A school psychological examiner gives an inside look at the psychology of testing kids, in this “Quips and Tips” job description. Here’s how psych examiners evaluate students for programs and placed in a school’s special education programs.
“I think most people are surprised at the time and paperwork required to complete the evaluation process from start to finish,” says School Psychological Examiner Josephine Ciolli, who is certified in Missouri. “On average, it takes about 20 hours to finish a report. Information from schools attended in the past, teachers, classroom observations, tests, doctor’s and psychologist’s evaluations must all be put together in a report packet for the team to review when considering if a child meets criteria for special education services.”
Josephine spent her professional career on both sides of the special education equation. Before becoming a certified psychological examiner for the schools, Josephine taught special education for 30 plus years.
Here she gives us the inside scoop on work as a psych examiner for schools, and offers tips for people interested in school psychology.
School Psychological Examiner – Job Description
As a School Psychological Examiner, Josephine’s major responsibility is to correctly lead the educational team through the process of identifying students who may need of special education services. Specific steps outlined by state and the federal governments must be followed carefully so that schools meet Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) guidelines. These guidelines change every time IDEA is reauthorized.
“It is my job to make sure schools I am assigned follow the necessary procedure so we are within those compliance standards,” says Josephine.
She is also part of the team that actually completes individual assessments of children. She tests children, interprets the results, and then shares those results with staff and parents. She also writes formal evaluation reports that include the team’s decision as to whether a student meets the criteria for any of the state designated categories for special education.
How Much Does a Psychological Examiner Make?
Salaries for School Psychological Examiners in different school districts are defined by district salary schedules, and can vary. On average, they earn between $40,000 and $65,000 for a ten month school year.
“The best part of this job is actually working with students in one-to-one testing situations and observing them in their classrooms,” says Josephine. “Kids will always surprise you.”
The Downside of Evaluating Kids in Schools
For Josephine, one of the most challenging aspects of her job is scheduling meetings that meet parent’ and staff’s needs.
“This may be due in part to the economy because both parents work and are often reluctant to take any time off work for meetings and staff’s needs to hold meetings between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM, since those are their contracted hours,” Josephine explains. “Sharing the evaluation results with parents when the results are not favorable can also be challenging and unpleasant.”
Another job that evaluates students for special program is a Speech Language Pathologist.
Career Tips for Psych Examiners
“Effective communication skills are necessary to communicate verbally and in written form with the students, staff and parents involved,” says Josephine.
Because guidelines and job descriptions vary widely from state to state and school district to school district, Josephine recommends that you review your state’s specific certification and education requirements as well as visit with someone in your area if you want to work as a school psychological examiner. A psychology degree is not necessary, but could be helpful.
“Generally, you would need both a B.S. and Master’s Degrees in some area of education and specific course work in the area of testing.”
Are you looking for a new career? Read Best Jobs for Introverts and Quiet People.
If you have any thoughts on this job description or working as a School Psychological Examiner, please comment below.
Josephine Ciolli has been a School Psychological Examiner for six years. Previous to that time she was a special educator for 31 years. Josephine has a BS in Elementary and Special Education, a Master’s Degree in Adult Education with 54 additional graduate hours to obtain various certifications. Josephine can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Ciolli is a freelance writer and translator. Contact her at email@example.com or visit her at BarcelonaforIdiots.