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School Psychology Licensure in Virginia: Become a School Psychologist in VA

Virginia school psychologists are credentialed by the Virginia Department of Education; they work under a 'Pupil Personnel Services License'. Licensure as a school psychologist is granted on the basis of graduate education and internship. An individual may demonstrate qualifications by meeting Virginia's standards directly or by presenting a credential earned through a national certifying agency.

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Education and Training Requirements

The candidate will need to complete an approved school psychology program. A school psychology program must comprise at least 60 semester hours and must result in at least a master's degree.

The individual must also complete an internship. It may be completed full-time in one year or part-time over the course of two consecutive years. The intern must have experiences with multiple age groups. At least half the required internship must be served in an accredited school setting. There must be appropriate supervision. Internship that takes place in a school setting is to be supervised by a school psychologist. Internship that takes place outside the schools must be supervised by a professional with appropriate credentials.

The institution that grants the degree will need to document the internship. A maximum of 12 of the required semester hours may be awarded for internship.

Alternate Pathway: National Certification

Credentialing as an NCSP (Nationally Certified School Psychologist) is taken as evidence that Virginia’s education and training requirements have been met. The NCSP certification is awarded by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

NASP also requires completion of 60 semester hours of qualifying education. NASP sets the coursework requirements somewhat higher: There must be at least 54 semester hours of coursework exclusive of internship.

The minimum number of internship hours is 1,200 (with at least 600 accrued in a school setting). Graduates of programs that were not recognized/ approved by NASP must provide additional materials to demonstrate that competencies were met. The application materials for graduates of non-NASP programs include detailed instructions about submission of professional portfolio (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/becomeNCSP.aspx).

Candidates for national certification must take a qualifying examination. The examination for school psychologists is offered as part of the Praxis II series for educators. Qualifying scores depend on the test version. Candidates taking test 0401 must score 165. Candidates taking test 5402 must score 147. Candidates who took an earlier version, 0400, must document scores of 660. Scores do eventually expire. However, a candidate may receive credit for examination requirements met as far back as nine years in the past.

Test 5402 replaces 0401 in late 2014; it is computer-delivered. Test availability will increase; testing windows will last two weeks (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/2014_exam_faq.aspx). Candidates can visit the ETS website to find information about test windows and testing sites (https://www.ets.org/praxis/register/centers_dates).

Child Abuse and First Aid Training Requirements

Virginia mandates that all licensees have training in child abuse recognition and intervention (http://doe.virginia.gov/teaching/licensure/child_abuse_training.shtml). The course must meet Board guidelines. The Department of Education notes that a module can be accessed free of charge at the following web address: http://www.dss.virginia.gov/family/cps/mandated_reporters/cws5691/index.html. A candidate who utilizes this option should complete the training at a computer with printer access; a copy of the certificate will be required.

The candidate must also have first aid training. It is to cover CPR, emergency first aid, and automated external defibrillators (AEDs). The training must be based on current guidelines. The application materials note that courses offered by the American Heart Association or American Red Cross would be appropriate. Documentation must clearly indicate that all three components were included; documentation guidelines are found in the application packet.

Candidates who complete in-state educator programs may have the required first aid and child abuse trainings included as a part of their initial license-qualifying education. The education verification form allows Virginia institutions to provide verification that these requirements were met. (Out-of-state schools may provide verification of license-qualifying education and internship but not state-specific training.)

The Application Process

Application forms can be found on the Department of Education website (http://doe.virginia.gov/teaching/licensure/index.shtml). The same application packet is used for teaching and nonteaching licenses; supplemental forms and directions are included. Some steps should be carried out beforehand as the DOE asks that supplemental materials be sent together with the initial application.

The candidate will give the educational verification form to the appropriate licensing or certification official at the degree-granting institution.

Official student-issued transcripts should also be included with application materials.

The application fee is $100 for an in-state candidate, $150 for an out-of-state candidate. The Department of Education notes that status/ money due is determined by the application address.

Application materials are to be sent to the Division of Teacher Education and Licensure in Richmond.

In-state schools may submit application materials on behalf of the candidate.

Out-of-State Professionals

Out-of-state candidates can apply on the basis of valid current credentials issued by other states. Applicants with full licensure (and no deficiencies) are not required to provide college verification forms. The Virginia DOE utilizes the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) to check for actions against licenses held in other states.

Experience is to be reported on the form found in the application packet.

Provisional Licensure

The National Association of School Psychologists notes that individuals with “allowable deficiencies” may be issued nonrenewable provisional licenses (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

Additional Information

Additional information can be found on the Department of Education website (http://www.doe.virginia.gov/teaching/licensure/). The DOE has provided telephone and email contact information for licensure specialists and other Division of Teacher Education & Licensure staff members (http://www.va-doeapp.com/StaffByDivisions.aspx?a=Teacher%20Education%20%26%20Licensure&w=true).

The National Association of School Psychologists lists Wayne Barry, Ed.D. as the State Consultant for School Psychology .

The Virginia Academy of School Psychologists (VASP) is an additional professional resource (http://www.vaspweb.org/)