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School Psychology Certification in New York: Become a School Psychologist in NY

In New York, school psychology is a pupil services personnel designation. School psychology certificates for grades pre-k through 12 are issued by the Office of Teaching, under the banner of the Department of Education. A school psychologist will need education and internship at the graduate level; there are also minor state-specific requirements.

An in-state candidate is first granted provisional certification, valid for five years. After completing the requisite experience, the school psychologist will be eligible for a professional level certificate, valid for a lifetime. The National Association of School Psychologists notes that New York does not currently have renewal/ continuing education requirements for school psychologists at the professional level (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

Qualified New York school psychologists have the option of applying for a bilingual extension.

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 Requirements

A school psychologist must have 60 semester hours of applicable college credit (http://eservices.nysed.gov/teach/certhelp/CertRequirementHelp.do). A year of internship is required. The National Association of School Psychologists notes that at least 600 internship hours must take place in a school setting (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx). Application procedures will vary depending on whether a candidate completed a program specifically approved by New York State as meeting certification requirements (http://www.nysed.gov/heds/IRPSL1.html).

Beginning December 31, 2013, candidates for school psychologist certification have been required to take an approved workshop in Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination Prevention and Intervention. Whether or not this content was included in the in-state program will depend on completion date. Those who need to take the class will find a list of approved providers on the Department of Education website (http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/dasa-applicant.html). Candidates who have not completed in-state programs will also need to seek training from approved providers in the areas of child abuse training and school violence prevention and intervention (http://eservices.nysed.gov/teach/certhelp/ReqDescription.do?).

A student completing an in-state program may apply for an internship certificate after no less than half of the program has been completed. An institutional recommendation will be required.

School psychologists need at least two years of paid employment before they can move from the provisional to the professional level. Under some circumstances, a school psychologist with a provisional certificate may be issued a renewal (http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/timeext.html).

School Psychologist Certification with Bilingual Extension

A New York school psychologist may apply for a bilingual extension. A valid base certificate will be required. A candidate may qualify for the extension on the basis of college coursework, supervised fieldwork, and passing scores on a state-approved examination. The candidate will need 15 semester hours of coursework in the following areas:

The Bilingual Education Assessment (BEA) tests proficiency in a particular target language (http://eservices.nysed.gov/teach/certhelp/).

Some candidates may qualify for the bilingual extension under an alternate pathway, the approved teacher preparation program. (They will have completed a New York registered bilingual program and will hold teacher certification.)

School psychologists with bilingual extension are expected to be proficient in the language of the students they serve. However, if there is no available school psychologist with bilingual extension who has proficiency in the child's language, another school psychologist who has the extension may be authorized to work alongside an interpreter (http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/psych.html).

Professionals who hold certification only through the Department of Education are limited in the contractual services they can provide. They may not contract directly.

Background Checks

A fingerprint-based criminal history check is required. Candidates may have fingerprints made at various locations, including law enforcement agencies. The Department recommends calling ahead to make sure the site will role fingerprints for civil purposes.

Certification candidates will submit fingerprint cards to the following address:

Fingerprint Processing NYS Education Department PO Box 7352, Albany, NY 12224

A fee of $91.50 will also be required. (This is in addition to any fee that the fingerprinting agency may require.)

Candidates can email OSPRA at mail.nysed.gov to receive fingerprint packets.

The Application Process

Candidates can apply online (http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/certprocess.html). Some supplemental materials will be required. Requirements will vary based on which application pathway the applicant is utilizing. An applicant must select the correct pathway through the application system. A candidate applying through the NYS Approved Teacher Preparation Program pathway will not need to provide transcripts. However, an institutional recommendation will be required.

Background check authorization may be submitted through the TEACH system, though some related materials will be sent separately. Supplemental forms are available on the Education Department website (http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/form.html).The Department notes that it is possible to submit an application before fingerprints have cleared; this information will later be updated in the system.

The application fee is $50 for those who have completed State approved programs; it is $100 for candidates who need to have transcripts evaluated (http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/fees.html).

Candidates may view application status online. Later, employing school districts will be able to view certification status. The Department of Education has provided a list of frequently asked questions about using the system (http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/teach/teachappfaq.html).

Out-of-State Candidates

School psychologists are eligible for reciprocal certification at either the provisional or professional level if their state has entered into an agreement with New York. They must meet other eligibility requirements; those who did not complete an approved program will need work experience.

Candidates who do not meet reciprocity requirements may apply under the individual evaluation pathway.

Additional Information

The Department of Education is the source for current information (http://www.p12.nysed.gov/). The Certification Office takes phone calls at 718-935-2473 between 9:00 and 5:00.

The New York Association of School Psychologists is an additional source of professional information (http://www.nyasp.org). NYASP supports legislation that would make additional licensing options available for school psychologists (http://www.nyasp.org/legislative).