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

Study School Psychology in Michigan

As a prospective school psychologist, you might immediately think of working in the Detroit area. As the largest city in the state, it also has the largest public school system. The more kids there are in a district, the more school psychologists the district will need.

However, Detroit is just one of many cities in the state that require the services of school psychologists. You can work in small schools, medium-sized schools, and many points in between. This includes working in public and private settings.

First, though, you need the appropriate credential to work as a school psychologist. The pathways for doing so are outlined below.

What are the Requirements for School Psychologist Certification in Michigan?

Michigan offers two types of certifications for school psychologists: the Preliminary School Psychologist Certificate and the School Psychologist Certificate.

The primary difference between the two is that the Preliminary Certificate is good for three years, while the School Psychologist Certificate is good for five years. The other differences are discussed in detail below.

Preliminary School Psychologist Certificate

The Preliminary School Psychologist Certificate might be awarded if you have completed a graduate degree in a school psychology program. The program must be approved by the state and be at least 45 credit hours in length.

Additionally, the school psychology program you complete must include a 600-hour supervised practicum. You must also have a valid school psychologist certificate or license from another state if your degree is from an out-of-state program.

School Psychologist Certificate

In-State-Trained Applicants

You might qualify for a School Psychologist Certificate if you hold a current or expired Preliminary Certificate and have a graduate degree in school psychology. The graduate program you complete must be state-approved and specialist-level, with at least 60 credit hours in school psychology.

Furthermore, your graduate program must include a 1,200-hour internship. The internship must be from an Educator Preparation Institution (EPI) program.

Out-of-State-Trained Applicants

If your training was done outside of Michigan, you might still be eligible for a School Psychologist Certificate, provided you have a specialist-level degree in school psychology. The program must be at least 60 credits and include a 1,200-hour internship from an out-of-state Educator Preparation Institution.

Moreover, you must also have a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential or a valid school psychologist certificate or license from the state in which your graduate program was completed.

What are the Continuing Education (CE) and Certification Renewal Requirements in Michigan?

Continuing education and certification renewal requirements vary depending on your certificate type.

For example, a three-year renewal might be given for a Preliminary School Psychologist Certificate if you have a valid out-of-state certificate or license as a school psychologist. You might also be granted renewal if you complete six credits of an approved school psychology graduate program from an Educator Preparation Institution. These credits must be earned after the original issue date of the Preliminary Certificate.

The School Psychologist Certificate can be renewed in one of four ways:

Option A: Complete one of the following after the issue date of the original certification:

  • Six credits of school psychology-related coursework from a regionally-accredited institution
  • 150 State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs) in school psychology or related fields
  • 150 hours of District Provided Professional Development (DPPD) in school psychology or related fields
  • Any combination of the above that equals 150 hours

Option B: Hold a valid Professional Teaching Certificate in the state of Michigan.

Option C: Hold a valid credential as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist.

Option D: Hold a valid school psychology certificate from another state. This is only available for a one-time renewal.

These renewal hours must be entered into the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS) before you apply for renewal.

What is the School Psychologist Scope of Practice in Michigan?

As a school psychologist, you are responsible for various services in a school setting. These services vary in specificity depending on several factors, including the students’ age range, the student body’s specific needs, and any special programs that the school district has implemented to improve student development.

For example, you might be responsible for developing data-driven programs for improving student academic outcomes. This might involve collecting student academic achievement data, identifying ecological factors, and devising appropriate interventions for student needs and grade level.

As another example, you might be asked to provide your expertise in psychological development as part of a consultative or collaborative role with classroom teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders. You might also provide instructional support or behavioral interventions to address a specific issue, such as student behavioral problems.

Many school psychologists also work on a micro level with individual students or small groups of students. For example, you might conduct psychological assessments on students who have been identified as having a possible developmental delay.

You might also provide group counseling to students who share a common condition or experience, such as the victims of abuse.

Prevention is a large part of a school psychologist’s job, too. You might devise a program to address school dropouts or truancy among high school-aged students. Likewise, you might develop and implement a program in elementary schools that seeks to diminish school violence, bullying, suicide, and other negative behaviors.

As a school psychologist, you will also work with parents, guardians, and other family members to develop a strong support system for at-risk students. This might include acting as an advocate for families, connecting families with community-based services, or providing parenting support for parents and guardians.

Another scope of work for school psychologists is in diversity. For example, you might be asked to spearhead efforts in your school to improve programs and services for students from different backgrounds, such as deaf and hard-of-hearing students, students from minority cultures, or students with mental health needs. As part of this, you might evaluate current policies to ensure they promote social justice and fairness to all students.

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

The first step in becoming a school psychologist is to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a closely related field. This usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Then, a graduate program in school psychology must be completed. This typically takes three years, for a total of seven years of schooling before being eligible for a Michigan school psychology certificate.

Where Do Certified School Psychologists Work in Michigan?

School psychologists in Michigan are only allowed to practice in K-12 school settings. Should you wish to provide services outside of the school (e.g., in private practice or community mental health), you must apply for a full psychologist license from the Michigan Board of Psychology.

Do You Need a Doctorate to be a Certified School Psychologist in Michigan?

No. A master’s degree from a state-approved or equivalent out-of-state program is the minimum education required.

Are School Psychologists in High Demand in Michigan?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that jobs in this field will grow at a seven percent rate in Michigan through the end of this decade.

Where the jobs are created in Michigan depends on various factors. However, if history is any indication, the greatest need for school psychologists will be in elementary and secondary schools. Nationwide, most school psychologists work in this specialized area, and Michigan is no different.

Another area that could see demand for school psychologists is in educational support services. For example, rather than working in one elementary or secondary school, you might be employed at the district level and provide school psychology services to students district-wide.

Additionally, you might work in a support role with instructional facilitators, curriculum designers, and other non-classroom staff to develop age-appropriate programs for students. You might even work in an administrative role in some cases, though that would require additional schooling and certifications.

Nonetheless, as long as there are children in schools, there will be a need for school psychology services. The best way to ensure you are eligible for open positions is to get the appropriate education and training as outlined above.

The more experienced you are in school psychology, the more likely you are to stand out from other applicants and the more likely you will get the job.

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