Begin Main Content Area

​CSPG 81 - School Psychologist (PK-12)

Modified: October 1, 2019

The school psychologist provides consultation, support, and direct assessment of academic achievement and behavioral health within the school environment. A school psychologist is responsible for conducting psychological, academic and behavioral assessments in the diagnosis and identification of diverse learners and their needs according to PA Code. The school psychologist serves as a member of the school team to support a safe and positive school climate, promote and provide behavioral and mental health services, and coordinate care with private agencies.

Grade Level Scope of Certificate

A person employed in the position of school psychologist must hold a valid Pennsylvania certificate as a School Psychologist and is qualified to serve in grades PK-12.

Certification Assignment

A person employed in a position as a school psychologist is qualified to perform the following duties and functions:

  • Improve academic achievement by conducting psychological and academic assessments that inform interventions which improve student outcomes.
  • Promote and facilitate effective management of student and classroom behavior.
  • Assist school teams in monitoring student progress through the collection and interpretation of student and classroom data.
  • Promote positive behavior and mental health practices in resolving individual, group, and system level challenges in school behavior and mental health related areas.
  • Assess student emotional and behavioral needs and design appropriate supports.
  • Provide individual and group counseling as a related service as needed to address student needs.
  • Promote understanding of developmental expectations of children with diverse characteristics, cultures, linguistic, and economic backgrounds.
  • Support diverse learners by assessing diverse learning needs and implementing appropriate supports and/or services.
  • Conduct appropriate educationally relevant identifications within a time sensitive period as a part of the multidisciplinary team process for diagnostic information of recommendations for the purposes of determining the classification/identification of a student for special education including the Chapters 14, 15 and 16 Pennsylvania Code Eligible Disability Categories of:
    • Autism
    • Emotional Disturbance
    • Intellectual Disability
    • Specific Learning Disability (including but not limited to Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia)
    • Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Mentally Gifted
    • Multiple Disabilities
    • Other Health Impairment (including but not limited to ADHD).
  • Create safe, positive school climates by providing crisis prevention, intervention, and post-vention services as needed along with consultation and direct services to promote social-emotional functioning and learning for students with or without disabilities from diverse backgrounds.
  • Strengthen family-school partnerships through support to families in understanding their child’s learning and mental health needs taking into account their diverse characteristics, cultures, and linguistic backgrounds as well as providing connections for families with community service providers.
  • Participate in school-wide assessment and accountability by generating and interpreting useful student and school outcome data and conducting student and group progress monitoring in academics and behavior.
  • Coordinate the provision of special services and assessments through providers such as, but not limited to, the intermediate unit, consortium, neighboring districts, and/or other providers along with referrals and liaison services to mental health agencies, medical specialists, and private providers.

Special Considerations

An educator certified in this field may provide:

  • School staff development services regarding their collegial studies
  • Services in the role of mentor or advisor

Certificate Clarification

Former Pennsylvania public school certificates, which are applicable for practice in public schools, including the following: County School Psychologist.


When a school district employs an individual in the job title “school psychologist,” this person must be a certified school psychologist.

Counseling performed by school psychologists shall be primarily of a behavioral modification or psychological nature. A certified school psychologist may not provide services that are specifically reserved for a certified school counselor.

Only certified school psychologists can administer individual tests of intelligence, or individual or group tests of behavioral tendencies, psychological and emotional adjustment which require specialized and advanced training for administration, analysis, and interpretation.


Program specific guidelines for school psychologist certification

PA Public School Code: §1202, §1212, §1604

22 PA Code: Chapter 49: §49.11, §49.81, §49.102-3

Chapter 14: §14.123(a), §14.124(a)

Chapter 15: §15.5

Chapter 16: §16.22(d), §16.23

This revision supersedes all earlier CSPGs carrying this number and/or addressing this subject. Previous printing dates on this subject: 4/16, 7/04, 1/87, 3/75

Summary of Changes

​Date of Revisions
​Major Changes to CSPG #81
  • ​Updated grade scope of certificate for consistency and clarification.
  • ​Clarified language to reflect professional field
  • ​Specific duties for the school psychologist listed in CSPG #68 of 1/1987 were expanded and clarified under Certification Assignment
  • A certificate for Psychological Examiner – no longer issued, but remains valid for conducting psychological testing under the supervision of a school psychologist
  • A commission for County School Psychologist – no longer issued, but qualifies the holder to perform the functions of a certified school psychologist
  • Services of the school psychologist are limited under the Commonwealth’s Psychology Practice Act
  • Testing administered by the school psychologist includes: advanced individual/group tests of intelligence, behavioral, psychological, emotional nature
  • Testing administered by the school psychologist does not include: general intelligence, academic achievement, scholastic and aptitude, personal interests
  • Psychological therapy cannot be performed by teachers of psychology or school counselors