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School Psychology Certification in Alaska: Become a School Psychologist in AK

Alaska's school psychologists are certified by the Department of Education and Early Development. Successful candidates are issued Type C Special Service certificates. These are issued on the basis of completing appropriate graduate education and meeting internship requirements. Alaska has state-specific coursework requirements that go beyond that which is normally required for school psychology certification. There are provisional and emergency certificates for individuals who do not yet qualify.

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Educational Requirements

A school psychologist must possess a master's degree or higher level graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution. Regulations state that the program may be approved by one of the following agencies:

The APA only accredits doctoral level programs. NCATE has recently consolidated with TEAC and is now under the banner of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, or CAEP (http://www.ncate.org).

A candidate for standard certification must also document coursework in Alaska studies and in cross-cultural communication or multicultural studies. A student may go online to see which courses have been approved as meeting the Alaska studies requirement (http://www.eed.state.ak.us/teachercertification/pdf/Approved_Alaska_Studies_Courses.pdf).

There is also a 'recency requirement' – this means having taken at least six semester hours or the equivalent within the preceding five years (http://www.eed.state.ak.us/teachercertification/typeC.html). Alaskan studies courses are applicable toward the 'recency requirement' for the purpose of obtaining certification.

International Students

A candidate who completed coursework outside the United States must have credentials professionally evaluated (http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/forms/Foreign_Evaluation_Info.pdf). The course-by-course report will provide U.S. equivalent semester hours and grades for all courses, and also note the level at which courses were taught. Alaska currently lists seven approved evaluation agencies:

The Alaska Department has provided contact information for each approved agency.

Internship Requirements

The prospective school psychologist must have 1,200 hours of internship; at least 600 must take place in a school setting.

Provisional and Emergency School Psychology Certificates

A provisional school psychology certificate may be issued to an individual who lacks one or more of the following:

Emergency certificates, meanwhile, are only issued at the request of a school district. According to NASP, school districts are unlikely to request this status for candidates who have not yet completed their education (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

NASP Certification

Certification by NASP is taken as evidence that the individual has met some certification requirements.

Background Checks

All candidates who are not currently employed by an Alaska school district must have fingerprint-based background checks (http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/fingerprints.html). Fingerprints are to be made on an FBI card (Form FD-258) -- it is imperative that an applicant fingerprint card is used, and not a criminal fingerprint card. The necessary cards may be requested from the Alaska Department (tcwebmail at alaska.gov ) if they will not be available at the fingerprinting agency.

Fingerprints must be made by an appropriate technician; the technician will need to sign and date the card. The Department of Education & Early Development has provided the necessary codes (http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/forms/Fingerprint_Instructions.pdf). The Department has also provided instructions about various aspects of the fingerprinting process.

In the case of school psychologists applying for standard certificate, the Department will accept employment verification in lieu of fingerprint cards.

The Application Process

The application may be downloaded from the Department site (http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/ssp01.html). School psychology candidates will use the ‘special service provider application packet’ (initial or standard).

The candidate must document education and professional history and answer questions about past certifications and criminal history. In most instances, the application must be notarized. If there is no notary available, a postmaster may witness and sign.

The institutional recommendation form is included in the downloadable application materials. The necessary documentation is to be obtained from the degree granting institution; it is to be returned to the applicant and included in the application packet.

The application packet must include fingerprint cards or verification of employment with an Alaska public school district. Either a copy of the current contract or a letter from the school district office is accepted as verification (http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/fingerprints.html).

The applicant will need official transcripts documenting bachelor's and graduate degrees and state-mandated coursework. Transcripts must be included in the application packet; they must be "officially printed" but do not have to be in their original envelopes (http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/transcripts.html). Electronic transcripts or transcripts mailed by the issuing institution are not accepted except in limited circumstances, as specified by the Department. Failure to include transcripts will typically result in a returned application packet

A total of $185 ($125 for the application, $60 for fingerprint processing) is to be submitted with the application packet. The Alaska Department does not accept personal checks.

The Department provides general information about processing status of applications on the teacher certification webpage (http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/).

Certificate Renewal

The regular Type C certificate is issued for five years. Renewal is dependent on completion of appropriate continuing education. Those who opt for national certification and an advanced certificate will have a simplified process of documenting that requirements have been met.

Advanced Type C Certificates

Nationally Certified School Psychologists may apply for an Advanced Type C certificate; to qualify, they must already possess the regular Type C certificate. They must submit notarized applications along with a copy of the current certification. There is no additional fee due to the Alaska Department for the higher certificate provided that the applicant has current fingerprint clearance on file. (This can be confirmed through a phone call.) If the required documentation is not on file, the applicant must submit two fingerprint cards.

Advanced certificates are issued with the same expiration date as the national certification. NASP notes that Alaska school psychologists may meet renewal requirements by maintaining certification (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/statencsp.aspx).

Additional Information

School psychology information can be accessed on the site of the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development (http://education.alaska.gov/). The Department may be reached by telephone at 907-465-2831.

The Alaska School Psychologists Association is the state’s professional organization (http://www.akschoolpsych.org).

Individuals who wish to practice outside school settings will need licenses issued by the Alaska Board of Psychologists and Psychological Associate Examiners (http://commerce.alaska.gov/dnn/cbpl/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardofPsychologists.aspx).