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What are the Licensing Requirements for Becoming a Psychologist?

Are you interested in becoming a clinical psychologist? If you would like to practice in any of the states, you will be required by law to fulfill the state licensure requirements before you can test for your professional license. There are several different paths to licensure when you are interested in practicing, but taking the quickest path that prepares you for the vast discipline of Psychology is important. All students who know that they will be studying to become a psychologist should be familiar with the path to licensure that they plan on taking before even enrolling into a higher education program. Read on, and learn about the generic and state-specific licensing laws that you will need to be familiar with.

The Sequence of Training That will Lead to Licensure

Every state has a state board that oversees licensure processes and sets the standards for licensing within the state. While the requirements are all state specific, according to the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, most of the licensure laws that are in place today are generic and used on a national level. You will need to verify whether or not the state you plan to practice in follows a generic set of licensing laws before you start training. If there is a special law that only pertains to the state, be sure that you fulfill the requirement before graduating. Otherwise, the generic sequence of training will be sufficient to become a licensed psychologist.

Academic Preparation to Fulfill Licensure Requirements

All states require applicants who would like to become licensed to complete a recognized graduate training program in psychology. Recognized programs, typically doctoral but sometimes Master’s degree level, are ASPPR/NR designated and APA accredited. When you are comparing different doctoral level programs, it is important to verify that the department of psychology or the program itself is accredited. Failing to verify this could land you in hot water when you apply for licensure. Also be sure to familiarize yourself with coursework and practicum experience requirements for your state before graduating.

Practicum experiences have become the new standard in licensing requirements, and you should verify that this onsite experience is sufficient as you are meeting with your guidance counselor. Practicum experiences, which prepare students for required internships, are overseen by graduate training programs and have a nature of supervision to evaluate a student’s competency. Upon completion of this supervised experience, students may also be required to complete an internship in a clinical setting. The number of hours that number be completed under the supervision of a licensed psychologist will vary from state to state and should be verified.

Once you complete a graduate program, complete a practicum, complete an internship and eventually graduate from school with your advanced degree, you are one step closer to being a licensed psychologist. By meeting all of these requirements, you will be able to apply for and sit to take the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology that is required in all states. Once you take this competency exam and pass, you will be granted your licensed, giving you the power to practice in the state. Verify the psychology board requirements in your state, meet with a guidance counselor at a reputable school, and start mapping out your path to licensure.

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