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School Psychology Certification in Delaware: Become a School Psychologist in DE

Delaware school psychologists are credentialed by the Delaware Department of Education. They are considered licensed and certified; licensure refers to the authority to practice, certification to particular areas the individual is authorized to practice.

Initial certification as a school psychologist requires graduate education. There are multiple pathways; Delaware will accept credentials issued by third parties as evidence that requirements have been met at the initial level.

In order to maintain credentialing and move from Initial to Continuing licensure, a professional must successfully complete an induction program.

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Education and Training Pathways for Initial Credentialing

As per Delaware Administrative Code 1583, a school psychologists may be credentialed on the basis of any of the following pathways (http://regulations.delaware.gov/AdminCode/title14/1500/1583.shtml#TopOfPage):

Pathway 1: A candidate may complete an approved school psychology program through a regionally accredited institution. The program may be approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) or accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). The program should award a master's and educational specialist degree or a doctoral degree. The school psychology candidate must have an internship experience.

The APA accredits doctoral programs in school psychology. NASP approves programs at both levels; specialist programs include at least 60 semester hours, doctoral programs at least 90.

The Delaware Department of Education has provided a list of regional accrediting agencies. Delaware schools are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Other acceptable accrediting agencies include the following:

Pathway 2: A candidate can be credentialed on the basis of certification by the National Association of School Psychologists. NASP awards the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential. Certification candidates must complete, at minimum, 60 semester hours of qualifying graduate education. They must have 1,200 total hours of internship; at least 600 must be earned in a school setting.

Additionally, certification candidates must pass the Praxis II subject area examination for school psychologists. The minimum score will depend on the date the examination was taken; different versions have had different scoring systems. Scores as old as nine years old can be accepted. Candidates who took test 0400 (prior to September 2008) were required to score 660. Candidates who take test 0401 (September 2008 through June 2014) must score 165. Test 5402 (debuting in September 2014) will have the passing score set at 147 (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/2014_exam_faq.aspx).

NCSPs must meet NASP professional standards. Candidates who did not graduate from NASP-approved programs will need to submit professional portfolios.

Pathway 3: A candidate can be certified on the basis of a credential issued by another state. The credential, whether license or certification, must be current.

The Application Process

Delaware candidates apply online using the Delaware Educator Data System (DEEDS). Supplemental forms can be downloaded from the Department of Education website (https://deeds.doe.k12.de.us/certificate/deeds_forms.aspx).

Candidates who are not currently employed in a public or charter school within Delaware should have supporting documentation sent to the Delaware Department of Education Collette Education Resource Center in Dover. The DOE notes that with the exception of national certifications and out-of-state credentials, documents must come directly from the issuing agency.

The ‘Request for Transcript’ form has the dual purpose of verifying accreditation and requesting transcripts be sent to the DOE.

The ‘Verification of Non-Teaching Experience’ form can be used to document internship experience.

Files cannot be processed until all required documents have been received. The DEEDS system includes a checklist that is updated periodically to show items that have been received. However, data entry is not immediate.

Induction and Continuing Certification

The initial license is granted for three years. Delaware requires all new educators, including school psychologists, to successfully complete an induction program before they can become eligible for a continuing license (http://regulations.delaware.gov/AdminCode/title14/1500/1503.shtml#TopOfPage).

The new school psychologist will complete a set of specific learning and training activities over the course of four cycles (http://www.doe.k12.de.us/infosuites/staff/ntmentor/school_psych.shtml). A mentor will provide guidance during the early cycles. Both the mentor and the new professional must submit documentation. A mentor who has reservations about the school psychologist’s readiness to move forward may document this. A school psychologist who enters the third cycle will work as part of a study group. In the final cycle, the school psychologist will set continuing professional development goals.

A school psychologist must be evaluated each year that the initial license is held (http://www.doe.k12.de.us/infosuites/staff/ntmentor/files/psychologist/PsyCyc4-steps.pdf). The introductory materials for school psychologist induction note it is necessary to have successful summative evaluations at least two of the three years to move up to continuing licensure. A school psychology professional can learn more about the Delaware Performance Appraisal System and how it relates to the specialist role by clicking ‘DPAS II for specialists’ (http://www.doe.k12.de.us/csa/dpasii/default.shtml).

Additional Information

Candidates should be aware that licensing regulations change periodically. The Department of Education ‘DEEDS’ is the official source for credentialing information. Information specific to the initial licensure of school psychologists can be found in the section marked "professional licensee" (https://deeds.doe.k12.de.us/default.aspx). School psychologists are also subject to regulations that apply to all license holders; they are considered “specialists” but also “educators”.

The Department can be reached at (302) 857-3388 on weekdays; office hours are 8:00 to 4:30. Candidates can also use the email contact form to address questions to the certification staff (https://deeds.doe.k12.de.us/deeds_contactus.aspx).

The National Association of School Psychologists notes that a professional would need a license issued by the Delaware Board of Examiners of Psychologists to practice outside school settings.

The Delaware Association of School Psychologists, though not involved with the licensing process, is an additional professional resource (dasponline.org/).