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

School Psychology in New York

New York is one of the most populous states in the nation. It also has one of the largest K-12 student populations, with more than 2.6 million kids enrolled, making it a prime location for building a career as a school psychologist.

New York children in urban and rural areas alike benefit from services provided by school psychologists. Behavioral, academic, and mental health programs are essential to the success of many students. School psychologists’ evaluative and diagnostic services can also provide crucial insights that help identify children in need.

Of course, the job description for school psychologists includes many other tasks ranging from advocacy to crisis preparedness and response to diversity training.

Once you complete your program of study, the next step is to become a certified school psychologist. This guide provides the steps you need to follow to accomplish that goal.

What are the Requirements to Become a Certified School Psychologist in New York?

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

  1. Complete an approved school psychology program
  2. Obtain an institutional recommendation
  3. Complete Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) training
  4. Apply for a Provisional Certificate
  5. Complete two years of school psychology work experience
  6. Obtain fingerprint clearance
  7. Apply for a Permanent Certificate

Two types of school psychology certificates are offered by the New York State Department of Education: Provisional and Permanent.

A provisional certificate is an initial certificate awarded to new school psychologists who have completed an approved school psychology program or have equivalent experience. A permanent certificate is reserved for school psychologists that have a combination of educational and work experience that make them advanced practitioners.

There are different pathways for achieving both certificates. These pathways are described below.

Provisional New York State School Psychology Certificate

The Provisional Certificate includes two pathways for becoming a school psychologist in New York.

Approved Teacher Education Program Pathway

The Approved Teacher Education Program Pathway qualifies you for a certificate via a recommendation from your college or university. The program you are enrolled in must be registered with the New York State Education Department.

In addition to completing the coursework required to graduate and receiving an institutional recommendation from your school, you must also obtain fingerprint clearance and pass the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations.

You must also complete Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) training, during which you will learn how to address discrimination, harassment, bullying, and the like in school settings.

Individual Evaluation

The second option for obtaining a provisional certificate in New York is through an individual evaluation. This pathway is more appropriate if you do not have a current teaching certificate or if you still need to complete an approved teacher education program.

To qualify for this pathway, you must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited school or a school approved by the New York Commissioner of Education. Furthermore, you must have graduate coursework in psychology (minimum of 60 credits), including a supervised school psychology internship component.

Additionally, you must complete the DASA workshop as described above and two other workshops – the Child Abuse Identification Workshop and the School Violence Prevention and Intervention Workshop. Fingerprint clearance is also required for this pathway.

Permanent New York State School Psychology Certificate

The permanent school psychology certificate offers four pathways for completion:

  • Approved Teacher Education Program
  • Approved Teacher Prep Program – Certificate Progression
  • Individual Evaluation
  • Certificate Progression

The three most common of these pathways are discussed below.

Approved Teacher Preparation Program

The most common of which is completing an approved school psychology program. Approved programs are registered with the state as meeting the requirements for satisfactory school psychologist preparation.

In addition to completing an approved program, you must receive a recommendation for certification from your school psychology program. You have to participate in a two-year school psychology pupil personnel work experience in school psychology as well.

To be eligible for this pathway, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, obtain fingerprint clearance, and participate in the DASA workshop.

Individual Evaluation

The individual evaluation for the permanent certificate is not unlike the one for the provisional certificate. Your eligibility for certification is based on your prior education, which must include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited school or a school approved by the New York Commissioner of Education.

Additionally, you must complete a supervised internship in school psychology in a K-12 setting and complete a master’s degree from a regionally-accredited school or a school approved by the New York Commissioner of Education. A two-year pupil personnel service work experience in school psychology is also required.

Moreover, you must pass fingerprint clearance and be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. You must also participate in the following workshops: DASA, the Child Abuse Identification Workshop, and the School Violence Prevention and Intervention Workshop.

Certificate Progression

As noted earlier, the certificate progression pathway is appropriate if you have held or currently hold a valid provisional certificate. To qualify for a permanent certificate, you must complete a master’s program from a regionally-accredited college or university or a school approved by the Commissioner of Education.

Furthermore, you must complete a two-year pupil personnel work experience in school psychology, obtain fingerprint clearance, and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Participation in the DASA, Child Abuse Identification Workshop, and School Violence Prevention and Intervention Workshop is also required.

Continuing Education (CE) and Certificate Renewal Requirements

If you have a permanent certificate in NY, you are not required to renew your license or take continuing education courses.

What is the School Psychologist Scope of Practice in New York?

As a school psychologist in New York, you can work in public or private school settings with K-12 children, preschool-age children, and children in early intervention programs. Likewise, you’re eligible to work in collegiate settings and for select state and federal agencies.

In New York, school psychologists are considered “exempt professionals” in terms of licensure. So long as you practice in a school setting, the scope of your practice is the same as a licensed psychologist working in professional settings.

For example, school psychologists can provide individual and group counseling, conduct psychological testing, and diagnose mental, developmental, and behavioral disorders. As a school psychologist, you can also evaluate, monitor, and modify student behavior to eliminate maladaptive thinking and behavior.

Furthermore, you can provide services to the school organization, such as making adjustments to improve service delivery, leadership, and organizational effectiveness. You can also treat students with substance abuse issues, but only in a school setting. Working with pupils’ parents, guardians, and other family members is also part of the scope of practice.

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

The timeframe required to become a school psychologist in New York depends on your specific situation and the type of certificate and pathway you pursue.

To begin, you must have a bachelor’s degree, which usually takes about four years to complete. If you pursue a provisional school psychologist license, you must then complete at least 60 credits of graduate coursework in psychology and a one-year internship. These requirements together likely add at least three years to the timeline for a total of about seven years.

However, if you pursue a permanent certificate, you must already have a master’s degree. Depending on the program you complete, this might take two-three years of study after your four-year undergraduate program. Then, you have to complete a two-year pupil personnel experience, bringing the timeline to about eight or nine years.

These estimates assume that you attend school full-time and complete the needed undergraduate and graduate components successively. If you study part-time, work in between your undergraduate and graduate studies, or have other delays in completing the certification requirements, your timeline to become a school psychologist in New York will be longer.

Do You Need a Doctorate for School Psychologist Certification in New York?

New York does not require school psychologists to have a doctorate. Instead, the minimum educational requirements for provisional certification include a bachelor’s degree plus 60 or more credits of graduate psychology coursework. If you wish to pursue a permanent certificate, you must have a master’s degree.

Getting a doctorate in school psychology isn’t a bad idea, though. The advanced level of education provides you with additional knowledge and skills you can use to provide services to students, teachers, administrators, and families. In many cases, you can earn more money with a doctorate as well.

However, getting a doctorate in school psychology requires five or so years of additional education beyond your master’s degree. Though worthwhile, this pathway extends the time you spend in school to well over a decade.

Are School Psychologists in High Demand in New York?

School psychologists are, in fact, in demand in New York. Presently, New York has the highest concentration of school psychology jobs in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Moreover, it has the third-highest employment level of school psychologists.

This isn’t just true of statewide figures, either. The BLS notes that the New York City metropolitan area ranks first in the nation for the highest employment of school psychologists. The Albany and northern New York area ranks fifth in the nation among non-metropolitan areas for school psychologists.

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