School psychology is a discipline that focuses on working with parents, educators, and students to provide a safe and healthy learning environment that addresses the needs of children in school. A school psychologist does this by working to help these children with their emotional, behavioral, social and academic problems. They focus on child development evaluation, as well as intervention and prevention services for the management of behavioral problems. You can find them in most schools, but they also practice in universities, health clinics, as well as community and juvenile treatment centers. With such specialization, how much is the school psychologist salary?

Average School Psychologist Salary

The average annual salary of school psychologists is $73k. By percentile, the salaries vary from $39k in the lower percentile to $112k in the upper percentile.

Hourly Wage$18.75$24.38$32.60$42.64$54.04
Weekly Wage$750$975$1,304$1,706$2,162
Monthly Salary$3,250$4,225$5,650$7,392$9,367
Annual Salary$39,000$50,700$67,800$88,700$112,400

Industries with the Highest School Psychologist Wages

Being directly employed by private corporations and state owned hospitals were the best bet in terms of earning a strong school psychologist salary.

RankIndustriesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1Management of Companies and Enterprises$71.73$2,869$12,433$149,200600
2Specialty hospitals, State government owned$48.27$1,931$8,367$100,400100
3Offices of Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists, and Audiologists$48.22$1,929$8,358$100,300600
4Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences$47.60$1,904$8,250$99,000200
5Scientific Research and Development Services$44.23$1,769$7,667$92,000400
6Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services$42.07$1,683$7,292$87,500500
7Research and Development in the Social Sciences and Humanities$41.54$1,662$7,200$86,400200
8Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals (including private, state, and local government hospitals)$41.39$1,656$7,175$86,100700
9Offices of All Other Health Practitioners$41.11$1,644$7,125$85,500200
10General Medical and Surgical Hospitals, Local government owned$40.24$1,610$6,975$83,700 1,000

Best Paying States for School Psychologists

All top ten states had an average salary over $80k. The best of the best was Hawaii, which was the only state to earn over six figures at $103k. For the list of all states, go to school psychologist salary by state.

RankSalaries by StatesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
2Rhode Island$45.05$1,802$7,808$93,700600
4Connecticut$40.48$1,619$7,017$84,200 2,000
5New York$40.05$1,602$6,942$83,300 11,000
6New Jersey$39.81$1,592$6,900$82,800 3,000
7Massachusetts$39.81$1,592$6,900$82,800 4,000
8District of Columbia$39.71$1,588$6,883$82,600400
9California$38.70$1,548$6,708$80,500 18,000

Worst Paying States for School Psycholgists

With such wide ranging salaries by percentile, it’s no surprise that the same holds true at the state level. The lowest paying states for school psychologists were West Virginia, Oklahoma, and South Carolina which all had annual salaries of $50k-$52k.

RankSalaries by StatesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1West Virginia$24.42$977$4,233$50,800600
2Oklahoma$24.57$983$4,258$51,100 1,000
3South Carolina$25.10$1,004$4,350$52,200 1,000
5Kentucky$26.68$1,067$4,625$55,500 1,000
6Kansas$26.92$1,077$4,667$56,000 1,000
7Arizona$27.93$1,117$4,842$58,100 2,000
9North Dakota$29.76$1,190$5,158$61,900200
10Texas$29.90$1,196$5,183$62,200 6,000

Top Metropolitan Cities for School Psychologists

By far, the top paying major city to work as a school psychologist is Nassau and Suffolk in New York at a salary of $96k a year. Close behind were the Bay area cities of Northern California with an annual salary of $91k.

RankMetropolitan CitiesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1Nassau-Suffolk, NY$46.20$1,848$8,008$96,100 1,000
2San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA$43.75$1,750$7,583$91,000 1,000
3Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, MA-NH$43.03$1,721$7,458$89,50090
4Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA$41.63$1,665$7,217$86,600 2,000
5New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ$41.49$1,660$7,192$86,300 6,000
6Newark-Union, NJ-PA$40.43$1,617$7,008$84,100800
7Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA$40.34$1,613$6,992$83,900 1,000
8Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI$40.10$1,604$6,950$83,400500
9Peabody, MA$39.95$1,598$6,925$83,100200
10Camden, NJ$38.99$1,560$6,758$81,100500

Top Non-Metropolitan Areas for School Psychologists

The top paying suburban area was Southwest Maine at $97k, which compares to the $96k in Nassau and Suffolk. Second in ranking is the North Coast Region of California at $89k.

RankNon-Metropolitan AreasHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1Southwest Maine$46.73$1,869$8,100$97,200100
2North Coast Region of California$42.69$1,708$7,400$88,800100
3Northeast Iowa$42.55$1,702$7,375$88,50050
4Northwest Massachusetts$40.24$1,610$6,975$83,70040
5Far Western Pennsylvania$39.86$1,594$6,908$82,900200
6Western Colorado$39.33$1,573$6,817$81,80050
7Southwestern Wyoming$38.32$1,533$6,642$79,70050
8Mother Lode Region of California$37.93$1,517$6,575$78,90090
9North Central Massachusetts$37.79$1,512$6,550$78,60030
10East Georgia$36.78$1,471$6,375$76,500N/A

Highest School Psychologist Employment Level by States

There were two states that employed a large chunk of school psychologists: California and New York. They combined for a total of 29k employees. While Pennsylvania had some of the highest average salaries, they were third for most employed school psychologists.

RankStatesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1California$38.70$1,548$6,708$80,500 18,000
2New York$40.05$1,602$6,942$83,300 11,000
3Pennsylvania$35.43$1,417$6,142$73,700 6,000
4Texas$29.90$1,196$5,183$62,200 6,000
5Illinois$31.15$1,246$5,400$64,800 5,000
6Massachusetts$39.81$1,592$6,900$82,800 4,000
7Georgia$31.25$1,250$5,417$65,000 3,000
8North Carolina$30.63$1,225$5,308$63,700 3,000
9New Jersey$39.81$1,592$6,900$82,800 3,000
10Florida$33.17$1,327$5,750$69,000 3,000

Job Outlook

There are currently nearly 150,000 school psychologists in the United States. This is expected grow to over 160,000 by 2012, which equates to a 11% growth. This is aligned with the expected growth of all jobs and slightly below that of other psychologists.

Employment Projections Data School Psychologist, 2012-2022 
Employment, 2012 145,100
Projected Employment, 2022 161,500
Employment Difference: 16,400
Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists11%
Industrial-organizational psychologists53%
Psychologists, all other11%
Total, all occupations11%

Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics

School Psychologist Job Description

school psychologist salary dataSchool Psychologists work with children to ensure that they have the necessary emotional support to succeed academically by motivating them to learn and excel at school. They achieve this by working on multiple levels, the first being with the students themselves.

School Psychologists provide counseling and mentoring to students who exhibit problems with the aim of building confidence, better social and anger management skills, and more optimism and self determination.

They also work with the students’ families to help them build a more supportive home environment for the student, and with teachers to design better academic programs to address study and behavioral problems thereby allowing more positive learning in class.

Finally, School Psychologists work with school administrators to analyze policies and the school environment to build better school-wide programs that will increase safety, reduce violence or bullying, and build leadership and a better more positive education climate. The ability to juggle these demanding tasks requires a lot of schooling and is reason for the school psychologist salary levels.

How to Become a School Psychologist

To become a School Psychologist, you need to obtain at least a Masters degree in School Psychology from a National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) certified institution that covers psychology and sociology, as well as child development and education.

In addition, NASP recommends that you take an Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S) which provides more focused training and coursework needed for entry into school psychology programs. The extensive training and coursework that is required explains why the salary of a school psychologist is often quite lucrative.

If you wish to practice independently and not be part of any educational authority, then you will need to purse a Doctoral degree which requires another five to seven years to complete combined with a 1500-hour internship and submission of a doctoral thesis.

salaries of school psychologistsTo practice you need to be licensed by the state that you will work in and the requirements generally vary from state to state. Therefore while not needed, it is generally recommended to pursue an additional national level certification provided by the NASP. This includes completing an NASP specialist training program, and requires a one year internship in an academic environment which includes 1200 hours of practice supervised with an experienced school psychologist, with half of those hours in a school setting.

Finally, you will need to pass the National School Psychology examination to obtain the certification which is valid for ten years, after which you will need to retake the test to maintain your certification. It is recommended that you join NASP or the American Psychological Association (APA) to ensure that you continue to build your professional knowledge.

The demands of this profession are why the school psychologist salary is quite fair. People who are interested can make good money and also help improve the lives of students who may need their help.