How many internship hours do graduate students need to get licensed? What's the difference between the EPPP-the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology-and a state jurisprudence exam? How can new graduates practice while waiting to gain licensure?
Leaders in psychology training and licensure will answer such questions at an APAGS convention session on Friday, July 30, at 8 a.m. The session, titled "Everything students need to know about licensure and certification," will include time for questions and advice and handouts on the licensure and certification process from speakers Thomas J. Vaughn, PhD, of the Oklahoma Board of Examiners of Psychologists; Emil R. Rodolfa, PhD, chair of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers; Barbara Van Horne, PhD, president of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB); and Ralph E. Packard, PhD, past-president of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).
They will cover the steps to licensure-generally, earning a doctoral degree, accruing supervised hours, passing the EPPP and possibly a state jurisprudence exam, and getting approval from a state licensing board-and then offer some additional information, including:
Every state's requirements are different. For graduate education, some states require specific courses, APA-accredited programs or have other requirements. For supervised experience, requirements range from 1,500 to 6,000 hours. The passing EPPP score varies, as does whether you have to take a jurisprudence exam. Some also have devised ways for graduates waiting for licensure to practice in the meantime, such as through being a psychological assistant.
How can you find your state's requirements? ASPPB's Web site, www.asppb.org, includes a list of contact information for every state psychology board as well as the free Handbook of Licensure and Certification Requirements, which lists each state's licensure requirements.
Planning ahead is a necessity. While psychologists are working to make licensure requirements more uniform across states, students still need to navigate the current system, says Vaughn. As early as your first year of graduate school, he advises, consider what states you may want to practice in and learn their requirements. Then, make sure that your training and supervised experience are on par. He advises that you also keep in mind that your program may be geared toward the requirements of its own state-not the one you want to practice in.
State licensing boards are not evil. Don't be shy about contacting a state board if you have any questions about getting licensed there, says Rodolfa. "That's their function, to help the licensure candidates understand the process for licensure," he explains. That said, Rodolfa encourages students to e-mail questions rather than call, so they get the facts in writing and avoid confusion.
Specialty certification has extra requirements. ABPP offers specialty certification in 13 areas. But practitioners generally must have at least three years' experience before they can apply. Details on specialty certification are listed at www.abpp.org.
-D. SMITH BAILEY