School Psychology Certification in Michigan: Become a School Psychologist in MI

Michigan’s school psychologists are certified by the Office of Professional Preparation Services, under the banner of the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). Certification is based on education and internship. The Department of Education issues certificates at two levels. Certification at either level will require a minimum of 45 semester hours of graduate coursework. An individual may hold the lower level certificate for a maximum of six years.

School psychologists may also be authorized to work in the schools on the basis of doctoral level psychology licensing issued by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

Michigan requires individuals who work in schools to have criminal background checks.

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Education Requirements for Preliminary School Psychologist Certificate

In order to be certified at the preliminary level, an individual will need to earn at least 45 semester hours of graduate coursework that is appropriate to the school psychology profession; this must be completed through an approved program. By the time of certification, the individual must have completed at least 600 hours of internship; at least 300 of these hours must have been in a school setting. The institution will need to recommend the candidate for certification.

The preliminary certificate may be renewed once; the certificate holder will need to complete at least six semester hours of coursework to be eligible for renewal.

Requirements for School Psychologist Certificate (In-State Candidates)

In order to receive the standard certificate, a professional will need at least a specialist’s degree or at least 15 semester hours beyond what was required for the preliminary certificate ( He or she will need a total of at least 1,200 hours of internship; at least 600 must have been completed in a school setting.

The school psychologist certificate is issued for five years at a time. At this level, a school psychologist may use academic credits or other appropriate continuing education to meet renewal requirements.

Out-of-State School Psychologists

Out-of-state school psychologists begin at the preliminary level unless they hold national certification and have accrued one year of work experience beyond internship.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) grants the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential. The minimum academic requirement is a 60 semester hour graduate program; NASP allows individuals who have completed degrees in related fields to complete retraining programs in lieu of earning a second graduate degree.

The professional will need at least 1,200 hours of internship, with at least 600 earned in a school setting. The candidate will also need to pass the national school psychologist examination (# 0401 of the Praxis II series) with at least a 165. He or she will need to adhere to NASP ethics standards.

Completion of a NASP-approved program is not essential for certification eligibility. However, graduates of non-approved programs will need to meet additional requirements, including submission of a professional portfolio.

Michigan regulations state that candidates are to work under certification for at least one year.

Candidates who are planning to take the Praxis II as a condition for certification will find scheduling information on the ETS ‘NASP’ page. They may download a candidate handbook in PDF form; the required examination is #0401 ( Additional study resources are available for a fee. Candidates may find out when upcoming exams will be held by selecting ‘PD’ for paper delivery.

The Application Process

Michigan’s certification candidates use an online system, the Michigan Online Educator Certification System, or MOECS. Professionals can use the system to apply, pay fees, and (once certified) to print a copy of the certificate. The DOE notes that applicants who do not have a Visa or MasterCard will need to get a prepaid card to pay application fees. Michigan charges in-state candidates $160 for a psychologist certificate; out-of-state candidates are charged $210.

In the case of in-state graduates, the institution will have a role in the application process. Graduates of out-of-state programs are expected to first apply to their own licensing agency. Individuals who are not graduates of Michigan programs will self-register on the online system. It is necessary to first create an account under the Michigan Education Information System (MEIS).

Individuals who need assistance using the system may call 517-373-3310 during business hours or email MOECSSupport at

Application status can be monitored online. Candidates should not expect to see “pending review” until after required documentation has been received. They will receive an email notification once they have been approved for certification.

Licensed Psychologists Serving as School Psychologists

A psychologist who is “fully licensed” by the Michigan State Board can be authorized to serve as a school psychologist as per Special Education Rule R340.1799e (

Michigan’s fully licensed professional psychologists hold doctoral degrees in psychology or in related fields. They have completed 2,000 hours of internship and 2,000 hours of postdoctoral supervised practice. They have passed the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and are eligible for private practice or employment in any of many settings.

Additional Information

The Department of Education has released a certification handbook, current as of 2014 ( Candidates should be aware that rules change periodically. The Office of Professional Preparation Services can be found on the web at Contact persons can reached by phone or email (,4615).

The Michigan Association of School Psychologists does not issue licenses but serves as an additional professional resource (