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Louisiana psychologists are licensed by the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (http://lsbep.org). Licensure is based on doctoral level education and supervised practice, as well as on passing a series of examinations.
Psychologists practice only in areas where they have sufficient training. The Louisiana Board recognizes the following healthcare specialties: clinical psychology, counseling psychology, school psychology, and neuropsychology. The following specialties are also recognized, but are not considered healthcare: organizational/ industrial, developmental, social, experimental, and educational psychology.
Louisiana is one of two states that allows psychologists who have specialized training to prescribe psychiatric medication; Louisiana prescribing psychologists typically hold postdoctoral master’s degrees in psychopharmacology.
A licensed psychologist must hold a doctoral degree. Programs that are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) are deemed to meet requirements. Graduates of non-APA programs are eligible for licensing if their programs meet standards adopted by Louisiana. The program must include coursework in the following scientific areas: scientific and professional standards and ethics, statistics and psychometrics, and research methodology and design.
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There must also be coursework in the following substantive areas: the biological basis of behavior, the cognitive-affective basis of behavior, the social basis of behavior, and individual differences.
A full list of specifications can be found in state laws and rules (http://lsbep.org/lawsrules.php).
The equivalent of two years of supervised practice is required. The 4,000 hours are typically accrued through a combination of pre- and postdoctoral practice. To be credited, predoctoral internship must meet requirements in Louisiana Administrative Code. Applied psychology internships are not to begin until after the psychology student has completed 300 hours of practicum; these 300 hours are typically done for academic credit and are not counted toward supervised practice requirements.
Students who do not complete APA-accredited internships will need to document that their internship met an extended set of requirements. The internship program must have a written statement or brochure describing goals and expectations. There must be at least two interns and two staff psychologists who can serve as supervisors. At least 25% of the time (350 hours) must be spent in direct client contact. The internship must be completed within 24 months. The intern will need at least two hour of individual supervision each week, whether working full- or part-time.
Postdoctoral practice may not begin until the degree is granted. The individual will work under a supervision plan on file with the Board. The trainee is expected to work at least half-time and to complete supervised practice requirements within five years (though extensions may be granted, at Board discretion, for good cause).
Louisiana requires psychologists to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), a national board examination; two state-specific tests are also required.
The EPPP can be taken once internship and education are complete, and initial application materials have been reviewed by the Louisiana Board. Study materials are available on the site of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, as is a general outline of the examination process (http://www.asppb.net). However, candidates should not attempt to register until authorization has been granted by the Louisiana Board.
A candidate should expect to pay $600 upon registration. An ATT will be issued, which will grant the candidate a 60-day window in which to schedule. The examination is given at testing centers throughout the nation; a scaled score of 500 is required.
The oral and jurisprudence examinations are taken later, once all other licensing requirements have been met. The cost of the oral examination is $250, the jurisprudence examination, $75. The jurisprudence examination may be completed at home.
The oral exam will receive one of three grades: pass, fail, or continue. A candidate who fails will need to wait two years before reapplying. A candidate who is continued will undergo further review upon a timeline established by the Board.
A candidate who has passed both the oral and jurisprudence examination will have a license issued that same day.
A candidate who is completing licensing requirements in-state submits an application after doctoral requirements have been met, but before taking any examinations or commencing postdoctoral practice. There is a $200 application fee (http://lsbep.org/forms.php). The candidate will need to have official graduate transcripts sent directly from the issuing institutions. An abstract of the candidate’s dissertation will also be required. The candidate will need to provide contact information for psychologists (for example, supervisors or faculty members) who can provide references. The Board will send forms directly to the professionals who are listed.
The application itself requires notarization. After the application has been received, the candidate will be sent information about fingerprinting. There is a $50 fee for background checks.
Louisiana expedites the application process for active service military personnel and their spouses.
Louisiana has specific reciprocity with Texas. Psychologists who hold an ASPPB Certificate of Professional Qualification (CPQ) or are diplomates of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) are also candidates for reciprocity. This will simplify the application process. However, state-specific examinations are still required, as is a criminal background check.
Out of-state psychologists may be granted the privilege of practicing under supervision while completing licensing requirements.
A nonresident psychologist who will be practicing for no more than 30 days in a year may apply for a temporary practice permit. It will be necessary to take the jurisprudence exam.
Louisiana has a special application review process for psychologists who did not complete an initial program in neurospsychology but wish to retrain as neurospychologists; those who did their training in another healthcare branch must complete a postdoctoral fellowship or 2,000 hours of supervised practice.
Louisiana issues prescriptive privilege to psychologists who have additional training in psychopharmacology. Prescriptive privilege is no longer granted by the Board of Examiners of Psychologists; as of 2010, this license is under the authority of the State Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME).
In most cases, the psychologist must complete a postdoctoral master’s in psychopharmacology. The following topics are be covered: anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, neuropharmacology, neuroscience, and pathophysiology and health assessment. Psychologists who have had appropriate prescriptive training through the military are not required to hold a master’s.
The prescribing psychologist must also pass the APA Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists (PEP).Basic Life Support (BLS) certification is required as are state and federal background checks.
The psychologist must provide proof of current licensing with the Board of Psychologist Examiners. Application forms are available on the site (http://www.lsbme.la.gov/licensure/medical-psychologists). $275 will be due upon application.
It will also be necessary to register with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and seek a Louisiana Controlled and Dangerous Substance (CDS) license.
After three years of successful practice, a medical psychologist may be eligible for advanced practice status. The psychologist will need the recommendation of two consulting doctors.
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 become a Licensed Psychologist in Louisiana.
The Board may be reached at 225-925-6511. Office hours are 8:00 to 4:00 on weekdays (http://lsbep.org/contact_lsbep.php).
The Louisiana Psychological Association, the state affiliate of the APA, is an additional source of information (http://www.louisianapsychologist.org).