Requirements to Become a School Psychologist in Colorado [2024 Certification Guide]

School Psychology and Colorado

Colorado, a state in the western United States, encompasses various landscapes such as the southern Rocky Mountains, the northeastern Colorado Plateau, and the western fringes of the Great Plains. Colorado is known for its diverse geography, which includes mountains, deserts, and plains. It is the 8th largest state in terms of land area.

School psychologists hold a vital role in promoting the mental health and academic achievement of students. In the scenic state of Colorado, known for its breathtaking landscapes and outdoor recreational opportunities, the need for skilled and compassionate school psychologists is just as pressing.

The diverse geographical and cultural aspects of Colorado create unique challenges and opportunities for school psychologists, positioning it as a prime location for professionals committed to fostering students’ academic and emotional growth.

This article will walk you through the essential steps to pursue a rewarding career as a school psychologist in Colorado.

What are the Requirements to Become a Licensed School Psychologist in Colorado?

Below is a quick breakdown of requirements to become a licensed school psychologist in Colorado:

  • Obtain specialist-level or doctoral program
  • Pass the Praxis 5402 exam
  • Complete supervised practicum
  • Complete internship
  • Complete additional internship experience
  • Submit your application

To become a licensed school psychologist in Colorado, several important requirements must be met to ensure you possess the essential knowledge and expertise to effectively support children and students from birth to 21 years of age.

Requirements for the Professional School Psychologist license are as follows:

  • Completion of a recognized specialist-level or doctoral program: Your journey starts with completing a specialist-level program with a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours or a doctoral program specifically tailored for preparing school psychologists. The program must be provided by an accredited institution of higher education.
  • Passing a national school psychology examination: Show your competence by obtaining the National Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) certification or successfully passing the Praxis 5402 exam.
  • Undertaking a supervised practicum: This step involves engaging in a series of closely monitored on-campus or field-based activities aimed at cultivating and assessing your proficiency in various professional skills, in accordance with program and/or course goals.
  • Satisfying internship requirements: Complete a full-time one-year internship or a half-time two-year internship. This internship should include a minimum of 1,200 clock hours, with at least 600 hours occurring in a school environment.
  • Additional internship experiences: Apart from the mandatory 600 hours in a school setting, you may also participate in other approved internship opportunities. These can include placements in private or state-approved educational programs or other appropriate mental health or education-related settings.

Alternate Pathways

To be eligible for a school psychologist license in Colorado, candidates must possess a valid NCSP (National Certified School Psychologist) credential, awarded by the national board responsible for school psychology certification.

In cases where an individual has a valid license from the Colorado State Board of Psychologist Examiners or is qualified for licensure exams, they must also obtain a recommendation from the institution. This recommendation should come from an accredited higher education institution’s professional education division, which offers an approved school psychology program.

The endorsement should confirm that the candidate has met the necessary skill requirements as per the guidelines, completed an appropriate internship, and successfully passed the national school psychology exam.

Temporary Provisional License

In Colorado, there is a provision called the ‘Temporary Educator Eligibility Authorization’ or TEE (previously known as SETA) for individuals in an approved educational training program, such as school psychology. This authorization permits them to work in schools for a maximum of 3 years while they finish their degree program.

Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

For those holding a Professional credential, it is necessary to complete 90 clock hours of professional development every 5 years. On the other hand, individuals with a Provisional credential must renew their license every 3 years.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Licensed School Psychologist in Colorado?

Becoming a licensed school psychologist in Colorado is a multi-step process. After finishing high school, it generally takes between six and ten years to become a licensed school psychologist in Colorado, depending on the candidate’s educational background and program choice.

Can You Become a School Psychologist in Colorado Without a License?

In Colorado, it is generally not permissible to practice as a school psychologist without a license. Obtaining a license ensures that you have met the necessary educational, internship, and examination requirements to practice competently and ethically in the field. Practicing without a license may result in legal consequences and professional repercussions.

However, as mentioned above, Colorado does offer a Temporary Educator Eligibility Authorization (TEE), which allows individuals enrolled in an approved training program in an education-related field, including school psychology, to practice in schools for up to 3 years while completing their degree program. This provision helps aspiring school psychologists gain practical experience under supervision before obtaining their full license.

What is the Role of School Psychologists in Colorado?

School psychologists play a vital role in supporting the development, learning, and well-being of students in Colorado. They are highly trained professionals with expertise in human learning processes, assessment techniques, and direct and indirect services for mental and academic skill development.

School psychologists in Colorado are responsible for applying learning, motivation, and developmental theories to improve learning and achievement for all students. They also utilize developmentally appropriate practices that support the education of children and students with disabilities or delays in development.

Assessment plays a crucial role in the work of school psychologists in Colorado. They are knowledgeable about a wide variety of models and methods of informal and formal assessment that can identify strengths and needs and measure progress and functioning in school, home, and community environments. They translate assessment results into evidence based decisions about service delivery to promote child and student achievement.

Moreover, school psychologists are knowledgeable about typical and atypical human developmental processes from birth to adulthood, as well as the application of direct and indirect services for individuals, groups, and families. They develop appropriate behavioral, affective, adaptive, social, and transition goals for students of varying abilities, disabilities, strengths, and needs.

School psychologists in Colorado also recognize the importance of individual diversity, abilities, and disabilities, and the influence of social, cultural, ethnic, gender, and linguistic factors on development, learning, and behavior. They utilize various prevention and intervention strategies based on individual characteristics, strengths, and needs.

Furthermore, school psychologists in Colorado are knowledgeable about general education, special education, other educational related services, and organizational practices that maximize learning. They develop and implement policies and practices that create and maintain safe, supportive, and effective learning environments.

School psychologists in Colorado also collaborate and consult effectively with students, school personnel, families, and community professionals to promote and provide comprehensive services to students and their families.

Lastly they also demonstrate professional leadership that exemplifies a personal and professional commitment to ethical, professional, and legal standards, and pursue continuous professional development through appropriate activities, coursework, and participation in relevant professional organizations.

What is the Difference Between an Educational Psychologist and a School Psychologist?

Educational psychology and school psychology are connected fields, yet they differ in their areas of concentration and roles in the educational system.

Educational Psychologists

  • These professionals mainly study the ways individuals learn, aiming to enhance teaching techniques, learning approaches, and educational resources.
  • Educational psychologist perform research to understand various elements that affect learning, including mental functioning, environmental factors, and stages of development.
  • They frequently partner with educators, policymakers, and administrators to incorporate evidence-based methods for boosting educational results.
  • Educational psychologists usually work in research institutions, universities, government agencies, or as consultants for schools and other educational organizations.

School Psychologists

  • These specialists primarily concentrate on the well-being and academic achievements of students in a school environment.
  • They actively engage with students, teachers, and families to tackle academic, emotional, social, and behavioral challenges that could hinder a student’s capacity to learn and excel in school.
  • School psychologists perform evaluations and interventions, offer counseling, and create Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) plans for students needing special support.
  • They generally work in public or private schools, educational institutions, or may offer services through private practices or community mental health organizations.

In short, educational psychologists and school psychologists both strive to enhance educational outcomes, but their focuses differ. Educational psychologists emphasize broader aspects of learning and teaching methodologies, while school psychologists address the unique needs of students within the school environment.

How Do I Become a Licensed School Counselor in Colorado?

In order to become a licensed school counselor in Colorado, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Earn a Master’s Degree or higher in school counseling, accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
  2. Complete a practicum consisting of at least 100 clock hours.
  3. Undertake a minimum 600 clock hour internship, working with students across various grade levels under the guidance of a licensed school counselor.
  4. Achieve a passing score on the PRAXIS 5421 exam.

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