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School Psychology License in Texas: Become a School Psychologist in TX

Texas school psychology specialists are credentialed by the Texas State Board of Psychologists. Licensure is based on graduate education and on examination. As part of their graduate education, school psychology specialists complete an internship that is the equivalent of at least one academic year. The credential earned is Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP).

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Education and Training

A school psychology student will need education at the graduate specialist level. The student who completes a program that has been approved by the National Association of School Psychologists or accredited by the American Psychological Association is considered to meet educational requirements (http://www.tsbep.state.tx.us/how-to-become-licensed/66). The APA accredits programs at the doctoral level. NASP approves programs at the specialist level as well (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/documents/NASP-Approved-Programs.pdf); specialist programs include at least 60 semester hours of education and training.

Other programs may be accepted if found equivalent. The student will need coursework in each of the following:

There is not necessarily a one- for-one correspondence between content areas and courses. A course may be listed in as many as three categories. However, the Board notes that it is preferable to have a different course for each.

The school psychology specialist will also need an internship that meets Board standards. NASP-approved specialist programs include at least 1,200 hours of internship; at least half the required hours are accrued in school settings. NASP-approved programs at the doctoral level include at least 1,500 hours of internship. Candidates who graduate from programs not accredited by APA or NASP and who are not in possession of an NCSP credential will submit a form documenting supervised experience.

Alternate Pathway: National Certification

An individual may also qualify on the basis of a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) certification, issued by the National Association of School Psychologists. Candidates who graduate from NASP-approved programs will have met most requirements for the credential.

Candidates who did not graduate from a NASP-approved program can submit a professional portfolio and case study to demonstrate that they have achieved the necessary competencies. The portfolio is submitted electronically.

Examination

The Texas Board requires two examinations at the LSSP level: the Praxis II examination for school psychologists and a jurisprudence examination.

Required scores on the Praxis II will depend on the version of the test attempted. The threshold is 660 for tests administered before September 13, 2008. It is 165 on test #0401 (the sole version in use from September 2008 to September 2014). Registration information and test preparatory materials are available on the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website (https://www.ets.org/praxis/prepare/materials/0401).

The jurisprudence examination is taken after the Board grants authorization. The jurisprudence exam is open book and may be completed at home. The required score is 90%. A school psychologist is eligible to work under supervision for a limited time period before taking the examination. The examination fee is currently $210.

Criminal History Checks

Licensure is dependent on clearing fingerprint-based criminal history checks carried out by the Texas Department of Public Safety and the FBI. The Board encourages candidates to have their fingerprints made before submitting applications; this can alleviate delays.

In-state candidates are to have fingerprints captured electronically through the state’s vendor, MorphoTrust. The Board notes that there are 70 locations within Texas. Candidates may browse a list of addresses and operating hours; it is organized by region within the state (http://www.l1enrollment.com/locations/?st=tx). The candidate may schedule online through the IdentoGo by MorphoTrust website (http://www.identogo.com/FP/texas.aspx).

The background check fee will be paid to the vendor. The fee is currently listed as $41.45. MorphoTrust will forward the fingerprints to the licensing agency.

Out-of-state candidates may have fingerprints made manually, then send them to the vendor for digitalization. A law enforcement official must make the prints and sign the fingerprint card.

Out-of-state candidates may make a written request to the Board for fingerprint packets. Fingerprint packets will include, in addition to instructions, a fingerprint card, applicant fingerprint pass, and envelope addressed to the vendor. The fee due the vendor is $41.45. The law enforcement agency that captures the prints may assess an additional fee.

Questions about the fingerprinting process can be directed to 888-467-2080.

The Board can, for a fee, pre-evaluate criminal history of potential applicants. An individual may opt for pre-evaluation before enrolling in a license-qualifying program (http://www.tsbep.state.tx.us/files/agencydocs/criminalhistoryevaluationform.pdf).

The Application Process

Application packets are available for download on the Board site (http://www.tsbep.state.tx.us/how-to-become-licensed).

The candidate must provide three reference letters from psychologists or school psychology specialists. These are to be on the forms provided in the application packet. Candidates who are submitting documentation of supervised experience need submit only two references. Application carries a $220 fee.

The application form notes that the application, fee, reference letters, and supervised experience form (f required) must be sent together. It is permissible to submit the other required documents later.

Official score reports from the school psychologist examination must come directly from ETS. Official transcripts must be sent directly from the school. Documentation of NCSP status will be accepted in lieu of a score report.

There are special application policies in place for military spouses relocating to Texas.

Internationally Educated Candidates

As per 463.25 of Board Acts and Rules, internationally educated candidates with degrees comparable to those granted by regionally accredited U.S. institutions are eligible for licensing. There are additional steps that should be carried out before making formal application to the Board (http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub). The University of Texas-Austin can determine whether a foreign degree is equivalent to a U.S. master’s or doctoral degree.

Other Licenses School Psychology Specialists May Qualify For

Doctorally educated candidates may also be eligible for licensing as psychologists through the State Board of Psychologists. They will need to pass two additional examinations: the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and an oral examination. The oral examination is based on a vignette drawn from the psychologist’s specialty area (e.g. school psychology). Supervised practice requirements are set higher for licensed psychologists.

School psychology specialists without doctoral degrees may pursue the Licensed Psychological Associate credential. This credential would allow for supervised practice outside school settings. The National Association of School Psychologists notes that most of the state's school psychology specialists would qualify.

Additional Information

The Texas State Board website includes links to the applicable laws and rules (http://www.tsbep.state.tx.us/act-and-rules-of-the-board). There is also a page on new developments (http://www.tsbep.state.tx.us/new-developments-and-requirements).

Applicants may call the Board at 512-305-7700.

The Texas Association of School Psychologists (TASP) is an additional professional resource (http://www.txasp.org/).