Do you have a drive to personally better our country’s schools while having a tremendous impact on our youth?
Would knowing that the profession ranks among the top in terms of growth be the icing on the cake?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of psychologists is projected to grow 12 percent from 2012–2022, and one of the groups with the best job prospects are those who specialize in school psychology. In fact, there’s a critical shortage for school psychologists making the mental health profession an even more worthwhile field to consider.
Here’s an overview of what you need to know to become a school psychologist, but it is best to seek the advice of a trusted mentor or experienced recruiter based on your unique situation and long-term goals.
If you want to be certified to work as a school psychologist, most states require at least a post-master’s degree level of education. Many graduate programs offer specializations in school psychology, and an education specialist degree is optimal for those who know they want to work with school-aged children. You will also want to make sure the program is National Certified School Psychologist (NCSP)-approved and has a 1,200-hour internship program. Earning a doctoral degree does give you a few more options but typically takes 5 years of full-time study at the graduate level.
Once you have earned your degree and passed the Praxis II school psychology examination, you must apply for licensure in the state where you wish to work. It’s important to note that most public schools will also require certification by the state’s department of education.
Certifications do vary from state to state, so it’s wise to begin your research as early as possible, even prior to beginning the postsecondary education process. The NASP keeps a helpful database updated with State School Psychology Credentialing Requirements organized by each state and even U.S. territory. You can expect to find pertinent information for each state such as credentialing requirements you need to practice in schools, continuing education requirements, and scope of practice as it applies to the state education agency (SEA) credential.
It will take time to determine what steps you need to take in order to be qualified as a school psychologist. The team at PPR has walked many school psychologists through the licensing and contracting process with the goal of getting placed at the applicant’s school district of choice. We welcome the chance to help you get back to school as a school psychologist.