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Psychologist Licensing Requirements in Colorado

Colorado psychologists are regulated by the Colorado State Board of Psychologist Examiners. Licensure as a psychologist requires at least three years of graduate level study, a year of post-doctoral supervised practice, and passing scores on state and national examinations.

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Educational Requirements

Colorado requires psychologists to have degrees from programs that are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or are judged substantially equivalent. To be considered equivalent, a program must be housed in a regionally accredited institution and be a recognizable entity with a full-time faculty and an identifiable body of degree-seeking students. There must be grading procedures in place. Graduate studies must comprise at least three years. The following content areas must be covered:

  • Individual differences (personality, development, abnormal behavior)
  • Biological bases of behavior (neuropsychology, sensation and perception)
  • Cognitive-affective bases of behavior (learning, thinking, emotion)
  • Social bases of behavior (organizational and systems theory, social psychology)
  • Diversity issues
  • Diagnosis and assessment
  • Effective treatment (supervision, consultation, evaluation of intervention efficacy)
  • Professional standards and ethics
  • Research methodology and design (data analysis, inferential statistics, program design)

In addition, the psychology program must include a practicum of at least 400 hours and an internship of at least 1,500 hours. The internship may be one full-time year or two part-time years; clinical psychology internships are based on a calendar year while school psychology and counseling psychology programs may be based on either a calendar year or academic year. Internships that are not APA-accredited should be substantially equivalent.

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.

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

It is acceptable for particular content areas to be met through one course or through a combination of courses. However, the applicant will need to demonstrate that all got substantive coverage (the equivalent of three semester hours). Upon application, a graduate of a program not accredited by the APA will fill out a course worksheet, listing class titles and the number of quarter or semester hours under each content area. If it is not clear from the course titles that there was substantive coverage of the required content, additional materials may be required. The Board notes that the review process can take a few months.

Supervised Practice Requirements for Psychologists in CO

Typically, an individual completes half of the supervised experience at the doctoral level through an accredited internship and half afterward while credentialed by the state. Colorado refers to individuals who are completing postgraduate practice as "psychological candidates" or 'provisional psychologists' (PSYs); the temporary practice permit is issued for four years.

It is also acceptable to accrue hours while listed in the State Database of Registered Psychotherapists. This was the method when the state did not issue provisional licenses. The Board notes that graduates of non-APA programs, who have a lengthier review process, may wish to register as unlicensed psychotherapists so they can get started on their post-doctoral practice requirements.

The psychological candidate must be under the supervision of a licensed psychologist while completing the 1,500 postdoctoral hours; however, a portion of the hours may be under the supervision of a board-certified psychiatrist. At least 75 hours of direct supervision must be provided (at least 50 of them individual).

Research and teaching may be counted toward the 1,500 hours. However, neither may comprise more than 500 hours. No more than 375 hours of experience may be under the supervision of a board-certified psychiatrist, and no more than 17.75 hours of direct supervision may be credited.

Colorado expects training in racial and ethnic bases of behavior at the graduate level, but will accept academic coursework in lieu of this.

Upon completion of postgraduate practice, the supervisor will submit a form verifying that the 1,500 hours were met and that the candidate performed at an acceptable level.

Colorado Psychologist Examination Requirements

Two examinations must be passed before a psychologist license can be issued. The Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP) is the national board examination. A candidate can be made eligible after completion of the doctoral degree and submission of initial documents to the Colorado Board. At this point, the candidate will receive information from Professional Examination Service about scheduling a computerized exam. Candidates should expect to pay a little over$600 in examination fees. It may take four to six weeks for examination results to be known.

The Colorado Mental Health Jurisprudence Examination covers mental health statutes, Board rules, confidentiality and privilege, prohibited activities, emergency procedures, and disciplinary provisions. The jurisprudence exam is available online for an $18 fee. A candidate who does not pass will receive diagnostic information and be allowed to retest after a 10 day wait period.

The Application Process for Psychologists

Candidates first come under Board jurisdiction when they have completed their degrees and are ready to begin post-doctoral practice. Transcripts are to be included with the application in sealed envelopes. Educational equivalency documents, if required, are to be submitted in a PDF file. Click here to download the application.

Application forms are available on the Board site

Application status may be monitored online (www.dora.colorado.gov/professions/onlineservices). It may take ten business days from the date of mailing for applicant information to be entered into the system.

Additional materials (verification of experience and printed verification of jurisprudence exam results) will be required when it is time to apply for license by examination. It will be necessary to complete an online Health care Professions Profile for the application to be considered complete. However, this is not done until after initial information has been entered into the system.

Applicants will need to provide license verification from each state where they have held mental health licensing; forms are to be included in sealed envelopes with the application.

Out-of-State/ Endorsement Applicants

Endorsement applicants are expected to have met equivalent standards. However, there are multiple pathways. The Board will accept evidence of one year of post-doctoral supervised practice or two years of active practice.

A Certificate of Professional Qualifications is evidence of having met education, examination, and practice requirements and of being in good standing with licensing boards. Diplomate status in the American Board of Professional Psychology or registry in the National Register of Health Service Providers, combined with five years of practice at the independent level, will be taken as evidence that the candidate meets education and examination requirements.

Candidates who do not have this will need to provide direct documentation of qualifications. Generally, out-of-state licensees will have passed the EPPP; verification may be included on the license verification form or requested directly from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. The ASPPB may be reached at (866) 364-3777. An out-of-state licensee who passed an exam other than the EPPP may be endorsed if the exam met Colorado standards. A candidate who was licensed without examination will need to document 20 years of active practice. Internationally educated psychologists will need to have their credentials evaluated.

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 Colorado.

Individuals may contact the Board through email or phone. If sensitive information is included, the "encrypted email" link should be used (http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DORA-Reg/CBON/DORA/1251632248447).

The Colorado Psychological Association (https://www.coloradopsych.org) is another professional resource. The CPA is not involved with the licensing process, but does provide legislative updates as well as continuing education opportunities.

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