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New Mexico psychologists are licensed by the Board of Psychologist Examiners (http://www.rld.state.nm.us/boards/Psychologist_Examiners.aspx). Licensure is based on doctoral level education, supervised practice, and successful examination performance.
The Board of Psychologist Examiners also issues prescriptive authority -- New Mexico is one of just two states that allows psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medication. Prescriptive privilege is dependent on post-doctoral training, examination, and additional supervised practice.
A prospective psychologist must earn a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, or school psychology. The program may be designated as a psychology program by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) or accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
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A total of 3,000 hours of supervised practice is required. Up to 1,500 hours of pre-internship experience may be credited if it meets ASPPB standards. Pre-internship practicums are only credited if they are "high quality" organized training programs. They must be monitored by the university. There must be a licensed psychologist who is responsible for program integrity. An hour of supervision is required for every eight hours worked. The student must meet board requirements for clinical client contact hours.
New Mexico will credit up to 1,500 hours from a pre-doctoral internship that is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), and up to 750 from a pre-doctoral internship not accredited by the APA. Non-APA internships must meet standards adopted by the New Mexico Board (http://www.nmcpr.state.nm.us/nmac/parts/title16/16.022.0006.htm). The internship must be accepted by the educational institution as meeting degree requirements. It must provide sufficiently broad experience. The student must work at least 20 hours a week.
The remaining hours are to be done as supervised post-doctoral experience. Post-doctoral candidates must work under a primary supervisor who is a licensed psychologist. They are to meet with the primary supervisor one hour per week (46 hours per year). In cases where the primary supervisor is more than 100 miles from the work setting, telephone or videoconferencing may substitute for some in-person supervision. However, supervisor and supervisee must still meet face-to-face at least two hours a month. There must be on-site supervision by a qualified mental health professional (psychiatrist, clinical mental health counselor, social worker, or marriage and family therapist).
The candidate can submit a post-doctoral supervisory plan to the Board; this will assure that the experience will be accepted as license-qualifying. The Board is committed to responding to such plans within 60 days.
Candidates who do not submit plans may still be licensed on the basis of the supervision they record. However, they run the risk of having part or all the experience denied.
Two examinations are required. The New Mexico Jurisprudence Examination is open-book and is available online. It is based on the New Mexico Psychologists Code of Conduct as well as on state statutes, rules, and regulations. There is a $75 fee. The exam is to be printed and submitted to the Board at the time of application. The passing score is 75%. The examination may be retaken if necessary.
Candidates will not take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology until after their license application has been approved (unless they have already passed the examination in another jurisdiction).
Candidates should submit their applications to the New Mexico Board at least 60 days before their intended examination date. New Mexico allows candidates eighteen months for the examination process. However, once the candidate has registered and paid fees, the testing company will issue an Authorization to Test that is good for only 60 days.
Candidates can expect to pay $600 upon registration. An additional fee (approximately $80) will be due to Prometric, the company that runs the computerized testing sites. Candidates are allowed to schedule at any authorized Prometric Center in the nation.
New Mexico allows up to three examination attempts during the 18 month period. Each attempt will incur additional fees.
The application must be notarized and submitted with a $300 fee. Three letters of reference are required.
Candidates must have fingerprint-based background checks using cards provided by the Board. Applicants may call the Board at (505) 476-4960 to request cards. They also have the option of stopping by the Board office in Santa Fe.
The fingerprint cards are to be submitted to the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. A $44 fee must be included.
Reciprocal licenses may be issued to applicants who are currently licensed in another jurisdiction and have held licensing for at least ten years with no disciplinary action in the preceding five.
Psychologists who have been licensed five years or more years and who hold a Certificate of Professional Qualification (CPQ) or National Register (NR) credential have a simplified application process.
Out-of-state candidates must meet a New Mexico cultural competency requirement. They have one year to do so.
A psychologist who seeks prescription privileges must do at least 450 classroom hours of didactic instruction. Coursework must be done through an accredited academic institution, or a continuing education program that is APA-approved or offered in partnership with a school. The Board has an extensive set of regulations governing non-APA continuing education programs.
Candidates for prescription privileges will receive instruction in the following areas:
The psychologist must do two practicums. The shorter practicum is in pathophysiology and clinical assessment. It is to be completed in a period of two weeks to 30 weeks. The longer practicum is considered 'general'. During this time, the candidate will need to treat 100 people under the supervision of a medical doctor. A primary or secondary supervisor will be on-site whenever services are delivered. The patients should be diverse in age, ethnicity, and psychological condition. A log must be maintained. The second practicum may be completed in a period of six months to three years.
A psychologist who, for good cause, cannot complete a practicum in the allotted time may request an extension.
Candidates will need to pass the Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists (PEP). They become eligible after completing the didactic/ classroom portion of post-doctoral psychopharmacology education. A candidate who does not pass on a first attempt may retake the examination after 90 days. A candidate who does not pass a second attempt will be required to wait a year.
When applying for conditional prescription privilege, the psychologist will submit records of academic work and training along with practicum evaluations. Verification of malpractice insurance is also required. There is a $75 application fee.
The psychologist must work for two years as a conditional prescribing psychologist. It will be necessary to see 50 patients for psychopharmacotherapy and receive 92 hours of supervision (unless the Board approves a modified plan).
Psychologists who graduated from the Department of Defense Psychopharmacology Demonstration Project and have been engaged in active practice may apply for conditional prescription privilege.
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 New Mexico.
The Board can be reached at (505)476-4960.
The New Mexico Psychological Association is an additional professional resource (http://www.nmpsychology.org).