What Can You Do with a Master’s of Education Psychology?

master's in educational psychology

In this guide we delve into the topic of education psychology, and more specifically what professional life one can build by earning a Master’s of Education Psychology. Traditional routes into the education sector often confine students to specific career paths and professional roles. Read on to learn how a Master’s of Education Psychology builds the skills and provides the freedoms needed to build your ideal job in education.

What is a Master’s of Education Psychology?

Education Psychology marks an evolution of the field of traditional education. When viewed through the lens of psychology, every aspect of education becomes a viable target of analysis. The addition of psychological perspectives to education expands the bounds of the field to include a wide-array of topics in practicum. 

Most notably, students of a Master’s of Education will explore fundamentals in research methods, developmental psychology, and behavioral differences within the context of education practices.

But available routes of study offer tremendous nuance beyond this purview as well. Depending on one’s specialty, one may build expertise in any stage of development throughout a student’s lifespan. Additionally one can pursue a specialization in a particular lens of psychology through which to view these developmental stages. 

In other words, a Master’s of Education Psychology offers potential specialization in any area or sub-specialty of education, further contextualized by specialties of psychology. Master’s students may implement any of the following psychology specialties: 

  • Learning and Cognition
  • School Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology 
  • Gender Psychology 
  • Clinical Psychology 
  • Counseling 
  • Behavioral Psychology 
  • Organizational-Operational Psychology

Of course not all combinations of topics will be offered by all Master’s of Education Psychology programs. Some combinations will only be offered by programs with specific specializations listed in available curriculums.

How to Choose Your Specialization 

Given the massive number of available education paths, choosing the right specialization carries more importance in a Master’s of Education Psychology program than it does in many others. Specifically, students should expect certain professional outcomes to be gated behind certain prerequisite specializations and combinations of study. 

The most important point here lies in the area of choosing a desired career. Once a student chooses the type of work they wish to pursue, they can set the groundwork in motion. Unfortunately the clearest and most efficient path won’t always readily appear.

Because of this, students should invest adequate effort in seeking advisement. Before finalizing enrollment in any Master’s program, students will need to speak with both psychology and education departments to clarify available routes of study. 

While this step will be advised for any process of enrollment in a Master’s program, it is arguably non-negotiable in seeking a Master’s of Education Psychology. 

What are the Most Prominent Specializations in Education Psychology?

Obviously to pick the right specialization you need to know what’s on offer. So let us help with that. 

While this list won’t cover ALL available options, these will be the specializations most commonly found in top Master’s of Education programs. 

Literacy and Language 

In this field of Education Psychology, one studies practicums involving language and communication. Professions resulting from this study will cluster around objectives like learning english, learning foreign language, or advanced studies in communications between student and educators. 

School Psychology

School Psychology represents the field concerned with the inner workings and outer representation of schools. Those who enroll in this specialization will explore topics of classroom management and policies for student care. 

The exact form a School Psychology curriculum takes will depend largely on particular programs though. So students should invest time in exploring what each program offers.

Educational Studies

Students pursuing this specialization will become masters of curriculum delivery. These professionals learn the best practices in classroom management and the development of educational materials. 

Those seeking this route of study can further build expertise in certain topics of study or education philosophies such as liberal arts, physical science, or history.

Learning and Cognition 

Those looking to pursue this path of study will employ a mastery of cognitive science to elevate education programs. Cognitive science lies at the core of learning. These specialists use research methods and experimental study to improve classroom conditions. 

Those who pursue this specialization will find their professional roles positioned at the forefront of the education industry. As such, this field represents an excellent option for those looking to develop new technology and methods in education.

School Counseling 

This specialization primes budding professionals for taking on active roles in schools and universities. Such roles include those of a school psychologist, school counselor, or educational coach. This path will offer the most value to those looking to put their knowledge and skills to use in their jobs on a daily basis. 

While research methods and experimentation may accompany certain positions, the majority of jobs will manifest in traditional employment with school organizations. 

Educational Industrial-Organizational Psychology

This specialization involves incorporating IO Psychology in the management school organizations and universities. From this perspective, educational objectives will be achieved by successfully structuring the organizations behind the education. Resulting professional opportunities will position these specialists in roles of human resource management. 

This field presents tremendous value to professionals looking to combine elements of education, psychology, and business. These professionals take education organizations from levels of successful operation to true thriving. 

How to Leverage a Master’s of Education for Professional Success

Unfortunately, completing a Master’s program represents only about half the battle–even less depending on who you ask. The real objective lies in the area of professional grooming and networking. 

In order to land the job you want where you want, you will need to establish the ground work. This means that students will want to seek internships and professional opportunities to build a network in their desired corner of the job market. 

This requires foresight and preparation. Luckily students have vast resources at their disposal to help with this process. Eager students will find Master’s of Education programs receptive to such ambition. 

Specifically, students should seek out their university’s career counseling department to begin casting nets for professional development and opportunity. Additionally, students should seek out poignant research projects, on-topic conferences, and internships. 

While not always tenable, holding employment with a desirable organization during one’s master’s might also bear valuable fruit. 

Surveying the Education Industry for Job Opportunities 

As 2022 lies right around the corner, one must highlight the changing landscapes in play. Any guide on achieving one’s education goals would be remiss to omit coverage of this topic. Specifically, the pandemic changed education forever. 

While online education certainly gained mainstream traction for the last decade, the pandemic moved up the timeline. Earning an online Master’s degree in this day and age carries none of the skepticism or stigma that it did even three years ago. 

Why does this matter in terms of earning a good job? Well in short, an online Master’s opens up a number of avenues that would be untenable in a full-time in-classroom program. An Online Master’s of Education Psychology offers the freedom to pursue parallel development. In other words, students can earn a Master’s while simultaneously holding down a job, internship, or research project. 

This also implies a burgeoning field of education psychology, that is, online education. As a new format of education takes the stage front and center, a need arises. The education industry requires new professionals to arbiter this change. 

To this end, education psychology incorporates more curriculum relating to digital education than ever before. Savvy students can leverage this evolution by developing an IT skill set. 

Careers in Education Psychology 

While specific job roles will depend on one’s specialization and education background, surveying the general landscape is immensely important.

The basic decision lies in deciding between an active role in education programs or a role as a facilitator. Active roles take the form of jobs as professors, teachers, advisors, psychologists, and counselors. These jobs position one as an active professional in an administration. 

While roles of facilitation manifest as jobs in research, consulting, and policy development. These jobs typically position one in a research organization, consulting firm, or even in federal program development. 

Education Psychology can even open doors to the political realm. Such access depends on professionals developing mastery of their specialty while also developing a resume in governance. Such a resume would require one to work with or manage school board relations, large education organizations, and/or federal education programs. 

One pathway to success lies in the area of grant writing and acquisition. Millions of US federal dollars flow into education grants every year. While tremendously competitive, an affluence in writing and landing these grants will immediately position you as a valuable player in the education space. 

The Highest Sectors in Education Psychology

A master’s program in 2022 and beyond runs top dollar. While arguably a sound investment in one’s future, students often thirst for reassurement. In other words, students need to know that this investment will be worth it. 

So with this in mind, let’s take a look at the most lucrative jobs in education psychology. Doing so will unveil one elephant in the room. Specifically, education psychology unfortunately represents one of the least-paid sectors of the psychology job market. The following data was provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is presented in mean annual salary form. 

  • Psychologists                                                    $105,780
  • Industrial-organizational psychologists             $96,270
  • Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists $79,820

That said, certain opportunities present more seductive employment packages. Specifically, the area of research and scientific work returns one of the most lucrative sectors of the psychology sector. 

  • Social scientists and related workers     $82,280
  • Psychologists                                        $82,180
  • All occupations                                       $41,950

Additionally, the overall job market for psychologists shows great growth. The average rate of growth sits at a robust 8%. This rate of growth represents nearly double the national average of job growth in America. 

Top Paying Jobs for Graduates with a Master’s of Educational Psychology

Identifying lucrative sectors provides some clarity, but most students will want to identify particular jobs. So let’s catalog some of the most lucrative jobs for professionals with a Master’s of Education Psychology. 

School Psychologist – $87,450 

This job represents a hot topic in today’s popular culture. School shootings, development problems, and quality education remain central topics in making our schools better and safer places for our children. 

Professional school psychologists work as the bridge between an administration and its students. These professionals pledge their allegiance to the students’ health though. They work tirelessly to ensure that students maintain mental, physical, and emotional health throughout the various stages of education. 

Given the prominence of this role relating to current issues, this job market demonstrates explosive growth. According to the BLS, this market will grow a whopping 10% between 2020 and 2030. 

Sociologist – $86,110

Sociologists apply their expert knowledge of human behavior to enhance and evolve the functioning of a social operation. These professionals often work in areas of scientific research and policy development. Given the extensive schooling required to ascend in this field, the pay on offer represents some of the highest salaries on offer for education psychologists.

Students interested in pursuing this line of work will want to pursue a Master’s of Education Psychology firmly rooted in the social sciences. Additionally, building a background in successful research will be key. 

The field of sociology will grow a projected 5% from 2020 to 2030.

College Professor – $80,560

College professors develop a curriculum and execute its plan in the classroom. These professionals represent masters of their field and command an expertise in a particular area. Pay and tenure rely extensively on one’s experience and educational pedigree, but it remains an attractive option for many. 

The rate of job growth for college professors sits at a healthy 11% for 2020 to 2030.

School Counselor – $58,120

School Counselors require less training and licensure than a school psychologist. As such they retain more freedom in their professional approaches and techniques. These professionals work in a coach-like capacity to help students reach their goals. 

These professionals find employment in schools and universities, but private practice becomes viable with more experience and professional success. This field continues to demonstrate strong growth with the BLS projection suggesting 8% from 2020 to 2030.

The Job Market for School Psychologists

Most students reading this guide will probably want to know more about the job market for school psychologists. This is the most popular job choice for students pursuing a Master’s of Education Psychology. 

Thankfully, the BLS reports plenty of job opportunities in this sector. Specifically, there were 118,800 school psychologist jobs in 2020. With healthy job growth, this number will only increase in the years to come. 

While the entry level salaries for this position offer a high level of compensation, students can further increase their prospects. By targeting certain sectors of the job market average salaries climb to highly attractive heights. 

For instance, school psychologists will find the highest salaries attached to federally backed organizations.

  • Government                                               $100,360
  • Private practice services                       $85,970
  • Elementary and secondary schools $77,560

Professionals in schools or in government positions will likely work full-time during business hours. However those working in private practice might work beyond normal work hours.

Where to Look for a Job as a School Psychologist 

Finding the right place for a job is often as important or even more important than finding the ideal job. Regional economies play an enormous role in shaping a job’s compensation packages and the value therein. 

For instance, professionals may find the highest paying jobs situated in cities with the highest cost of living. At the end of the day, the cost of living could total out at a much lower salary than advertised. Conversely, some cities might offer both fair pay and low cost of living. 

These five states offer the highest pay for School Psychologists.

  • California                     $115,830 average per year
  • Hawaii                          $110,780 average per year
  • Louisiana                     $109,180 average per year
  • Oregon                          $108,000 average per year
  • District of Columbia     $106,920 average per year

These five states offer the most jobs for School Psychologists.

  • California   $115,830 average per year
  • New York   $97,030 average per year
  • Texas         $73,160 average per year
  • Illinois       $81,070 average per year
  • Florida       $77,410 average per year

The Takeaways for Making the Most of Your Master’s of Education Psychology Degree

Weighing out one’s professional future presents no small task. So let’s summarize. While students may consider an array of opportunities, school psychology represents arguably the most straight shot. 

Most Master’s of Education Psychology programs will offer a specialization path designed specifically for budding school psychologists. Additionally, this also represents one of the most lucrative careers in play. 

While you can do many things with a Master’s of Education Psychology, many students will tread the path of school psychology. And will be heavily compensated for doing so. But to make the most of this compensation, students will want to make an educated decision in choosing where to work. 

State economies play a major factor in net-gains. Additionally, students can hedge their bets by building professional experience prior to graduation. But by following the steps laid out in this guide, you will be well-versed in the roads ahead and how to best navigate them. 

Dr. Jared Goff
Chief Editor