Psychology Licensure

What licensure is needed to practice counseling or clinical psychology?

Counselors and clinical psychologists most often practice with one of two licenses granted by the state board of psychology in their respective state:  Either the Mental Health Therapist (MHT) license or the Marital Family Therapist (MFT) license.

For most states licensure is granted after completion of an appropriate masters or doctoral degree program and usually requires completion of classes in early childhood development, domestic violence, and law and ethics as specified by that state’s board of psychology.  3000 hours of supervised practice must also be completed under the observation of a licensed therapist to qualify for licensure.

What is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)?

The EPPP is established by the ASPPB as the final step toward becoming a licensed psychologist.  It is a multiple-choice test

Can a Psychologist practice without a license?

Psychologists can practice without a license during the interim period between graduation from college and satisfaction of the 3000 hours of observed practice required for licensure.

Any psychological vocation that doesn’t require patient care can be performed without licensure.  This would include research work and industrial-organizational psychology.

What resources are available to those preparing for state licensure?

Licensure to practice as a counseling psychologist is granted by a state-specific board of psychology.   The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) was established to help assess candidate eligibility for licensure throughout the United States and Canada.  This association sets the standards for licensure to which the respective state boards of psychology adhere.

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The ASPPB is the recognized resource in regulating the licensure of psychologists in the U.S. and Canada, and has created the Guidelines on Practicum Experience for Licensure as the most comprehensive document of its kind.  Information on testing and qualification for licensure is available at www.asppd.net.

How do I earn certification in one of the subfields of psychology?

Specialty certification is granted by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) which currently recognizes 13 of these specialized fields of psychology.  A specialty is defined as an area of practice requiring special competency gained through formal education, training, and experience.

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To be eligible for certification in one of these specialized fields means first meeting the general requirements for practicing psychology by earning a Ph.D. or Psy.D., and receiving proper licensure to practice.  After successful completion of all additional education, training, and experiential requirements specific to the particular specialty, a psychologist must submit an application and pass an examination that demonstrates his competency in that field.  Details and application forms are available at www.abpp.org.

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