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Psychologist Licensure Requirements in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania psychologists are licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Psychology (http://www.dos.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/state_board_of_psychology/12521).

Licensure is based on completing a doctoral degree in psychology, passing national and state examinations, and fulfilling a postdoctoral practice requirement. Candidates are under Board regulation while completing postdoctoral hours.

Select a Pennsyvania Psychologist License topic below...

Education Requirements

In order to be license qualifying, a U.S. or Canadian doctoral program must be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) or designated by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards /National Register Designation Project; if the program achieves accreditation within a year of degree conferral, this is considered adequate.

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.

Candidates who enrolled in psychology programs before July 1, 2008 may be held to different standards.

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

Supervised Experience Requirements

Graduates must complete the equivalent of a year of full-time supervised professional experience. For those who begin on or after December 6, 2010, the requirement is 1,750 hours. Those who began before this time are held to a lesser requirement: 1,500 hours.

While completing postdoctoral supervised experience, candidates may use the title 'Psychology Resident' or 'Psychology Trainee'. The resident will need a primary supervisor. The supervisee is expected to have at least two hours of supervision a week. Up to an hour a week of supervision may be delegated to another qualified professional; the primary supervisor still bears ultimate responsibility for the hours.

Fully half the required hours must be spent in the following activities: assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and/ or providing or receiving supervision or consultation. Research or teaching may be accepted for the remaining hours.

Residents may work part-time or full-time; 15 to 45 hours a week may be credited. Candidates who are working for more than one entity must put in at least 15 hours a week at each; the two together may comprise no more than 45 hours. Candidates will need to work in each practice setting at least six months to credit the experience. The candidate must have a primary supervisor at each agency or workplace who is overseeing the work performed there.

The supervisee is subject to quarterly progress reports. At the end of the supervisory period, the supervisor(s) will rank the candidate in competency areas like assessment, treatment, scholarly inquiry, program evaluation, and supervision of others. The supervisee may be ranked from ‘beginning’ to ‘advanced’, or the supervisor may note that the particular competency was not demonstrated in that setting. The supervisor will also make an overall assessment of the candidate's potential.

A candidate who has completed supervised experience hours will continue under supervision until a license is actually issued (unless the work is done at an exempt setting).

Examination Requirements

Two examinations are required: the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the Pennsylvania Psychology Law Examination. In order to be deemed eligible to sit for the examinations, candidates must have completed their educational requirements. They may request permission while they are still in the process of completing supervised practice hours.

The EPPP is a national board examination developed by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. It is administered by computer at Prometric sites around the nation. Once authorized, a candidate will register and pay a $600 fee. At this point, an ATT will be issued. The candidate will have a 60-day window in which to test.

The state jurisprudence examination is administered by Professional Credentialing Services (PCS). Approved candidates will receive registration information. After registering, they will receive an authorization letter which grants a 90-day window to schedule and complete an exam at an authorized PSI Testing Center.

A candidate who fails an examination may apply to retake the examination after six months. Subsequent applications require a wait time of just 60 days. However, no more than four attempts will be allowed over a one year time period.

The Application Process

Candidates are required to have a criminal history record information report made by the Pennsylvania State Police (or by their own state agency if residing in another jurisdiction). Pennsylvania residents may begin the process by visiting the website of the state agency (https://epatch.state.pa.us). Reports must be recent (made within 90 days of the date the application is received).

During this same 90-day time period, the candidate must receive child abuse clearance through the Department of Public Welfare.

A self-query through the National Practitioner Data Bank is also required.

Since there is a 90-day time limit, candidate who complete criminal history and child abuse checks when requesting exam permission will need to update them after completing license requirements.

Applications are available on the Board site. There are multiple application forms to select from depending on when supervised practice and doctoral education began and what regulations were in effect (http://www.dos.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/state_board_of_psychology/licensure_information)

Doctoral transcripts must be requested and sent directly to the Pennsylvania Board from the issuing institution.

There is an application fee of $105. A candidate who fails an examination attempt will need to submit $20 to the Pennsylvania Board upon reapplication. A subsequent failure will result in a $90 charge. This is in addition to examination fees charged by third parties.

Out-of-State Psychologists

Candidates who have already passed the national examination will not be required to retake it.

Out-of-state licensees are expected to meet educational requirements that were in effect in Pennsylvania at the time they did their training. Those who enrolled in nonaccredited/ nondesignated programs by July 1, 2008 may establish degree equivalency. However, the university itself must hold regional accreditation. The clinical training director will need to fill out paperwork.

Psychologists who hold a Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology (CPQ) or National Register credential are deemed to meet educational requirements.

Psychologists whose supervised practice does not meet Pennsylvania standards will need to work under supervision until such time as the deficit has been made up and a standard license issued. Verification is to come directly from the supervisor when possible. In cases where this is not possible, Pennsylvania will accept information provided by the licensing agency of the state. The candidate will need to give an explanation as to why supervisor information is not available.

The Board issues temporary permits to out-of-state candidates who are going through the licensing process. These are issued for six-month periods.

Temporary assignments of 14 days or less do not require Pennsylvania licensing, but psychologists must make sure they are in compliance with Pennsylvania code.

International Candidates

Internationally educated psychologists must have their credentials evaluated for equivalency by the National Register. They may email Laura at nationalregister.org.

If the international candidate is found to have deficiencies, these deficiencies will need to be made up through additional training or coursework; this must be completed in a program that is APA- or CPA-accredited or that is designated by the ASPPB/NR.

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 become a Licensed Psychologist in Pennsylvania.

The Board can be contacted at (717) 783-7155 or via their website: Pennsylvania State Board of Psychology (http://www.dos.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/state_board_of_psychology/12521)

The Pennsylvania Psychological Association is an additional professional resource (http://www.papsy.org).

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