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School Psychology Licensure in Puerto Rico: Become a School Psychologist in PR

Puerto Rico's school psychologists currently work under psychology licenses issued by the Puerto Rico Psychology Licensing Board, or Junta Examinadora de Psicologos. School psychology is among the recognized specialties; the National Association of School Psychologists notes that the license itself is “generic”.

Psychologists are licensed on the basis of graduate education and on a series of examinations. The licensing agency must also verify lack of disqualifying criminal history.

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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Educational Requirements

A Puerto Rico psychologist must have a graduate degree from an accredited school. The Board allows psychologists in some disciplines, including school psychology, to be licensed with education at the master’s level. A doctoral degree is also license-qualifying. Puerto Rico degree programs should be accredited by the Puerto Rico Council of Higher Education (Consejo de Educacion Superior). According to The Handbook of International School Psychology, comparable U.S. accreditations are also accepted, as is accreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Examination Requirements

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, candidates take three examinations: the Puerto Rico Licensing Board Exam, the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), and a test of laws and ethics (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

The EPPP is administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and is used by professional psychology boards throughout the United States and Canada. Puerto Rico’s psychologist candidates take the new bilingual English/ Spanish language version, the S-EPPP; this was first offered in April of 2014. In August of 2014, the examination will change to include questions based on the DSM-5. A Spanish language handbook is available on the ASPPB site; it includes registration information (http://www.asppb.net/?page=SignupPR). The candidate can follow the link “lea la informacion” to download it. It costs $450 to register for the bilingual examination. Candidates wait to receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) before scheduling their examination at a computerized testing center.

The Application Process

Before an individual can take the Puerto Rico Licensing Board Examination, or Examen para Ejercer la Profesión de Psicólogo (a), it will be necessary to fill out an application and provide supporting documentation. Candidates can download application materials from the official Puerto Rico governmental website (http://www.pr.gov/CitizenPortal/Templates/TxPosting.aspx?NRMODE=Published).

The applicant will need official transcripts verifying conferral of a master’s or doctoral degree. Two health professionals who know the applicant must attest to character. The candidate will also need to have a physical; a medical professional will sign that the professional has acceptable health status.

The candidate will also need to provide a birth certificate, background clearance, and information about child support status. A candidate can turn to the PR.gov site to secure these items; the candidate will select the tab pertaining to each required document (http://www2.pr.gov/Pages/servicefilter.aspx?cat=licencias&type=undefined).

The application is to be notarized. The candidate will attach a recent 2 ½ by 2 ½ photograph and include a copy of his or her social security card. A $75 fee is due when examination application materials are submitted. The licensing agency notes that there will be additional fees required before a license can be issued.

An individual will not take the S-EPPP until after the application has been submitted to the Puerto Rico Board.

Continuing education is required for three-year license renewal. The Board requires coursework in ethics.

Certification Option

National certification does not confer the authority to practice, but can make it easier to be licensed as a school psychologist in many other U.S. jurisdictions. Certification is granted by the National Association of School Psychologists (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/becomeNCSP.aspx). Candidates must complete 60 semester hour school psychology programs. Internships must meet standards set by NASP. Candidates whose programs have not been approved by NASP will need to submit professional portfolios. Certification candidates have an additional examination requirement: the Praxis II examination for school psychologists. Beginning in September 2014, it will be computer-delivered.

Additional Information

Additional documents are found on the ASPPB site (http://asppr.net/junta-examinadora-de-psicologos-de-puerto-rico/). The ASPPB has supplied the following contact information for the Puerto Rico Board of Psychologist Examiners:

Telephone: (787) 723-2885

Email: juntapsicologia@gmail.com

Rules governing the psychology profession can be accessed through the website of the Department of Health, or Departmento de Salud (http://www2.pr.gov/Pages/servicefilter.aspx?cat=licencias&type=undefined).

The Puerto Rico Association of School Psychologists (Asociación de Psicología Escolar de Puerto) is an additional professional resource. Pre-professionals can become members as early as graduate school (http://www.apeppr.org). The organization can be reached at 787-764-7594. Puerto Rico’s annual conference has often featured the president of the National Association of School Psychologists.

Candidates should be aware that policy is subject to change. The school psychology profession in Puerto Rico is in transition. The National Association of School Psychologists notes that while legislation was passed soon after the millennia that mandated that school psychologists be hired in the schools, schools are still contracting for services (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx). The Puerto Rico Association of School Psychologists notes that revisions to the law were passed in 2013.