School Psychology Certification in Maryland: Become a School Psychologist in MD
Maryland school psychologists are certified by the Maryland State Department of Education (http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/). Certification is granted on the basis of advanced graduate coursework, internship or supervised experience, and successful examination performance.
Maryland also offers two related credentials. A school psychometrist administers tests under the supervision of a school psychologist; this credential requires a master’s degree and some supervised experience. The Supervisor of School Psychologists credential is a higher certification; it is only available to school psychologists with doctoral degrees.
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Select a Maryland School Psychologist topic below…
- School Psychologist Education Requirements (3 Options)
- Examination Requirement
- Internship or Experience Requirements
- Requirements for Supervisors of School Psychologists
- Requirements for School Psychometrist
- Application Process: Forms and Materials
- Contacts and Additional Information Sources
Educational Requirements for School Psychologists
Option 1: The most direct option is to earn a graduate specialist’s degree or doctoral degree from a school psychology program that holds one of the following accreditations or approvals:
- National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- Maryland State Department of Education
A list of State-approved programs is available on the site of the Maryland Department of Education (http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/divisions/certification/certification_branch/teacher_preparation/md_approved_programs.html). The National Association of School Psychologists has provided a list of NASP-approved programs around the nation (http://www.nasponline.org/certification/naspapproved.aspx). A list of APA-accredited programs is also available; these are offered only at the doctoral level (https://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/programs/accred-school.aspx).
Option 2: The second option is to earn a degree at the master’s level or higher in education, psychology, or human development. A candidate selecting this pathway must have at least 60 graduate semester hours in content areas mandated by Maryland.
At least six semester hours must be in the area of professional school psychology. This may include the history and foundations of the profession, roles and functions, and legal and ethical issues affecting school psychologists.
In addition, the student will need coursework in the following areas:
Psychological foundations: Included in this content area are biological, social, and cultural bases of behavior, child and adolescent development, human learning, and individual differences.
Educational foundations: This includes instructional design and school organization and operation. Reading instruction, special education, and alternative service delivery would all fall under this category.
Intervention and problem solving: Among the topics covered are cognitive, emotional, and social assessments, individual and group counseling, direct and indirect intervention, and consultation and intervention. Practicum also falls under this category.
Statistics and research methodology: Coursework could include topics such as advanced statistics, tests and measurement, and program evaluation.
Candidates who chose this option will need to earn at least 30 of the required semester hours through a single institution. A full discussion of requirements is found in 13A.12.03.08 of Maryland Code (http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/comarhtml/13a/13a.12.03.08.htm).
Option 3: Candidates may also use a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential to establish eligibility. Candidates will need, at minimum, 60 graduate semester hours to be eligible. Graduates of non-NASP programs may submit a case study and portfolio to demonstrate competence. All credential holders will need to meet NASP professional standards
Examination Requirement for School Psychologists
Whichever of the above pathways a candidate opts for, he or she will need to pass the Praxis II examination for school psychologists, administered by Educational Testing Service. Registration information and study resources can be found on the ETS site (https://www.ets.org/praxis/prepare/materials/0401/).
An individual who opts for national certification will take the exam beforehand as a condition of certification. NASP requires a score of 165.
Internship or Experience Requirement for School Psychologists
A student may meet the experience requirement through 1,200 hours of internship. This is to include practice in assessment, direct and indirect intervention, and school system support. Interns should provide services in special settings like special education schools or hospitals as well as in public or state approved private schools. School experience should include special education and mainstream/ non-special education services. A list of internship expectations is found in 13A.12.03.07 of Maryland code (http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/comarhtml/13a/13a.12.03.08.htm).
An individual who did not meet internship standards can meet the experience requirement by verifying two years of school psychology experience that was carried out under the direction of a certified school psychologist. The service should provide the same broad experience as that required for an internship (e.g. direct intervention, school system support, mainstream and special education).
The Application Process
A certification candidate can locate and download the correct application by visiting the DOE site and utilizing the wizard to answer basic questions (http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/divisions/certification/certification_branch/certification_inf/apply/overview.html). Candidates should be aware that some questions are geared toward those seeking teacher certification at the baccalaureate level.
Application packets are to include cover letters; transcripts should be in sealed envelopes. The processing fee is currently listed as $10.
It is also an option to apply online (http://www.mdcert.org/).
The Department of Education notes that it can take as long as 16 to 18 weeks for an application packet to be processed.
Veterans, service members, and spouses may be eligible for expedited certification (http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/divisions/certification/certification_branch/certification_inf/apply/docs/obtain12.htm).
Requirements for Supervisor of School Psychologists
A doctorally educated school psychologist with at least three years of experience may be certified as a Supervisor of School Psychologists provided the professional has taken three semester hours of coursework in school law and six semester hours of coursework in management, supervision, or school administration.
The doctoral degree may be in education, psychology, or human development, assuming the individual meets school psychologist certification requirements.
Requirements for School Psychometrist
Professionals may earn a school psychometrist license with a master’s in either psychology or education. They will need 45 semesters hours of coursework in specific areas mandated by the state licensing agency; undergraduate and graduate courses may both be credited.
The following content areas must be addressed at the graduate level:
- Neurological and physiological bases of behavior
- Child and adolescent psychology
- Intervention, consultation, and counseling
- Individual IQ tests of children
- Individual educational assessments such as reading assessments and curriculum-based assessments
- Personality assessment (including children’s social, emotional, and behavioral functioning)
- Statistics/ research methods and design
- Psychological testing practicum
The following may be credited if addressed at the undergraduate level:
- Personality theory
- Learning theory
- Abnormal psychology
- Tests and measurements
- Social psychology/ multicultural psychology/ social bases of behavior
- Educational psychology
- Curriculum and instruction
The individual must also meet an experience requirement. This can be met through a university-directed school psychology field experience of at least 500 hours. Services are to be provided in special education and mainstream programs under the supervision of a school psychologist. The internship should emphasize assessment.
Two years of work experience providing psychometric services may be substituted; at least 600 hours a year must have been spent providing services in an educational setting with children. Such services must have been performed under the supervision of a certified school psychologist unless the individual has been licensed as a psychologist and delivered similar services in that capacity.
The Certification Branch of the Department of Education can be found online at http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/divisions/certification/certification_branch/index.html. The Certification Assistance Line can be reached at 410-767-0412 or 866-772-8922.
The Maryland School Psychologists Association is an additional resource; the organization does not license professionals but does help them stay current on legislative news (http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/comarhtml/13a/13a.12.03.08.htm).