Requirements to Become a School Psychologist in Texas [2024 Updated]

School Psychology and Texas

The vast and diverse state of Texas has seen a growing need for qualified mental health professionals in its educational settings. School psychologists play an essential role in fostering the social, emotional, and academic well-being of students across the Lone Star State.

With a population exceeding 29 million and more than 1,000 school districts, Texas provides numerous opportunities for those pursuing a career as a school psychologist to make a significant difference in young people’s lives.

In this article, we will explore the steps to become a school psychologist in Texas, delving into educational requirements, licensure, and the profession’s significance within the state’s educational system.

What are School Psychologists Called in Texas?

In Texas, school psychologists are called Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP).

What are the Requirements to Become a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) in Texas?

Below is a quick breakdown of requirements to become a licensed school psychologist (LSSP) in Texas:

  1. Complete your bachelor’s degree
  2. Obtain an accredited school psychology program
  3. Fulfill 1,200 internship hours requirement
  4. Pass the Praxis School Psychology Examination
  5. Pass the Texas Jurisprudence Examination
  6. Apply for a LSSP credential

Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) Credential

Aspiring specialists in the field of school psychology who aim to obtain licensure in Texas must meet specific criteria. If a candidate has successfully completed a school psychology program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), they are considered to have met the necessary educational and internship prerequisites.

Furthermore, If a candidate possesses a valid National Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential, they are also  considered to have met the necessary educational and internship prerequisites.

The Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists manages the certification process for Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) credentials.

For candidates who do not meet the NCSP or NASP-approved/APA-accredited program requirements, there are additional eligibility criteria. These individuals must hold a graduate degree in psychology from an accredited school. Furthermore, they must have completed a minimum of 60 semester credit hours of graduate-level coursework, with a limit of 12 hours being dedicated to internship experience.

The internship component is essential for gaining hands-on experience in the field. Candidates must complete at least 1,200 internship hours, with a minimum of 600 hours in a public school setting. This requirement ensures that prospective school psychologists obtain practical exposure to the unique challenges and needs of students and staff within public educational institutions.

To become a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP), candidates must demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the field by achieving passing scores on two critical examinations. They must pass the Praxis School Psychology Examination, which assesses their competency in essential aspects of school psychology.

Additionally, candidates must pass the Texas Jurisprudence Examination to demonstrate their understanding of state laws and regulations governing the practice of psychology in Texas.

License Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

The renewal process for LSSP credential in Texas takes place every two years, with a requirement of 40 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours to maintain their credentials. Out of these 40 hours, all practitioners must dedicate at least six (6) hours to professional development in ethics, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists Rules of Conduct, or professional responsibility. This focus ensures that school psychologists stay current with ethical guidelines and uphold the standards of their profession.

Moreover, practitioners are required to spend at least six (6) hours on professional development in the area of cultural diversity. This requirement emphasizes the significance of understanding and addressing the diverse backgrounds and needs of students in Texas.

As the state’s population continues to expand and diversify, it is crucial for school psychologists to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to work effectively with students and families from various cultural backgrounds.

How Much Does the Texas Psychology Jurisprudence Exam Cost?

As of April 2024, the Texas Psychology Jurisprudence exam costs $39 per attempt.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology in Texas?

In Texas, the journey to become a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) consists of several milestones, with the duration to achieve them varying according to individual educational backgrounds and experiences. Here’s a general breakdown of the process:

  • Bachelor’s degree: Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related discipline generally takes around four years.
  • Graduate degree: Aspiring school psychologists are required to pursue a graduate degree in psychology, focusing on school psychology or a similar field, from a regionally accredited academic institution. This stage can span from two to four years, depending on whether candidates choose a master’s or a specialist degree (e.g., EdS or PsyS).
  • Internship: Candidates need to fulfill an internship comprising at least 1,200 hours, with a minimum of 600 hours in a public school environment. This stage usually takes around one year, although certain programs might integrate the internship hours within their curriculum.
  • Examination: Prospective school psychologists are expected to pass the Praxis School Psychology Examination and the Texas Jurisprudence Examination. The time required to prepare for these exams varies based on individual study habits and schedules.
  • Licensure application and processing: After meeting the educational, internship, and examination prerequisites, candidates can apply for a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) license. The processing time for the application ranges from a few weeks to several months.

Considering these factors, the approximate time frame to become a Licensed School Psychologist in Texas is between six and ten years, contingent on the selected degree and the candidate’s unique circumstances.

Do You Need a PhD to Be a School Psychologist in Texas?

In Texas, as mentioned above, the license that authorizes individuals to practice school psychology is known as the Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP). To obtain the LSSP credential, candidates must complete a graduate degree in school psychology or a closely related field.

It is important to note that the designation “School Psychologist” in Texas is reserved for licensed psychologists who hold a doctoral degree in school psychology.

What is the Role of School Psychologists in Texas?

In Texas, school psychologists hold a critical position in fostering students’ academic, emotional, and social well-being within educational environments. Their primary responsibilities encompass:

  • Assessment and evaluation: Conducting assessments and evaluations to pinpoint students’ strengths and areas requiring attention, school psychologists play a pivotal role in detecting learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, and other challenges that may influence academic performance.
  • Intervention and support: Developing and implementing evidence-based interventions and support strategies, they address the identified needs of students in areas such as academic skills, behavior management, social skills development, or emotional regulation.
  • Consultation and collaboration: Collaborating with educators, administrators, and families, school psychologists in Texas contribute to creating a nurturing learning environment for students. They offer guidance and consultation to school staff on strategies to enhance student outcomes, tackle behavioral concerns, and promote mental health.
  • Crisis prevention and intervention: School psychologists are instrumental in crisis prevention and intervention, aiding schools in devising safety plans, delivering support during emergencies, and helping students and staff cope with traumatic events.
  • Mental health promotion: By implementing preventive programs, providing counseling services, and connecting students and families with community resources when required, school psychologists actively promote mental health and well-being.
  • Professional development and training: School psychologists in Texas contribute to the professional growth of school staff by offering training on topics such as mental health, learning disabilities, and behavior management.
  • Research and program evaluation: Engaging in research and program evaluation, school psychologists in Texas ensure that interventions and supports are effective and evidence-based. Utilizing data-driven decision-making, they inform their practice and encourage continuous improvement in schools.

Are School Psychologists in High Demand in Texas?

The latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data suggests a 3% growth in job opportunities for school psychologists in Texas between 2021 and 2031, indicating a demand for these professionals in the state.

Various factors drive the need for school psychologists in Texas. The state’s large population and the presence of many public and private schools necessitate skilled professionals to address students’ mental health and learning needs.

The growing awareness of mental health concerns, the value of early intervention, and support services for students dealing with learning disabilities or emotional and behavioral challenges contribute to the increased demand for school psychologists.

How Many School Psychologists are in Texas?

Based on the latest BLS data, as of April 2024, there are currently 6,180 licensed school psychologists in Texas.

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