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Arkansas Psychology Licensure Requirements

The Arkansas Psychology Board licenses and regulates psychologists in the state in order to maintain a high standard of competence and excellence in the psychology profession. To obtain a psychology license in Arkansas, you first must fulfill specific educational prerequisites including a doctorate in psychology, an internship approved by the American Psychological Association (APA), 2,000 hours of supervised professional experience (SPE), pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), and finally, apply to the Arkansas Psychology Board for licensure. Because the Arkansas licensure process is complex, the following guide will help clarify each step. Review the following questions for more information on how you can become a licensed psychologist in Arkansas:

» How do I become a psychologist in Arkansas?
» I have earned a PhD or PsyD and I am ready to learn how to get a psychologist license in Arkansas.
» What are Arkansas’ supervised professional experience rules and regulations?
» Which psychology exams are required in Arkansas?
» Which other licenses are available for psychologists in Arkansas?
» I am already a licensed psychologist in another state; how do I become licensed in Arkansas by reciprocity?
» How do I renew my psychology license in Arkansas?
» How much do psychologists in Arkansas make?

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Arkansas

Three essential steps define the process of becoming a licensed psychologist in Arkansas. First, you must complete specific educational requirements, usually including a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a doctoral degree in psychology. Once those educational requirements are complete, you can begin the process of applying to the Arkansas Psychology Board for licensure, which includes its own set of steps. Although this process may seem complicated, the following guide will help you get through the process with ease.

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

Depending on the university or college, the bachelor’s degree may be a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS). The bachelor’s degree preferably will be in psychology, but can be in any field. Note that if your bachelor’s degree was in another subject, prerequisites may be required before entering a graduate program. This degree is typically a four-year course of study which usually requires 120 semester credits.

While a stand-alone master’s degree in psychology is not required, some people choose to get a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) degree, while others choose to enter directly into a doctoral program. The focus of an MA degree is usually on psychological theory and application, while an MS degree often has more of an emphasis on quantitative coursework, data collection, and analysis. Stand-alone master’s degrees typically require one to two years of full-time study and are designed for students who plan to pursue work in fields not requiring a PhD or PsyD. Other master’s degree programs are specifically designed to transition into PhD or PsyD programs. Choosing a university or college based on your career plans and intent is extremely important. Remember that an MA or MS is not sufficient to qualify as a licensed clinical psychologist in Arkansas; a PsyD or PhD must be earned to qualify for the licensing process.

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in psychology.

Arkansas accepts both the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology degree, earned from an accredited university. While both are acceptable, you can review the differences between the two doctoral degree types here. It usually takes from four to seven years to complete a doctoral program depending on your area of intent and whether your doctoral program includes a master’s degree. An American Psychological Association (APA)- or Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)-approved 2,000-hour internship will need to be completed within one year and can begin after two years of graduate study. This internship will fulfill the pre-doctoral portion of the supervised professional experience requirement discussed further below.

Candidates who have a non-accredited degree must prove they have 80 semester hours of curricular requirement coursework, either taught by a qualified psychologist or from a department of psychology. This includes applicants with degrees in closely allied fields. A minimum of three years of graduate study must be completed in four core areas: social basis of behavior, psycho-affective basis of behavior, individual difference, and biological basis of behavior. Additionally, supervised professional experience must be completed at the institution that granted the doctoral degree. Because the Board will require a statement of intent for your area of practice, you must ensure your education and training emphasis is in the area of your intent. For more information on pursuing a doctoral degree in psychology in Arkansas, see our Psychology Schools in Arkansas page.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Arkansas.

You’ll need to complete several additional steps once you have earned your doctorate degree in psychology. Below is a step-by-step guide to Arkansas psychology licensure requirements that include completing an internship and supervised professional experience (SPE), then passing the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).

Arkansas Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Request and submit your application to the Board.

A completed Request for License Application Packet form must be submitted to the Arkansas Psychology Board administrative staff via mail. Following the $200 application fee payment, the administrative staff will provide you with the approved application packet. The packet must contain proof of the attained doctoral degree, transcripts of your complete graduate curriculum (sent directly from your school’s registrar’s office), signed-off internship and supervised professional experience work (see Step 2), and three references from qualified psychologists who have detailed knowledge of your competence. You must keep copies of all documents that you have submitted to the Board. First-time licensure applicants are required to apply for state and national criminal background checks from the Identification Bureau of the Arkansas State Police. You are responsible for paying the associated fees, which are $20 and $19.25, respectively.

Arkansas offers a grace period to allow you to practice psychology under qualified supervision while you complete your SPE and the written and oral exams. To be able to practice supervised psychology during this period, you can apply for a provisional license by submitting the provisional license form. To earn the provisional license, the Credentials Review Committee (CRC) must approve all of your application materials, approve you to take the EPPP, and give you a positive recommendation. You must pay a $100 provisional license fee when applying and every six months thereafter to renew it.

2. Complete one year of postdoctoral supervised professional experience (SPE) in your area of training.

To qualify for full licensure in Arkansas, you must complete at least one year of postdoctoral supervised professional experience (SPE) in 50 40-hour work weeks for a total of 2,000 hours, in addition to your doctoral internship. You may not take longer than four years to complete your supervision requirement, and if you want to fulfill your supervision requirement part-time, it must be approved by the Board. Your supervisor must be a licensed psychologist who will file a supervision plan with the Board before working with you. The plan will be individualized to your academic intent which you will specify in the Statement of Intent form. Both the supervisor’s and your signatures will be required to document all sessions, dates, time spent, and the nature of the contact with the supervisor using the Supervision Report form. Once you have finished your SPE, your supervisor will sign and document completion of the requirement, which will be filed with your application.

3. Pass the Arkansas psychology licensing exams.

Arkansas has a multilevel examination process. In the first step, the Board will review your academic, personal, and experience credentials. Once your credentials review has been approved, the $687.50 total EPPP examination fee is paid in full to Professional Exam Service (PES), and a $50 administrative fee is paid to the Board, you will be allowed to schedule the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). The EPPP, administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB), tests your range of knowledge in psychological techniques and principles, plus your knowledge of professional psychology ethics. Candidates who do not pass the EPPP must wait for 60 days before re-taking the exam. A passing scaled score of 500 will qualify you for admission to the Arkansas Psychology Board’s required oral interview and oral examination. The oral interview and oral exam evaluate your general knowledge of the field of psychology and Arkansas-specific statutes and may involve a discussion of your work samples.

4. Receive your license from the Board.

Once you’ve completed the requirements to become a licensed psychologist in Arkansas and the Board has been notified that you have passed the EPPP, you will be contacted when your license has officially been issued by the state of Arkansas.

Arkansas Licensure by Reciprocity

There are several ways to attain licensure in Arkansas if your psychology degree was earned in another state or jurisdiction, as long as you have practiced for at least five years. Arkansas participates in the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) Agreement of Reciprocity (AOR) program. All licensed psychologists in participating AOR jurisdictions, including Arkansas, Manitoba, and Ontario, are eligible for licensure in any other AOR jurisdiction. In addition, if you are a licensed psychologist with a Certificate of Professional Qualification (CPQ) from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) or are certified with the National Register and have held a psychology license in another jurisdiction for at least five years, you will be considered to have met the requirements for licensure in Arkansas.

To begin the process, you must request an Agreement of Reciprocity, National Register, or CPQ application packet from the Arkansas Psychology Board and pay the application fee. You will need to provide proof of your CPQ and of your license to practice in your former state. You will also need to submit to a state and national criminal background check.

If your former state does not fall under one of these categories, you must complete the regular application and if the Board agrees that the standards from the state in which you were licensed meets or exceeds those of Arkansas, the oral examination will be waived, but all other requirements will remain the same.

Senior Psychologist

Arkansas also offers Senior Psychologist licensure which is designed for psychologists who have been licensed for over 20 years in any state or Canada without disciplinary action and wish to practice psychology in Arkansas. To apply for the Senior Psychologist license you must complete the application, a statement of intent, submit three references, present a state license verification, and complete the oral interview. The $200 application fee must be paid along with the $200 license registration fee.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Education Information

At least 20 hours of CE activity must be completed during each license renewal period, which starts July 1 and ends June 30 of each year. The Arkansas Psychology Board must approve all continuing education programs. Application for renewal is due on or before July 1 of each calendar year and costs $300. If the renewal application or license renewal fee is not received by then, you will be suspended for the length of time the fee and application are delinquent. Renewal applications won’t be considered if you haven’t supplied 40 hours of CE for the previous 24-month period.

Arkansas Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that psychologists in Arkansas earn a mean annual salary of $82,480.1 Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists excluding teachers, earn a mean annual salary of $73,240.1 The average salary for postsecondary psychology teachers is $64,600.1 Projections Central predicts that Arkansas can expect 17.1% growth in the clinical, counseling and school psychology professions, 9% growth in “all other” psychology professions, and 14.9% growth in the postsecondary psychology teachers profession between 2016 and 2026.2 The average growth projected for the US as a whole is 14.2%, 10.3%, and 15.1% respectively, so growth in Arkansas is similar for psychologists in the rest of the US.2

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists108,060$73,240
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN/AN/A
Psychologists, All Other12,880$82,480
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary37,090$64,600

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I complete my internship and supervised professional experience part-time so that I can I continue working in order to support my family?

Maybe, but note that the Arkansas Psychology Board needs to approve part-time internships.

How long does it take to become a licensed psychologist in Arkansas if I already have a master’s degree in psychology?

Including internships and supervised professional experience requirements, it can take from four to seven years to become a licensed psychologist in Arkansas if you already have a master’s degree. If your master’s is in psychology, the time required will be shorter than if your master’s is in a different field.

Can I become a licensed psychologist in Arkansas if I have a doctorate in another field?

To become a licensed psychologist in Arkansas, you must have a doctorate in psychology or a closely related field. Candidates who have a non-accredited degree or a degree in a closely related field must prove they have 80 semester hours of curricular requirement coursework, either taught by a qualified psychologist or from a department of psychology.

Additional Resources

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