Psychologist Licensure Requirements in Tennessee

The Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology (https://www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/health-professional-boards/psychology-board/psych-board/about.html) licenses psychologists and issues Health Service Provider (HSP) designations. The latter is a requirement for psychologists who will be working directly with individuals who are functionally impaired or at risk.

Licensure depends on education and examination as well on evidence of good character, as indicated by references and background checks. Health service providers have more specific education and training requirements.

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Select a Tennessee Psychologist License topic below…

Educational Requirements

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

Psychologists must have education at the doctoral level. To be license qualifying, the doctoral program must be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or designated by the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology/Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (NR/ASPPB). A list of accredited and designated in-state programs is available on the site of the Tennessee Board (https://www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/health-professional-boards/psychology-board/psych-board/educational-programs.html).

If the candidate will be pursuing HSP designation, the program specialty must be clinical, counseling or school psychology; programs that combine these disciplines are also acceptable.

Supervised Experience for HSP Designation

A candidate for Health Service Provider must do two years of supervised professional experience that follows Board rules. The first year is a 1,900 hour internship. This must be done at a different setting than the student’s workplace (if the student is indeed employed). The internship may be completed in a period of one or two years. The student begins after completing all degrees requirements but the dissertation.

An internship that is accredited by the APA or Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers is accepted as meeting requirements. If the internship is not accredited, the Tennessee Board will look for verification that it meets similar standards.

An additional 1,900 hours of experience must be earned at the postdoctoral level. Unless the graduate is completing health service hours through an APA-accredited or APPIC-listed internship, a provisional license will be required.

Tenure-track faculty members who are pursuing licensure may count supervision they provide to practicum students or to interns, provided that the internship is appropriately accredited; the supervision must be supervised.

The provisional license is issued for one year, but may be extended. It is not normally extended beyond the second year, but may be extended further for faculty members or for disabled individuals who must work less than half-time; documentation will be required. The provisional license may also be suspended for good cause, for example, illness or childbirth.

In order to supervise an individual who is delivering health services, a psychologist must have HSP designation.

Licensure Examination

Two examinations are required. Candidates first take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, a national board examination. The exam must be taken within one year of provisional licensing. Exam information is available on the ASPPB site (https://www.asppb.net/default.aspx).

An authorized candidate will register with the exam company and pay a $600 fee. At this point, an ATT will be issued; this allows the candidate a 60-day eligibility window.

A candidate who is successful on the EPPP will receive information about registering for the jurisprudence examination. In the event of failure, the candidate will be allowed to retake the EPPP after at least 60 days have passed. A maximum of four examination attempts is allowed over the course of a year.

The jurisprudence examination, which is administered once a month at the Board office in Nashville, is open book. Candidates bring registration forms and identification. They are allowed only the official copies of code and ethical standards; they must complete the exam within two hours.

An unsuccessful candidate will be sent reexamination information. Two failures on either examination will result in a provisional license being revoked.

Background Checks

Candidates must have criminal background checks (https://www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/health-professional-boards/psychology-board/psych-board/applications.html). Both in-state and out-of-state candidates use the approved vendor, Identogo. However, the process is different depending on the state of residence. Candidates who are residing in Tennessee will have prints captured electronically. They may register at www.identogo.com or call (855)226-2937. There is a $42 fee.

Out-of-state candidates should contact the Tennessee licensing agency and request the appropriate fingerprint card. They may have fingerprints made at a local agency, but will send the cards to Identogo. The Board recommends utilizing tracking.

Out-of-state candidates will also register through Identogo, but will pay for ink submission. The $42 fee may be paid by credit card or paid by money order and sent in the same envelope as the fingerprint card.

The background check should be completed and received by the Board in five to eight business days if the fingerprints are captured electronically. If they are inked, it will take slightly longer (seven to ten days) from the date of receipt.

Candidates who will be providing direct health services will have sex offender registry and abuse registry checks; these will be conducted by the agency.

The Application Process

The Board notes that review may take place up to four times as an individual candidate meets education, examination, and experience requirements for permanent licensure and HSP certification.

HSP candidates apply for provisional licensure when preparing to begin postdoctoral practice. Official transcripts must be sent at this time.

Three psychologist references are required for licensure. At least two must be from licensed psychologists. In the case of HSP candidates, two must come from HSPs (or professionals who hold equivalent status in other jurisdictions); one is to come from an internship supervisor or director.

Fees are as follows: The application costs $175 and the license $200. The ethics and jurisprudence examination fee of $200 and the state regulatory fee of $10 must also be enclosed in the license application. A candidate seeking a provisional license will pay $125. Click Here to go to the application forms and related materials.

Out-of-State Psychologists

Tennessee requires a certificate of fitness from each state where the candidate has held licensing. This verifies whether the license is, or was, in good standing.

ABPP certification, National Register credentials, and Certificates of Professional Qualification (CPQ) are accepted as evidence that the out-of-state psychologist has met certain requirements.

A psychologist who has been licensed at least five years is not required to include a reference letter from an internship supervisor or director. However, confirmation of internship is still required.

A psychologist who is licensed and has been in active practice and who earned a doctoral degree before January 1, 1982 may not be held to the usual training standards; this will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

An out-of-state licensee who is otherwise qualified may be issued a temporary license to provide health services under supervision while waiting to take and pass the state jurisprudence and ethics exam. The temporary license is valid for up to a year. It will be revoked if the candidate fails a second attempt at the jurisprudence exam. The fee for a temporary license is $100.

International Psychologists

Internationally educated psychologists must send transcripts and other supporting documentation to World Education Service for credential evaluation.

A candidate will need to provide the Tennessee Board with certified translations of documents that are not in the English language.

Master’s Level Psychological Associates

Candidates with master’s degrees or equivalent graduate education may be licensed at the associate level. This allows for practice under supervision.

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 Tennessee.

Candidates who do not find answers to their questions may email the Department of Health (Contact).The Board may be contacted via telephone at (615) 532-5127 or 1-800-778-4123.

Tennessee Psychological Association: https://www.tpaonline.org/default.aspx