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Psychologist Licensure Requirements in Montana

Montana psychologists are regulated by the Montana Board of Psychologists (http://bsd.dli.mt.gov/license/bsd_boards/psy_board/board_page.asp). Licensure is granted to individuals who earn qualifying doctoral degrees, complete a supervised practice requirement, and pass a two-examination sequence. The Board also requires evidence of good character.

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Education Requirements

There are three routes to licensure:

  • A doctoral program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA)
  • A doctoral program and an APA retraining program
  • A doctoral program and a course of study that meets requirements established by the Montana Board

An approved psychology program will be a coherent entity within a regionally accredited school. A psychologist is to have responsibility for the program.

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.

There must be at least 60 semester hours of formal graduate study in psychology. Excluding practicum, dissertation, and transfer credit, there must be at least 30 semester hours.

The program must cover statistics and psychometrics, professional standards and ethics, and research design and methodology.

There must be substantive coursework in individual difference and in social, cognitive-affective, and biological bases of behavior.

There must also be adequate training in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Graduates should be familiar with major techniques and their theoretical bases. They should be able to carry out multiple types of assessments.

The program must incorporate appropriate supervised work experiences. There are to be at least two semesters of practicum.

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

Supervised Practice

The Montana Board requires two years of supervised professional experience (or the equivalent). 1,600 hours are counted as one year. The first year may be pre-doctoral: completed at the post-master level as part of the doctoral program. If not accredited by the APA, the internship program should be “substantially equivalent”.

The graduate must work under supervision until an additional 1,600 hours have been accrued. This may take place over a period of one to two years. A candidate may not exceed two years unless an exception has been granted by the Board. At least half of the work experience is to be spent directly providing clinical services.

The worker will have a board-approved supervisor. The supervisor does not have to be employed by the same agency, but must be available to both supervisee and clients. There must be at least two additional mental health professionals at the work setting who can act as supervisors.

The candidate must submit a supervision plan to the Board at the onset of post-doctoral practice.

A minimum of one hour of face-to-face supervision is required. Two-way interactive teleconferencing may be utilized for supervisory sessions. Conferencing that is audio only is allowed only with the express approval of the Board and may not constitute more than one-fourth of the total supervision.

The Examination and Application Process

A candidate who has completed all requirements but the examination will submit an application to the Montana Board (http://bsd.dli.mt.gov/license/bsd_boards/psy_board/board_page.asp). This should be done three months before a scheduled oral examination in order to allow all materials to be reviewed. Upcoming Montana Oral Exam dates, and application deadlines, are listed on the Board site. (In 2012 and 2013, biannual exams were scheduled for April and October.)

The following are to be sent directly to the Montana Board from the source:

  • certified transcripts
  • five references

Candidates who did not graduate from clinical APA programs will need to fill out an educational record form and include syllabi and course descriptions. Some candidates will need to have their credentials evaluated by the Association of State & Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). The Montana Board notes that the fee is currently $200.

The application requires notarization. There is a nonrefundable $175 application fee.

A candidate must do a self-query through the National Practitioner Data Bank (http://www.npdb.hrsa.gov/). The candidate may call 1-800-767-6732 to initiate the process.

Three recent work samples must be submitted. At least two are to be psychological evaluations. Candidates must demonstrate that they can take a patient history, administer IQ and personality tests, and make appropriate recommendations. Publications do not count as work samples.

Once all application materials have been approved, the candidate will be scheduled for an oral examination.

The candidate will be ranked between one and five in competency areas such as mental health law, ethics, psychotherapy, and assessment. Some questions will be based on the candidate's submitted work samples. There will be multiple Board members doing the ranking. Candidates must average at least a three overall and at least a two on all subscales.

Candidates must also pass the EPPP, a national board examination. This is administered via computer on a continual basis. However, candidates must wait to receive authorization before registering. A $600 fee will be paid upon registration. Candidates can find answers to frequently asked questions on the site of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (http://www.asppb.net/?EPPPFAQsBD).

Candidates who fail the national board examination are required to retake both examinations. One retake is allowed (on either the oral or the two-test sequence) before a remediation plan is required.

Out-of-State Licensees

Candidates from Other U.S. states or Canadian provinces may be endorsed into Montana if their qualifications are substantially equal or higher. A copy of the licensing regulations that were in place at the time of credentialing should be included with the application.

A Health Service Provider certificate or Certificate of Professional Qualification is also accepted as evidence that the applicant has met the “substantial equivalency” requirement. Candidates possessing one of these credentials must still provide EPPP test results.

A psychologist who has held licensing in the United States or Canada for at least 20 years and has been in active practice for at least 10 out of the previous 15 years may apply as a senior psychologist. The senior psychologist pathway is not open to applicants who have had disciplinary sanctions.

Documentation of active status may be provided by an employer or (in the case of private practice) by two licensed psychologist colleagues. Senior psychologists are not required to document pre- or post-doctoral experience; they are also excused from providing some details about their education. References, transcripts, and recent work samples will be required; so will a database self-query.

Temporary Permits

A candidate who lacks only the examination may be issued a temporary permit.

The candidate is to take the first or second oral exam that is offered after the temporary permit is issued. The Board may extend the time for good cause in order to allow the temporary permit holder time to develop the work samples addressed in 24.189.633 of the administrative rules (http://www.mtrules.org/gateway/).

Supervision is required until such time as the permanent license has been issued. The supervisee is to use the title ‘temporary permit practitioner in psychology’ when signing documents.

International Psychologists

Internationally trained psychologists can be licensed in Montana if a credential review by the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology (www.nationalregister.org) determines that education is equivalent to that which would be had in an APA-accredited program.

International candidates will also need to demonstrate fluency in the English language. Candidate who did their undergraduate education in English are deemed proficient. Other international candidates will need to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and score at least an 8.

Contact 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 become a Licensed Psychologist in Montana.

Applicants may contact the Board at 406-841-2331 or 406-841-2394.

Montana Psychological Association: http://www.montanapsychologicalassociation.org/

Montana Association of School Psychologists: http://masponline.us/

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