What are the Accreditation Requirements for Becoming a Psychologist?

Students who wish to become a psychologist will need to know what are the accreditation requirements for becoming a psychologist if they wish to find employment in the mental health field. Becoming a psychologist requires attending an accredited college, getting a dissertation published, and completing an internship, but students must also become licensed to have the best chance at a wide selection of potential jobs.

Find an Accredited Program

Students who wish to work as psychologists must attend a program that is accredited by the American Psychological Association. The purpose of accrediting schools is to ensure that all programs that are accredited offer comparable education.

Official accreditation for a university or college means students can attend any accredited program and experience the same level of instruction. In addition to guaranteeing a certain level of education, an accredited program also allows students to transfer credits to a new school if they decide to take such a route.

State Licensing Requirements

There are some psychologists who may be exempt from becoming licensed at the state level; however, most students will want to enroll in classes as if licensure was required. The exemptions regarding licensing tend to vary somewhat based upon the state in which a student has decided to practice.

To find the licensing requirements, the easiest option is to look through the accreditation materials housed at the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). Most states have similar requirements; however, it’s best not to assume that each is the same.

Additionally, a licensed psychologist in one state may need to become licensed again if he or she decides to move to a new state to practice.

Credentialing in Specialty Areas

The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) provides specialized certification in 13 different areas of psychology which include the following:

  • Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology
  • Cognitive & Behavioral Psychology
  • Clinical Health Psychology
  • Organizational & Business Consulting Psychology
  • Clinical Neuropsychology

These specialty certifications aren’t required for work as a psychologist; however, certain hospitals or clinics may require certification. In such instances, a psychologist must already have a doctorate and be licensed to practice in the state where the job is located.

Tips for Passing the Exam

1. Take the test as soon as possible. Obtaining a doctorate in psychology is an amazing accomplishment. However, experts suggest that it’s a good idea to take the test as soon as possible since graduates tend to get better scores if the test is taken soon after a doctorate is awarded.

2. Bank all credentials. The National Register of Health Service Psychologists (NRHSP) offers banking of official documents and transcripts so that they’re easy to find when they’re needed for licensure or accreditation.

Psychologists perform meaningful and impactful work through their study and treatment of mental health issues. It’s not surprising that the education and accreditation requirements are a years-long process. Figuring out what are the accreditation requirements for becoming a psychologist well in advance of graduation is important for reducing confusion once the time arrives to take licensing exams.