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School Psychology Licensure in Utah: Become a School Psychologist in UT

The State of Utah Office of Education licenses the state's school psychologists. The school psychology credential is known as a support license. There are multiple levels of credentialing. Level 1 is earned when the graduate has met the basic requirements of education, internship, and examination. . Level 2 can be earned after two years of successful service. A school psychologist with a doctoral degree can move up to Level 3 licensing.

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Education and Training Requirements

Utah school psychologists must complete graduate programs of 60 semester hours or 90 quarters hours. They will be required to show competence in the following areas (as defined in Utah Administrative Code Rule R277-506):

The pre-professional must accrue at least 1,200 hours in a year-long internship experience . 600 internship hors must be served in a school setting or in another setting that has "an educational component".

Prospective students can find a list of in-state educator programs organized by concentration on the Office of Education website (http://www.schools.utah.gov/cert/Teacher-Preparation-Programs/Preparation-Programs.aspx).

A school psychology candidate will need an institutional recommendation from a Board-approved program.

Examination Requirement

Candidates must also take the Praxis II examination for school psychologists. The examination is administered at testing sites around the nation. Utah has approved 165 as the passing score on examination #0401, effective January 2014 (http://www.schools.utah.gov/sars/DOCS/licensure/utahpraxistestchart.aspx). This is the same score that is required for national certification.

Candidates should be aware that the minimum passing score may vary by test version and test date. In the fall of 2014, a new version of the national school psychologist examination will be introduced. For the first time, it will be available as a computer-delivered examination. Candidates can look for updates about score requirements for test versions on the ‘Utah’ page of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website (https://www.ets.org/praxis/ut).

Candidates can download a Praxis II candidate bulletin from Educational Testing Service. They may register for the examination online or mail registration materials. Utah candidates who test at a location outside the state must enter the code found on the ‘Utah’ page.

Fingerprint-Based Background Checks

Applicants are required to have fingerprint-based background checks carried out by the Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the FBI (https://secure.utah.gov/elr/ebc/welcome.html). The Office of Education notes that even if the applicant has had prints made for another agency, the process must be carried out again. In-state candidates are expected to use Livescan fingerprinting; it is quicker than the traditional method. Candidate may click a button on the instruction page to initiate the process (http://www.schools.utah.gov/cert/License-Requirements/Fingerprint-and-Background-Check.aspx). They will pay a $40 fee and receive a form to take to the Livescan vendor. A list of Livescan vendors will also be provided. There are more than 40 locations; the list includes many school districts.

Out-of-state applicants will also initiate the process online but will select the “cards” option. The necessary materials will be mailed.

The background check process can take six to ten weeks (http://www.schools.utah.gov/cert/Resources/Frequently-Asked-Questions.aspx). Stephanie Ferris is listed as contact person for this stage of the application process. She can be reached at 801-538-7752.

The Application Process

The application process is simplified for in-state graduates. The DOE notes that universities forward candidates’ files one to two months after they graduate; the DOE creates a file in the Comprehensive Administration of Credentials for Teachers in Utah Schools (CACTUS) system. In-state candidates will be able to complete the application process quickly, once they have verified with their program that requirements have been met and the file has been forwarded (http://www.schools.utah.gov/cert/License-Requirements/New-Graduates.aspx).

The Office of Education notes that Utah residents who graduate from out-of-state schools are to follow out-of-state licensing instructions (http://www.schools.utah.gov/cert/License-Requirements/In-State-Applicants.aspx). Out-of-state candidates are asked to submit necessary documents together with the application. They should request that their university send transcripts to their own address. The Office of Education will not accept photocopies. However, the transcripts do not have to be in sealed envelopes.

A copy of the out-of-state license will be required. A photocopy is acceptable. The candidate should make sure to copy both sides.

The candidate will either include Praxis II scores or confirmation of admission to a future examination. It is not necessary for the background check to be complete at the time of application. However, the applicant must confirm that a background check application has been made.

The initial application costs $40 for an in-state candidate with institutional recommendation, $75 for an out-of-state candidate.

The DOE notes that incomplete application packets are returned to sender.

Earning Higher Level Licensing

After two years of service at Level 1, a school psychologist becomes eligible for a Level 2 license. The school psychologist will need the recommendation of the employing district (in consultation with the preparing institution).

The National Association of School Psychologists notes that a school psychologist with a doctoral degree can earn a credential at Level 3 (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

Internationally Educated Applicants

The Office of Education has additional requirements for educators who are internationally educated (http://www.schools.utah.gov/cert/License-Requirements/Foreign-Credentialed.aspx). Credential evaluation can be performed by an agency that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).

Additional Information

Teaching and Licensing can be reached at 1-801-538-7740. A list of contacts is available on the DOE site (http://www.schools.utah.gov/cert/Contact-Us.aspx).

The National Association of School Psychologists lists Leah Voorhies, PhD as the state consultant.