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School Psychology Licensure in North Dakota: Become a School Psychologist in ND

North Dakota school psychologists are licensed by the Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board. The credential is termed a 'restricted teaching license in school psychology'. It authorizes service with children and youth from pre-kindergarten to grade 12.

School psychologists pursue education at the graduate level. North Dakota school psychologists must meet standards of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), either by completing a NASP-approved program or by earning national certification. They also must meet an examination requirement.

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Education and Training Requirements

A prospective school psychologist should enroll in a NASP-approved program at the specialist's level (http://www.legis.nd.gov/information/acdata/pdf/67.1-02-05.pdf?20140514164207). NASP-approved programs include at least 60 semester hours of coursework. The internship is the equivalent of a full academic year. The intern must accrue 1,200 hours; at least 600 must take place in a school setting.

Native American Studies Coursework Requirement

All North Dakota teachers are required to take an approved course in North Dakota Native American studies and multiculturalism. The Board notes that there are correspondence courses available. An initial license can be issued before the requirement is met. However, a candidate who has been under contract in North Dakota is not allowed to renew the license beyond the initial two years without taking the course.

Although the multicultural requirement is the same for in-state and out-of-state educators, it does not apply to those who earned their degrees by September 1, 1980.

Alternate Pathway: Certification as an NCSP

North Dakota will accept the NCSP credential in lieu of evidence of having completed a NASP-approved program. Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSPs) also complete 60 semester hour programs and accrue 1,200 internship hours. They are required to display competence in the practice domains identified by NASP. However, they are not required to be graduates of NASP-approved programs. Those who complete programs that were not NASP-approved at the time of graduation may demonstrate competence through professional portfolio and case study submission. (In some cases, candidates who complete programs that gain NASP approval up to a year after their graduation date may be excused from the additional requirements. They will need a letter from the program director verifying that the program was substantively similar.)

Candidates must also pass the Praxis II examination at the level mandated by NASP. The minimum score varies by test version. On test #0401, the threshold is set at 165.

North Dakota licensure candidates who apply through the traditional pathway also take the school psychologist examination. However, North Dakota has set the pass rate lower.

Examination Requirement

North Dakota requires pre-professional (academic) and professional (content knowledge) examinations. The Board expects all teachers to pass the Praxis I. The required scores are 173 in reading, 173 in writing, and 170 in math. A composite score of 516 can be accepted provided minimum scores have been met in at least two subject areas.

The pre-professional skills test is offered in computer-delivered and paper-delivered formats. The ETS site currently lists seven locations in North Dakota that offer paper-delivered examinations; administration dates are generally spaced several months apart (http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/PRAXIS/lists/praxis_tc_domestic_ND.html). There are five testing centers in North Dakota that offer the paper-delivered examination.

It may take four weeks to receive a score report following a paper-delivered examination. For an additional fee, candidates can access scores by phone.

North Dakota allows candidates to retake an examination after 60 days have elapsed. A candidate who registers for a retake before receiving test results and subsequently learns that the examination was not failed will be issued a refund.

State licensing agencies have set the minimum passing score at different levels on school psychologist examination #0401. ETS lists the North Dakota minimum as 151 (http://www.ets.org/praxis/nd/requirements). Candidates who test outside North Dakota must select the code for the Education Standards and Practices Board in order to have scores correctly reported. The code is found on the ETS ‘North Dakota’ page.

Test resources are available on the Education Standards and Practices Board website (http://www.nd.gov/espb/licensure/testing.html).

The Application Process

North Dakota educators can now submit applications online using the ND Teach system. Some supplemental materials must be sent to the Board office in Bismarck. Supplemental forms are available on the Board site (http://www.nd.gov/espb/licensure/forms.html).

The application is $30; the initial two-year license is $70.

The standard license requires continuing education for renewal.

Background Checks

The candidate will need to pass background checks by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the FBI. Fingerprinting may be carried out at any authorized agency.

The candidate will mail two ‘Personal Authorization for Criminal Record Inquiry’ forms to ESPB. The candidate will also mail the two fingerprint cards (unless the fingerprints will be sent electronically). The ORI is available on the fingerprint instruction sheet in the ‘forms’ section of the Board website. The fee for the background check is $44.50. There may be an additional fingerprinting fee; this will vary, depending on the agency selected.

The Board notes that the background check timeframe sometimes exceeds six weeks. In cases where a school wishes to hire a candidate but background checks have not yet been received, a 40-day provisional license may be issued. The candidate will need to submit a letter stating that he or she has no criminal background. The school will need to submit a letter verifying intent to hire. The provisional license carries a $25 fee.

Additional Information

The Education Standards and Practices Board is the best source for current information (http://www.nd.gov/espb/). The Board can be reached by telephone at 1-701-328-9641 or by email at espbinfo at nd.gov.

The North Dakota Association of School Psychologists is an additional professional resource (http://www.ndasp.org).