Becoming a Psychologist in Minnesota

minnesota students

Psychology practice is a doctoral level profession. As such, it is highly competitive. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

If You Are a High School Student or Undergraduate

Step 1: Prepare for general college admission. Take a rigorous college prep curriculum and spend some time preparing for the ACT or SAT. You do not have to take psychology coursework at this stage. However, you may have the opportunity to take advanced placement psychology.

Featured Programs:
  • Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers an Online Bachelor’s in Psychology. This program is modeled around the American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines. APA does not accredit undergraduate psychology programs. Capella University, also offers several Online Master’s and Doctoral programs in Psychology including both clinical and non-clinical specializations. Visit School's Website.


  • Grand Canyon University (GCU) - offers an online Bachelor's in Psychology modeled after the standards and recommendations set by the American Psychological Association with emphases in: Forensic Psychology and Performance and Sports Psychology. GCU also offers a variety of Master’s in Psychology programs modeled after the standards and recommendations set by the American Psychological Association with emphases in: Forensic Psychology, General Psychology, GeroPsychology, Health Psychology, Human Factors Psychology, Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Life Coaching. Three Bachelor’s in Psychology programs are also offered. Visit School's Website.


  • Pepperdine University - Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy online - Prepare to pursue licensure as an LMFT or LPC in as few as 24 months. No GRE required. Visit School's Website.


  • University of Southern California - Online MSW - With options for both online and in-person field placement, USC's CSWE-accredited MSW program allows those with a BSW to earn their degree in as few as 12 months. Visit School's Website.


  • Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers online Bachelor’s and Master’s in Psychology programs with several emphases to select from as well as a CACREP accredited online Master’s in Counseling. Visit School's Website.


Step 2: Meanwhile, seek out summer volunteer or career exploration opportunities. Organizations like Children’s Hospitals of Minnesota take volunteers as young as 14. You may need to go through an interview process.

Step 3: Complete the application process and begin university studies. You will probably want to pursue a degree in psychology or a closely related field. This will give you the opportunity to explore different branches of psychology before you apply to graduate schools. Some programs allow you to specialize at the bachelor’s level.

Step 4: Go beyond minimum degree requirements. Good grades are a must. Many programs also require research experience. You will likely find a list of opportunities, or at least contacts, on your department website. You can find a list of potential internships and fellowships – some of them prestigious – on the site of the American Psychological Association, or APA. You may even want to become a student member of the APA. Membership in the psychology honor society is another way to stay connected.

Step 5: If you are planning to go straight to graduate school, you will do some preparation during your junior and senior years. You will prepare for and take the GRE, gather references, and brainstorm your professional statement.

If You Have a College Degree

Step 6: Research your options and determine how your background matches up with that of the average admitted student. If you were not a psychology major, you may need to take prerequisite courses. In addition to setting a minimum number of psychology credits, the program will likely require specific courses like abnormal psychology and statistics. Some candidates take a year to pursue relate employment. If your GRE scores were too far in the past, you may be required to retake the examination.

If you are concerned about being accepted to a doctoral program in Psychology after completing your bachelor’s degree due to lower or insufficient academic achievement, you may want to apply to master’s programs first.

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 three online CACREP-accredited programs: MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in School Counseling, and PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision, as well as a COAMFTE-accredited program, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their programs.

Step 7: Apply to the most appropriate psychology programs. The Minnesota Board of Psychology accepts programs that are accredited by the APA or Canadian Psychological Association as license qualifying. If you are considering a program that is not accredited by either organization, you will need to make sure it meets all requirements outlined in state code. There is a residency requirement as well as requirements for specific coursework.

Step 8: Begin your graduate studies. You will be immersed in research as well as required classwork You will gain practical experience in areas like psychological assessment. Your practicum experiences can provide you with references as well as training.

Step 9: Compete for and complete your internship. Minnesota requires 1,800 hours of predoctoral internship. This will probably be a required part of your doctoral program. You will go through a competitive process to secure your internship.

Step 10: After you have completed educational requirements, you will be eligible to take licensing examinations. Minnesota requires two, the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the Professional Responsibility Examination (PRE). The latter is a state jurisprudence examination.

Step 11: Meanwhile seek out a position where you can complete your postdoctoral supervised practice. You must meet supervision requirements set by the Minnesota State Board. You may complete your 1,800 hours in as little as 12 months if you work full-time. Part-time experience is also creditable.

*Find more detailed psychologist licensure information for Minnesota here.

Licensing Agency

Minnesota Board of Psychology