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School Psychology Licensure in New Mexico: Become a School Psychologist in NM

New Mexico school psychologists are issued instructional support licenses by the Public Education Department (PED); this authorizes service in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Licenses are issued with Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 designations.

Licensure at any level requires graduate education and internship. Licensure at Level II or III is dependent on having completed additional supervised experience; it is also necessary to hold a credential through a third party. Licensure at the highest level is available only to those with doctoral degrees.

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 Training Qualifications for Level 1 (Entry Level) School Psychologist

New Mexico requires school psychologists to earn both their bachelor's and master’s degrees (or bachelor's and ‘educational specialist’ degrees) from regionally accredited institutions. It is acceptable for the qualifying graduate level school psychology program to be completed separately from the qualifying graduate degree.

The minimum number of graduate semester hours is 60 (http://www.nmcpr.state.nm.us/nmac/parts/title06/06.063.0005.htm). If the 60 semester hour program is completed at a New Mexico institution, it must include at least 1,200 internship hours (with at least 600 hours earned in a school-related setting). A minimum of 300 hours are to be spent in the following activities: carrying out psychological assessments, counseling students, and providing other interventions to students with psychological disturbances. All internship hours are to be under the supervision of an appropriately licensed psychologist. Education outside New Mexico is license-qualifying if it is judged equivalent. 1,200 hours of supervised experience may be accepted in lieu of internship.

Requirements are slightly different for candidates who hold doctoral degrees. An individual with a doctoral degree in psychology can be licensed provided such individual has completed twelve semester hours of coursework in development, intervention, and assessment that is specifically focused on children and has accrued 600 hours of supervised practice in an appropriate (school-related) setting. Professionals who hold current licensing as psychologists or psychologist associates through the New Mexico Board of Psychologist Examiners are deemed eligible for licensing provided they have the required twelve semester hours of child-focused coursework and 600 practice hours.

Examination or Certification Requirement

Candidates will need to pass the Praxis II examination in school psychology with a score of at least 156.

A school psychologist who holds current national certification as an NCSP through the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) will not need to provide evidence of having passed the Praxis II. However, national certification currently requires the candidate to pass the Praxis II at a higher level: 165.

NCSP certification also requires a 60 semester hour program and 1,200 hours of internship. Individuals who complete programs that are not approved by NASP will need to complete additional requirements to show that they are certification-worthy (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/index.aspx).

Supervision Requirement for Level I Licensees

School psychologists credentialed at Level I are to be under the supervision of a Level III school psychologist. Supervision is to address the entry-level competencies found in 6.63.5.12 of state code (http://www.nmcpr.state.nm.us/nmac/parts/title06/06.063.0005.htm). The licensee will need at least an hour a week of individual supervision; there must be at least one in-person session a month.

Qualifications for Level II School Psychologist License

A candidate must hold a Level I license before a Level II license can be issued. At this stage, a total of 2,400 hours of supervised experience are required. At least 600 internship hours are to have been accrued in a school-related setting; at least 1,200 post-internship hours are to have been accrued in a school-related setting. (New Mexico defines school-related settings as public schools, accredited nonpublic schools, and state institutions that deliver student services according to law and meet other criteria of state code 6.63.5.)

A Level II school psychologist must hold NCSP certification unless licensed by the New Mexico Board of Psychology Examiners as a psychologist or psychologist associate or by the New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practice Board as a clinical mental health counselor. Additional competences expected of Level II school psychologists are found in 6.63.5.13.

Qualifications for Level III School Psychologist License

A Level III school psychologist holds a doctoral degree and has completed at least 1,500 hours of pre- or post-doctoral experience with at least 750 hours accrued in a school-related setting. The individual has performed satisfactorily for at least two academic years at the post-graduate level in a setting appropriate to the school psychologist role and has spent at least 750 hours diagnosing children with behavioral or emotional disturbance.

Background Checks

The New Mexico Public Education Department requires fingerprint-based state and federal background checks. Fingerprints must be processed by the approved vendor, 3M Cogent. Candidates should register online following the directions found on Cogent’s ‘New Mexico’ page (https://www.cogentid.com/nm/index_NM.htm). The ORI code can be found on the PED site (http://ped.state.nm.us/ped/LicFingerprinting.html).

In-state candidates must have Live Scan fingerprinting. They will bring their registration number and photo ID with them when they have their prints made. The fee is currently listed as $44 (https://www.cogentid.com/nm/index_NM.htm).

Out-of-state candidates who cannot visit an appropriate site will need to send their fingerprint cards to 3M Cogent; they must use the correct fingerprint card (https://www.cogentid.com/nm/index_NM.htm). A candidate can obtain a fingerprinting packet by calling 505-827-6649 or emailing ethics at state.nm.us.

The Application Process

Applications may be downloaded from the site of the Public Education Department (http://www.ped.state.nm.us/Licensure/2010/forms.html). The Professional Licensure Bureau requires transcripts from all universities attended. Qualifying degrees need to be shown on transcripts. The transcripts are to be included in the application packet.

Candidates answering "yes" to character and fitness questions will need to include a narrative description that meets criteria described in the application packet. "Yes" answers to certain questions will require additional supporting documentation.

New Mexico license application fees are currently listed as $125. Applications are to be sent to the Professional Licensure Bureau in Santa Fe.

The Professional Licensure Bureau notes that between October and April, one to four weeks is the typical review time; between May and September, the review time extends to eight to twelve weeks. Applicants who have answered “yes” to questions about legal history will have their materials forwarded to the Professional Ethics Bureau for a determination.

Incomplete application packets are returned to the applicant.

Experienced School Psychologists

The Public Education Department notes that new applicants start at Level I even if they have experience (http://www.ped.state.nm.us/Licensure/2010/faq.html). Instructional support providers who possess other qualifications required for a higher license will still need to have a successful evaluation.

Additional Information

The Professional Licensure Bureau is found on the web at http://www.ped.state.nm.us/Licensure/2010/index.html. The licensure help desk may be reached at (505) 827-5821.

The New Mexico Association of School Psychologists, a NASP affiliate, serves as an additional professional resource (http://education.nmsu.edu/projects/nmasp/).