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School Psychology Certification in Rhode Island: Become a School Psychologist in RI

Rhode Island’s school psychologists are considered support professionals. They are certified by the Office of Educator Quality and Certification, under the banner of the Rhode Island Department of Education (http://www.ride.ri.gov/). The certificate in school psychology authorizes services with students in pre-kindergarten through grade twelve.

Candidates are certificated on the basis of graduate education and examination. School psychologists who have met certification requirements in another state may be issued reciprocal licenses; they will still need to meet Rhode Island's assessment requirement.

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 prospective school psychologist will need to complete an advanced school psychology program through a regionally accredited institution (https://www.ride.ri.gov/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/Teachers-and-Administrators-Excellent-Educators/Educator-Certification/Cert-Requirements/SP-SchPsy-Req.pdf). The following are regional accrediting agencies:

The student will need to meet core competencies identified by the National Association of School psychologists (NASP). The program must be state approved. There are currently two approved in-state programs.

Examination Requirement

Candidates will also need to pass the national school psychologist examination. The examination is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) as part of the Praxis II series for educators. The required score is 165 on version 0401, which is paper-delivered. It will be 147 on upcoming version 5402, which will be computer-administered. ETS maintains a Rhode Island page, which test requirements for particular certifications (https://www.ets.org/praxis/ri/requirements/). School psychologists may see required scores by clicking “support professionals”.

Paper-delivered test dates and computer-delivered testing windows can be found on the ETS site (https://www.ets.org/praxis/register/centers_dates). The test taker may also download a candidate bulletin in PDF format. Additional study resources are available for purchase through ETS.

Registration may be mailed or completed online. There is an additional fee for telephone registration. Late registration also carries an additional fee.

ETS may be contacted by phone at 1-609-771-7395 or 1-800-772-9476 on weekdays between 8:00 AM and 7:45 ET. Individuals may also use the email contact form (https://www.ets.org/praxis/contact).

Out-of-State Candidates

Reciprocity may be extended to individuals who hold certification in another state or have completed, within the prior five years, a school psychology program approved for certification in another state. It will be necessary to meet Rhode Island's assessment requirements.

English Proficiency

Candidates who received their preparation in a language other than English will need to demonstrate English proficiency by passing the Versant Pro Speaking and Writing English assessments with a score of 64.

The Application Process

Application forms can be downloaded from the site of the Rhode Island Department of Education (http://www.ride.ri.gov/TeachersAdministrators/EducatorCertification.aspx). Candidates will answer questions about legal and professional history.

Candidates who hold certification in other jurisdictions will note their certificate numbers. A copy of the certificate should also be included.

The Office of Educator Quality and Certification has asked for ‘hardcopies’ of supporting documentation. The application form notes that either original or photocopied score reports will be accepted. Transcripts may be student-issued, but may not be photocopied.

The fee is $100 for an initial three-year certificate. Application materials are to be mailed to the Office of Educator Quality and Certification in Providence.

The Office does not send confirmation that materials have been received. Certificates will be issued electronically. The processing time is currently listed as 14 to 16 weeks; there is a notation that the timeframe may be longer in the summer. If a candidate has not demonstrated that all certification requirements have been met, a status letter will be sent; this will inform the candidate what steps need to be taken. As an educator, one can use the eCert system to view certificates and application status. Candidates may visit the FAQ to find updated information.

Certificate Renewal

Rhode Island is in the process of implementing an evaluation system that is specific to the job role. Beginning in the 2014 to 2015 school year, the Rhode Island Model Support Professionals Evaluation and Support System will be a part of the renewal process for employed professionals. The support professionals guidebook can be accessed online (http://www.ride.ri.gov/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/Teachers-and-Administrators-Excellent-Educators/Educator-Evaluation/Guidebooks-Forms/Support_Professionals_Guidebook.pdf).

Additional Information

The Office of Educator Quality and Certification can be found online at http://www.ride.ri.gov/TeachersAdministrators/EducatorCertification.aspx. The Office can be reached by phone at 401-222-8892. Office hours are listed as 8:00 to 4:00. Individuals may also use the email contact form found on the website.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) notes that the certification does not authorize practice outside the schools. School psychologists with doctoral degrees may qualify for licensure through the Rhode Island Department of Health (http://www.health.ri.gov/licenses/healthcare/index.php#psychologists). There are additional examination and supervision requirements. This credential, unlike the one issued by the Department of Education, authorizes private practice.

The Rhode Island School Psychologist Association does not issue certificates or licenses but serves as an additional professional resource (http://www.rispa.org/).