What Type of Licensing is Needed With a Master’s in Psychology?

Opportunities for someone who holds a master’s degree in psychology run from mental health and social services to private practice. Psychologists work in institutional settings and even in industry. Although certification may not be required for some positions, states require clinical psychologists to be licensed. The list below is an example of job titles and the required licensure procedure. 

Mental Health and Social Services

• Clinical Psychologists assess, diagnose and treat persons suffering from mental or emotional illness. Most of these professionals hold a doctorate, but there are positions available for people with a master’s degree. According to the American Psychological Association , certified counselors must hold at least a master’s degree, and complete a specified number of supervised counseling hours over the course of two years, followed by experience in the field. Though the experience hours vary by state, it hovers somewhere near 3000. Afterward, candidates for licensure must apply, and pass an examination.

• Counselors work in clinical settings as well, but they usually deal more with issues in daily life as opposed to mental illnesses. Anyone with a degree in psychology and some counseling classes may call himself a counselor. A certified counselor, however, must complete 100 hours of supervised counseling and afterward have 3000 hours of experience working as a counselor. The National Board of Certified Counselors also requires the candidate to submit a taped counseling session and to pass the examination.

Educational Psychologists

• School counselors work with children who are experiencing difficulties at home or at school. They assist students in making academic choices and may help with college applications and career choices. Some schools require their counselors to also hold a degree in education. The licensing requirements vary by state but, according to the American School Counselor Association, most require internships after the graduate degree. Some states also have experience hour requirements. Afterward, applicants must pass the licensing examination.

• School psychologists overlap the duties of the counselors somewhat, but they work more with assessment and development of accommodations for learning disabilities and help implement them within the home and school. Certification varies, but most include two years of work experience as a school psychologist and a year of supervised counseling experience. In addition to the experience requirement, applicants for a license must pass an examination.

Local, State and Federal Positions

Social services departments, mental health clinics and rehabilitation facilities all employ psychologists. They do not necessarily have to be certified to function as a counselor in a corrections facility or rehab, but there are courses required. Certification or licensing for psychologists in these jobs is the same as for counselors.

Applied Psychology

This field includes forensic psychologists (usually a Ph.D.) as well as those who work in industrial settings and even circus psychologists who help performers deal with fear. According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc., though these jobs may not require certification, they usually require a master’s degree and a specified number of experience hours

A Master’s degree in psychology opens many career doors. Licensing and/or certification may make the professional future even brighter.