The District of Columbia's Model of School Psychology Practice and APA's Model Licensure Act

Article excerpt

The certification requirements for school psychologists in the District of Columbia are unique. A degree in school psychology is not required; school psychologists in the district may have master's degrees in educational psychology, clinical psychology, or school psychology. The District of Columbia's State Education Agency, Office of Academic Credentials and Standards requires 42 credits instead of at least 60 credit hours to practice (District of Columbia State Education Agency, 2009). In the district, school psychologists do not have to complete a 1,200 hour internship; a 500 hour practicum is the only experiential or practical experience required for credentialing (DCSEA, 2009).

The certification requirements have created a system that promotes people who are not specialists in school psychology (e.g., clinical psychologists) and discourages adherence to NASP-sanctioned best practices. Typically, clinical psychologists do not have the appropriate coursework in education, curriculum and instruction, exceptionalities, school consultation, or special education law. Their style of practice is entrenched in the antiquated medical model. Many of them continue to use DSM-IV TR diagnostic criteria; they diagnose psychiatric disorders instead of using the IDEA classification system. …