School Psychology Licensure in Montana: Become a School Psychologist in MT

Montana’s school psychologists are under the jurisdiction of the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI). The Montana Association of School Psychologists (MASP) has a role in ensuring that they meet professional standards. The University of Montana also takes part in the review process.

There are two levels of licensure: Class 6 Specialist and Class 5 Alternative. Both require some graduate level education. The Class 5 license is a temporary status for school psychologists who have not yet met all requirements for the Class 6 license. Licensure at any level is dependent on background screening.

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Requirements for Class 5 School Psychology License

A candidate must hold at least a master’s degree. Coursework must have been completed in each of the following areas:

  • Exceptional children (with coverage of psychopathology)
  • Individual intelligence testing
  • Academic assessment
  • Behavioral assessment and interventions
  • Laws and policies of special education

In addition, the candidate will need to have completed coursework in at least six of the following nine areas:

  • Child development
  • Cultural diversity
  • Instructional strategies and academic interventions
  • Curriculum-based measurement
  • Social and emotional assessment
  • Individual and group counseling
  • School psychology role, function, and administration
  • Psychometrics, research design, and/ or statistics
  • Consultation and collaboration

To be credited, coursework must be completed with a grade of at least a B.

Working under a Class 5 License

A school psychologist working under Class 5 licensing will need to have supervision. Supervisors must be Montana school psychologists with Class 6 licensing. They must have held a school psychology license for at least three years.

A Class 5 school psychologist will work under a Professional Supervised Experience Plan. The Class 5 licensee will be reviewed on an annual basis. Review will focus on the license holder’s performance in the ten areas of competence which are summarized on the supervision agreement: School psychologists are expected to provide student-level services that promote academic and life skills. They also need to provide system-level services that promote learning, facilitate crisis prevention and response, and foster school-family collaboration. School psychologists are knowledgeable of diversity, aware of legal and ethical dimensions of practice, and able to evaluate programs for effectiveness. Throughout their practice, they practice consultation and collaboration and use data to inform decision making.

School psychologists with Class 5 licensing are allowed up to three years to complete requirements for the higher license.

The Class 5 Application Process

Applications can be downloaded from the site of the Montana Association of School Psychologists (http://masponline.us/licensure/class-5-licensing-process/).

The applicant will begin by completing a background check and submitting the first portions of the application (general questions and professional fitness questions) to OPI. Later they will submit transcripts and additional application materials to the Montana Association of School Psychologists. Class 5 candidates who are not University of Montana students will pay an initial review fee of $100. The resubmission review fee is $50. It is possible to pay online.

After initial materials have been reviewed, the individual will need to submit supervision agreement and plan. The candidate will be notified of status after review by the MASP Competency Review Board, but the materials will need to be forward to other organizations before the license is issued.

The Competency Review Board typically asks the candidate to make a personal appearance.

Requirements for Class 6 School Psychology License

There are several methods of demonstrating that education and training requirements have been met for a Class 6 license.

Option 1: The candidate may hold a specialist degree from a NASP-approved program (with ‘specialist’ defined as having at least 60 post-baccalaureate semester hours).

Option 2: The candidate may hold a graduate degree in school psychology or a related filed and have coursework in each of the required areas:

  • Academic assessment
  • Individual intelligence testing
  • Social and emotional assessment
  • Child development
  • Exceptional children/ psychopathology
  • Behavioral assessment and intervention
  • Law and policy of special education
  • Academic interventions
  • Curriculum-based measurement
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Cultural diversity
  • Consultation and collaboration
  • Roles, functions, and administration
  • Psychometrics, research design, and/or statistics

The candidate must also have completed an internship.

Courses are to be completed with grades of at least ‘B’.

Option 3: Montana will also accept the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential; this is issued by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). It is not necessary to have graduated from a NASP-approved program, but the process will be simpler for those who have. Candidates who graduate from programs that do not hold NASP approval will be required to submit professional portfolios and case studies.

A candidate opting for national certification will need to pass the Praxis II school psychologist exam with a score of at least 165. The candidate will need to provide evidence of having completed a 60 semester hour program and participated in 1,200 hours of internship; 600 hours are to be served in a school setting.

Whichever method they use to demonstrate academic eligibility, candidates will need to document supervised practice under a Montana Class 5 license or supervised internship.

The Class 6 Application Process

An applicant at the Class 6 level initiates the process by submitting fingerprints to the Montana Department of Justice and submitting the first two sections of the application to OPI, Educator Licensure. Part A includes an oath that requires notarization. The Department of Justice requires a $27.25 fee to run the background check.

Candidate who receive word that Parts A and B of the application have been accepted continue the application process by submitting Part C to MASP along with transcripts, MASP application, and notice of completion.

The initial review fee at the Class 6 level is $150. The resubmission review fee is $50.

Fingerprinting Procedures

Candidates must be fingerprinted unless they were fingerprinted in the prior two years for the purpose of 1) working in a Montana school or 2) entering an educator preparation program at a Montana university.

The candidate may have the prints made at any convenient law enforcement office or other appropriate agency. Either ink or LiveScan capture is acceptable. A candidate who needs fingerprint cards may call 406-444-3625.

Instructions are found in the application packet.

Additional Information

The Montana Office of Public instruction can be found on the web at http://opi.mt.gov.

Additional information is available on the site of the Montana Association of School Psychologists (http://masponline.us/). MASP lists Joelene Goodover as applicant liaison and Ann Verploegen as an additional applicant resource (http://masponline.us/licensure).