On average, psychologists complete approximately five to seven years of graduate education and professional training, beyond a bachelor's degree. In the United States, the practice of psychology is regulated by law in all fifty states, plus Guam and the District of Columbia. Licensing laws protect the public by limiting licensure to those persons who are qualified to practice psychology as defined by the law in each jurisdiction. Licensing laws require an individual to meet specific educational, experiential and testing requirements before a license to practice psychology is granted to an individual.
For specific licensing requirements for psychologists in your area, please contact the Psychology Licensing Board for your jurisdiction. We have contact information for the Psychology Licensing Boards throughout the United States in the National Directory of Psychologists. Select your state, and then follow the link to the licensing board.
The psychology licensing board acts to protect the public, not to serve the needs of the profession. The major duties of the board are:
- To determine standards for admission into the profession;
- To screen applicants applying for licensure;
- To regulate the practice of psychology for the public good, and
- To conduct disciplinary proceedings involving violations of standards of professional conduct as defined by law.
The address and telephone number of your local state psychology licensing board is available under the state heading for every state listed on this site.
The general requirements for licensing are as follows:
- Completion of a doctoral degree in psychology or a closely related area (some states previously allowed licensing at the Masters level, so some licensed psychologists may have a Masters degree)
- Passing grade on the National Psychology Licensing Exam, which is administered by the Association of State and Provincial Boards of Psychology.
- Supervised experience providing psychological services under the direct supervision of licensed psychologist. Typically, two years of supervised experience are required, but this is determined by each state licensing board.