What Is Educational Psychology?

Jennie Kroeger
How do we learn? Why do we learn the way we do? Why is learning sometimes so difficult?

Educational psychology strives to answer these questions. It is the study of how people learn, retain and use information. Just as we learn in a variety of settings, educational psychologists work in a variety of settings. An educational psychologist may work in a K-12 school setting, at a college or university, or at a community agency. In a school setting, an educational psychologist may work with students, parents, teachers, or all three in order to improve student learning. Some may work with students to help them overcome learning disabilities, while others may focus on improving teaching outcomes, student testing, or enhancing curriculum. The first step toward a career in educational psychology is earning a bachelor's degree. Though some entry-level positions may be available with a bachelor's degree, most educational psychologists have an advanced degree. Educational psychology graduate programs offer master's degrees, doctoral degrees, or both. A master's degree typically takes two years to earn, while a doctorate takes four to six years to earn. If you're planning to work in the educational psychology field as a professional, it's not uncommon to work as a counselor or school psychologist. The median salary for a clinical, counseling, or school psychologist is just over $70k per year; however, there are a host of career opportunities available in the education psychology field. Many of the alumni from our Learning & Cognition program are employed as Assessment and Testing Directors at the school district level, University Directors of Institutional Research, Non-profit Administrators, Corporate Training Managers, and more.

According to the Salary.com, the median salary for an institutional research director as of 2015 is $89,635 (source). Salaries vary depending on what institution you work with and how long you've worked there. Educational psychologists work to improve learning for students of all ages. Helping students overcome challenges inside and outside the classroom is a truly rewarding experience, and you can make this a part of your daily life with a career in educational psychology. Learn More About Our Educational Psychology: Learning & Cognition Program