School psychologists can find positions in the department of psychological services in cities throughout the country. Positions are also available in private educational counseling clinics. Some psychologists open their own educational evaluation agencies for families.

Click here for a Hebrew job site which lists psychology jobs.

It is crucial to be Hebrew proficient and to become familiar with the nuances of Israeli culture.

A special thank you to Debbie Rubel, for her participation in this interview.

Please provide us with a brief description of your field.
School Psychologists are professionals that help children and youth succeed academically, socially and emotionally. We most often work in schools and we work in collaboration with principals, teachers, guidance counselors, parents and children. Some of our functions include educational evaluations, counseling, parental guidance, consultation with teachers and principals, development of school wide intervention and prevention programs.

What is your current position?
I work as a school psychologist for the Municipality of Bet Shemesh – ‘Sheirut Hapyschologia’ of Bet Shemesh.

How did you find your job?
I found my job through someone named Reuven Ash. He had started a special project for School Psychologists who make Aliyah – in which they can work for the municipalities. You can also find a job directly through the director of psychological services in each city.

What types of places can you work as a School Psychologist?
You can work for the municipality – as I do. You can also work privately – although in order to work without supervision you need to be a Mumche/Mumchit (official certification as expert). You also may be able to work for private organizations that do counseling, therapy and/or evaluations.

What types of backgrounds are relevant for someone looking to work as a school psychologist?
You need to have Master’s Degree in School Psychology. You also should be able to work in Hebrew.

What education and experience should an Oleh looking to become a school psychologist have?
You should come with your Masters in School Psychology from a recognized institution. You don’t necessarily need work experience before you come – although anything you have done will be helpful to you.

Is there any kind of license or certification you need, to work as a school psychologist in Israel?
When you come here you need to get your degrees recognized by Misrad Hachinuch (Ministry of Education). You also need to be recognized as a psychologist and recognized by the ‘Pinkas HaPsychologim'(official listing of psychologists) at Misrad Habriut (Ministry of Health). In order to work privately without supervision you officially need to be a Mumchit. You can only become a Mumchit in School Psychology if you work for a municipality. Even if you are licensed abroad, you will still need to go through the process to become a Mumchit. It is usually at least 4 years of work (can be part time), and then there is extensive paperwork and a test (the need to take the test is dependent on the extent of the person’s experience in the field).

How important is Hebrew in your field?
Hebrew is very important when you are working in a school. You need to be able to converse with teachers, staff, and parents. You also need to be able to write reports in Hebrew.

What are the benefits of your job?
I enjoy working with people. I obtained a lot of on-the-job training in terms of working in Hebrew, understanding how the school system works in Israel and writing reports in Hebrew. The job allows me to be a part of Israeli culture and to understand how things work here.

Is this employment more in demand in certain areas of Israel?
There are not enough school psychologists in the country. You usually can find a job anywhere in the country.

What is the salary range?
Starting salary for part time (21 hours) a week is about $900 a month (approximately 3140 NIS). The salary does get higher with your experience. Your salary will be much higher with private work. Because the salary is so low, many people work part time for the municipality and they try to do some private or more lucrative work elsewhere.

Do you have any other advice or tips for Olim?
Learn as much Hebrew as you can before you come. It will only make things easier. Also, when you make Aliyah, make sure you are willing to re-learn some things. You may be used to giving assessments with certain tests, but they may not be available here or they may not be translated into Hebrew. Also, keep moving ahead – eventually your Hebrew will get better, and you will eventually get the Mumchit (specialist) status.

How do you feel about working and living in Israel?
I feel lucky to be doing something I enjoy. This job gives me an opportunity to meet all different kinds of people and to help try and make a difference for children and their families. It can be very frustrating that the salary is so low. The process to become a Mumchit can also be slow – which may also be frustrating. However, overall I feel positive about the field and the difference we are making in our communities.

Debbie Rubel is a school psychologist. For further questions please contact dbrubel@gmail.com.