Psychologist Licensure Requirements in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation licenses the state’s clinical psychologists (https://www.idfpr.com/profs/psych.asp). Licensure is dependent on education, examination, and supervised practice.

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Illinois Psychologist Education Requirements

A prospective psychologist will need to complete a doctoral program. A program that is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or approved by the Council for the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology will meet requirements. Graduates of other programs are license-eligible if they meet the state’s equivalency standards.

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

The psychology program must stand as an organized, recognizable entity within a regionally accredited school. A psychologist must have primary responsibility for the program; there must be an on-site faculty of psychology professors and a matriculated group of students.

Doctoral candidates must spend one year in residence. This requirement can be met in either of two ways:

  • 30 semester hours in residence completed full-time or part-time, but within a period of 24 months
  • 350 hours of documented face-to-face interaction in the form of seminars or classes taking place within an 18-month period

If the program was not equivalent to a clinical or counseling program but was “psychological in nature”, a psychology license may be issued, but more documentation will be needed.

In order to be deemed acceptable, a program must include instruction in the following core areas:

  • Social basis of behavior
  • Biological basis of behavior
  • Cognitive-affective basis of behavior
  • Individual differences
  • Treatment modalities
  • Assessment
  • Scientific and professional ethics

A “category 3” candidate must document a total of three years of experience.

A student who has one or more deficiencies will be allowed to make them up by enrolling in a university that meets the Board’s standards.

Supervised Professional Experience

A psychology candidate will need two years (3,500 hours) of supervised practice. A student normally does a practicum (or clerkship or externship) that includes at least 400 hours. The first 400 hours of practicum does not count toward the total, but the internship (normally completed as part of the doctoral program) does.

The internship must be at least 1,750 hours. It may take place full-time or part-time over a period of 50 weeks to 24 months. Part-time internship will only be credited if it is at least 18 hours a week over a period of no less than nine months. Internship must be an organized training experience that involves the direct provision of services. The intern must have an hour a week of direct supervision and two hours a week of learning experiences; these can include seminars, group supervision sessions, and co-therapy. Additional individual sessions (beyond the stated minimum) may be counted as learning experiences.

The post-doctoral supervised experience comprises another 1,750 hours. Post-doctoral practice may be completed in a period of 50 weeks to 36 months. The trainee must be under the supervision of a licensed psychologist or licensed clinical psychologist. An hour a week of face-to-face supervision must be provided.

The position must include assessment and treatment of mental conditions (for example, emotional disorders, developmental disabilities, and/ or substance abuse). The licensing agency will decide on a case-by-case whether the work qualifies as clinical. However, they advise that more than half the credited hours be spent in face-to-face treatment and assessment with clients with whom there is some level of relationship. The Division has provided a fact sheet to help psychology graduates select appropriate work opportunities.

Illinois allows both paid and volunteer experiences so long as they meet the requirements of Section 1400.30.

Psychologist Licensure Examination

The Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) is a licensure requirement. In Illinois, candidates wait to take the exam until after they have completed the required hours of supervised professional experience.

Candidates first apply to the Illinois Department for permission. Doctoral transcripts are required at this stage; master’s transcripts are required if some coursework was completed at this level.

Once approved, candidates will receive registration information. They may then register with the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and pay the $600 testing fee (https://www.asppb.net). They will be issued an ATT which allows them to schedule a computerized examination; the examination must be taken within a 60 day window or additional fees will be incurred.

Out-of-State Psychologists

Some out-of-state licensees will have a simplified application process. A Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology (CPQ) or a credential issued by the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology will be accepted as evidence that the psychologist has met standards at the level Illinois requires. A candidate with a CPQ will need a doctoral degree in either clinical or counseling psychology. A candidate who is registered as a health service provider will need to document five years of licensure and practice.

An out-of-state psychologist may instead opt to provide direct evidence of having met standards. Professional experience forms will be required.

A psychologist who has been licensed and actively practicing in the United States or Canada for 20 or more years without disciplinary action will need to provide evidence of having a doctoral degree from a regionally accredited university but will not need to demonstrate that all the current licensing standards were met. This is referred to as the “senior psychologist” pathway. License verification will be required from each jurisdiction. Someone who is familiar with the psychologist’s work will need to verify active practice.

International candidates will need a certified English language translation of all required documents.

The Application Process

There are four different application packets available on the Board site (http://www.idfpr.com/renewals/apply/Psych.asp). Selection will depend on whether one is applying to take the examination and then become licensed, requesting that scores be accepted for a licensing examination taken in another state, or is using an endorsement or senior psychologist pathway. Examination candidates also have the option of applying online (https://continentaltestinginc.com/product/illinois-071-clinical-psychologist/).

A candidate who has taken the EPPP but is not currently licensed applies by ‘acceptance of examination’; scores are to come directly from the Interstate Reporting Service. A candidate who at some point took the American Board of Professional Psychology Boards (ABPPB) counseling or clinical psychology certification examination may submit these results in lieu of EPPP results.

There is a $50 application fee for candidates who are not licensed in another jurisdiction, $100 for those who are, and are applying by endorsement https://www.idfpr.com/profs/info/psych.asp

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 becoming a Psychologist in Illinois.

Applicants can email questions to the address found on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation homepage.

The Illinois Psychological Association does not handle licensing matters, but serves as an additional professional resource (https://illinoispsychology.org/)