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ACRL/EBSS Psychology Committee


This section covers licensure and certification resources. Psychology professionals are required to pass an exam in order to provide mental health services to the citizens in their locality.

It is very important to check requirements specific to the state, province, or territory in which the psychologist intends to practice. Requirements are provided in the online handbook produced by the Association of State and Provincial Licensing Boards:

Handbook of Licensing and Certification Requirements for Psychologists in the United States and Canada

To access the free handbook, first answer a brief survey providing email, name, address, and current professional status. Then select Jurisdictional Handbook and the jurisdiction from the menus.


Credentialing begins with acceptance into a doctoral program in psychology accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) followed by completion of an accredited internship (ideally a post-doctoral residency program), and finally, preparation and an examination for the professional psychology license.

Legislative bodies pass licensure laws to regulate a profession by establishing requirements for use of the title and scope of the practice. Granting of a license implies to the public that a professional has met the legal minimum requirements of education, supervised experience, and independent examination; and the individual is legally entitled to publicly claim the title and practice the profession within a specified state or province.

Certification is a process administered by a governmental agency, nongovernmental agency, or association which grants an individual the authority to use a specified professional title after meeting certain predetermined qualifications. Some independent practicing psychologists obtain additional board certification in a recognized area of specialty. Board certification indicates a higher level of practice than licensure.

Note - Introductory information above found in: Vaughn, T.J. (Ed.). (2006). Psychology licensure and certification: What students need to know. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)