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School Psychology Certification in Connecticut: Become a School Psychologist in CT

Connecticut's school psychologists are credentialed by the Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification, under the banner of the Connecticut State Department of Education (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/site/default.asp). The special services endorsement in school psychology authorizes practice with students in pre-kindergarten to grade twelve. School Psychologist certification is based on graduate level education and internship. The Bureau issues credentials at different levels; the ‘professional’ certification is the highest.

New regulations will go into effect July 1, 2015; these will delineate the curriculum that candidates must have to qualify for state certification (if they do not hold national certification and have not attended a program with Connecticut approval). The number of semester hours for certification at the lower levels will also increase. There will be some differences in requirements for school psychologists moving up to the professional level.

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 and Internship Requirements for Initial Certificate: Beginning July 1, 2015

Beginning 2015, individuals may qualify for initial school psychology certification through any of three pathways.

The first method is to complete a planned program that is Board-approved and NCATE-accredited.

The second is to have 60 semester hours of planned graduate study in school psychology and to be in possession of at least a master's. School psychology candidates who opt for this method must have academic credit in specific areas prescribed by the Board. These include the following:

The study of school psychology and learner characteristics is to include growth and atypical development of diverse learners; it must also address the impact of linguistic, cultural, and environmental factors and the impact of health and wellness (broadly defined to include factors ranging from nutrition and physical activity to community health). A full description of all curricular components can be found in the PDF of the new regulations.

A school psychologist credentialed through this pathway is to have a practicum and a 1,200 hour internship that meets state standards. However, a candidate may be issued a certificate that authorizes completion of the internship if all other requirements have been met.

The third method to qualify for Connecticut credentialing is to pursue national certification. A candidate who is in possession of a certification issued by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) is deemed to have met education and internship requirements. Certification requires completion of a 60-semester hour school psychology program and a 1,200 hour internship. A candidate must also have passing scores on the Praxis II subject test, which is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). There are additional requirements for candidates who do not graduate from NASP-approved programs.

Requirements for Professional School Psychologist Certificate Beginning July 1, 2015

In order to move from initial certification to professional certification, a school psychologist will need ten months of successful service. A school psychologist who did not hold an initial certificate in Connecticut will need to demonstrate 30 months of successful service to receive certification at the professional level.

An individual who delivered services under an interim initial certification will also need to provide a statement of professional experience and be recommended by the preparing institution.

Education and Internship Requirements Prior to July 1, 2015

Prior to July 1, 2015, new applicants are held to different standards. Individuals may receive an initial certification in school psychology with just 45 semester hours of graduate credit. Previous regulations also specify in less detail what curriculum a school psychology program must include.

Under previous regulations, a school psychologist needed 60 semester hours in school psychology or a related field to qualify for the professional level license. The 1998 version of the regulations is available on the web (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/PDF/Cert/regulations/regulations.pdf). However, there is a note that some material has been superseded by newer regulations.

NASP has provided a summation of current requirements and forthcoming changes (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

Background Checks

The Bureau notes that they will conduct a criminal background check as well as a check of the child abuse and neglect registry of the Department of Children and Families.

The Application Process

Application forms and supplemental materials are available on the Department of Education website (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2613&Q=321402).

Official transcripts will be required. Some candidates will need to supply additional supplemental materials. A candidate who answers 'yes' to any background questions will need to submit a signed statement as well as court or administrative records.

Applicants credentialed in other states will need to include copies of their certifications; the Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification does not require submission of unrelated certifications or certifications that do not have bearing on the prior ten years of professional experience.

Experienced school psychologists should include a statement of professional experience on the form provided (if applicable to their licensing level).

The correct fee (in the form of a money order, cashier's check, or certified check) is to be submitted with the application packet. The total cost of application and certification at the provisional level is $250; at the professional level, it is $375. First-time applicants who are unsure of eligibility may include only the nonrefundable $50 application fee; the Bureau notes that a packet that does not include at least this (in an accepted form) will be returned.

Materials should be directed to the Bureau in Hartford. There are separate addresses for regular and express mail (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2613&q=321222). The Bureau will accept materials delivered on a walk-in basis, but will not process them immediately. Applications generally take four to six weeks, but the time frame can be significantly longer during peak months.

Candidates will receive notifications if required credentials are not in the file.

Other School Psychology Credentials

A psychology license issued by the Department of Public Health can expand one’s scope of practice; a doctoral degree is among the requirements. According to Guidelines for the Practice of School Psychology, a publication of the Connecticut State Department of Education, there are various voluntary credentials that school psychologists may opt for (http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/PDF/DEPS/Student/PsychSocial/GuidelinesSchoolPsychology.pdf).

Additional Information

The Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification can be found on the web (www.ct.gov/sde/cert). Applicants may call the Bureau at 860-713-6969 between 12:00 and 4:00 PM Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday to speak to a staff member; at other hours, an automated system may handle the calls.

Email correspondence can be directed to teacher.cert at ct.gov; the Bureau notes that response times may be as long as two weeks.

NASP lists Jocelyn Mackey as the state consultant for school psychology.

Connecticut Association of School Psychologists