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Arizona Psychology Licensure Requirements

To practice as a psychologist in Arizona, you must seek licensure through the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners. Licenses will not be granted without meeting several state-specific requirements. These include a high-level education, supervised professional experience, passing national exams, and application approval. This guide will cover the steps involved and provide an in-depth understanding of each. Find answers to the most common questions candidates have about licensure in Arizona:

» How do I become a psychologist in Arizona?
» I have earned a PhD or PsyD and I am ready to learn how to get a psychologist license in Arizona.
» What are Arizona’s supervised professional experience rules and regulations?
» What psychology exams are required in Arizona?
» Can I become licensed in Arizona as a behavior analyst?
» I am already a licensed psychologist in another state; how do I become licensed in Arizona by endorsement?
» How much do psychologists in Arizona make?

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Arizona

Becoming a psychologist in Arizona takes both time and dedication. Candidates will need to complete a lengthy education in addition to several further requirements. Read on to discover the three high-level steps necessary to gain your license in Arizona state.

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

To become a practicing psychologist in Arizona you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related area. The program taken may result in either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree depending on the options available at the school attended. An undergraduate degree will typically require four years of full-time study and the completion of approximately 120 semester credits.

Upon earning a bachelor’s degree, psychology licensure candidates usually pursue a master’s degree, either in psychology or another similar field. Some schools offer a psychology Master of Arts (MA) program while others have a Master of Science (MS) option. Individuals who hold a bachelor’s in an area other than psychology may be required to take additional prerequisites for program admission. Master’s degree coursework is usually around 30 credit hours and takes between two and three years to complete. Master’s may be either stand-alone or part of the thesis portion of a doctoral degree.

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in psychology.

Those seeking licensure in Arizona state must hold a doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution in clinical, counseling, school, or educational psychology, or in another related area as determined by the Board. Schools may offer either a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. To meet Arizona state standards doctoral programs must be under the direction of a psychologist and taught by psychology faculty specializing in the health services. The educational institution will categorize it as psychological in nature and with the described intent of training psychologists. It must also contain organized and sequential psychology coursework within its curriculum and set criteria for program entry and completion.

Doctoral programs must either require students to pass examinations or to complete a minimum of three semester or five quarter hours in the areas of ethics, research, individuality, assessment, and treatment as well as on the biological, cognitive-affective, and social basis of behavior. Overall, programs must result in a doctoral degree after no fewer than three full-time years of study with at least two of these taking place at the degree granting institution. To fulfill Arizona state requirements, candidates for licensure must also complete a dissertation in addition to a residency at their doctoral degree-granting institution. The residency must require 18 semester or 30 quarter hours or include at least 300 hours of in-person meetings with faulty within a span of 12 months.

Find psychology schools in Arizona with programs where you can meet state education requirements.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Arizona.

3,000 hours of experience are required before psychology licensure will be granted, 1,500 as part of an internship and 1,500 as any combination of supervised preinternship, additional internship, and postdoctoral experience. A passing score on the EPPP exam and application submission will also be necessary. The Board may require applicants to take a state exam as well.

Arizona Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Gain two years of supervised professional experience (SPE) in your area of training.

Psychologists in Arizona state will need a total of 3,000 hours of professional experience under the supervision of a licensed professional. At least 1,500 of these hours must be accrued through an internship during the doctoral program. The other 1,500 hours can be attained through a combination of supervised preinternship experience, additional internship training, or supervised postdoctoral experience.

To be applied towards hour requirements, a supervised preinternship must be preceded by appropriate educational coursework that prepares the student for the experience. Multiple part-time preinternships may be applied. A training plan that describes the activities, goals, and objectives for the training will be required for each training site. All activities must incorporate ethics and include the ways in which the student will be evaluated. For every 20 hours spent during the experience, 50% of activities must be service-related, 25% must be with patients face-to-face, and two hours of in-person supervision must take place. 50% of supervision should be on an in-person individual basis and 75% should be by either a licensed or certified psychologist. Total hour documentation, as well as training plans, must be sent to the Board upon preinternship completion. Prospective psychologists have 72 months to finish preinternship training.

Internships must meet the approval of the American Psychological Association Committee on Accreditation or be an Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers member. Additional internships meeting Board determined qualifications may also gain approval. These internships should have a licensed staff psychologist ensuring training quality and two or more psychologists, with at least one holding licensure or certification, who may take on supervisory roles. Half or more of supervision should be by a psychologist. At least 25% of hours must be in direct client contact. A minimum of one hour of individual in-person supervision covering services provided by the trainee and two additional hours per week on other activities is also required. Program representatives will need to detail program content and goals and the expectations held for the trainee. Internships should be completed within a 24-month time span.

Up to 1,500 hours of postdoctoral professional experience may be applied to license hour requirements after educational institutions verify in writing that an applicant has finished his or her degree and completed the initial 1,500 hours of internship experience. The organization where postdoctoral training occurs must write a plan describing experience content and goals and its expectations for trainee performance. Experience must take place under the guidance of a licensed or certified psychologist who assumes responsibility for both patient care and records and is available to consult in emergencies or meet upon a patient’s request. 40% of the supervised experience should be spent in direct in-person contact with clients. Individual in-person supervision must occur for one of every 20 hours. In all, experience should be completed within a 36-month timeframe.

Supervised preinternship, additional internship, and postdoctorate professional experience may not exceed 40 hours a week. In some instances, as determined by the Board, demonstration of professional practice as a psychologist may be considered as a substitute for required hours.

2. Pass the Arizona psychology licensing exam.

It is possible for individuals who have met Arizona state education requirements but not yet finished their second 1,500 hours of supervised professional experience to be granted permission by the Board to take the national exam. This will require the submission of an application and verification forms of the initial 1,500 hours of completed training. If permission is granted, the application will be closed. Formal requests to re-open applications for processing must occur within 36 months of their being closed. Both a passing exam score and additional supervised hours will be necessary to gain initial licenses via this route.

The Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) exam is given in Arizona through the Pearson VUE Testing Centers by computer. A scaled score of 500 is passing on the computer-based exam, while individuals taking written exams must score 75% correct. After Board approval, applicant information will be passed on to the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). The ASPPB will next email application materials to the applicant, who must complete and return it along with a fee.

3. Submit your application to the Board.

Those seeking psychology licensure in Arizona state will need to submit an Application for Licensure along with $350 to the Board. Online applications are available for an additional fee of $6.75. For application approval, the Board must have National Practitioner Data Bank self-query results, an Arizona Statement of Citizenship and Alien Status page, a Mandatory Confidential Information form (included in the application), verification forms for other certificates and licenses, and all other requested supporting documentation. An original photo of the applicant taken within 60 days of application should also be provided.

Applications will remain incomplete without official transcripts and confirmation that the applicant satisfied residency requirements. Applicants must have school officials and supervisors attest in writing that supervised preinternship experience, internship training programs, and supervised postdoctoral experience met the standards set forth by the state of Arizona. Finally, official verification of a passing score on the national exam must be received. Applications for initial licensure will need to be processed for completeness and substance before approval and licensure will be granted. This should take place within 120 days. However, if documents are missing or more information is needed, it may take significantly longer. Once the Board has approved and verified all parts of your application, your psychology license will be sent to you.

Behavior Analyst

The Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners also regulates licensure for behavior analysts. To qualify for licensure, individuals need a graduate level degree in the area of psychology, behavior analysis, education, or a related field deemed appropriate by the Board, unless candidates complete a program with coursework that is Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) approved. They must also complete a minimum of 1,500 hours of supervised training from work experience, independent fieldwork, or a university practicum. The guidelines for the experience should meet those of a nationally recognized board for behavior analyst certification as well as have Board approval. Should the Board disagree with these standards, it may suggest alternates.

Those applying for this licensure must fill out and submit an application along with the Mandatory Confidential Information page, Arizona Statement of Citizenship and Alien Status form, and verification of credential, if applicable. Supporting documentation, including copies of passports or birth certificates will be required in addition to a $350 application fee. Official transcripts should be sent directly to the Board from graduate institutions. Following application approval, a prorated $500 initial licensing fee will need to be paid.

Arizona Licensure by Endorsement

To qualify for psychology licensure by credential, candidates must either be an American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) specialist or hold a Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology (CPQ) or National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology (NRHSPP) credential. Those with NRHSPP credentialing should have a minimum of five years of independent doctorate level psychology experience and evidence of passing EPPP exam scores.

Applicants will be required to pay a $350 fee and complete an Application for Licensure as a Psychologist by Credential. The Mandatory Confidential Information and Arizona Statement of Citizenship and Alien Status forms on pages following the application will need to be completed as well. Copies of birth certificates, passports, and other relevant identifying documentation listed on the Alien Status form must be attached. The Board requires the results from a National Practitioner Data Bank self-query and verification of licensure forms before application approval. Proof of credentialing will be necessary as well.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Education Information

Arizona psychologists with an odd-numbered license renew them on odd-numbered years, and those with even-numbered licenses renew them on even-numbered years. During their renewal year, they are responsible for submitting a Psychologist Application for License Renewal to the Board before the set deadline. It should be either postmarked or hand-delivered by the last day in the licensee’s birth month. Active status renewals will require fees of $500 while inactive status renewals will cost $85.00.

If application questions 1-16 are answered with a “yes” or questions 17-19 are answered with a “no” the Board will require an attachment with a detailed explanation for each case. An included record of continuing education within the application will also need to be filled out. To meet Arizona state standards, licensees must have a minimum of 40 continuing education courses, four of which must be in ethics and an additional four either in domestic violence or abuse of partners, children, or vulnerable adults. No hours can be applied to future renewal periods and all will require documentation. The Mandatory Confidential Information sheet included within the renewal application and a Arizona Statement of Citizenship and Alien Status form will also need to be submitted.

Arizona Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is $64,450 in the state of Arizona.1 Postsecondary psychology teachers wage information is unavailable.1 All other psychologists in Arizona earn a yearly average of $89,280.1

Projections Central estimates that jobs in the clinical, counseling, and school psychologist field will experience a change of 24.9% by the year 2026.2 These positions have the greatest average projected growth. All other psychologists (not including teachers) are expected to increase 6.2% within the same timeframe.2

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists2,540$64,450
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN/AN/A
Psychologists, All Other150$89,280
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary420N/A

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 Arizona?

Bachelor’s degree programs generally take four years of full-time study for completion. Doctoral programs with included master’s degrees can take between five and seven years. Some individuals will need to complete an additional 1,500 hours of postdoctoral experience to meet state requirements. It is likely that the process to become a psychologist in Arizona will take at least a decade, if not longer.

What degree do I need to be a licensed psychologist in Arizona?

A doctoral degree in either counseling, school, educational, or clinical psychology or a related area as determined by the Board will be necessary to become a psychologist in Arizona. The institution from which the degree is granted must hold regional accreditation. Individuals who hold a master’s degree are eligible to become licensed behavior analysts in the state.

How much do psychologists in Arizona make?

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that clinical, counseling, and school psychologists practicing in the state of Arizona earn a yearly average salary of $64,450.1 All other psychologists earn an average annual salary of $89,280.1

Additional Resources

  • Arizona Psychological Association (AzPA) – Established in 1950, the Arizona Psychological Association is a group of licensed professionals who advocate on behalf of those within the field as well as the general public. The association offers lectures, conventions, and workshops for the purpose of education and the advancement of the field.
  • Southern Arizona Psychological Association (SAPA) – The Southern Arizona Psychological Association is a non-profit with school psychologist, psychologist, and student membership. It strives to support professionals in the Tucson and nearby southern Arizona counties and provides opportunities for continuing education, advocacy, and collaboration.
  • American Psychological Association (APA) – The American Psychological Association seeks to both promote and improve psychological research and spread psychology-based knowledge. It establishes standards for those in the field regarding their behavior and ethics in addition to their academic and professional qualifications.

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