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School Psychology Certification in Florida: Become a School Psychologist in FL

In Florida, school psychology certification is issued by the Department of Education to candidates who have completed appropriate graduate education and met internship or practice requirements. School psychology is classified as a "professional service area" (http://www.fldoe.org/edcert/subjlist.asp); certificates are valid for practice with students in pre-kindergarten through grade twelve.

School psychology licensure, on the other hand, is granted through the Florida Department of Health. Licensure is not a requirement for an individual who is hired by the schools. In some cases, though, individuals find it advantageous to pursue the higher credential.

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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Education and Internship Requirements for DOE Certification

There are five pathways candidates can use to demonstrate competence for Department of Education (DOE) certification (http://www.fldoe.org/edcert/rules/6A-4-0311.asp). Some may be more applicable to those who pursued school psychology training in other jurisdictions.

Option 1

The first option is to pursue a degree at the educational specialist level or higher that comprises at least 60 semester hours and includes a full year of internship. Six semester hours of internship credit should be awarded.

Option 2

The second option is to hold a degree at the master’s level or higher and have completed a 60-semester hour graduate program in school psychology which includes the following components:

There must be three credits earned through practicum and six to twelve credits earned in a yearlong internship.

Third Option

A third option is to hold a degree at the master's level and have completed 60 semester hours of graduate credit that includes the following courses and minimum semester hours:

There should be a 3 semester hour practicum, but the Department will accept three years of certificated practice in lieu of practicum for candidates who utilize this pathway.

There should also be a yearlong internship that includes at least 1,200 total hours, at least 600 of which are in a school setting. The internship should be completed at a school that offers a graduate level school psychology degree and should be reflected by no fewer than six semester hours of academic credit. However, the Department will accept three years of certificated practice in lieu of internship.

Option 4

A candidate can also qualify for certification by holding a degree at the master's level or higher, having completed a school psychology program, and having served for three years as a school psychologist. The professional must have been duly certificated in the jurisdiction where the service was accrued.

Option 5

A final option is to be in possession of a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential issued by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). This credential also requires at least 60 semester hours of graduate study and a 1,200 hour internship. The Praxis II school psychologist examination is another NASP certification requirement.

The Application Process

Candidates can submit applications online (http://www.fldoe.org/edcert/apply.asp). They may instead request that application materials be mailed to them.

Official transcripts may be sent by the issuing institution or included within the application packet. Florida notes that if the issuing institution can submit them electronically to the Bureau of Educator Certification, this is preferable.

The state charges an application fee of $75 per certification subject (http://www.fldoe.org/edcert/fee.asp).

If the review is favorable, the applicant will receive an Official Statement of Status of Eligibility for either a temporary or professional certificate; this is sufficient to seek employment. Candidates who report criminal history will have their application materials forwarded to Professional Practices Services.

The certificate will be issued after the individual has been 1) employed by a public district or qualifying private school and 2) fingerprinted (http://www.fldoe.org/edcert/step2.asp). Individuals employed by public schools (or public charter schools) will be fingerprinted by the personnel office. Individuals employed by qualifying private schools may have different procedures.

If the initial certificate is issued at the ‘temporary’ level, the school psychologist will need to complete additional requirements (as dictated by Statement) before a certificate at the professional level is issued.

If the initial Statement indicates an applicant is not eligible for credentialing at any level, the candidate may become eligible by meeting requirement that have not yet been met. (The Bureau of Educator Certification will outline the options.)

Internationally Educated School Psychology Candidates

Internationally educated candidates must have a credential evaluation (http://www.fldoe.org/edcert/foreign.asp). This may be carried out by a United States university, a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE), or a credential evaluation agency that has been expressly approved by the Bureau of Educator Certification. The evaluation must break education down course by course with descriptive titles and semester hours earned; it must also include a statement of what U.S. degree the degree is equivalent to.

School Psychology Licensure

Licensure as a school psychologist can increase one’s scope of practice, allowing for practice in the private sector (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx). Again, there are several pathways, some of which apply only to individuals who have already met requirements in some jurisdiction (http://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/school-psychology/licensing/index.html).

An individual who is applying through the traditional pathway will need to provide evidence of a qualifying graduate level education. It must be at least the equivalent of a specialist degree. Three years of experience will be required; two must be under supervision. Doctoral level internship may be credited. A professional who seeks licensure as a school psychologist will also need to take the Praxis II examination in school psychology.

A professional who holds diplomat status through the American Board of Professional Psychology is deemed qualified. (This certification is only awarded to professionals with doctoral education.)

Applications for Florida licensure are on the DOH site (http://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/school-psychology/applications-forms/index.html).

Additional Information

There are multiple ways of contacting the Bureau of Educator Certification. Individuals may use the email contact form (http://www.fldoe.org/edcert/contact.asp). General information is available to those who call 800-445-6739. Callers who have an Applicant ID number can speak to a certification specialist or receive information about which documents have been received and placed in their file. Individuals may also visit the Bureau of Educator Certification office in Tallahassee.

Those interested in the higher credential may reach Licensing Support Services at 850-488-0595. Other contact information is found on the DOH site (http://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/school-psychology/contact-info.html).

The Florida Association of School Psychologists (FASP) does not handle credentialing, but provides additional resources for professionals and pre-professionals (http://www.fasp.org/). Internship information is available on the FASP website (http://www.fasp.org/Standing_Committees/School_Psychology_Students_Interns.html).

Also, take a look at the FASP Training and Credentialing page for additional information.