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Alabama Psychology Licensure Requirements

The Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology is the state organization in Alabama that oversees the licensure and conduct of psychologists. To become a licensed psychologist in the state, you will need to finish a bachelor’s degree, earn a doctoral degree in psychology, pass two exams, and submit an application to the Board. To help you navigate these steps more easily, we’ve prepared a detailed guide to earning your psychology license in Alabama. We’ve also included answers to questions that you might have about becoming licensed, such as:

» How do I become a psychologist in Alabama?
» I have earned a PhD or PsyD and I am ready to learn how to get a psychologist license in Alabama.
» What psychology exams are required in Alabama?
» Can I become licensed in Alabama with only a master’s degree?
» I am already a licensed psychologist in another state; how do I become licensed in Alabama?
» How do I renew my psychology license in Alabama?
» How much do psychologists in Alabama make?

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Alabama

To become a licensed psychologist in Alabama, there are three main steps you will need to take. You will need to complete educational prerequisites, which include a bachelor’s degree followed by a doctoral degree in psychology (you may also choose to earn an optional master’s degree during this process). Then you will be able to start the formal application process, including submitting an application for licensure to the Board and passing national and state psychology exams.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree and (optionally) a master’s degree in psychology.

The first step for all future psychologists is to earn a bachelor’s degree in any subject; you do not have to major in psychology for this degree. Both Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees will fulfill this requirement. These degrees usually take four years (120 credits) to finish if you are enrolled full-time.

After you have finished your bachelor’s degree, you can choose to earn a stand-alone master’s degree. This degree is optional, as most students also earn master’s’ degrees during their doctoral programs (see Step 2 below). To gain acceptance to a master’s degree program, you will likely need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). You may also need to meet some educational prerequisites, such as taking a certain number of psychology courses. Master’s degree programs usually take about two years to complete (35-45 credit hours) and award either Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) degrees.

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in psychology.

Once you have completed your bachelor’s degree and, if you choose, a master’s degree, you will need to earn a doctoral degree in psychology. There are two types of doctoral degrees in psychology: a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology and a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Regardless of which type of program you choose, doctoral degrees in psychology usually take four to seven years to finish. To learn more about the differences between these degrees, please visit this page from the American Psychological Association (APA).

To become licensed as a psychologist in Alabama, you will need to earn your doctoral degree from a psychology program housed in a school that is nationally or regionally accredited. When you are applying for licensure, you will have to select an area of specialization (clinical psychology, counseling psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, or school psychology). A program in any of these specialty areas that is accredited by the APA or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) is automatically approved by the Board to meet all of their educational requirements. If you attend a program that is not APA- or CPA-approved, the Board will need to review your transcript to determine whether they will approve your degree for licensure and your area of specialization. For more information about programs you might consider applying to, please visit our Psychology Schools in Alabama page.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Alabama.

When you have finished the educational requirements described in Step 1 and Step 2, you will be ready to begin the process of applying for psychology licensure in Alabama. To earn a license, you will need to submit an application to the Board and pass two exams. More details for both of these steps are provided below.

Alabama Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Request an application from the Board.

Because Alabama does not provide their application forms online, the first step you will need to take is to contact the Board and request an application packet. When you contact them, inform them that you would like an application packet for doctoral-level licensure. They will then mail this packet to you. Be aware that the Board only reviews applications every two months, so you will want to request your application and submit your materials as soon as possible after becoming eligible for licensure.

2. Complete the application and send it to the Board.

The application packet you receive in the mail should include a list of materials you will need to complete it (this list is also available on the Board’s website). The application will ask you to provide information about your training and experience and to identify an area of specialization (clinical psychology, counseling psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, or school psychology) in which you will be practicing. It will also require that you identify four psychologists to provide references for you; at least one must come from a doctoral advisor or program director and (if your program required a pre-doctoral internship) another must be from an internship supervisor or program director.

In addition to completing the forms you were sent, you will also need to submit a passport-style photo, request that your graduate transcripts be sent to the Board, and have two fingerprint cards made for a background check. After you have gathered all your materials, you will need to have your application notarized. When you send the completed packet into the Board, include a $37 fee for your background check as well as a $400 application fee.

3. Pass the Alabama psychology licensing exams.

To complete Alabama’s requirements for psychology licensure, you will need to pass two exams: the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology and Alabama’s Professional Standards Exam (PSE). You need permission from the Board to register for both of these exams, which you will receive after they have reviewed and approved your completed application.

The EPPP is a national exam that consists of 225 multiple-choice questions assessing broad knowledge of psychology. It costs a total of $687.50 to register for the EPPP, and all fees are paid to the company that administers the test. To pass the EPPP, you need to earn a scaled score of 500 or higher.

The PSE is an exam that tests knowledge of the ethical and legal standards applicable to Alabama psychologists. The PSE costs $50 and must be taken at the Board’s office in Montgomery, Alabama. To pass the PSE, you must correctly answer at least 80% of the 42 multiple-choice questions on the test.

4. Wait for notification that your license has been issued.

After you pass the EPPP and PSE, you are still not eligible to begin practicing psychology until your license has been granted by the Board. Your EPPP score should be automatically transferred to the Board, and after they have proof that you have passed both the EPPP and PSE, they will notify you when your license has officially been issued.

Transfer of Psychology License to Alabama

If you are already licensed as a psychologist in another state and would like to become licensed in Alabama, the process is fairly easy. Alabama does not have any official procedures to become licensed through endorsement or reciprocity. However, if you meet the state’s educational requirements and your out-of-state license is in good standing, you should be eligible for an Alabama license. To be issued this license, you will need to request and complete an application packet (accompanied by $437 for an application fee and background check). You will also need to request that your EPPP scores be sent to the Board. After the Board reviews your application, you will need to take and pass the PSE ($50) before being granted your Alabama psychology license.

Psychological Technician License

In Alabama, it is possible to become licensed with a master’s degree as a psychological technician. To be eligible for this license, you must have earned a master’s degree from an APA-approved psychology program (or one deemed to be equivalent by the Board). To apply for this license, you will need to contact the Board and request an application packet. The application fee is $260 and there is also a background check fee of $37.

After your application has been reviewed, you will also need to pass both the EPPP and the PSE (note that a passing EPPP score for a psychological technician license is 400). The EPPP costs $687.50 and the PSE costs $50.

Once licensed, psychological technicians are able to perform some professional activities independently. These include administering and interpreting some psychological tests, providing psychoeducation, and screening new patients to determine appropriate referrals. They can also provide personality testing, conduct therapy, and assist with forensic or neuropsychological evaluations, but must be supervised by a licensed psychologist while engaging in these activities.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Education Information

To keep your Alabama psychology license active, you will need to renew your license yearly. During each renewal period, you must also earn 20 hours of continuing education (CE) credits. CE programs offered by APA-approved organizations are automatically approved as counting towards these requirements; the Board must review any other CE activities to determine whether they qualify. You can count up to six credits in a renewal period for being the presenter for a Board-approved CE activity. If you earn more credits in a renewal period than is required, you can carry up to three hours over to the next renewal period.

Once you have completed your CE requirements, you can apply for renewal by completing the Psychologist License Renewal Form and submitting it to the Board along with a Continuing Education Individual Reporting Form for each of your CE activities and a $250 fee. All renewal materials are due by October 15 each year.

Alabama Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the average salary for a psychologist in Alabama (including educators) is $78,087.1 This varies across different types of jobs: clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earn an average of $68,190, while psychologists in the “all other” category earn an average of $93,220 per year.1 Postsecondary psychology teachers earn an average of $72,850.1

The number of new jobs for psychologists in Alabama is expected to increase by an average of 7.25% between 2016 and 2026.2 The outlook for clinical, counseling, and school psychology jobs is particularly good, with a projected growth of 13.1% during the 10-year period.2 In contrast, psychology jobs in the “all other” category are only expected to increase by 1.4% during the same time period.2

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists610$68,190
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN/AN/A
Psychologists, All Other13093,220
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary360$72,850

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a psychologist in Alabama?

To become a licensed psychologist in Alabama, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree and a doctoral degree before being eligible to apply for licensure. Meeting these requirements usually takes about 10 years, but can take more depending on the requirements of your programs and whether you decide to earn a stand-alone master’s degree.

Does Alabama require any supervised postdoctoral experience to become licensed?

Unlike many other states, Alabama does not require any supervised postdoctoral hours to become licensed as a psychologist. You are eligible to apply for licensure as soon as you have earned your degree from a Board-approved doctoral program in psychology.

How much do psychologists in Alabama make?

The average salary for a psychologist in Alabama is $78,087.1 However, average salaries vary based on area of specialty and range from $68,190 (counseling, clinical, and school psychologists) to $93,220 (“all other” psychologists).1

Additional Resources

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Alabama: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_al.htm
2. Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm