Psychologist Licensure Requirements in Rhode Island

Rhode Island psychologists are credentialed by the Rhode Island Board of Psychology, under the banner of the Department of Health ( The license is dependent on earning a doctoral degree, passing a national board examination, and attaining professional experience while under supervision.

Candidates earning postdoctoral hours work under temporary permits.

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Educational Requirements for Psychologists

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A psychologist candidate must earn a doctorate from a program that is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or that is, in the opinion of the Board, substantively equivalent. Candidates with degrees in related disciplines may be licensed if they meet the requirements found in the Rhode Island statutes.

The school must have regional accreditation. There must be at least 72 semester hours of psychological coursework excluding field work and dissertation. At least 36 semester hours of coursework must be completed in residence.

The program must include at least three semester hours (or five quarter hours) in each of the following core content areas:

  • Cognitive and affective basis of behavior: This content area comprises emotion, thinking, learning, and motivation.
  • Biological basis of behavior: This content area includes sensation and perception, physiological psychology, neuropsychology, comparative psychology, and psychopharmacology.
  • Social basis of behavior: This curricular strand includes group processes and social and systems theory.
  • Individual differences: Coursework may include human development, personality theory, and abnormal psychology.

In addition, the graduate will need to document that the program included study in the following areas:

  • Statistical methods
  • Research methods
  • Professional standards and ethics
  • History and systems of psychology

The Board notes that distance learning programs are acceptable only if they are APA-accredited.

Supervised Professional Experience

Psychology candidates must work under supervision for two years and accrue 3,000 experience hours. The first 1,500 hours is an internship or formal training experience that begins after the student has completed the equivalent of at least two full-time years of graduate study. This pre-doctoral experience is distinct from practical work that may be required in conjunction with academic courses.

The second year is not begun until after academic requirements for the doctorate have been met.

A supervisee will need, at minimum, one hour a week of individual conferencing. In addition, supervision must be available, as needed, when the trainee is actually working. There should be opportunities for additional learning: for example, seminars and case conferences.

A temporary permit authorizes practice; candidates use titles like “intern” or “trainee” in order to make it clear to the public that they are not actually licensed psychologists. Temporary permits are issued for two years and may be extended for one additional year.

Assessment must be documented. While the verification form itself is short, the Board reserves the right to request additional information. Supervisors will provide verification in sealed, signed envelopes.

The Examination Process

Rhode Island requires a national board examination. After submitting a license application and supporting documentation, a candidate will be authorized to register for the Examination of Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). The examination was developed by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB); examination information, including a candidate bulletin and study resources, can be accessed through the ASPPB site (

The registration fee is currently $600. A candidate who has registered and paid the fee will be issued an ATT which allows for scheduling at any authorized Prometric site. The testing window granted by the ATT is 60 days.

The Application Process

In-state candidates file applications before all requirements have been met. There is one psychologist application packet available on the site of the Department of Health, but candidates check whether they are applying for a standard license, an endorsement license, or a temporary permit (Click here).

The Board will need official transcripts. If the program was not accredited by the APA, the candidate will fill out a form verifying that curriculum requirements were met.

The application will require a two by three photograph showing head and shoulders. Notarization is also required.

An application fee of $230 must accompany the application. The temporary permit carries a $120 fee.

Application materials are sent to the Department of Health:

Rhode Island Department of Health

Board of Psychology, Room 104

3 Capitol Hill

Providence, RI 02908-5097

A candidate who is seeking examination approval or endorsement must have the application in 14 days before a meeting of the Board. A list of upcoming meetings is available on the Board site (

The Board notes that candidates are not contacted if there is documentation missing from their files. They may, however, call (401) 222-2828 to inquire about the status of applications.

Licenses are issued seven to ten days after approval. The wallet card may not arrive for several weeks, but a license number may be obtained through the online license verification system.

License by Endorsement

Candidates who have already taken the EPPP may obtain official verification from the ASPPB by calling 1-334-832-4580.

Out-of-state licensees will need to provide verification that any licenses held are in good standing. An interstate verification form is included in the application packet.

Out-of-state psychologists may be endorsed into Rhode Island if it is determined that their jurisdiction has substantially equivalent licensing requirements. Endorsement may also be made on the basis of certification by the American Board of Professional Psychology, or ABPP.

Assuming all requirements have been met, the licensing process typically takes four to six weeks. When candidates have issues like criminal or malpractice history, the process may take two or three months longer.

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 Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Psychological Association, an affiliate of the APA, is an additional source of information about psychology practice within the state (

Rhode Island Board of Psychology: