School psychologists play a crucial role in the education system, helping students overcome various challenges and ensuring a supportive learning environment. They work closely with educators, parents and other professionals to address the emotional, social and academic needs of students. However, taking on the rewarding role of a school psychologist requires a lot of dedication and commitment.

By obtaining a school psychologist license, aspiring school psychologists ensure that students receive the best possible care. From the school psychologist license requirements to helpful resources and FAQs, this ProCare guide covers everything you need to know about becoming a licensed school psychologist!

How to Become a Licensed School Psychologist

To become a licensed school psychologist, you will need to obtain a degree, a national certification and a state certification. Learn more about the steps to becoming a licensed school psychologist below:

  1. Master’s Degree
    • The first step in becoming a licensed school psychologist is obtaining a specialist-level degree, such as a master’s degree, in school psychology. No state requires a doctoral degree to practice as a school psychologist; however, many school psychologists go back to school and receive a Doctor of Education or Doctor of Philosophy.
  2. National Certification
    • After acquiring a master’s degree, most states then require prospective school psychologists to obtain a national school psychologist credential to be recognized as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP), which is issued by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). This is typically a prerequisite when applying for state licensure. To receive the NCSP credential, applicants will need a passing score on the Praxis #5402 examination.
  3. State License
    • Next, a state license is required. The education agency of every state outlines the state licensure requirements, the services a school psychologist can provide and in what settings. There are two states where state education agencies do not oversee school psychology credentialing. According to the NASP, the process of becoming a licensed school psychologist is a local function in Hawaii, and in Texas, the state psychology board oversees the credentialing of school psychologists as opposed to the state education agency.

School Psychologist License Requirements

The state school psychologist license requirements and credentialing processes vary greatly from state to state, with some requiring applicants to take state-specific tests.

The NASP provides information on how to become a licensed school psychologist in every state, including the credentialing requirements needed to practice in schools, continuing education requirements to maintain credentials in the state, whether the state accepts the NCSP as an alternative route to credentialing school psychologists and more. We strongly recommend visiting the NASP page on State School Psychology Credentialing Requirements and your state’s education agency for the most accurate and up-to-date information on school psychologist license state requirements.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Gain a School Psychologist License?

To apply for the NCSP credential, you will need to meet a comprehensive list of requirements. While the process is intensive, obtaining the NCSP credential can make the state license process much easier, as many states and school districts accept or align their credentialing requirements with the NCSP.

According to the NASP, to gain the national school psychologist license, you will need to:

  • Meet the established standards of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
  • Complete a “School Psychology” program of study that consists of at least 60 graduate semester/90 quarter hours, with at least 54 graduate semester/81 quarter hours of supervised internship experience.
  • Complete a 1,200-hour internship in school psychology, of which at least 600 hours must be in a school setting.
  • Pass the Praxis School Psychologist exam #5403, which is also required by numerous state education agencies.

How Do I Apply for a School Psychologist License?

The application process for the national school psychologist license is slightly different depending on whether you graduated from a NASP-approved or non-NASP-approved school psychology program. However, you can submit your application as long as all the prerequisites are met. To apply for the NCSP and learn more about the application process, please visit the NCSP certification application page.

How Long Does a School Psychologist License Last?

It is required to take continuing education training in order to maintain your national certification, and this is done through the NASP website. In addition, states outline their own continuing education requirements to legally continue practicing in the state.

According to the NASP, to maintain the NCSP, you must obtain 75 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) every three years with training in ethics or legal regulation in school psychology, equity, diversity, inclusion and more.

Resources for School Psychologists

Explore some helpful resources for school psychologists, including information on school psychologist licenses, below:

School Psychologist License FAQs

Explore some frequently asked questions about how to become a licensed school psychologist…

What is the easiest state to get a school psychologist license in?

Regardless of the state you want to work in, becoming a licensed school psychologist requires commitment and dedication, with many years spent in school and supervised practice. Because states outline their own school psychologist license requirements, the level of intensity of the credentialing process varies. While some states may have a shorter licensing process, the scope of practice may not be ideal for your career aspirations. To see which state has the best path to school psychology licensing for you and your career goals, we recommend visiting the NASP page on State School Psychology Credentialing Requirements.

Can I be a school psychologist without a license?

While the license requirements vary by state, generally speaking, you cannot be a school psychologist or practice school psychology without some form of licensure.

Does a school psychologist license vary from state to state?

Yes, the school psychologist license and credentialing requirements vary greatly from state to state. We recommend visiting your state’s education agency to learn about the state school psychologist license and the requirements to obtain one.

Can a licensed school psychologist diagnose conditions?

A licensed school psychologist’s scope of practice is decided by each state’s education agency. Therefore, what a school psychologist can and cannot do and the requirements to legally diagnose conditions vary depending on the state. To diagnose conditions such as autism, school psychologists will typically need to complete additional training and further education if allowed by the state.

Can a qualified teacher gain a school psychologist license?

Qualified teachers can apply for a school psychologist license as long as they receive a master’s degree in school psychology and obtain the correct licensure and certifications. While most states require a master’s degree in school psychology specifically, some states will allow individuals with a master’s degree in a related field to obtain licensure by meeting additional requirements. We recommend checking with your state’s education agency for the requirements and alternative routes to getting a school psychologist license.

At ProCare Therapy, we greatly appreciate the work that school psychologists do each and every day. We offer exceptional opportunities for school psychologists nationwide that allow professionals to have an immediate impact on the lives of students. In addition, with a ProCare role, we offer school psychologists credentialing assistance, one-on-one mentoring, ongoing career support, competitive pay, comprehensive benefits and more. If you’re ready to start making a difference in schools, explore ProCare’s wide range of school psychology positions today!