Educational Psychologist: understanding how we learn

An educational psychologist deals with every aspect of learning processes: cognitive and emotional, neurological and relational, during childhood and adulthood, from the viewpoint of both individuals and the entire community.

Given the scope of their field of study and intervention, educational psychologists must have an interdisciplinary educational background combining studies in psychology with expertise in other social sciences, such as the educational sciences, neurosciences, physiology of learning processes and organisational sciences. Educational psychologists typically work in all those places providing educational services: primarily schools of different kinds and levels and universities, but also permanent training centres and rehabilitation communities for young offenders and minors in general.


As in other fields of psychology, the basic qualifications for becoming an educational psychologist are a master’s degree in psychology, passing the board examination and then be licenced in section A of the Association of Psychologists in order to work freelance. The theory side of training focuses on subjects studying processes enabling people to learn from a psychological, neurological and social viewpoint: educational psychology, educational sciences, neurosciences, physiology and organisational sciences. Here again, students interested in this kind of career are expected to focus their studies in this direction and attend training courses and internships in educational institutes and training facilities.

Career Opportunities

An educational psychologist typically works at an educational institute: from primary schools right through to universities, but mainly focusing on compulsory school education when it is vitally important as many young people as possible receive an education, assisting pupils with learning difficulties and ensuring every single child makes the best of their abilities. Children with disabilities will be a particular focus of attention. Other workplaces include professional training centres for adults and institutes planning/managing education policies. Young offenders’ units and communities are a special case in question. Scientific research is another possible career path, notably focusing on aspects involving the neurosciences, i.e. studying how the brain learns.

Job Description

An educational psychologist is engaged in improving leaning processes, supporting students and teachers, and helping school-education facilities organise themselves as effectively as possible.

Intervention focuses on overcoming difficulties that may be of a cognitive, emotional, relational or organisational nature: for example, helping children with learning disabilities or young people failing at school for emotional reasons. As regards further education and training, an educational psychologist focuses on reviving and stimulating the ability to learn in either adults or elderly people. In relation to teaching staff, they may provide teaching support services to help staff develop their own teaching style and strategy, for example when dealing with a difficult class. Finally, in relation to schools, they can try and improve education services to make them more efficient and more welcoming in terms of the spcific needs of individuals.