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School Psychology Licensure in Kansas: Become a School Psychologist in KS

Kansas school psychologists are licensed by the Kansas State Department of Education, or KSDE. The credential is referred to as a school specialist license; unlike some Kansas school specialist licenses, school psychology does not require a teaching credential. Licensure is based on graduate level education, internship, and examination.

There are multiple levels of licensure. The initial license is granted for two years. Performance is evaluated during this time. The professional certificate is issued for five years.

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Educational Requirement

A candidate should enroll in a state approved program at a regionally accredited institution and maintain a graduate GPA of 3.25.

A Kansas student typically receives an educational specialist degree prior to completing the internship. Once the institution has recommended graduating students, they can be issued their initial licenses. They will continue under university supervision while working under their intern licenses.

Performance is assessed in the context of work. Standards for school psychologists are found on page 201 of the certification handbook (http://www.ksde.org/Portals/0/TLA/Licensure/Licensure%20Documents/CertHandbook8-2011%20FINAL.pdf).

Examination Requirement

The required written examination is the Praxis II school psychologist exam (#0401) which is administered by Educational Testing Service (http://www.ets.org/praxis/ks/requirements). In-state candidates take the test before receiving their initial license. The required score is 157. (Candidates who simultaneously seek voluntary national certification will need a higher score: 165.)

The school psychology test is paper-delivered. Candidates may test outside Kansas, but those who opt to do so will need to use the correct code to ensure that the score report is sent to the Kansas Department of Education. Locations and test dates are available on the ETS site (http://www.ets.org/praxis/register/centers_dates). Candidates can also access study resources.

Recency Requirement

Kansas has a recency requirement. An applicant for initial licensing is expected to demonstrate a year of recent experience or eight semester hours of recent coursework (http://www.ksde.org/Portals/0/TLA/Licensure/Licensure%20Documents/CertHandbook8-2011%20FINAL.pdf).

Moving from Initial to Professional Licensing

Professionals are expected to meet the performance assessment requirement within the first four years of employment. If not, they will need to pursue six semester hours of coursework related to the deficiency and then complete a 12 week unpaid internship. Coursework must be completed with a GPA of 3.25; the internship may be completed with no less than a B.

Out-of-State Candidates

Out-of-state licensees may be credentialed at the initial or professional level (http://www.ksde.org/Portals/0/TLA/Licensure/Licensure%20Documents/CertHandbook8-2011%20FINAL.pdf). Candidates at either level will be expected to meet the education requirement, documenting the completion of a specialist program, the granting of a graduate degree, and maintenance of a 3.25 graduate GPA. They will also need to meet the recency requirement and content examination requirement.

In order to be licensed at the professional level, a school psychology specialist will need to verify three years of recent experience. The school psychologist at the professional level is expected to have had a performance assessment (as prescribed by their state board).

A provisional license may be granted to an applicant with a valid out-of-state license who does not meet all requirements for initial licensure. The individual must have completed more than half of an approved program. The provisionally licensed specialist will need a deficiency plan. The National Association of School Psychologists notes that KSDE has multiple credentials for educators who have not yet met all requirements, and that a school psychologist who attempts to do so utilizing the wrong pathway will be denied (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

Provisional licenses are renewable; the professional will need to verify completion of more than 50% of the deficiency plan as well as continued employment in a position requiring the specialist endorsement.

Internationally Educated Candidates

An internationally educated candidate will need credentials reviewed by an approved evaluator. The DOE has provided a link to the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (http://www.naces.org/members.htm).

An English proficiency examination will be required if English is not the candidate’s primary language.

Background Checks

Licensure depends on clearing fingerprint-based background checks through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the FBI. The DOE requires applicants to use the pre-formatted Kansas fingerprint card. Candidates will initiate the process by ordering the card; they may use the KSDE online form (http://www.ksde.org/Agency/DivisionofLearningServices/FingerprintCardOrderForm.aspx).

The fingerprints must be made by a law enforcement officer. The card is to be signed in front of the officer. The applicant will bring an envelope with the correct fee. He or she should ask the agent to seal the card and fee in the envelope and mail it.

KSDE charges $50 to process the background check. This is in addition to any fees the law enforcement agency may charge.

The Application Process

An in-state student can expect to receive application information from the licensure officer at the school. Applications can be found on the site of the Kansas Department of Education (http://www.ksde.org/Agency/DivisionofLearningServices/LicenseApplication.aspx). In-state candidates may choose to apply online if they prefer.

Documents are to be sent to the following address:

Teacher Licensure and Accreditation Landon State Office Building 900 SW Jackson, Suite 106 Topeka, KS 66612

The DOE notes that it typically takes six to eight weeks to process an application.

Additional Information

The licensure operator can be reached at 785-296-2288. A list of licensure consultants is found on the KSDE site (http://ksde.org/Agency/DivisionofLearningServices/LicenseApplication.aspx).

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) lists Jennifer Cook as the state consultant.

The Kansas Association of School Psychologists is the state's NASP affiliate and professional organization (http://www.kasp.org).