Wisconsin Psychology Licensure Requirements
The Psychology Examining Board, under the auspices of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, oversees the licensing of and guidelines for psychologists practicing in the state of Wisconsin. These guidelines include requirements for education and experience for prospective psychologists, as well as directives for the licensing process. Common questions about these procedures include:
» What do I need to do to become a psychologist in Wisconsin?
» How many hours of experience are required for licensure?
» When do I take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology?
» Is there an ethics exam for prospective psychologists in Wisconsin?
» Will I need to appear before the board to obtain a license?
Three Steps to Become a Psychologist in Wisconsin
1. Obtain a B.S. or B.A. and a Master’s Level Degree in Psychology. A bachelor’s degree in psychology is the starting point for the higher education required to become licensed as a psychologist in Wisconsin. Private practice school psychologists may become licensed to practice school psychology in Wisconsin provided that the master’s program completed consists of at least sixty graduate semester credits.1 Psychologists who are not practicing in a school setting must obtain a doctoral degree. Psychology Degree 411 provides a comprehensive list of undergraduate and post-graduate psychology programs with further information to help you plan your education.
2. Earn a Doctorate in Psychology. A doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education is required to practice psychology, excluding school psychology, in Wisconsin. Acceptable terminal degrees in psychology include Psy.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., or Ed.S., in the case of school psychologists. Learn more about Wisconsin graduate programs in psychology here.
3. Become Licensed to Practice Psychology in Wisconsin. After completing an education in psychology the next step is to begin the licensing process, which includes acquiring the necessary experience to begin independent practice as a psychologist:
Wisconsin Psychologist Licensing Process
1. Complete the Supervised Experience Requirements.
Applicants for a psychologist’s license must complete at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience.1 At a minimum, 1,500 hours of the required supervised experience must take place following completion of the doctoral degree.1 All 3,000 hours must be completed either following the award of a master’s degree or the completion of 30 hours of doctoral coursework.3 The hours of supervised experience must take place over at least one calendar year for approval.2 Additionally, hours must be accumulated with at least 16 hours per calendar week but not more than 40 hours per calendar week.3 Further restrictions and guidelines can be found in the Wisconsin Administrative Code.
Note that no internship, whether pre-doctoral or post-doctoral, is required outside of the supervised experience hours by Wisconsin Statute. Students who complete practicums, externships, or clerkships may not count hours earned during these activities as these have been deemed part of the educational process.
Applicants for licensure as a school psychologist must complete the required experience by either practicing as a school psychologist under the supervision of a licensed school psychologist for one year, or by completing a one year internship in school psychology under the supervision of a licensed school psychologist as part of an approved program.3
2. Pass the National Teachers Examination Specialty Area Test for School Psychologist (School Psychologists Only).
Candidates for licensure as private practice school psychologists should take the National Teachers Examination Specialty Area Test for School Psychologist prior to applying for a license to practice. Further information on preparing for and scheduling this exam can be accessed from ETS, the test administrator.
3. Complete the Application for License to Practice Psychology.
New graduates applying for psychology licensure in Wisconsin should complete the Application for License to Practice Psychology. The application packet includes an applicant affidavit that must be signed in the presence of and sealed by a registered notary. Additional forms required include:
- The Nature of Intended Practice of Psychology form. This form verifies the setting and nature of the practice of psychology that the candidate for licensure intends to pursue, and also requests a self-evaluation of competencies and experience.
- The Verification of Supervised Psychological Experience form, completed by both the applicant and the supervisor(s) of post-doctoral experience to verify the required hours have been met.
- The Verification of Professional Experience form, which is only required for candidates who have earned in excess of 3,000 supervised hours of practice or who have other experiences that would demonstrate additional competence and experience.
- The Psychology Applicant’s Self Evaluation Form, designed to help applicants understand and demonstrate to the review board the required competencies held and required for practice.
These forms, together with the required application fees, should be completed and forwarded to:
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
PO Box 8935
Madison, WI 53708-8935
Prospective school psychologists should complete the Application for the Private Practice of School Psychology, along with:
- The Experience Verification form for the private practice of school psychology, to be completed by the supervisor(s) of the required experience hours.
- The Nature of Private Practice of School Psychology form, which demonstrates the candidate’s intended areas of practice and populations to be served, as well as specialized qualifications.
Additionally, all candidates must request official transcripts to be sent to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services directly from the institution which granted the doctoral, or in the case of school psychologists master’s, degree.
4. Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.
Although applicants may take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) prior to beginning supervised experience, in most cases the exam is only taken after receipt of approval by the Psychology Examining Board. Note that private practice school psychologists are not required to take the EPPP. The Psychology Examining Board will provide instructions to applicants on taking the EPPP following approval of the application for psychology licensure.
5. Take the Ethics Exam.
After the Psychology Examining Board approves a candidate’s application for a license to practice psychology, the candidate is eligible to sit for the ethics exam. The materials in the ethics exam cover knowledge bearing on public health, safety, and welfare in the practice of psychology. Clinical psychologists must score 80 percent or better to pass, while the minimum passing score for school psychologists is 75%.1 Exam questions are drawn from the Wisconsin Statutes and Administrative Code Relating to the Practice of Psychology.
The ethics exam may be attempted up to three times at three-month intervals.3 If the exam is not passed on the third attempt, an application to the board must be made for reexamination, showing evidence of additional professional training and/or preparation for the exam.3
6. Take the Oral Exam, If Required.
In certain cases, candidates will be called before the Psychology Examining Board prior to the issuance of a license, usually if issues of concern such as disciplinary actions are noted in the application. The oral exam is scheduled for the Psychology Examining Board meeting following the board meeting at which the candidate’s application for licensure was reviewed. The purpose of the oral exam is to determine the candidate’s ability and eligibility to practice.
Additional Requirements and Information
The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services and the Psychology Examining Board provide resources to prospective and licensed psychologists, such as information on:
- Comity and reciprocity for psychologists licensed out of state
- Experience and exam requirements for applicants from foreign countries
- Information for applying for licensure with convictions and/or pending charges
- Continuing education requirements and renewal schedules for licensed psychologists
- Guidelines on ethics and frequently asked questions about Psychology Examining Board policies
1. Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services: http://dsps.wi.gov/
2. Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 455, Psychology Examining Board http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/455.pdf
3. Wisconsin Statues and Administrative Code Relating to the Practice of Psychology http://dsps.wi.gov/Documents/Board%20Services/Codebooks/62D%20POD%20Psychology-Book%20OCTOBER%202012.pdf