–school–community collaboration
  • Diversity in development and learning
  • Research and program evaluation
  • Professional ethics, school law, and systems

What we do for you

School Psychologists Work With Students to:

  • Provide counseling, instruction, and mentoring for those struggling with social, emotional, and behavioral problems
  • Increase achievement by assessing barriers to learning and determining the best instructional strategies to improve learning
  • Promote wellness and resilience by reinforcing communication and social skills, problem solving, anger management, self-regulation, self-determination, and optimism
  • Enhance understanding and acceptance of diverse cultures and backgrounds
School Psychologists Work With Students and Their Families to:

  • Identify and address learning and behavior problems that interfere with school success
  • Evaluate eligibility for special education services (within a multidisciplinary team)
  • Support students' social, emotional, and behavioral health
  • Teach parenting skills and enhance home–school collaboration
  • Make referrals and help coordinate community support services
School Psychologists Work With Teachers to:

  • Identify and resolve academic barriers to learning
  • Design and implement student progress monitoring systems
  • Design and implement academic and behavioral interventions
  • Support effective individualized instruction
  • Create positive classroom environments
  • Motivate all students to engage in learning

School Psychologists Work With Administrators to:
  • Collect and analyze data related to school improvement, student outcomes, and accountability requirements
  • Implement school-wide prevention programs that help maintain positive school climates conducive to learning
  • Promote school policies and practices that ensure the safety of all students by reducing school violence, bullying, and harassment
  • Respond to crises by providing leadership, direct services, and coordination with needed community services
  • Design, implement, and garner support for comprehensive school mental health programming
School Psychologists Work With Community Providers to:
  • Coordinate the delivery of services to students and their families in and outside of school
  • Help students transition to and from school and community learning environments, such as residential treatment or juvenile justice programs


What is a School Psychological Examiner?

Myths and Facts: School Psychological Examiner

A School Psychological Examiner provides diagnostic support to school districts in the form of training in the use of certain diagnostic tools for the determination of disabilities within the state of Missouri. An individual may qualify for an initial school psychological examiner certificate with an approved master’s degree in any of the following fields: educational psychology, counseling psychology, school counseling, or education. The individual will need a two-semester hour course in education of the exceptional child and/or psychology. There must be 24 semester hours of coursework in areas mandated by the certifying agency. Individuals will need at least 150 hours of supervised practicum with school age children and youth. They will gain experience administering and interpreting IQ tests, carrying out formal and informal diagnostic procedures, and applying the information in the formulation of instructional strategy.

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