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​CSPG 81 - School Psychologist (PK-12)

​Educational Specialist Code 1875
Modified: March 15, 2023

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 Pennsylvania School Code.  The school psychologist serves as a member of the school team to support a safe and supportive learning environment that promotes equity, access, and belonging for all students; promotes and provides behavioral and mental health services; and coordinates care with community and private agencies. 

Grade Level Scope of Certificate

A person employed in the position of school psychologist must hold a valid -Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)-issued certificate as a School Psychologist and is qualified to serve 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 strategies that 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 strategies that support positive student behavior and mental health practices in resolving individual, group, and system-level challenges in student 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 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 of student learning and behavioral disabilities within a time sensitive period as a part of the multidisciplinary team process.
    • Provide diagnostic information and recommendations for the purpose of determining the classification/identification of students in need of special education services including those identified in Chapters 14, 15, and 16 of the Pennsylvania Code, including the following Eligible Disability Categories:
        • 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).
    • Promote a safe, supportive learning environment 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 by providing support to families' understanding their child's learning and mental health needs while taking into account their diverse characteristics, cultures, and linguistic backgrounds, as well as providing families community service provider information.
    • Participate in school-wide assessment and accountability of student academic and behavioral achievement by generating, interpreting, and monitoring useful student and school-wide data by conducting student and group progress monitoring of academic achievement and behavior. 
    • Coordinate the provision of special services and assessments through providers such as, but not limited to, intermediate units, consortiums, 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

The former Pennsylvania public school certificate, County School Psychologist, remains applicable for school psychology practice in public schools.


When a school employs an individual in the job title "School Psychologist," this individual must hold a PDE-issued school psychologist certificate. 

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 are certified to administer individual tests of intelligence, individual or group tests of behavioral tendencies, or psychological and emotional adjustment assessments which require specialized and advanced training for administration, analysis, and interpretation. 


Program specific guidelines for school psychologist certification

PA Public School Code: §1202, §1212 

22 PA Code: Chapter 49: §49.11, §49.102-103

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
  • ​Reviewed and updated formatting
  • Added language for clarification
  • ​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