FAQs about School Psychologists in MA

1. What is a school psychologist? 

A school psychologist is a provider of health and psychoeducational services in a school system.

The school psychologist is equipped to deal with a wide range of problems which children, parents, teachers, and administrators may face. The school psychologist is committed to the development of the full potential of each child which requires an understanding of: health issues, adacemic difficulty, behavioral adjustment, social skills, family stress, systems concerns and community pressures.

The school psychologist is trained to help children, staff and the school community in all areas of health and psychoeducational services. School psychologists are involved in co-teaching and collaboration, they are interested and work toward prevention of health and learning problems, they are expert in evaluation and assessment, they are well trained in crisis intervention, they provide individual and group counseling services and social skills training, they use research to promote effective educational planning, use data collection to evaluate programs and school psychologists provide parent and staff training on topics of specific interests or needs.

2. How do I find out about Massachusetts Department of Education (certification) licensing requirements?

The initial certification requirements:
Provisional Certification with Advanced Standing requires completion of an approved program with a documented M.Ed. in School Psychology plus 600 hours of a supervised practicum in a school setting.

Standard Certification requires completion of an additional 600 hours of supervised practicum experience either in a school or clinic setting, leading to a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) or equivalent. This must be completed within five years of the granting of provisional certification.

The latest revision of the regulations, 603 CMR 7.00: Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval – effective June 2003 indicate that school psychologists require the following:

— For the Initial License: Completion of a master’s degree or higher in school psychology approved by the National Association of school psychologists (NASP), including an advanced practicum of 1, 200 hours, 600 of which must be in a school setting. You must receive a passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills test.

— For your Professional License: Possession of an Initial License, employment for three years as a school psychologist, achievement or maintenance of a certificate to practice as a school psychologist from the National Association of School Psychologists.

For detailed information please go to: Licensing Requirement Tool

3How do I obtain Massachusetts licensure as an Educational Psychologist?

A Department of Education licensed school psychologist in Massachusetts may obtain licensure as an Educational Psychologist. The requirements are as follows:

— An earned master’s degree, CAGS, or doctoral degree in the area of School Psychology from an educational institution or accredited by the state in which it is located. the degree must consist of a minimum of 60 credits of approved graduate work

— A practicum/internship experience consisting of a minimum of 1,200 clock hours of supervised field placement

— Current license as a school psychologist by the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

— A minimum of two full-time academic years or equivalent part-time, post-certification and post-master’s degree experience in school psychological services. Individuals must be employed in the role and engaged in the duties of a licensed school psychologist in school or agency. Private practice does not fulfill this requirement.

— Successful completion of a post-certification approved Supervised Clinical Experience is required. An approved supervisor must be a licensed educational psychologist. The term of the supervision is a minimum of sixty hours, during which regularly scheduled meetings are held.

— A passing score on the licensure examination is required. Passing the examination for NASP Certification satisfies the Massachusetts State Licensure examination requirements.

***There is an additional requirement for license renewal.***

As part of the Acts of 2014, Chapter 260, An Act Relative to Domestic Violence, Section 9, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health was tasked with creating a domestic and sexual violence training for professionals receiving licensure from the: Board of Registration in Medicine, Board of Registration in Nursing, Board of Registration of Physician Assistants, Board of Nursing Home Administrators, Board of Registration of Social Workers, Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions, Board of Registration of Psychologists.

All providers must comply with the Chapter 260 training in order to renew their license.

In order to meet this requirement, please go to https://chapter260training.org/courses/training/ to start the DPH on-line training. Please note that due to high volume, there can be a delay in getting on to the site. 

Please see information on this page: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/domestic-and-sexual-violence-training-chapter-260 

— To get an application, call the Allied Mental Health Board of Registration at 617-727-3080 and ask for an application. Note: a person does not have to be licensed to practice privately in Massachusetts, however, insurance is different issue. Massachusetts educational psychologists do not yet have vendorship.

4How do I become a Nationally Certified School Psychologist?

The Nationally Certified School Psychologist is the professional credential of the National School Psychology Certification System. The standards for national certification are as follows:

— Completion of a sixth-year specialist or higher level degree program in school psychology with 60 graduate semester hours consisting of course work, practicum, internship, and an appropriate degree from an accredited institution of higher education.

— Successful completion of a 1,200 clock hour supervised internship in school psychology of which 600 hours must be in a school setting.

— Applicants must take and achieve a passing score on the National School Psychology Examination administered by the Educational Testing Service (PRAXIS II: NTE Test #10400). (Prepare for the PRAXIS examination by reviewing Jacob and Hartshorne’s Ethics and Law text, Best Practices IV, and a recent school psychology text).
For more information see: National Certification

5How do I find employment information for Massachusetts?

MSPA provides employment information for members through the Employment Chair, Jason Kaplan. The Employment Chair may be found by looking on the Committees page and then looking up the address of the individual through the MSPA directory. Individuals searching for employment information who are not members might like to contact the major school psychology programs in Massachusetts, all of whom have employment bulletin boards, or subscribe to the major Massachusetts newspapers, the Boston Globe (bostonworks.com) and the Springfield Union. NASP has an employment list and the Department of Education in Massachusetts has employment information on it’s website.

Massachusetts Department of Education Job Placement Service can be accessed at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/jobs/

In order to post your resume, login to DESE to create an ELAR account. You may then post your resume and take advantage of MECC’s new features.

6Does MSPA have an annual conference?

MSPA has an annuel conference in the spring and often in the fall. 

7Are there training schools in Massachusetts?

There are several training schools in Massachusetts:

University of Massachusetts – Amherst 

The Ph.D. program in School Psychology is one of only three such doctoral programs in the New England region to be accredited by the American Psychology Association. The Ph.D and M.Ed./CAGS programs are approved by the National Association of School Psychologists and the Massachusetts State Department of Education. The Ph.D program is 110 semester hour credit program and the M.Ed./CAGS program is a 64 semester hour credit program which typically takes 3 years including a 1 year internship.

University of Massachusetts – Boston

This program offers a CAGS credential. Courses are available in the evenings and summers through the Department of Counseling and School Psychology.

Northeastern University 

Northeastern's CAGS Program in School Psychology prepares students to function as school psychologists in schools and related human service agencies. This is a three year program which includes pre-practicum, practicum, and internship experiences. In addition, students are required to complete a comprehensive examination. A Master’s Program in Applied Educational Psychology with Specialization in School Psychology contains the prerequisites for the CAGS Program in School Psychology.

Tufts University 

Tuft's School Psychology Program is a three year, 23 course program leading to a Masters of Arts and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in School Psychology. The Master of Arts degree requires completion of 12 courses, as well as the 150-hour pre practicum experience. The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study requires completion of 11 additional courses, including the 600-hour practicum and the 1200-hour internship.

William James College 

This specialist program prepares graduates to become licensed school psychologists. It consists of two years of coursework and a full-year of internship, for a total of 66 semester credits. Students earn a Master of Arts in Professional Psychology after completing 30 or more credits, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) after completing the full program, which culminates in a 1200 hour internship. Applicants with a Master’s degree in school psychology or a closely related field (e.g., clinical psychology, counseling, special education) may qualify for advanced standing.In addition, William James College provides training for a doctoral degree in school psychology.

Worcester State University-Worcester 

The M.Ed./CAGS in School Psychology Program is an integrated 69 credit program of full-time study leading to the M.Ed. and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies-Specialist in School Psychology with a concentration in Clinical Child Counseling, leading to an endorsement for credentialing as a Certified School Psychologist.  The CAGS is awarded upon successful completion of 69 credits combined planned program of study including full-time practicum (600+ hours) and supervised full-time internship (total 1200+ hours), completion of an acceptable professional portfolio, and successful performance on a comprehensive examination.

8What are the options for doctoral programs?

Northeastern University, UMass/Amherst and William James College each offer doctoral level programs in school psychology.

At William James College, the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in School Psychology program prepares practitioners to assume leadership roles in the educational field, with an emphasis on the delivery of mental health services in schools as well as development of advanced level practice skills. The program is designed to enable practicing school psychologists to pursue doctoral level training while continuing to work in their school positions, with a significant amount of the coursework offered in the late afternoons and evenings, and during the summer months. Through integrating curriculum with extensive field work, students gain knowledge and practice skills in a variety of settings. Instructors are experienced practitioners, bringing a unique blend of real-world experience and academic knowledge to the classroom. The program features student-centered teaching experience, fostering leadership skills and collaboration. For more information: PsyD at William James

An interesting option to consider is a Concentration in Special Education and Disability Policy.

The U.S. Department of Education has funded the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Public Policy Ph.D. Program, the Leadership in Urban Schools Ed.D. Program and the Children’s Hospital Institute for Community Inclusion to offer a concentration in leadership in special education and disability policy. This doctoral concentration will target the very serious issues that plague urban systems as they struggle with education reform, accountability systems, and the worsening shortage of qualified special education leaders. This concentration is designed for educational leaders in school-based management or policy development to integrate current policy and practices across general education, special education and community resources to build partnerships, leverage resources, and promote systems change.

As regular and special education attempt to come closer together and create seamless services for students with disabilities, new and energetic leadership is sorely needed. Graduates with a concentration in Special Education and Disability Policy can expect to assume top-level positions as policy analysts, state and federal agency personnel, special education and school administrators, university faculty, or researchers.

There is a seven course sequence embedded into the core requirements for either doctoral program as well as field work and internship opportunities. The curriculum provides students with the opportunities to develop skills in design, implementation, management and analysis of programs and systems that support children, youth and adults with disabilities. Tuition waivers and stipends of up to $10,000 per year are available through graduate assistantships with varying work commitments. For further information, please contact Barbara Graceffa at 617-287-6937 or barbara.graceffa@umb.edu.

Contact the Program in Public Policy at UMass Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd. Boston, MA 02125-3393. Call 617-287-6937/8 FAX 617-287-6949. For more information: Public Policy at UMass Boston

9I trained as a clinical psychologist, how can be become a licensed school psychologist?

Individuals with a graduate degree in a closely related field (e.g., clinical psychology, counseling psychology) may be eligible for the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) designation, provided they have completed a respecialization or equivalent program at a NASP-approved graduate program. Please note that graduate programs handle applications from those with prior graduate degrees in different ways, but all NASP approved programs must assure that all program completers, regardless of backgrounds have met the same national standards for school psychology preparation. Not all graduate programs offer respecialization options, and many programs will enroll only students pursuing a graduate degree in school psychology. Please check with the individual graduate program to inquire about its options.

10I am moving from another state. How can I find out about requirements from state to state?

In an effort to facilitate the movement from one state to another, NASP attempts to collect information for school psychologists on licensure, administrative regulations, state boards, and state associations for the 50 States. States are continually revising their psychology laws and regulations. This page is intended to help you gather planning information on states of your choice! Good luck in your search!!
The following website may be helpful to you:
 State School Psychology Credentialing Requirements

The Massachusetts Department of Education offers licensure reciprocity for support personnel. Massachusetts has licensure reciprocity for support personnel with the following states:
Alabama, Maine, Rhode Island, Alaska, Maryland, South Carolina, Arizona, Mississippi, Tennessee, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Utah, District of Columbia, New York, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Washington, Guam, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Indiana, Oregon, Wyoming

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