How to Become a School Psychologist in Arkansas [2024 Certification Guide]

School Psychology and Arkansas

Pursuing a career as a school psychologist in Arkansas offers an opportunity to make a significant impact on students’ lives in the state’s varied educational settings. School psychologists play a crucial role in supporting students’ mental health and academic performance by collaborating with teachers, families, and school administrators to create a nurturing learning environment.

With its distinctive blend of urban and rural communities, Arkansas requires experienced school psychologists to tackle a wide range of challenges and promote a positive learning atmosphere for students of all backgrounds.

This article will guide you through the critical steps to become a school psychologist in Arkansas, exploring the educational and examination requirements and practical experiences necessary to excel in this vital career and help improve the lives of students across the state.

What are the Requirements for School Psychologist Certification in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, school psychologists are required to become certified as a School Psychology Specialist. Below is a quick breakdown of requirements to become a licensed school psychologist in Arkansas:

  • Complete your bachelor’s degree
  • Obtain a master’s degree in school psychology
  • Complete internship
  • Pass Praxis II subject area examination
  • Complete Professional Development requirements
  • Pass background checks
  • Submit your application

Educational Requirements

In order to pursue a career as a school psychologist in Arkansas, you must first attain a master’s degree in school psychology. It is essential to choose a school psychology program offered by an accredited college or university. Additionally, the program should meet one of the following criteria:

By completing a program that meets these stringent accreditation and approval standards, you will be well-prepared for a successful career in the field of school psychology.

Examination Requirements

Another essential requirement for the School Psychology Specialist credential in Arkansas is passing the Praxis II subject area examination, specifically designed for professionals in this field. Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers this examination, with test #0401 being the designated exam for aspiring school psychologists in Arkansas.

To access information and study materials, you can visit the ETS website’s Arkansas page. The minimum passing score for candidates seeking school psychology certification in Arkansas is 159.

If a candidate has previously taken the exam in another state or jurisdiction, they must supply the Arkansas code when requesting a score report to ensure the results are appropriately transferred and recognized by the state.

Professional Development Requirements

When applying for an initial School Psychology Specialist license, the applicant must submit evidence of completing specific professional development courses through the Arkansas IDEAS Portal (online training platform). These requirements include:

  • A total of two (2) hours dedicated to Family and Community Engagement training, which aims to strengthen collaboration between schools, families, and communities.
  • A two (2) hour course focused on child maltreatment training, which helps educators identify and address instances of abuse or neglect.
  • Another two (2) hour training session on teen suicide awareness and prevention, designed to equip professionals with the knowledge and skills to identify at-risk students and provide appropriate support.
  • A one (1) hour session dedicated to dyslexia awareness, intended to increase educators’ understanding of this learning disability and how to best support affected students.

Background Checks

To obtain the school psychologist credential, candidates must pass background checks conducted by the Arkansas State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). According to the Arkansas Department of Education, fingerprints can be taken at any law enforcement agency. Once completed, the fingerprint cards must be sent to the Arkansas State Police for processing.

In addition to the background checks, Arkansas mandates a review of the Child Maltreatment Central Registry. Candidates can authorize this examination by completing and submitting the release form available on the Department of Education website. This additional layer of screening helps ensure that school psychologists have the necessary background to safely and effectively work with students.

Certification Continuing Education Requirements

You will be required to complete 36 contact hours every year to maintain your School Psychology Specialist credential.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified School Psychologist in Arkansas?

Altogether, after completing a bachelor’s degree, it usually takes around 3-5 years to become a licensed school psychologist in Arkansas, including the time spent on education, professional development, and meeting other certification requirements. However, the exact duration may vary depending on the individual’s prior experience and the specific requirements of their chosen educational program

Can I Get School Psychologist Certification in Arkansas With a Bachelor’s Degree?

No, to become a certified school psychologist in Arkansas you need to obtain a master’s level or higher degree in school psychology.

Can I Work Outside of School Setting?

Individuals holding the School Psychology Specialist credential in Arkansas are not allowed to work outside of school setting. To work outside of school setting, you will need to obtain doctoral level psychologist licensure through the Arkansas Board of Psychology.

What is the Role of School Psychologists in Arkansas?

In the Arkansas educational system, school psychologists play a vital part, offering indispensable assistance for students’ cognitive, emotional, and social development. They hold various responsibilities, including:

  • Evaluating Students: Carrying out thorough assessments to pinpoint learning, emotional, or behavioral issues and determine students’ eligibility for special education services or extra support.
  • Creating Interventions: Developing and executing data-driven methods to help students address academic or socio-emotional obstacles, while monitoring their improvement.
  • Partnership: Collaborating with educators, school leaders, and families to devise strategies that encourage student achievement and foster a nurturing learning atmosphere, including recommendations on classroom organization, teaching techniques, or behavior management.
  • Preventive Measures: Spearheading initiatives across the school to tackle concerns such as harassment, school security, or mental health consciousness, aiming to establish a safe and welcoming educational environment.
  • Managing Emergencies: Aiding in the formulation and implementation of crisis management plans and providing assistance to students, staff, and families during critical situations or challenging times.
  • Staff Development: Offering training sessions and seminars for school staff on subjects related to mental well-being, learning impairments, or productive pedagogical practices.
  • Research and Assessment: Undertaking investigations to inform optimal practices in education and appraising the efficiency of school-based initiatives and interventions.

Are School Psychologists in High Demand in Arkansas?

Based on the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, employment prospects for school psychologists in Arkansas are projected to rise by 6% between 2021 and 2031.

This increase demonstrates a significant demand for these professionals in Arkansas. Several factors contribute to this demand, such as heightened awareness surrounding mental health concerns, the necessity for early intervention measures, and the value of support services for students facing learning difficulties or emotional and behavioral problems.

Furthermore, the expanding student population and the focus on fostering welcoming and supportive educational settings also drive the need for school psychologists in Arkansas.

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