School Psychology Certification in Arkansas: Become a School Psychologist in AR
In Arkansas, school psychology services are delivered by individuals with varying degrees of education. A person must have a doctoral degree and Board-issued psychology license to practice as a school psychologist. One may be licensed as a school psychology specialist, however, with a 60 semester hour graduate degree.
Arkansas school psychology specialists take the national ‘school psychologist’ examination. They are credentialed through the Arkansas Department of Education. Individuals credentialed in this manner may deliver school psychology services but may not use the term ‘school psychologist’.
The new term for the school psychology specialist credential is ‘Ancillary License in School Psychology’. (One may also see references to a Standard Non-Instructional Student Services License.)
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Select an Arkansas School Psychologist topic below…
- Education and Internship Pathways
- Examination Requirements
- Background Checks
- Application Process: Forms and Materials
- License Renewal
- Contacts and Additional Information Sources
The prospective school psychology specialist must earn at least a master’s degree; the degree must be awarded by an institution that is accredited by some agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
The advanced degree may be in school psychology, psychology, or counseling (http://www.arkansased.org/public/userfiles/rules/Current/ade317_Licensure_FINAL_11172013.pdf). However, the individual must also have completed a school psychology program. (In other words, an individual with a degree in counseling would need to do significant work beyond that required for the initial master’s.)
The Praxis II subject area examination for school psychologists is another certification requirement. This examination is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS); Arkansas lists test #0401 as the one to take. Information and study resources can be assessed by visiting the Arkansas page of the ETS site and clicking on ‘instructional support personnel” (http://www.ets.org/praxis/ar/requirements). ETS lists 159 as the minimum passing score for Arkansas school psychology candidates.
The fee is currently listed as $115 (http://www.ets.org/praxis/about/fees). A list of test centers and dates is available on the ETS site (http://www.ets.org/praxis/register/centers_dates). The test is administered at sites around the nation. The Department of Education notes that candidates who test in another jurisdiction must use the correct code to make sure that score reports get sent to Arkansas (http://www.arkansased.org/divisions/human-resources-educator-effectiveness-and-licensure/educator-licensure-unit/praxis-assessments). A candidate who has already taken the test in another jurisdiction should provide the Arkansas code when requesting a score report.
Public School Program Advisor Michael Rowland is listed as the Arkansas contact person for this stage of the licensing process. His contact information can be found on the DOE site (http://www.arkansased.org/divisions/human-resources-educator-effectiveness-and-licensure/educator-licensure-unit/praxis-assessments).
Issuance of the credential is dependent on clearing background checks through the Arkansas State Police and the FBI. The Arkansas Department of Education notes that it is acceptable to have the fingerprints made at any law enforcement agency. Fingerprint cards will then be mailed to the Arkansas State Police.
Arkansas also requires a check of the Child Maltreatment Central Registry (http://www.arkansased.org/divisions/human-resources-educator-effectiveness-and-licensure/educator-licensure-unit/background-check-requirements). A candidate may authorize this by filling out the release form available on the DOE website and making a check or money order out to the Arkansas Department of Human Services. The fee is currently $10.
Karli Saracini and Melissa Jacks are listed as the contact people for individuals who are completing background checks for educator licensing. Their contact information can be found in the Educator Licensure Unit section of the Department website (http://www.arkansased.org/divisions/human-resources-educator-effectiveness-and-licensure/educator-licensure-unit/background-check-requirements). The Department website notes that school districts will also have the paperwork necessary for completing background checks as will the education department licensure officers of Arkansas universities.
The Application Process
The Educator Licensure Unit webpage includes links to application forms and documents (http://www.arkansased.org/divisions/human-resources-educator-effectiveness-and-licensure/educator-licensure-unit/educator-licensure-application).
The applicant will note whether required background checks are on file or being forwarded and whether transcripts are enclosed or being forwarded.
License fees are currently listed as $75 (http://www.arkansased.org/divisions/human-resources-educator-effectiveness-and-licensure/educator-licensure-unit/licensure-fees-and-refunds). Fees may be paid through money order or cashier’s check or online through the Arkansas Department of Education Teacher Licensure System (https://www.ark.org/ina_renewalservices/teachers/licensure.aspx).
Materials may be sent to the following address:
Office of Educator Licensure
Arkansas Department of Education
Four Capitol Mall, Rooms 106-B and 107-B
Little Rock, AR 72201-1071
The Department notes that incomplete applications will be returned without processing.
Candidates may wish to familiarize themselves with the Arkansas Educator License System (http://adeaels.arkansas.gov/main.htm). This can be used to view licenses; licensees can update certain basic information online.
Professional development is a requirement for renewal; Arkansas expects 60 hours a year regardless of employment status (http://www.arkansased.org/divisions/human-resources-educator-effectiveness-and-licensure/educator-licensure-unit/renewing-a-standard-educator-license).
According to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), school psychology specialists do not qualify for provisional teacher licenses.
NASP lists Loretta Wallace as the contact person for school psychology specialists in Arkansas. She can be reached by emailing ‘loretta.wallace at arkansas.gov’ or by dialing 501-835-3330.
The Arkansas School Psychology Association (http://www.aspaonline.net/#/home) is an additional resource for the state’s school psychology specialists. The organization notes that professionals with degrees in school psychology may wish to pursue additional credentials beyond state certification (http://www.aspaonline.net/#/home/school-psych-general-info).
The Arkansas Board of Examiners in Psychology issues psychology licenses to individuals with doctoral degrees; there is also an examination requirement (http://psychologyboard.arkansas.gov/Pages/default.aspx). Requirements for supervised practice are more stringent. Individuals who wish to be licensed typically complete programs accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).
The Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential is a voluntary certification issued by NASP; it can facilitate the process of becoming licensed as a school psychologist in some other states.