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School Psychology Licensure in North Carolina: Become a School Psychologist in NC

North Carolina school psychologists are licensed by the Department of Public Instruction (http://www.ncpublicschools.org/licensure/administrator). A candidate is issued a ‘Standard Professional 2 Professional Educator's License’ under the student services personnel category after all requirements have been met. A candidate who has not yet met testing requirements may be issued a ‘Standard Professional 1 Professional Educator's License’.

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

School psychologists must complete an approved program at the sixth year level; this represents six years of postsecondary education.

The ‘School Psychologist Job Description’, created by the Department of Public Instruction in cooperation with school districts, higher education institutions, and professional organizations, notes that North Carolina's school psychology programs prepare pre-service school psychologists at the specialist or doctoral level. They are comprised of at least 60 semester hours and at least 1,200 internship hours (http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/docs/work4ncschools/employment/jobdescrip/psychologistjob.pdf). Coursework and internship represent at least three years of study. Doctoral programs include at least 90 graduate semester hours and at least 1,500 hours of internship. Doctoral requirements represent at least four years of study.

According to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), programs must be approved by NASP or accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) in order to meet North Carolina's standards. NASP approves both specialist and doctoral programs. APA accredits only those offered at the doctoral level.

According to the Department of Public Instruction, an acceptable degree may go by a different name, for example CAS (Certificate of Graduate Studies) or master’s.

Examination Requirements

A candidate will also need to pass the Praxis II examination for school psychologists in order to be eligible for standard licensing. The exam is administered on set dates at sites around the country. The qualifying score varies by state; North Carolina's threshold on test 0401 is 159 (http://www.ets.org/praxis/nc/requirements).

Educational Testing Service (ETS) will automatically send score report to the North Carolina licensing agency provided the candidate tests at a North Carolina site. Candidates who test in another state will need to enter the North Carolina code.

ETS will offer a computer-delivered school psychologist test (5402) for the first time in the autumn of 2014 (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/2014_exam_faq.aspx). Version 0401 will no longer be used. There can be differences in score requirements when test versions change. ETS maintains pages that are specific to North Carolina. Candidates can visit to see what version(s) of the test are currently available and at what level they need to score.

Candidates can use the ETS search tool to find North Carolina sites that offer paper- or computer-delivered examinations. They may also register online. Candidates choosing to register by telephone may incur additional fees.

Candidate bulletins are available for download. Additional study resources can be purchased from ETS.

It can take four weeks to receive test results. The timeframe will vary somewhat depending on the test format and the manner in which the candidate chooses to receive results.

The Application Process

Application forms can be downloaded from the site of the Department of Public Instruction (http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/licensure/forms/). Applicants are asked to submit an original sealed transcript for each degree they have earned.

Out-of-state licensees should submit a clear copy of the front and back of their credential. Candidates who are not licensed in other jurisdictions must submit Form V as verification of education. The form must be filled out by a school official. The official will note the state of approval and any accreditations that may have been earned.

The application fee is $55 for in-state candidates and $85 for out-of-state candidates. The Department of Public Instruction will accept personal checks as well as money orders, Visa, or MasterCard (http://www.ncpublicschools.org/licensure/faq/). The Department notes that fees are nonrefundable.

Application materials may be sent to the address listed below:

NC Department of Public Instruction Licensure Section 6365 Mail Service Center Raleigh NC 27699-6365

North Carolina educators can expect criminal background checks at the employment level. The license application inquires about legal history. A “yes” answer will not automatically preclude licensure. However, court records will be required.

International Educators

International educators need to have their degrees evaluated for equivalency. International candidates must also provide documentation of authorization to work in the United States.

Additional Licensing Options

The National Association of School Psychologists cites some limitations on the practice of school psychologists in North Carolina (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

North Carolina school psychologists with doctoral degrees have the option of also pursuing psychologist licensing through the North Carolina Psychology Board. School psychology is among the recognized specialties. There are additional examination requirements. If the applicant’s degree program was not accredited by the American Psychological Association, it must meet standards set by the Board.

Individuals with degrees below the doctoral level may be licensed by the Board as psychological associates. To qualify, an individual would need to meet the standards of North Carolina Administrative Code 54 .1802 (http://reports.oah.state.nc.us/ncac/title%2021%20-%20occupational%20licensing%20boards%20and%20commissions/chapter%2054%20-%20psychology/21%20ncac%2054%20.1802.pdf).

Additional Information

Candidates should be aware that policies change. The best source for updated information is the Licensure Section of the Department of Public Instruction (http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/licensure). The Licensure Section is available by phone 8:00 to 5:00 on weekdays. Within North Carolina, the number is 1-800-577-7994. Applicants located outside North Carolina may call 1-919-807-3310.

The Department of Public Instruction has provided resources for individuals interested in pursuing training and licensing in school psychology (http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/instructional-resources/school-psychology/becoming-a-school-psychologist-in-north-carolina).

Dr. Caroline Hexdall, school psychology consultant, is listed as the state contact person for school psychology.

The North Carolina School Psychology Association, a NASP state affiliate, serves as an additional professional resource (http://ncspaonline.com/).