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

Becoming a School Psychologist in Florida

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

  1. Complete your bachelor’s degree
  2. Obtain a master’s degree in school psychology
  3. Complete internship
  4. Pass the Subject Area Examinations (School Psychology)
  5. Pass the General Knowledge Test
  6. Pass the Professional Education Test
  7. Pay the application fee

Individuals who wish to pursue a career as a school psychologist in the state of Florida can choose from a number of certification paths provided by the Department of Education in the state. The five plans that are available are as follows:

Plan One

Plan One calls for a master’s or higher degree in school psychology, as well as a year-long supervised internship in either an elementary or secondary school.

Plan Two

Plan Two requires completing a 60-credit-hour graduate program in school psychology, a 3-credit-hour supervised practicum in school psychology, and a 12-credit-hour yearlong supervised internship in an elementary or secondary school. Graduate program should cover following topics:

  • Educational foundations
  • Psychological foundations
  • Psychoeducational assessment
  • Psychological Interventions
  • Measurement, statistics, and research design
  • Professional school psychology

Plan Three

Those who have completed a graduate program in school psychology and three years of full-time experience as a school psychologist in an elementary or secondary school are eligible for Plan Three.

If the applicant possesses a valid full-time school psychologist credential issued by the state where the experience was obtained, the experience is acceptable.

Plan Four

Plan Four requires a master’s degree or higher, 60 graduate credit hours in specific areas in school psychology, three semester hours in supervised school psychology practicum, and six semester hours in supervised school psychology internship in an elementary or secondary school for a year.

The internship should not exceed 12 semester hours and should consist of at least 1200 clock hours, 600 of which must be spent in elementary or secondary schools. Three years of full-time work as a school psychologist can satisfy the supervised practicum requirement, and three years of full-time work can also fulfill the internship requirement.

Plan Five

A valid National Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential is required for Plan Five.

Temporary and Professional Certificates

All of the above five plans lead to a a Temporary or a Professional Certificate, which will enable you to work in public schools (K-12), early childhood and pre-K settings, and private and charter schools as a licensed school psychologist.

Florida offers a Temporary Certificate that is valid for three years and cannot be renewed to assist individuals in meeting all requirements for a Professional Certificate while working full-time.

Temporary Certificate will be issued to you once you are employed in a Florida school and your fingerprints have been cleared.

Requirements for a a Professional Certificate include: Passing all three parts of the Florida Teacher Certification Examination (FTCE). These three tests are: Subject Area Examinations (i.e. School Psychology), General Knowledge Test and Professional Education Test.

Renewal Requirements for the Professional Certificate

To maintain the validity of your Professional Certificate, it is imperative that you fulfill the continuing professional development (CPD) requirement of 120 hours (6 semester hours) within a span of five years. It is crucial to note that CPD must be earned in at least three-hour increments to qualify for renewal. Moreover, a minimum of one (1) semester hour must be dedicated to teaching students with disabilities (SWD) to meet the renewal requirements.

Participation in an approved Florida master’s inservice program as either a student or an instructor in a 3-hour college course is equivalent to 60 hours (provided the minimum grade of a C is obtained).

Additionally, the Florida Board of Education also accepts CPD hours endorsed by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) for fulfilling the renewal requirements.

Alternate Pathway through Florida Office of School Psychology

The Florida Office of School Psychology also issues a licensure to school psychologists who want to work in private settings.

To be eligible for this licensure, the applicant must have a passing score on the Praxis II (147) test, a doctorate, specialist, or equivalent degree in a primarily psychological program (a master’s degree in school psychology is also acceptable), and 3 years of school psychology experience.

It is important to note that one year of experience is equivalent to 1500 hours within 12 consecutive months. Furthermore, two out of the three years required for the licensure must consist of supervised experience by a licensed school psychologist in any jurisdiction or a licensed psychologist.

It is worth mentioning that doctoral internships can also be applied towards meeting the supervision requirement, whereas non-doctoral internships, which are part of the education requirement, do not count towards the supervised or general experience requirement.

To renew this license, you will be to fulfill 30 hours of continuing education (CE) requirements. These include:

  • 28 General Hours
  • 2 Medical Error Hours
  • 2 Domestic Violence Hours

CE courses must approved by the Florida Department of Health, the American Psychological Association (APA), or the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

Working as a School Psychologist in Florida

To work as a school Psychologist in Florida, you will be required to possess knowledge and skills in several areas including:

  • Measurement theory
  • Test construction, research, and statistics
  • Data-based decision making in educational environments
  • Adolescent and child development
  • Exceptional student education, curriculum and instruction
  • Biological, social, and cultural bases of learning
  • Evidence-based interventions, consultation, collaboration, and problem solving
  • Professional school psychology
  • Ethical decision making
  • Identifying developmental patterns of disorders in childhood and adolescence
  • Identifying effective instructional strategies for reading, mathematics, and written and oral communication
  • Identifying the social, cultural, linguistic, and ethnic influences on learning and behavior
  • Using consultation, collaboration, and problem-solving techniques to address academic, behavioral, and social-emotional issues

What is the Employment Outlook for School Psychologists With Certification in Florida?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment outlook for school psychologists in Florida is positive. The BLS forecasts a 3.1% increase in employment for school psychologists in Florida from 2021 to 2031. According to the BLS, as of April 2023, there are 2,660 licensed school psychologists in Florida.

This growth in demand for school psychologists is mainly driven by a growing need for psychological services in schools, as well as a greater emphasis on mental health awareness and student support. It is important to note that the job market varies depending on location and school district.

School psychology is also becoming more important due to the rising interest in child wellness, particularly in school settings, with new focus in the media and by parents on important issues like bullying and sexuality and gender identity.

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