Why do high school students lack motivation in the classroom? What does the extent of a child’s vocabulary have to do with his or her reading ability? What accounts for the difference in reading capacity between two third grade students? These are but a few questions explored in the headlines of the latest issue of the Journal of Educational Psychology.
What is Educational Psychology?
Educational psychology is one of many specialties available when deciding on a degree in psychology. The discipline of educational psychology focuses on how people learn in an educational environment as well as the effectiveness of educational interventions. Educational psychology also uses social psychology to study schools as organizations and explores the psychology of teaching.
Educational Psychology vs. School Psychology
Whereas professionals with a degree in school psychology are more likely to work directly with children in educational environments, professionals with a Master of Science in Educational Psychology are heavily involved in research and academics. Educational psychology takes the outcomes of its studies and informs disciplines such as curriculum development, special education, and classroom management of its findings. For example, if educational psychology finds that children progress further in reading skills by grouping them according to similar ability levels, a first- grade teacher may then take that knowledge and divide her class into small groups during reading time.
Steps to Becoming an Educational Psychologist
In order to officially enter the field of educational psychology, a professional must first earn a Master of Science in Educational Psychology or a similar graduate degree. Psychology graduate schools, such as Capella University, offer focused programs in educational psychology that include classes in lifespan development, research methods, child psychology, and adult learning. A student can complete the Master of Science in Educational Psychology entirely online through Capella University’s distance education program. Psychology graduate schools that offer training through distance education are becoming a convenient, sophisticated route to a Master of Science in Educational Psychology while maintaining responsibilities such as work and family.
Job Outlook for Educational Psychologists
The profession of psychology as a whole is expected to grow between 18 – 26% through the year 2018 with one in four psychologists working in an educational setting. These predictions from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shed a promising light on a career in educational psychology. Students who are seriously considering entering the profession should be able to perform detailed work individually and in group settings. Students also must develop patience and perseverance for the amount of hard work and time required to harvest practical information from meticulous, academic studies.