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School Psychology Certification and Licensure in South Carolina: Become a School Psychologist in SC

South Carolina school psychologists are licensed by the South Carolina State Department of Education (DOE). School psychology is an instructional support area classification.

Certification is based on graduate education and examination. The designation (Level I, Level II, or Level III) depends on the degree earned: master's, specialist, or doctorate. While completing the graduate level internship, the individual will work under an intern certificate.

School psychologists at Level II or III may also be licensed as psycho-educational specialists by the Board of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists and Psycho-Educational Specialists. This license can extend scope of practice. In order to be eligible, the prospective school psychologist must complete a program with the preferred programmatic accreditation. The Board-issued license also requires supervised practice.

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 for DOE School Psychology Licensure

A school psychologist must complete a Board-approved school psychology (http://ed.sc.gov/agency/se/Educator-Services/Licensure/documents/CertManual_Dec2013.pdf). A candidate who receives a specialist degree will qualify for Level II licensing; candidate who completes a doctoral program will qualify for Level III.

Licensure is also dependent on passing the national school psychologist examination administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). The qualifying score is 165 on the paper-delivered version, 0401. Candidates can find qualifying scores on currently offered examinations by visiting the ETS ‘South Carolina requirements’ page and clicking on ‘instructional support personnel’ (https://www.ets.org/praxis/sc/requirements/).

A candidate bulletin is available for download. Candidates can also search for South Carolina testing centers on the ETS site (https://www.ets.org/praxis/register/centers_dates).

Candidates who test in South Carolina can expect scores to be reported to the South Carolina DOE. Those who test outside the state should enter the state code. Those who have taken the Praxis II within the prior ten years may call 800-772-9476 to request a score report to be sent to the DOE.

Applying for the DOE Credential

License application forms can be downloaded and printed from the DOE site (http://ed.sc.gov/agency/se/Educator-Services/Licensure/LicensureForms.cfm). Candidates also have the option of applying online (http://www.ed.sc.gov/agency/se/Educator-Services/Licensure/).

Applicants must submit copies of their social security cards. Transcripts must be official. They may be sent directly from the issuing institution or provided by the applicant in the original sealed envelope. Electronic transcripts are acceptable if supported by eScripts, Parchment, or Credential Solutions.

Applicants are required to submit a recommendation form an approved program or (if requesting reciprocity) an out-of-state license. South Carolina will verify licensure status through the NASDTEC Educator Clearinghouse.

The $105 fee may be paid online or by check or money order. The DOE notes that it is nonrefundable.

Background Checks

Credentialing is dependent on the results of federal and state background checks. Both in-state and out-of-state candidates will have their fingerprints processed by the approved vendor, MorphoTrust. The procedures, however, are different. In-state candidates should schedule an appointment for live scan printing by calling 866-254-2366 or visiting Identogo by MorphoTrust on the web (http://www.identogo.com/FP/SouthCarolina.aspx). The MorphoTrust ‘South Carolina’ page provides links to live scan locations; it also offers state-specific instructions. There are fourteen South Carolina locations listed. Candidates should be prepared to pay $51.50. MorphoTrust will submit fingerprint scans to the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

Out-of-state candidates may have their fingerprints made manually at an accredited police station, then sent to MorphoTrust for digitalization. The fee for processing the fingerprints and running the background check is $51.50; there may be additional fees due to the fingerprinting agency. Candidates residing outside South Carolina can fill out the online form on the Department of Education site to request fingerprint packets (http://ed.sc.gov/agency/act/se/ec/cert/app-prod/packet.cfm).

Psycho-Educational Specialist Licensing Option

An individual who plans to pursue adjunct licensure as a psycho-educational specialist should complete a program that has been approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP); the Board may, at its discretion, accept substantially equivalent programs (http://www.llr.state.sc.us/POL/Counselors/PDFS/LPESRequirements.pdf).

The Board-issued credential will require the equivalent of a specialist degree. The degree must be granted by a regionally accredited institution. The Board will accept any of the following

The APA only accredits programs at the doctoral level. NASP approves specialist programs, doctoral programs, and respecialization programs (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/naspapproved.aspx).

In order to be deemed eligible to assess and treat serious issues, a psycho-educational specialist must have three semester hours each in psychopathology and diagnostics. The psychopathology course must cover abnormal behavior, etiology, and treatment.

Before an individual can be licensed, he or she will need at least two years of experience as a school psychologist. One year must be under supervision by a licensed psycho-educational specialist. The Board counts a 190 day contract year as one year; at Board discretion, two part-time years may be credited as one year. The professional will need a supervisor's report form and letters from current or former employers.

The fee for application is $130. The psycho-educational specialist must maintain school psychologist licensing while working under this credential.

Psychologist Licensing Option

By completing a doctoral program, an individual can also qualify for licensing as a psychologist through the South Carolina Board of Examiners in Psychology (http://www.llr.state.sc.us/POL/Psychology/index.asp?file=licensure.htm). School psychology is among the recognized specialties. There are additional requirements for this higher level private sector license. Licensed psychologists must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

Additional Information

Information about licensing is found in the ‘educator services’ section of the Department of Education website (http://ed.sc.gov/agency/se/Educator-Services/Licensure). The DOE licensure staff is available to take questions Monday through Friday between 1:00 and 4:30 PM. Individuals residing in South Carolina can call 877-885-5280 (toll-free). Others may call 803-896-0325. Very general questions can be answered in the morning at 803-896-0325.

The South Carolina Association of School Psychologists is an additional source of professional information (http://scaspweb.org).