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School Psychology Certification in Colorado: Become a School Psychologist in CO

In Colorado, certification as a school psychologist is granted by the Department of Education (DOE). The certification will require at least two years of graduate education. In addition, the candidate will need to pass a certification requirement and clear a background check. A successful applicant will be issued a special services certificate in psychology.

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Educational Requirements for Certification

Colorado requires students to complete both their bachelor's degree and their graduate school psychology program through accepted regionally accredited institutions (http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/licensure_ssp). A list of accepted accrediting agencies is found on the site of the Colorado Department of Education (http://cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/Licensure_institutions.asp).

There is more than one degree option. The prospective school psychologists may enroll in a state approved educational specialist program; said program should offer preparation in offering services from birth to age 21.

A doctoral program is also acceptable. (The higher degree may help an individual qualify for additional credentials through other agencies.)

The school psychology program must include appropriate practicum and internship experiences. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) lists 1,200 hours as the minimum internship length for Colorado school psychology programs, noting that of these, 600 must be accrued in a school setting (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

A list of approved in-state school psychology programs is available online (http://highered.colorado.gov/Academics/TeacherEd/forms/ApprovedProgramsX.pdf).

Examination Requirements

The Praxis II ‘school psychologist’ examination is another certification requirement. The school psychologist examination is available in computerized and pencil-and-paper formats (http://cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/Licensure_PRAXIS_info.asp). The Colorado DOE lists #0401 & #5401 as accepted test versions that are currently available. The passing score is set at 165. (Some applicants may have taken a version of the test where the passing score was set at 660; this applies to those testing before September 13, 2008 and using the test code #10400.)

Candidates who have not yet taken the exam will register through Educational Testing Service (ETS) in accordance with policies found in the most recent handbook; this is available on the ETS site in PDF form (https://www.ets.org/praxis). Candidates must enter the correct code when registering to ensure that scores are sent to the Colorado certification agency.

Those who register for a computerized examination will schedule after they receive their voucher number; the voucher is valid for 90 days.

A handbook for the educational psychologist exam is also available in PDF format; additional study materials may be purchased through ETS.

NCSP Certification

NCSP certification is accepted as an alternate way of demonstrating that some requirements have been met (http://cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/licensuremilitaryspouse). Certification is based on similar requirements; NASP requires a 60 semester hour graduate degree, 1,200 total hours of internship, and successful performance on the Praxis II. The certification process is somewhat more complex for candidates who do not graduate from NASP-approved programs; they must submit a portfolio.

Fingerprint-Based Background Checks

Fingerprints must be made by a law enforcement agency. Colorado requires that the agency provide assistance in filling out the fingerprint card in accordance with state regulations. Applicants are advised to call ahead to make sure the service is provided by the particular agency.

The agency should provide fingerprint cards. They are to be filled out in black ink utilizing the correct codes (and otherwise following the directions given in the instruction sheet on the DOE site).

The fingerprint cards are to be mailed to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations at the address below.

Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) 690 Kipling St., Suite 3000 Denver, CO 80215

From there, they will be sent to the FBI for a further check against national records. The Department notes that the background check process can take four to six weeks.

The fingerprints must be sent with the correct fee (currently, $39.50). This may be paid by money order, certified check, or credit card. Those wishing to pay by credit card should download the form using the address provided by DOE (http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDPS-CBIMain/CBON/1251622155214). Only those candidates who go directly to the CBI office will be allowed to pay by cash.

Background checks performed by other agencies cannot be transferred to the Department of Education. However, applicants who are currently licensed in some other capacity by the DOE will generally have fingerprints on file. Individuals who were licensed before 2004 may not have the required documentation in their files. In this case, they will need to go through the fingerprinting process.

Temporary Eligibility

Temporary Teacher Eligibility (TTE) in school psychology may be granted to professionals who have not yet met all requirements for this credentialing area, but are working on them (http://www.unco.edu/cebs/sped/current/earlychildhood/pdf/tte_see_faq_081810.pdf). In some cases, TTE is granted to an individual already credentialed in another educational area. In all cases, it is tied to employment.

The Application Process

The application may be filled out online; school psychology candidates will use the ‘special service provider’ link (http://cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/Licensure_FirstTimeApp.asp). Transcripts may be submitted online as well (http://cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/news). (High quality scans can be accepted in lieu of official transcripts unless the DOE specifically requests the originals.)

Fees are posted online (http://cde.state.co.us/evaluationfees).

Processing status is posted on the 'educator licensing' page (http://cde.state.co.us/cdeprof) Candidates will be informed that the DOE is currently processing applications received before a particular date

.

The renewable initial license is granted for three years (http://cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/licensure_firsttimeapp).

Military spouses may be issued interim authorization pending assessment (http://cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/licensure_militaryspouse).

Doctoral Level Psychology Licenses

Individuals wishing to practice psychology outside school settings will need a license issued by the Colorado State Board of Psychologist Examiners (http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DORA-Reg/CBON/DORA/1251632394096). The Board of Psychologist Examiners does recognize school counseling as a branch of psychology; a doctoral degree, though, is required.

Additional Information

Professional Services and Educational Licensure may be reached by telephone at (303) 866-6628 on weekdays after 7:30; the call center is open until 5:00, but calls should be placed by 4:30. Licensing information is available online on the DOE site (http://cde.state.co.us/cdeprof). Email correspondence may be addressed to educator.licensing at cde.state.co.us.

NASP lists Barb Bieber as the state consultant for school psychology.

The Colorado Society of School Psychologists is not involved with licensing but serves as an additional professional resource (http://www.cssponline.org).