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School Psychology Certification in Kentucky: Become a School Psychologist in KY

Kentucky school psychologists are credentialed by the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB). Certification is based on graduate education, internship, and examination.

There are multiple certification levels. While meeting internship requirements, individuals hold ‘Provisional Certificate for School Psychologist’ credentials. After completing the requisite hours, they are eligible for the ‘Standard Certificate for School Psychologist’ credential.

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Requirements for Standard Certificate: Education and Internship

There are two certification pathways. School psychologists may demonstrate that they have had an education that conforms to standards set forth in the National Association of School Psychologist (NASP) Standards for Training Programs and have passed the written examination required by the state (http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/kar/016/002/090.htm). Alternatively, they may present national certification issued by NASP.

The graduate program will be at least 60 semester hours (as per NASP standards). The internship will be at least 1,200 hours. It may be completed full-time in one school year or part-time in two.

Requirement for Standard Certificate: Examination

The required examination is the Praxis II school psychologist examination, administered by Educational Testing Service, or ETS. Candidates who apply based on having met Kentucky educational requirements will need a Praxis II score of 161 (http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/kar/016/006/010.htm). They may visit the ‘Kentucky’ page of the ETS site to see state requirements (http://www.ets.org/praxis/ky/requirements).

Candidates may also visit the ETS site to see upcoming test dates; two dates are listed for the first half of 2014 (http://www.ets.org/praxis/register/centers_dates/paper). Standard registration closes approximately a month before each test date. Candidates may register after this date for an additional fee.

Alternate Pathway: National Certification

NASP requires certification candidates to complete educational programs that include at least 60 semester hours of graduate coursework and provide services as part of a 1,200 hour internship experience; at least 600 of the 1,200 hours must be in a school psychology setting.

NASP certification also requires passing scores on the Praxis II. The certification requirement is set slightly higher: 165. Scores can be accepted even if the individual took an earlier version of the test where the passing score was set at 660. However, NASP does place limits; candidates who took the exam ten years in the past should be prepared to retake it. Individuals interested in registering as part of the NASP certification process will also find a page on the ETS site to guide them (https://www.ets.org/praxis/nasp/requirements). Score reports can be sent to multiple agencies.

Certification candidates must meet NASP professional standards. The organization has prepared a PDF handbook to help graduate students prepare for the certification process (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/becomeNCSP.aspx). A candidate can be certified if their school psychology program was not NASP-approved. However, they will need to demonstrate competency through submission of case study and professional portfolio. There is a separate application packet for those who complete non-approved programs; detailed instructions are included.

Prospective students can search for NASP-approved programs online; the list includes programs from around the nation (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/naspapproved.aspx). NASP notes that approval status at the time of graduation determines whether an individual has graduated from an approved program. Questions can be addressed to the NASP Certification Department at (866) 331-NASP.

Requirements for Provisional School Psychology Certificate

School psychology students who are pursuing their training in Kentucky will apply for provisional certification when they have completed the required curriculum and the Praxis II examination and are ready to begin the internship experience. They will need a recommendation from the institution where they completed their qualifying education.

The provisional certificate is good for one year, but the timeframe may be extended to allow a student who is serving in a part-time internship to complete requirements.

The Application Process

Candidates should use the ‘Application for Kentucky Certification or Change in Salary Rank’ which is found on the EPSB site (http://www.kyepsb.net/certification/certquicklinks.asp). Certificates carry a $50 fee; this may be paid online or by certified check or money order.

Applications may be sent to the following address:

Division of Certification Education Professional Standards Board 100 Airport Road, 3rd Floor Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Applicants can use their password to check application status online.

Certificate Renewal

The standard school psychology certificate is issued for five years. During this time, school psychologists are expected to do 72 hours of professional development or pursue six semester hours of academic coursework. They are also expected to practice at least three years during the renewal cycle (http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/kar/016/002/090.htm).

Additional Information

The EPSB-issued credential does not authorize private practice. Private practice as a psychologist requires a license from the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychologists (http://psy.ky.gov/). NASP notes that a license issued by the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors can also authorize private practice (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

Individuals with questions or concerns may fill out a contact form on the certification section of the EPSB site (http://www.kyepsb.net/certification/certcontact.asp).

The Kentucky Association for Psychology in the Schools is Kentucky's professional organization. KAPS does not certify individuals but does help them stay current on school psychology issues (http://www.kapsonline.org/). The organization maintains a listserv (http://www.kapsonline.org/Resources.html).