Washington state legislation signed into law in June will allow new psychologists in the state to get licensed right out of graduate school.
While licensure applicants in that state previously needed two years of supervised experience that included one postdoctoral year, the new law no longer stipulates that one must be postdoctoral. That means that students graduating with two full years of practica and internship experiences may already meet the state's supervised experience requirements.
The legislation--packaged with a larger bill designed to reduce entry barriers in several health-care fields--is the first to follow the graduate education model proposed by APA's Commission on Education and Training Leading to Licensure in Psychology. The group recommended in 2001 that licensure applicants have two years of sequential, organized and supervised training, including a one-year predoctoral internship--but not necessarily a postdoc.
The reason? Today's graduate students log substantially more predoctoral supervised hours by graduation than did their peers 20 to 30 years ago, says Ruth Ullmann Paige, PhD, a co-chair of the commission and a member of APA's Board of Directors.
However, experts note that it's unclear whether psychologists licensed under the new provision will be able to get licensed in other states without getting extra supervision--since most state laws and credentialing banks require a postdoctoral year.
The law will take effect officially once the Washington State Examining Board of Psychology formulates new regulations to implement it. At Monitor press time, a timeline for that process was still pending.
--D. SMITH BAILEY