The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) is the primary professional organization for school psychologists in the U.S. NASP is dedicated to improving the mental health and education of students.
Standards and Certifications
NASP offers the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) exam and credential. The basic education requirement is at least 60 graduate semester hours in a school psychology program. Next, students must complete a supervised practicum, which is normally conducted in a lab or the field. Then, students must complete a rigorous 1,200-hour internship. Half of these hours must be completed in a school setting. Bear in mind that the internship must be proven through official documentation.
Finally, students must pass the Praxis school psychologist test that examines the minimal competency and knowledge needed to independently practice as an entry-level school psychologist. The Praxis exam is required by almost all state education agencies in order to work as a school psychologist. These test scores are valid for 10 years, but students must obtain continuing education credits. A passing score is 147 out of 200 points. The Praxis test takes two hours and 20 minutes to complete.
The Praxis School Psychology Test Content
The Praxis test is a computer-based exam that contains 140 questions covering four main areas: professional practices, system-level services, foundations of school psychology and services for children, families and schools. For example, the professional practice section covers how to identify and assess problems. For example, there may be questions about functional behavioral assessments, interpreting emotional functions and assessing special populations, such as infants, non-English speakers and students with disabilities. This section also covers how to properly consult and collaborate within a problem-solving framework.
System-level services focuses on school-wide practices, such as systems concepts, organizational theories and common educational practices. Thus, examinees must understand common school-based intervention programs, such as bullying prevention and promoting good health. The foundation of school psychology delves into the importance of culture, background and individual values. Examinees must demonstrate understanding of research design, evaluation and statistics. Finally, the children’s service section covers instructional strategies, curricular accommodations and effective group interventions. In fact, examinees must clearly understand school-based intervention skills and techniques. They must also be familiar with child and adolescent psychopathology, such as common symptoms of mental health problems and how they impact a student’s education.
Why the NCSP Credential Matters
The Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential is the one and only nationally recognized credential for school psychologists. NCSP accredited school psychologists demonstrate to their school, students and parents that they have the highest levels of standards and professionalism. The public and the government depend on the transparent and ethical standards that come with the NCSP accreditation.
NCSP accredited school counselors are committed to respecting the dignity of all people, being honest in relationships and promoting healthy environments. They are also committed to the principle of responsible caring, which means that they will empower individuals to make informed choices. When applying for jobs, employers tend to prefer NCSP accredited school counselors because the NCSP designation demonstrates credibility and professional excellence. Thus, NCSP holders will enjoy better job flexibility and career mobility, as well a higher earning potential.
The National Association of School Psychologists is the premier accreditation body for school psychologists. The NCSP also advocates for school psychologists through legislative support, an online training center and networking opportunities.