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School Psychologist Licensure in Mississippi: Become a School Psychologist in MS

The Mississippi Department of Education credentials Mississippi school psychologists on the basis of education and examination. The credential is referred to as a 'Specific Five-Year Educator License'.

Mississippi educators are classified by the amount of post-secondary education they have. School psychologists may hold a Class AAA license, signifying a specialist degree, or a Class AAAA license, signifying a doctoral degree. The Department of Education offers a related credential, psychometrist, at the Class AA level; a master's is required.

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Educational Requirements for Class AAA School Psychologist

School psychologists must hold a specialist degree, or the equivalent (http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/educator-licensure). Specialist programs are to be approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). A prospective student may find a listing of approved programs on the NASP site (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/naspapproved.aspx).

NASP notes that Mississippi code does not specify a minimum number of semester hours or internship hours (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx). However, NASP standards require 1,200 hours of total internship (with a minimum 600 accrued in a school setting). NASP-approved specialist programs represent the equivalent of at least three years of graduate study. They include pre-internship practicum and develop competencies in ten key areas. Students in specialist programs complete at least 54 semester hours of coursework exclusive of any credit that may be awarded for internship.

Educational Requirements for AAAA School Psychologist

The candidate must have a doctoral degree in psychology to qualify for the Class AAAA license. He or she must also meet all requirements for the Class AAA license, which include having the equivalent of a specialist degree from a NASP-approved program. The certification handbook does not specify the programmatic approval/ accreditation of any subsequent doctoral degree in psychology.

Examination Requirements for School Psychologist

Mississippi school psychologists take two examinations, the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, (formerly known as the Praxis I) and the Praxis II school psychologist exam. Both are administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS).

The Core exam tests reading, writing, and mathematics skills. It is required of all Mississippi educators (unless they have scored at a high level on another qualifying exam). The Core may be required before program admission. It is administered via computer during ten annual testing windows (http://www.ets.org/praxis/register/centers_dates/computer). The fee for the combined test (all three subtests) is listed as $135 (http://www.ets.org/praxis/about/fees).

Required scores are as follows:

The Praxis II examination in school psychology (0401) tests content specific to the job role. Mississippi requires a Praxis II score of 154; state-specific requirements are described on the ETS site (http://www.ets.org/praxis/ms/requirements). The Mississippi Library Commission has study resources available for both exams (http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/educator-licensure/praxis-test-information). Candidates may also download a study guide from ETS.

Candidates who test in Mississippi will have their scores sent to the licensing agency. Those who test in other jurisdictions may request that a score report be sent to the Mississippi Department of Education by entering the code found on the ETS 'Mississippi' page (http://www.ets.org/praxis/ms/requirements/). The DOE notes that photocopies are not acceptable.

ETS lists Judy Edmonds as the contact person for Mississippi. Her telephone and email are posted on the ETS site (http://www.ets.org/praxis/ms/contact/). More general testing questions can be directed to 1-609-771-7395 or 1-800-772-9476.

The Application Process

Candidates may apply online or by mail. The DOE notes that the preferred method is online, utilizing the Educator Licensure Management System, or ELMS.

Paper applications can be downloaded from the DOE site (http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/educator-licensure/licensure-application-k12).

Applicants who answer "yes" to character determination questions will need to provide written explanation on a separate paper. Candidates with "yes” answers to potentially disqualifying legal questions will need to submit court records.

Candidates will need to submit sealed or eScrip transcripts. Documents may be mailed to the licensing agency at the following address:

Mississippi Department of Education
Office of Educator Licensure
P.O. Box 771
Jackson, MS 39205-0771

Certificates may be viewed and printed using the ELMS system. The Mississippi Department of Education will mail paper copies for $5.00.

Requirements for Psychometrist License

A psychometrist may complete an approved master's degree program in psychometry or earn a master's in another field and then complete an approved program in psychometry. An educator with a five-year teaching license may receive the credential by completing a psychometry master's degree program.

Psychometrists need pass just one examination: The Core Academic Skills test.

Renewal of School Psychologist or Psychometrist Licenses

Licenses are renewed on a five-year basis. The professional must have three academic units or five continuing education units (CEUs). The National Association of School Psychologists notes that each CEU represents ten contact hours (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

Additional Information

Private practice requires a license issued by the Mississippi Board of Psychologists (http://www.psychologyboard.state.ms.us).

The Mississippi Department of Education can be found online at http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/mde-home. The state publishes a handbook, Guidelines for Licensure K-12, which describes requirements for all educator licenses (http://www.mapsms.org/education.html).

Educator Licensure can be reached by phone at 601-359-3483. Interested individuals may also email teachersupport at mde.k12.ms.us.

The Mississippi Association for Psychology in the Schools is an additional professional resource (http://www.mapsms.org/news/).