Psychologist Licensing Requirements and Regulations

It is now required nationwide that psychologist who intend to practice psychology in a direct patient care setting (i.e. clinical, counseling and educational psychologists) be licensed in the state where they work. While licensing requirements may vary from state to state, at minimum you'll need to obtain a master's or doctorate degree from an accredited psychology or counseling program, pass a state competency exam and complete a hands-on 1- to 2-year internship or residency program.

It is imperative that you find out what the licensing requirements are for the the state where you intend to practice BEFORE you selecting a psychology program. You can find out what your state's psychologist licensing requirements are by contacting the local psychology licensing board, which will provide information on state laws, rules and regulations for practicing psychology. Alternatively, you can also contact the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) to learn more about psychologist licensing requirements.

Education & Licensing
  • Clinical, counseling and educational psychologists in all states are required to earn a doctorate degree in psychology (Ph.D. or PsyD) and complete a 1- to 2-year internship or clinical training residency program.

  • School psychologists are required to earn at minimum a master's degree in psychology or related field. Today, many school psychologists are also pursuing an Education Specialist post-master's degree in psychology.
To learn more about licensing requirements in your state click here.