This year marked a critical turning point in efforts to allow new psychologists to seek licensure as soon as they've earned a doctorate without having to complete a one- or two-year postdoc, says Dan Abrahamson, PhD, assistant executive director for state advocacy in APA's Practice Directorate.
Removing the requirement for a postdoctoral period enables early career psychologists to start practicing sooner and get a jump on paying down debt. Nine states—Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, Washington and Wyoming—have either passed legislation or endorsed regulatory changes that allow students who have obtained two years of organized, sequential and supervised training—of which one year is a predoctoral internship year—to apply for licensure. (A 10th state, Alabama, never required a postdoc year for licensure.)
"Just to get this level of activity at this stage is very encouraging for us," says Abrahamson, pointing out that most state legislatures were busy dealing with budget deficits and program cuts this year.
A second wave of states is expected to seek changes in the required sequence of training once APA's Council of Representatives approves the updated Model Licensing Act, drafted by APA's Model Licensing Act Task Force, Abrahamson says. The updated model act as currently proposed allows psychologists who have completed two years of qualified supervised clinical training to seek licensure upon receiving their doctorate.