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Psychologist Licensing Requirements in Arkansas

The Arkansas Psychology Board (http://psychologyboard.arkansas.gov/Pages/default.aspx) licenses the state's psychologists and psychologist examiners. Psychologist examiners, who have education at the master's level, can perform some services independently -- the Board will stop issuing new licenses at this level, though, at the end of 2013.

Psychologists have doctoral degrees and, in most cases, have completed post-doctoral practice and passed a licensing exam. (Arkansas allows unlicensed doctors of psychology to refer to themselves as "psychologists" when performing a limited number of nonclinical activities, for example, conducting research or delivering lectures, under conditions set forth in Chapter 97 of the state's code).

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers several Online Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral programs in Psychology including both clinical and non-clinical specializations. Capella University, also offers four online CACREP - accredited master's programs: MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy, MS in School Counseling and PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their programs.

The New York University Steinhardt Department of Applied Psychology offers a Master of Arts in School Counseling (Counseling and Guidance: School and Bilingual School Counseling). This program is accredited by the Master's in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC). Click Here to contact NYU Steinhardt about this Master's program that offers students professional preparation as well as studies foundational to further graduate work.

A psychologist may work under a provisional license while fulfilling post-degree supervised practice requirements.

Select an Arkansas Psychologist License topic below...

Educational Requirements for Psychologists in Arkansas

A prospective psychologist must earn a doctoral degree in psychology from a regionally accredited university. Programs that are not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) must meet similar standards.

Click Here to learn more about psychology education options based on your current educational attainment.

Students must complete the equivalent of at least three years of graduate study, with at least one year spent in residency. There must be substantive coursework in each of the following core areas:

  • Individual difference
  • Psycho-affective basis of behavior
  • Biological basis of behavior
  • Social basis of behavior

In addition, candidates must have instruction in statistics and psychometrics, research methods and design, and scientific and professional standards (including ethics). The program should provide education and training in the areas of psychology that the student intends eventually to practice (though additional competencies may be developed at a later stage). When it is time to apply for licensure, the Board will require a statement of intent with areas of competency checked.

The Board notes that since the psychology license is generic, the statement is important in identifying what the psychologist can actually perform. The Board will look for the equivalent of one three semester hour course that is related to each of the areas of competency that are marked as 'independent level'; supervised practice will also be considered.

A prospective neuropsychologist should select a program that will provide a "clinically relevant" internship.

Candidates with Degrees from Non-APA Accredited Programs

Candidates who do not have APA-accredited degrees (including those with degrees in fields that are 'closely allied') must show that they have met an extensive list of curricular requirements. A total of 80 semester hours of coursework must be done through a department of psychology or taught by a qualified psychologist.

The candidate must demonstrate three semester hours each in at least seven of the following areas:

  • Statistics
  • Learning
  • Sensation and perception
  • Individual personality appraisal
  • Individual intelligence testing (must include practicum)
  • Developmental psychology
  • Personality theories
  • Psychotherapy
  • Behavior theory or behavior modification
  • Social psychology
  • Occupational/ industrial psychology
  • Ethics and professional issues
  • Research design

Internship/ Supervised Practice Requirement

In order to achieve full licensure, the candidate will need at least two years of professional experience. At least 2,000 hours must be earned after the doctoral degree is granted.

A student is allowed to begin a pre-doctoral internship after completing two years of graduate study. If the internship program is not APA-accredited, it is subject to standards set by the Arkansas Board. A student may complete the internship in one full-time year or two part-time years; however, two hours a week of supervision will be required in either case. There must be two hours a week of additional learning activities (for example, group supervision, seminars, or case conferences).

The post-doctoral supervised experience may be accomplished in 50 40-hour work weeks. Part-time work is acceptable if it is pre-approved by the Board. Unlicensed practitioners will use titles like 'resident' that communicate their status to the public. A provisional licensee must meet face-to-face with an approved supervisor for individual supervision at least one hour per week. The supervisor must have a statement of intent on file that is consistent with the supervisee's. The provisional licensee is subject to quarterly and annual reports.

Supervised Practice for Neuropsychologists in AR

Arkansas gives particular attention to neuropsychology as a specialty and requires that anyone claiming this competency have two years of experience in neuropsychology, at least one at the postdoctoral level. The trainee must be under the supervision of a neuropsychologist and must otherwise meet the guidelines of the National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN).

Board certification in the specialty is not currently a mandate.

Arkansas Psychologist Examinations

Psychology candidates must pass both national and state examinations. The first step is to take the national licensing examination, the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). After approval has been granted by the state licensing agency, the candidate submits registration to the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. A $600 fee is assessed. The candidate may schedule a computerized exam at the Prometric center that is most convenient.

Successful candidates are then scheduled by the Arkansas Board for an interview/ oral examination.

Although the examination is required for provisional licensure, candidates may begin supervised practice after their status as applicants has been officially acknowledged by the Arkansas Board.

The Application Process

Applications for first-time licensure should be requested from the Board; there is a form available for this purpose. It can be downloaded by clicking here. Some supplemental materials and forms are available on the Board site (http://psychologyboard.arkansas.gov/forms/Pages/Provisional-Licensees.aspx). The board considers applications on a monthly basis; they must be received by the first of the month.

A candidate must have a background check performed by the Department of Arkansas State Police. There is a $19.25 charge for the state check and a $25 charge for the FBI check.

Out-of-State Psychologists

An out-of-state psychologist may apply to the Arkansas Board using whichever mobility plan is most appropriate. Multiple pathways are open to U.S. and Canadian psychologists who have five or more years of experience. Candidates may be licensed by reciprocity if their state of practice has similar licensing standards. Arkansas considers states that are bound by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards' Agreement of Reciprocity to meet this requirement.

The Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology and the national register are both acceptable ways of documenting credentials. The national register is reserved for health service psychologists. Newly licensed professionals may achieve this credential; however, Arkansas only allows them to apply by this route if they have been licensed at least five years.

Psychologists may be licensed through the senior psychologist mobility plan if they have practiced for 20 years without acquiring a disciplinary record. Psychologists who have been licensed for less than five years will need to apply through the standard pathway.

Additional Information

If you are still in High School, hold a High School Diploma/GED, hold a bachelor's degree, or hold a master's degree check out suggested steps to take along the path to becoming a Psychologist in Arkansas.

The licensing coordinator may be reached by phone at 501-682-6167. The Arkansas Psychological Association, or ArPA, is an additional professional resource. ArPA does not handle licensing.

Learn more about your Psychology degree options based on your current educational attainment