Raleigh, N.C. – School safety legislation increasing student access to licensed psychologists in North Carolina passed the state House of Representatives unanimously on Thursday as the chamber approved the first recommendation of the House Select Committee on School Safety.
House Bill 933 Reciprocity/School Psychologist Licensure is sponsored by Reps. Josh Dobson (R-McDowell), John Torbett (R-Gaston), David Lewis (R-Harnett) and Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland).
The bill requires the State Board of Education to issue a school psychologist license to individuals credentialed as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).
“Currently, there is no agreement in place to allow our school psychologists from out-of-state to practice in North Carolina without going through the cumbersome application process and licensing procedure,” said Rep. Dobson during debate on the House floor.
Dobson is a chairman of the House Committee on Health and the school safety subcommittee on student health.
“This bill would change that,” Dobson said.
Under current law, school psychologists licensed in other states must complete about 75 hours of additional training and obtain a professional educator’s continuing license from the Department of Public Instruction.
There are over 70 vacant school psychologist positions in North Carolina that the General Assembly funds through the state budget but are not filled.
“I thank the members of the committee for giving us their time in a very tight timeframe to get this done,” said House school safety committee co-chairman John Torbett (R-Gaston).
“This is not the end. This is simply the beginning, and we will continue to work to keep our kids safe in the schools.”
To obtain the national school psychologist certification, individuals must take 60 semester hours in a graduate-level program, perform supervised practicums, complete 1,200 hours of school psychology internships, and pass the school psychologist Praxis test.
“Increasing student access to qualified school psychologists in North Carolina is a strong start for the state House Select Committee on School Safety this session,” said House Speaker Tim Moore.
“This reform is a good example of how burdensome and unnecessary regulations can be reformed to improve education policy and school safety.”
H.B. 933 was unanimously approved by the House Select Committee on School Safety and the House Committee on Health prior to passing the full state House of Representatives on Thursday.
The bill would be effective when it becomes law and apply to applications for licensure submitted on or after that date.
“The steps we take today will have a real improvement in the lives of our students, and we’re moving more toward mental health opportunities in the school systems,” Rep. Lewis said when the proposal was approved in committee.
Lewis co-chairs the state House Select Committee on School Safety.
“We are focusing not only on the immediate need to protect our children from attackers but to prevent problems from arising in the first place,” Lewis said.
Currently 32 states, including Florida, Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina, and Virginia, recognize NASP certification as meeting or partially meeting licensure requirements for school psychologists.