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School Psychology Certification in Arizona: Become a School Psychologist in AZ

Arizona's school psychologists are certified by the Arizona Department of Education. The Arizona Department of Education issues professional non-teaching certificates that are valid in school settings with students from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.

There are five pathways to being certified as a school psychologist. All require at least a master's degree. All require supervised experience. Some may be more appropriate for individuals who have already met certification standards in another jurisdiction.

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is offering several Online Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral programs in Psychology including Educational Psychology, Counseling Psychology and Clinical Psychology. Capella University, is also offering three online CACREP - accredited master's programs: School Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy. Click here to request information about the Capella University programs.

New York University Steinhardt Department of Applied Psychology offers a Master of Arts in School Counseling (Counseling and Guidance: School and Bilingual School Counseling). The program is accredited by the Master's in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC). Click Here to contact NYU Steinhardt Department of Applied Psychology about this program.

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Educational Pathways

Educational pathways are described on the site of the Department of Education (http://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/certificate-requirement/professional-non-teaching-certificates/).

The most direct educational path is to complete a master's program that includes at least 60 semester hours of credit.

A candidate who already holds a doctoral degree in psychology may complete a retraining program that is either Board-approved or housed in an accredited institution. A letter of institutional recommendation will be required at the time of application.

A candidate who has five years of experience providing school psychology services will not need to verify a 60-semester hour degree, provided those five years were accrued during the preceding ten. The professional must have delivered services to children between kindergarten and twelfth grade; any combination of grade levels can be accepted.

Two other credentials are accepted as evidence that the candidate meets Arizona standards. The requirements are set somewhat higher than those of the Arizona Department of Education.

NCSP Credential

The Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) is awarded by the National Association of School Psychologists (http://www.nasponline.org/CERTIFICATION/index.aspx). This credential is awarded on the basis of education, internship, and examination. Educational requirements are similar to Arizona's (60 semester hours). Certification candidates must also pass the Praxis II school psychologist examination (http://www.nasponline.org/CERTIFICATION/becomeNCSP.aspx). This is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). It will also be necessary to meet NASP professional standards; this includes an ethics requirement. While completion of a NASP-approved school psychology program is not among the requirements for the NCSP, it can simplify the process. Graduates of nonapproved programs will need to submit a case study and portfolio; currently, there are two application deadlines a year (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/ncsp/app/index.aspx).

American Board of School Psychology Diploma Path

The American Board of School Psychology diploma is awarded to individuals who have earned a doctoral degree and completed 1,500 hours of doctoral internship with at least one hour a week of supervision by a doctoral level psychologist (http://www.abpp.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3362). The program must be approved or accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or another recognized entity. Diplomates must be licensed or certified by their jurisdiction as psychologists before they can seek board certification. They must have at least two years of qualifying postdoctoral experience. Candidates should be prepared to submit work samples and undergo an oral examination process (http://www.abpp.org/files/page-specific/3297%20Generic%20Requirements/01_Generic_Steps_for_Certification.pdf).

Supervised Experience

In most cases, a school psychologist will need 1,200 clock hours of internship; at least 600 of those hours must be earned in a school setting. A certified school psychologist who has accrued at least three years of experience within the prior ten years may be exempted from this requirement. Internship is to be verified by the head of the university department or someone they designate; school psychology experience is to be verified by the superintendent or personnel director.

Background Clearance

The Arizona Department of Education requires a background check. A candidate must obtain an Identity Verified Prints (IVP) Fingerprint Clearance Card; this is to be done before application. The necessary fingerprint card can be requested at (602) 223-2279. The applicant may also request materials from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) by mail or fax (http://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/files/2011/09/fingerprint-card-information.pdf). The fee for processing is currently listed as $67; this should take the form of a cashier's check or money order and be made payable to AZ DPS. (The agency making the prints may charge an additional fee.)

Fingerprint clearance cards issued prior to 2008 may be accepted even if they are not IVP.

Arizona has fingerprint reciprocity with 19 states, but professionals will still need to go through the IVP process (http://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/files/2013/04/form-testament-for-fingerprint-reciprocity.pdf).

The Application Process

Application materials may be downloaded from the site of the Arizona Department of Education (http://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/certificate-requirement/professional-non-teaching-certificates/).

The application includes questions about criminal history and about any actions taken against past licenses. An 'Explanation of Incident' form should accompany applications that disclose criminal history.

Official transcripts must be included. The applicant will also include a copy of their clearance card. There is a $60 fee that must accompany the application; the check or money order should be made out to the Arizona Department of Education.

Application materials are to be mailed to the following address:
ADE - Certification Unit
PO Box 6490
Phoenix, AZ 85005-6490

A limited number of services are offered on a walk-in basis at the Phoenix location at 1535 West Jefferson Street. Limited services are also available at the Tucson site at 400 W. Congress St., but only on certain days, and for a limited time period (http://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/2012/11/29/tucson-certification-office-new-temporary-office-hours). The DOE has indicated that in the future, there will be an online certification system.

Duration and Renewal

Certificates are issued for six years. To renew, one submits an application, fee, copy of clearance card, and documentation of professional development.

Additional Information

Additional information can be found on the site of the Arizona Department of Education (http://www.azed.gov).

Certification evaluator specialists can be reached by telephone at 602-542-4367. Questions may also be addressed via email to certification@azed.gov.

The Arizona Association of School Psychologists is an additional professional resource, but does not handle certification (http://www.aasp-az.org).

Professionals who wish to practice outside the school setting will need a license from the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners (http://www.psychboard.az.gov/agency/generalContentPage.asp?pageID=2).