What Is a Master's in Educational Psychology? (With Jobs)
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Educational psychology is a scientific field that studies human learning from cognitive and behavioural perspectives. If you're passionate about helping students learn and interested in human behaviour, you can earn a master's degree in this field. Understanding what a master's degree in educational psychology entails can help you decide whether to enroll in this program in graduate school. In this article, we explain what a master's in educational psychology is, discuss the benefits of earning it, list eight jobs you can get after graduation, and answer frequently asked questions about this master's degree.
What is a master's in educational psychology?
A master's in educational psychology is a professional degree that can provide you with the knowledge and practical skills to improve students' learning and behaviours. Earning it can help you assess the quality of educational environments and evaluate factors that can impact an individual's learning ability. While programs may differ, you can expect to take the following general courses:
Learning and behaviour: This course can help you understand the typical learning process and how individuals can adapt to new learning methods.
Lifespan development: Taking this course can help you understand how learning behaviours may change throughout an individual's life. You may review case studies to understand social, physical, and psychological changes that may occur.
Cognitive psychology: This course typically provides information on theoretical frameworks and research studies on memory, attention, perception, and language.
Quantitative methods: Taking this course can help you learn about research design and the methods professionals use to evaluate student learning and classroom behaviours.
Benefits of earning a master's degree in educational psychology
Many schools offer a bachelor's degree in educational psychology. While you can first earn these credentials, a master's degree can offer advanced psychology knowledge and scientific expertise. Here are other benefits of enrolling in an educational psychology graduate program:
Offers access to more job opportunities
Along with relevant experience, credentials such as a master's degree in educational psychology can qualify you for more job opportunities. For example, hiring managers may prioritize your application for senior educational consultant roles if you attend graduate school. Using job boards and company websites can help you find these opportunities.
Qualifies you for a promotion or raise
If you currently work in a psychology role, you can earn a master's degree to become a more valuable professional. Doing this can lead to employee benefits, such as a promotion to a leadership position or an increase in pay. You can negotiate your salary to reflect your current contributions in your educational psychology role.
Enables you to change careers
A master's degree in educational psychology can also help you transition into psychology or counselling. For example, if you currently work in education, you can earn this credential and certifications to become a psychologist. Attending graduate school for an educational psychology degree can also help you develop transferable qualities, such as communication, emotional intelligence, and critical-thinking skills.
8 jobs you can get with a master's degree in educational psychology
Besides becoming an educational psychologist, here are eight other jobs you can get after graduation:
National average salary: $21.15 per hour
Primary duties: A school counsellor guides elementary, middle, and high school students through academic and personal challenges. They typically conduct group or individual counselling to discover each student's challenges and address them. School counsellors may collaborate with administrative staff to advise students on coping strategies or resolutions. Their role may also involve creating a supportive environment and facilitating crisis intervention and prevention programs.
Related: How to Become a Guidance Counsellor
National average salary: $51,627 per year
Primary duties: A school psychologist helps students in elementary, middle, or high school overcome emotional and behavioural challenges. They are experts in mental health, learning, and human behaviour who use their experiences to support students' learning abilities. They also work with teachers, family members, administrators to help students succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. Their role may also involve developing a mental health program and overseeing its implementation across all grades.
National average salary: $65,851 per year
Primary duties: An educational consultant provides expert guidance to schools, families, and organizations. They help families determine a suitable learning environment for children and may assist high school students throughout their college or university application. Educational consultants help schools and institutions create academic development plans that support students' mental health. They also advise businesses that create educational products, such as book publishers and educational technology companies.
National average salary: $26.24 per hour
Primary duties: A curriculum leader can help schools, colleges, and universities develop curricula and oversee courses selection. They help promote student success by aligning a curricula's educational goals with provincial, territorial, or federal standards. A curriculum leader often reports to a school's administrator and works with a curriculum developer. They evaluate each grade's learning ability to recommend suitable courses.
National average salary: $24.15 per hour
Primary duties: A crisis counsellor helps patients overcome mental health issues. They assist patients in understanding emotions, provide valuable advice, and create treatment plans. Crisis counsellors often write reports that track a patient's progress and may involve friends and family members whenever required. They may work at mental health clinics, college campuses, nonprofit organizations, and private organizations.
Related: How to Lead Through a Crisis
National average salary: $28.68 per hour
Primary duties: A vocational rehabilitation counsellor helps individuals with disabilities secure employment to lead more rewarding and independent lives. They evaluate patients' needs and develop an effective plan to meet them. Vocational rehabilitation counsellors may work with patients recovering from mental issues, physical injuries, and psychological challenges.
National average salary: $81,615 per year
Primary duties: A psychological consultant assesses clients using psychological tests, interviews, and contact perceptions to develop treatment plans and make expert recommendations. They consider how an individual's behaviour can influence groups or organizations. They may work as internal employees or become independent of an organization. Psychological consultants typically work for multiple organizations, including businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions.
National average salary: $19.79 per hour
Primary duties: A researcher finds answers to questions by conducting experiments, assessments, and interviews. In education, these professionals collect data about how students process information, understand new materials, and communicate their ideas. This information can help curriculum designers, teachers, and curriculum leaders understand students' requirements and adjust teaching methods accordingly.
FAQs about a master's degree in educational psychology
Here are helpful answers to questions about an educational psychology master's degree:
Are there concentrations in educational psychology?
You can choose a concentration in an educational psychology program. Here are the common options:
Inclusive education: This concentration can help you learn how to make lessons, courses, and subjects more inclusive.
Learning sciences: Enrolling in this concentration can help you understand how learning occurs in practical situations and ways to facilitate it in design environments.
Applied behaviour analysis: This concentration focuses on improving adaptive learning skills and behaviours.
Policy analysis: Enrolling in this concentration can help you understand identifying potential policy options to address psychological issues in educational systems.
What degree do you earn upon completing a master's program in educational psychology?
You may earn a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Educational Psychology or a Master of Education (M.Ed.). An M.A. degree typically prepares you to conduct research studies while in school, secure a research position after graduation, or proceed to doctoral studies. In comparison, an M.Ed. is typically a practitioner's degree. If you want to acquire the skills, knowledge, qualities, and experiences to work in psychology or counselling, you can consider programs that offer this degree. Many universities allow you to transfer from an M.A. program to an M.Ed. program.
What is the job outlook for psychologists?
Following the Canadian Occupational Projections System, you can expect good job opportunities for psychologists over the next three years. The system estimates that 15,700 jobs may be available between 2019 and 2028, with 13,700 qualified candidates to fill these positions. You can expect more job openings due to the increased demand for psychologists and retirements. Earning a master's degree in educational psychology can make you a more competitive candidate for these projected job opportunities.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on a hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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