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School Psychologist Requirements and National Certification

Updated on January 22, 2012

School psychologists combine their knowledge of education and psychology to improve the learning environment for school children. Those seeking a career in school psychology must complete certain training and often need national certification.

First, all aspiring school psychologists should keep in mind that every state has a psychology, mental health, or related licensing board. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all states and D.C. require a license. Every state has its own rules. However, this article lays out the typical school psychology requirements by showing what it takes to get national certification. Although state rules vary, there are similar requirements for all states.

The National Association of School Psychologists certifies qualified applicants on a national level. This is not specifically how to get a state school psychology license. However, if you qualify for certification, then you generally are going to qualify or be close to qualifying for a state license.

To become a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP), NASP requires you to complete a school psychology graduate degree program. You will have to earn at least a master's degree in school psychology that has at least 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours. Almost all (51 semester or 81 quarter hours) may not include the internship program.

Applicants must complete 1200 hours in an internship. At least 600 of these hours are to be completed as part of the school psychology program.

There is also a school psychologist certification exam. This is the Praxis II exam, and it is administered by ETS. This is sometimes called the "National School Psychology Examination." States may require any licensing test and any score, but the National Association of School Psychologists requires at least a score of 660 if taken before September of 2008. If taken after that date, the minimum score is 165 to account for the change in scoring. Applicants may download a school psychologist certification application using the links below.

Those who are licensed (and preferably certified) then usually work as school psychologists in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the country. According to the BLS, there were a total of 152,000 clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in 2008. Just remember that the school psychologist requirements for licensing are different in every state. Check the rules while you are still an undergraduate to make sure you have the proper educational plan to become a licensed and nationally certified school psychologist.

Resources:

NASP Application for Graduates of Approved School Psychology Training and Degree Programs

NASP List of Approved School Psychology Graduate Degree Programs

BLS: Psychologist Career Information

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