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School Psychology License in Oregon: Become a School Psychologist in OR

Oregon school psychologists are licensed by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. They are issued Personnel Services Licenses. The credential authorizes service in approved settings from the pre-primary level through twelfth grade.

There are several types and levels of school psychology license. All will require the completion of, at the minimum, a master's degree in a field related to school psychology. The continuing license requires completion of an advanced school psychology program or completion of a doctoral degree in clinical, counseling, or educational psychology (http://tspc.oregon.gov/licensure/licensure.asp).

The continuing license is dependent on work experience. In most instances, examinations will be required as well. Some examination requirements may be waived on the basis of doctoral education or prior school psychology experience.

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Educational Requirements for Initial School Psychology License

A candidate may be issued an initial license with a master's degree in the behavioral sciences (http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_500/oar_584/584_017.html). If the degree was earned in the United States, it must be granted by a regionally accredited institution; a master's earned in an equivalent foreign institution is also acceptable.

The initial license may be renewed. Professional development will be required for renewal, regardless of whether the license holder is working as a school psychologist.

Education and Examination Requirements for Continuing School Psychology License

Educational requirements are set higher for the continuing school psychology license. A professional can qualify by completing an approved school psychology program.

The school psychologist must take the national school psychologist examination which is offered as part of the Praxis II series. The qualifying score varies by state; in Oregon, the passing score is 154 on #0401, the most recent version of the paper-delivered examination (http://www.ets.org/praxis/or/requirements/). The qualifying score may be different when the computer-delivered examination is implemented.

A basic skills test is also required. This test is often taken at program entry. In-state candidates take the Core Examination for Educators (formerly the Praxis I). Qualifying scores are 150 in mathematics, 156 in reading, and 162 in writing (http://www.ets.org/praxis/or/requirements/).

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, Oregon will also accept passing scores on the California Basic Educational Skills Test, or CBEST (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

The basic skills examination requirement may be waived on the basis of prior graduate education.

Alternate Pathway: National Certification

National certification through the National Association of School Psychologists will also be accepted as evidence of having met educational requirements for the continuing license (http://licenseinfo.oregon.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=license_seng&link_item_id=1596). In order to be eligible for the ‘NCSP’ credential, a candidate will need to complete a 60 semester hour graduate program and a 1,200 hour internship. The Praxis II is another requirement; NASP has set the minimum score at 165 on test #0401.

A candidate who did not complete a NASP-approved school psychology program will need to submit a portfolio and case study to document competencies.

Entering an In-State School Psychology Program

Oregon sets requirements for entry into in-state programs. A student entering a school psychology program is expected to have experience working with young people either in the educational arena or in social service agencies. The student should also have some preparation in learning theory, motivation, and psychological and social development.

Experience Requirement for Continuing License

The continuing license is granted after a professional has had five years of experience. It is renewed on a five year basis.

Transitional School Psychology License for Out-of-State School Psychologists

A candidate who holds an unrestricted school psychology credential in another state (or has held one in the past) may be issued a transitional school psychology license (http://www.oregon.gov/tspc/Pages/Out-of-State-Psych.aspx). Oregon will require evidence of a degree in educational psychology or therapeutic psychology at the master's level or higher; the degree must come from a regionally accredited institution or equivalent foreign institution.

A professional who holds the transitional license is also authorized to work as a substitute school counselor or substitute teacher. The transitional license is not renewable beyond the initial three years.

A restricted transitional license may be issued to an out-of-state candidate who has not met all requirements for the transitional license. This is only done when a school district is unable to fill a position with a fully qualified candidate. The licensed individual must hold, at the minimum, a graduate degree in educational or therapeutic psychology.

The restricted licensed is issued for three years and may be extended by one year under certain circumstances. It does not authorize substitute counseling or substitute teaching.

Fingerprint-based Background Checks

Oregon mandates criminal and federal background checks for prospective licensees. Individuals are only exempted if they have had fingerprints made for the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission and hold a current or recent license.

The fingerprints are to be made on an FBI card. In-state candidates may receive these from their school. The fingerprints are to be made at a law enforcement agency. The candidate should bring the form marked "Fingerprint Handler Sheet" to the agency along with a 9 by 12 envelope. The fingerprint handler will place the form and fingerprint card in the envelope and sign over the flap.

There are some differences in fingerprint procedures depending on whether one is using ‘livescan’ or the traditional rolled method. The Teacher Standards and Practices Commission has published detailed instructions about completing and signing fingerprint cards (http://www.tspc.oregon.gov/forms/0004.pdf).

The licensing agency notes that the fingerprints should not arrive before the application.

The Application Process

Candidates may download forms from the Commission website (http://www.oregon.gov/tspc/Pages/Forms_and_Instruct.aspx). The form 'Application for Educator License or Registration' is used for most credentials. It should be sent to the Salem office along with supporting documentation.

Candidates who hold certification in another state should provide a copy of both sides of their credential. Transcripts must be official copies.

A candidate applying for initial licensing as a school psychologist will pay $159 in combined fees for application processing and fingerprint processing. A candidate for transitional licensing will pay $179 in combined fees.

Additional Information

The Teacher Standards and Practices Commission may be reached by phone at 503-378-3586 or by email at contact.tsp at state.or.us. The Commission notes that the email response time can be long; status updates are found on the main page of the TSPC website (http://www.oregon.gov/tspc/Pages/index.aspx).

The Oregon School Psychologists Association is an additional professional resource, but does not handle licensing (http://ospa.wildapricot.org/).