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School Psychology Certification in Missouri: Become a School Psychologist in MO

Missouri school psychologists are certified by the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. Licensure is granted to professionals who complete specialist degrees, fulfill practicum and internship requirements, and pass an examination. Candidates who complete their initial requirements in Missouri will be certified first at the initial level. After meeting additional requirements, including successful work experience, they will receive the Career Continuous Student Services Certificate in School Psychology.

The Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education offers a related credential, School Psychological Examiner, which requires a short master’s program and internship experience.

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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Educational Requirements for Initial School Psychologist Certificate

The prospective school psychologist must complete a 60 semester hour program that includes coursework in each of the following content areas (http://dese.mo.gov/sites/default/files/27%20School%20Psychologist%2004-final.pdf):

Psychological foundations: This includes the biological basis of behavior, the social basis of behavior, human leaning, child and adolescent development, developmental psychology, and individual difference.

Educational foundations: Instructional design and school organization and operation comprise this content area.

Interventions and problem solving: This covers assessment models and interventions linked to direct and indirect intervention.

Professional school psychology: This includes school psychologist roes and functions, history and foundations of the profession, professional standards and issues, ethics and legal issues, alternative service delivery models, and emergent technologies.

Statistics and research methodology: This includes statistics, measurement, and research and evaluation.

The student will develop competency in eleven key areas. Among these are crisis intervention, prevention, and mental health and home, school, and community collaboration.

The candidate will need to complete a practicum and an internship of at least 1,200 hours. The internship is the equivalent of one school year. At least half of the required hours must be in an educational setting.

A candidate applying for initial licensure in Missouri will need an institutional recommendation.

Examination Requirement for School Psychologist

The candidate will take the school psychologist examination (offered as part of the Praxis II series through Educational Testing Service). A score of 157 is required (http://www.ets.org/praxis/mo/requirements). An official score report must be sent to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. ETS notes that if a candidate tests at a Missouri site, the Department of Education will receive scores; otherwise, a candidate will need to enter the Missouri code to have test results sent. The Missouri Office of Educator Quality at 1-573-751-0371 is listed as the state contact.

Earning a Career Continuous Student Services Certificate

The school psychologist will need four years of experience to move up to a continuous certificate. The first two years require mentoring; internship may be credited as the first year. The candidate will need successful performance-based evaluation.

The school psychologist will also need to complete 40 hours of professional development or three semester hours of graduate credit applicable to a higher degree.

The holder of a continuous certificate may be excused from demonstrating further professional development if there is a school-level professional development plan and if at least two of the following apply: The individual holds a doctoral degree, the individual has achieved national certification, the individual has accrued ten years of approved experience. It is acceptable for the doctoral degree to be in a field closely related to school psychology.

The National Association of School Psychologists notes that the national certification referenced is the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

School psychologists who do not meet the criteria will need 20 hours of professional development each year.

Out-of-State Applicants

Missouri recommends that candidates completing student services programs through institutions located in other states (including online programs) seek credentialing first in the state where the program is located.

Background Checks

Certification candidates will need background checks performed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the FBI. Candidates are to pre-register at the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS); they will need the correct four-digit agency code. The DOE has made detailed instructions available (http://dese.mo.gov/educator-quality/certification/fingerprintingbackground-check).

In-state candidates should have their fingerprints made and submitted electronically through 3M/Cogent. Out-of-state candidates may have their fingerprints made on an FBI card and then mailed to 3M/Cogent. The fee to process the fingerprints is currently given as $44.80.

The DOE receives results approximately two weeks after the fingerprint vendor receives the prints.

The Application Process

Certification candidates may apply online, using the Educator Certification System. A help guide is available on the ‘certification’ page of the DOE site (http://dese.mo.gov/educator-quality/certification).

Candidates can view Praxis scores and background check results by logging in. The DOE notes that during peak months, certificate processing can take up to six weeks.

Requirements for School Psychological Examiner

An individual may qualify for an initial school psychological examiner certificate with an approved master’s degree in any of the following fields: educational psychology, counseling psychology, school counseling, or education (http://dese.mo.gov/sites/default/files/26%20SchoolPsychologicalExaminer04%201-08.pdf). The individual will need a two-semester hour course in education of the exceptional child and/or psychology. There must be 24 semester hours of coursework in areas mandated by the certifying agency. Each of the following must be addressed:

Individuals will need at least 150 hours of supervised practicum with school age children and youth. They will gain experience administering and interpreting IQ tests, carrying out formal and informal diagnostic procedures, and applying the information in the formulation of instructional strategy.

The prospective school psychological examiner will also need an institutional recommendation.

After four years of experience, the school psychological examiner may move up to a career continuous certificate provided other requirements have been met. The first two years must include district-provided mentoring. The school psychological examiner will need a successful annual evaluation. A professional development plan will also be required. This may be comprised of forty contact hours of professional development or three hours of academic credit that meet the state’s requirements).

Additional Information

Additional information can be found on the ‘certification’ page of the DOE website (http://dese.mo.gov/educator-quality/certification).

NASP lists Robyn Segall as the state contact (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

The Missouri Association of School Psychologists is a professional organization serving the state’s school psychologists and school psychological examiners (http://maspweb.org/).