Education psychology is a very important as well as lucrative field, because modern world views education as something that is inseparable from success and achievements. Education becomes the main requirement for many companies and institutions to accept candidates, and education also provides people with background skill and knowledge to conduct important researches or make changes. Therefore, educational psychology should be career background to consider by many.
The field of education is really wide, and it is not just about teaching. There are many aspects in education that require expertise in wider scopes of knowledge and skill, and education psychology is one of them. Unlike in clinical psychology (that many people often associate with the field of psychology), people who have background in education psychology study all aspects in education that can affect the effectiveness of teaching methods at various educational institutions. However, educational psychologist should not be confused with counseling psychologist, because the former usually works in an institution or research center and the latter usually works directly with students and teachers at schools.
How to Get Education Psychology Degree
Since education psychology is a specific field of psychology, it requires doctorate degree in psychology with focus on education. Educational psychologist usually deals with theoretical aspects of education, unlike teachers. A person with education psychology background may work at institutions or research centers as lecturers and/or researchers. They can also set up their own consultation services to aid families with students that have difficulties in learning. However, this latest job often overlaps with the job of school psychologist, although in some countries, there are no differences between educational and school psychology because they both are considered as similar.
The Work Fields of Education Psychology
Judging from the work field, people with education psychology background usually works as researcher or lecturer. However, the main task is actually as researcher; educational background field is usually related with theories of education. Here is what an education psychologist learns:
- Theories about learning at different stages of development and the related problems as well as special characteristics, especially during early and middle school years.
- Learning difficulties and factors that cause those problems, whether they are internal or external factors.
- Factors that increase and decrease the effectiveness of teaching and learning process, and solutions for inefficiency.
- Factors that influence motivation to study, whether they increase or decrease motivation.
- Factors that influence the ability of students to absorb the lessons; whether it is positive or negative factor.
- The effectiveness of study curriculum related to students’ achievements, learning problems and the curriculum relevance with the future professional life of the students once they graduate.
In education psychology, a person with this background usually works with school counselors and even counseling psychologists. They provide theories and guidance to help these counselors apply the theories into practice. They also provide new theoretical and practical sources to apply on educational institutions, especially related to practical educations. Therefore, the field of educational psychology is actually very wide and varied.
Differences between Education, Counseling and School Psychology
Despite their similarities, there are actually some differences between counseling, school and education psychology if their names are compared. For example, counseling psychology refers to more general aspect of counseling psychology, in which the counselor does not only accept students but also general people who have problems related to psychological aspects. Therefore, a counseling psychologist can only deal with students and school related problems if he or she also has specialization in education or school related subjects.
Meanwhile, school psychologist mainly works with schools and students. He or she is the one that sits in counseling office, giving counsels to student and often their parents related to school application, scholarship guidance, problems related to socializing at schools, adaptation with new educational environment and many more. They may work together with education psychologist, the one that provides the theory they need to handle various school related problems.
This is because people with education psychology background often end up in various research institutions or educational institutions as researches, because they primarily study theories of education. Therefore, the research results conducted by educational psychologists will be used by school counselors to help students.