African American Undergraduates' Perceptions of School Psychology as a Career Option

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sarah Elizabeth Raab (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Michael B. 1952- Brown

Abstract: Students in public schools are becoming more diverse yet the school psychologists who serve them are still primarily Caucasian. One of the goals of the profession is to diversify the workforce; although there is a shortage of school psychologists filling open positions with individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds remains difficult. Utilizing an African American presenter to provide information about a career in school psychology is one strategy to recruit individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds in to the profession. Some research suggests that African Americans prefer career role models of the same race while other research suggests that interpersonal skills are more influential than race alone. Since most school psychologist practitioners faculty and students in school psychology graduate training programs are not African American it is important to understand whether information provided by a Caucasian presenter would also increase African American students' interest in school psychology.  The main purpose of this study is to understand if the race of the presenter providing information about a career in school psychology impacts participants' interest in school psychology. Twenty-five African American undergraduate psychology majors completed a pre-intervention survey listened to a brief information session about a career in school psychology presented by a Caucasian presenter and completed a post-intervention survey. There was significant change in interest in school psychology as a career following the information session. The change in the participants' expressed interest was not significantly different from that of a previous study in which the presenter was African American.  The career information session conducted by a Caucasian presenter to students from diverse ethnic backgrounds seems as effective in increasing interest in the field as that presented by an African American. This provides some evidence that school psychology practitioners faculty and students in school psychology graduate training programs could be effective recruiters of diverse individuals into the field even if they are not African American. Accurate information also increases African American participants' perception that a career in school psychology can meet multiple career satisfaction domains. These career domains match the domains that practicing school psychologists find most satisfying about their careers indicating that participants have a more realistic view of the career satisfactions provided by a school psychology career. Increasing ethnically diverse students' interest in school psychology may increase their likelihood of enrolling in a graduate training program and eventually practicing school psychology. 

Additional Information

Date: 2011
Psychology, Educational psychology, Career Choice, Influence of Presenter Race, Interest in School Psychology, Race and Interest in School Psychology, School psychology
School psychologists--Supply and demand
African American psychologists

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