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Become a School Psychologist in Wisconsin: School Psychology Licensure in Wisconsin

Wisconsin school psychologists are licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). The pupil services license authorizes service from early childhood through adolescence. There are multiple levels of licensing. Licensure is based on education, and (in most cases) experience. An individual can receive an initial license, however, prior to internship completion.

School psychologists will spend at least three years working under an Initial Educator license before progressing to a Professional Educator license. Psychologists with five or more years of experience at this level can complete additional requirements and attain a Master Educator license.

School psychologists can also apply to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services for licensing that authorizes private 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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Education and Training Requirements for Department of Public Instruction Credential

A student will need to enroll in a school psychology program at the specialist or doctoral level (http://tepdl.dpi.wi.gov/files/tepdl/pdf/lpg_ps_61_62.pdf). The Department of Public Instruction confirms that a degree that is equivalent to a specialist degree can be accepted. If the program is located in Wisconsin, it must appear on the list of approved programs.

When it is time to begin the internship portion of the program, a candidate may apply for an Initial Educator license. The Department of Public Instruction requires an institutional recommendation.

Out-of-state school psychologists will follow instructions for out-of-state educators (http://tepdl.dpi.wi.gov/licensing/out-of-state-applicants). The National Association of School Psychologists notes that a candidate who does not have a qualifying internship can substitute two years of supervised experience (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

Examination Requirement

The Department of Public Instruction requires school psychologists to take the Praxis II subject examination for school psychologists, administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). The minimum score for candidates taking test 0401 is 165. Candidates should be aware that a new version of the test debuts in late 2014. The test has been redesigned to better reflect the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) 2010 standards; NASP has recommended a different minimum score. Candidates can visit the ‘Wisconsin’ page of the ETS site to see current scoring requirements (http://www.ets.org/praxis/wi/requirements/).

Beginning in September of 2014, the test will be computer-delivered. Instead of being available only on set dates, it will be offered in two-week windows throughout the year. Candidates can search for test sites on the ETS website (https://www.ets.org/praxis/register/centers_dates). There are computer-delivered testing site locations listed for Brookfield, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Madison, Oshkosh, and Stevens Point.

The Application Process

Candidates can apply online through the Educator Licensing Online system (ELO). The licensing agency has prepared a page of tips specific to the license category (http://tepdl.dpi.wi.gov/licensing/elo). Applicants are advised to scan required documents before beginning the application process. They will need to create accounts.

Moving from Initial to Professional Level Credentialing

After three years of service at the initial level, a school psychologist can be issued a Professional Educator license. Progression depends on a Professional Development Plan (PDP). Initial educators have PDP teams that include administrators, peers, and Institution of Higher Education (IHE) representatives. Some districts allow educators to choose team members (http://tepdl.dpi.wi.gov/pdp/pdp-team).

Attaining a Master Educator License

The ten-year Master Educator license is optional. Among the requirements for this license: contributing to the profession. Eligibility is determined through the Wisconsin Master Educator Assessment Process (WMEAP).

Candidates can apply, at the earliest, the fifth year that they hold the Professional Educator license. They will need to document five years of successful professional service.

Approved candidates will have two years from application approval to create a portfolio demonstrating mastery of standards and exemplary practice (http://tepdl.dpi.wi.gov/book/export/html/26990). Details are found in the tip sheet. It is recommended that educators submit their portfolios early; this will provide more time to revise items that are not at the required level.

A master educator can receive monetary compensation. The annual amount depends on the population served. Those working with high-poverty students are currently eligible to receive $5,000 in annual grant money for nine years.

Attaining an Independent Practice License

A school psychologist can qualify with an educational specialist degree or master's degree that includes at least 60 semester hours (http://www.dsps.wisconsin.gov/LicensesPermitsRegistrations/Private-Pract-School-Psychologist/Private-Practice-School-Psychologist-License-Information). A Ph.D, Psy.D, or Ed.D degree in school psychology is also license-qualifying.

The individual will seek credentialing with DPI before seeking a private practice license. The school psychologist will need to verify a year of internship or other supervised experience; a qualifying internship includes supervision by a licensed school psychologist.

In addition to passing the national school psychologist examination, the private practice school psychologist will need to take the state ethics examination and participate in an oral interview.

Applications are available on the site of the Department of Safety and Professional Services (http://www.dsps.wisconsin.gov/Default.aspx?). There is a $75 fee for the initial credential and a $75 fee for the state law examination.

Additional Information

Additional information can be found on the site of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (http://www.dpi.state.wi.us/). Questions can be addressed to licensing at dpi.wi.gov.

The Department of Public Instruction notes that email may provide the fastest means of communication (http://tepdl.dpi.wi.gov/home/email-us-tepdl).

NASP lists School Psychology Consultant Kathryn Bush as the state contact (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/state_info_list.aspx).

The Wisconsin School Psychologists Association, Inc. is an additional resource for the state’s school psychology professionals (http://www.wspaonline.net).