Whether you are on your way to certification or already certified and looking for your first job as a school psychologist, you may want to look into taking a summer off to work at a summer camp. While your education program likely afforded you an internship in a professional or school setting, there are several reasons why working at a summer camp can bolster your resume. Even taking a job as a counselor or as administrative staff as opposed to a camp psychologist can help improve your chances of landing a job as a school psychologist.
More Direct Interaction With Children
Depending on your internships and current job in psychology, you may not get a lot of direct interaction with children. Your time will likely be split between obtaining and delivering assessments, counseling parents, influencing teachers and policy, general research, administrative duties, and counseling children. Eventually, you may feel disconnected from the experiences your students are having in school. Summer camp gives you an opportunity to spend uninterrupted time with children and connect with them emotionally in order to better understand what the kids at your school may be experiencing on a daily basis.
Practice Teaching Developmental Constructs to Counselors and Campers
Many camps allow counselors or administrative staff with professional experience in child development to lead in-staff training and counselor-in-training workshops. Leading these types of workshops will help you solidify your skills and come up with ways to implement theoretical knowledge in a realistic setting. This can make you a more confident counselor and can help prepare you to lead staff training sessions at your school.
Evidence of an Ability to Work In an Emotionally Stressful Environment
Working as a school psychologist can be a highly stressful job, depending on the amount of daily interventions you lead and behavioral issues your students exhibit. Working at a summer camp will give you the experience of being available and aware for long hours each day, which can show a high level of commitment to working with children as well as an ability to work in an exhausting, emotionally stressful environment.
If you are considering applying for a job as a school psychologist and you do not yet have experience as a summer camp counselor, you should consider taking a summer off and applying to be a camp counselor or camp administrator in order to better prepare you for your long-term career. Contact a center like El Paseo Children's Center for Psychological & Educational Assessments for more information.
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