Psychology Licensure Guide

Written by: Psych Degree Starter Editorial Team   •  Mar 8, 2024

Psychology Licensure

Achieving licensure in psychology is a crucial step for professionals aiming to practice independently in the field. Licensure not only affirms a psychologist’s competence and expertise but also ensures that they meet the national and state-specific standards required to provide psychological services.

This guide aims to demystify the process of obtaining a psychology license, highlighting key steps, requirements, and considerations to help aspiring psychologists navigate their journey toward professional practice.

Understanding Licensure Requirements

Educational Background

Typically, licensure requires a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited institution, which could be either a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology.

Some states may have provisions for individuals with a master’s degree in psychology to obtain licensure, but these cases are more the exception than the rule and often limit the scope of practice.


Ensure your program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or a similar recognized accrediting body. Accreditation is a key factor in licensure eligibility, as it assures that the educational program meets the professional standards required for practice in psychology.

Internship and Supervised Experience

A significant component of the licensure process involves completing a supervised clinical internship. Requirements can vary by state but typically include a certain number of hours (usually between 1,500 to 2,000) of supervised practice during or after the doctoral program. Postdoctoral supervised experience is also often required, adding another layer of practical training before licensure.


Prospective psychologists must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). Some states may also require additional examinations that cover state laws and ethics relevant to psychological practice.

Steps to Licensure

1. Complete Required Education: Obtain a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited program. 2. Fulfill Supervised Experience: Complete the required internship and postdoctoral supervised hours in your area of specialization. 3. Prepare for the EPPP: Engage in thorough study and preparation for the EPPP. Consider review courses, practice exams, and study groups. 4. Apply for Licensure: Submit an application for licensure to the psychology board in the state where you intend to practice. This usually includes transcripts, proof of supervised experience, and examination scores. 5. Pass the EPPP and State Exams: Successfully pass the EPPP and any additional state-required examinations. 6. Complete Continuing Education: Once licensed, psychologists must engage in continuing education to maintain their licensure, staying current with the latest practices and research in psychology.

Considerations and Tips

  • Start Early: Begin planning for licensure early in your educational journey to ensure you meet all requirements smoothly.
  • Understand State Requirements: Licensure requirements can vary significantly from one state to another. Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements of the state where you plan to practice.
  • Seek Support: Utilize resources and support systems available through your educational institution, internship sites, and professional networks to navigate the licensure process.


Obtaining licensure in psychology is a comprehensive process that requires careful planning, dedication, and adherence to stringent educational and professional standards. By understanding the key requirements and steps involved, aspiring psychologists can navigate the path to licensure with clarity and confidence, ultimately opening the door to a fulfilling career dedicated to improving mental health and well-being.

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