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Arkansas Psychology Licensure Requirements

To obtain a psychology license in Arkansas, you must fulfill specific requirements including obtaining a doctorate in psychology, gaining postdoctoral supervised professional experience, passing state exams, and finally, applying to the Arkansas Psychology Board (the Board) for licensure. Since the Arkansas licensure process is complex, we have compiled this guide to help clarify each step towards becoming a licensed psychologist in Arkansas.

Table of Contents
How to Become a Licensed Psychologist
Licensure by Reciprocity
Related Licenses
License Renewal and Continuing Education
Jobs and Salary Information
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

How to Become a Psychologist in Arkansas

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

The first step to becoming licensed as a psychologist in Arkansas is obtaining a bachelor’s degree, which can be in any field. If your bachelor’s degree is in a subject other than psychology, however, 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. A bachelor’s degree will also qualify you to be registered as a neuropsychology technician, with the ability to conduct neuropsychological examinations under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.

While a stand-alone master’s degree in psychology is not required, some people choose to pursue one, while others choose to enter directly into a doctoral program. 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 doctoral degree. Other master’s degree programs are specifically designed to transition into doctoral programs. Choosing a university or college based on your career plans and intent is extremely important. Remember that a master’s degree is not sufficient to qualify as a licensed clinical psychologist in Arkansas; a doctoral degree must be earned to qualify for the licensing process.

2. Earn a doctoral degree in psychology.

Arkansas accepts both the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology degree, earned from a university accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). While both are adequate for licensure, 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 program includes a master’s degree. An APA- or CPA-approved, pre-doctoral 2,000-hour internship will need to be completed within two years. This internship will fulfill the pre-doctoral portion of the supervised professional experience (SPE) requirement discussed further below. At least 25% of this internship must be spent in direct contact with clients and must include at least two hours per week of face-to-face, individual supervision.

Candidates who have a degree not accredited by the APA or CPA 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 associated 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, SPE 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. Submit your request for an application packet to the Board.

A completed Request for License Application Packet form must be submitted to the Board via email. Following the $200 application fee payment (or a $50 deposit, with the remaining $150 to be paid when submitting the completed application), the Board will provide you with the application packet. The initial application must contain proof of core doctoral-level courses being completed (or nearly completed, if you are in your last semester of studies) and proof of a 2,000-hour internship. 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.

4. Pass the psychology licensing exam and complete your application file.

After your credentials have been verified by the Board, you will receive notification that you may 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 as well as professional psychology ethics. Candidates who do not pass the EPPP must wait for 60 days before re-taking the exam. The $687.50 total EPPP examination fee is paid in full to the ASPPB. A passing scaled score of 500 will qualify you for admission to the Board’s required oral interview and examination. Applicants can prepare for the EPPP using the EPPP practice exam.

At this point, you will also complete your application file by submitting a Statement of Intent detailing the area of psychology in which you intend to practice, three reference forms from qualified psychologists, one reference letter from your academic program director, official university transcripts, and fingerprinting to complete the background check process.

5. Apply for a provisional license and take the state exam.

Arkansas offers a grace period to allow you to practice psychology under qualified supervision while you complete your SPE and the state’s 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. You must pay a $100 provisional license fee when applying and every six months thereafter to renew it. Once granted provisional licensure candidate status, you will also be allowed to sit for the Board’s oral interview and examination to evaluate your general knowledge of the field of psychology and Arkansas-specific statutes and may involve a discussion of your work samples.

6. Complete one year of postdoctoral supervised professional experience.

To qualify for full licensure in Arkansas, you must complete at least one year of postdoctoral SPE in at least 50 40-hour work weeks for a total of 2,000 hours. 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 Agreement and Plan with the Board before working with you. The plan will be individualized to your intended practice specified in your statement of intent. 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.

7. Receive your license from the Board.

Upon completion of supervised professional experience requirements, you will submit a revised Statement of Intent and pay a $200 certification fee to receive your license.

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 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. Other mobility programs include options for military service members, veterans, and spouses who are licensed in other jurisdictions, and Senior Psychologist applicants, who have been licensed in another jurisdiction for 20 or more years.

To begin the process, you must submit a Request for License Application Packet form from the Board and pay the $200 application fee. You will need to submit a cover letter, statement of intent, three reference forms, and provide proof of your license to practice in your former jurisdiction and any applicable qualifications (CPQ, etc.). You will also need to submit to a state and national criminal background check.

If your former jurisdiction 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.

Neuropsychology Technician

If you are interested in working in the field of psychology but do not wish to pursue licensure as a psychologist, you may want to become registered as a Neuropsychology Technician. Technicians primarily assist psychologists with the administration of psychological tests.

Becoming a technician requires a bachelor’s degree, preferably in psychology, and passing grades in courses like abnormal psychology, personality, psychological statistics, and psychological testing/tests and measurement. Technicians must be registered and continuously supervised by a qualified psychologist. In order to begin the registration process, the supervising psychologist should submit a Neuropsychology Technician Request form.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, technicians must complete training on all tests that they will administer as part of their work, and must complete one hour annually of continuing education in professional/psychological ethics.

School Psychologist

In Arkansas, school psychologists are regulated by the Arkansas Board of Psychology and must hold a doctoral degree. They must apply for licensure using the same process listed above.

School Psychology Specialist

School psychology specialists, on the other hand, are regulated by the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. They are not permitted to refer to themselves as “school psychologists,” as this credential is reserved for doctoral degree-holders who are licensed through the Board of Psychology. In order to become a school psychology specialist, you must apply for a Standard Non-Instructional Student Services License. To qualify, you will need to pass a background check, pass the Praxis exam mandated by th eBoard, and hold a master’s or higher degree from an accredited school psychology program that includes 60 hours of graduate coursework in the area. For a first-time license, you must also complete professional development coursework through the online Arkansas Internet Delivered Education for Arkansas Schools (IDEAS) Portal in family and community engagement; child maltreatment; teen suicide awareness and prevention; and dyslexia awareness. To renew your license, you will need to acquire 36 contact hours each year.

License Renewal and Continuing Education

At least 20 hours of continuing education (CE) activity must be completed annually during the license renewal period, which starts on July 1 and ends on June 30 of each year. Attestation of completed CE and payment 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, and will be subjected to a $100 late fee. Activities that count towards CE can be found in the Board Rules and Regulations document.

Arkansas Psychologist Jobs and Salary Information

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that, as of May 2021, practicing psychologists in Arkansas, excluding educators, earned a mean annual salary of $81,010.1 Clinical and counseling psychologists earned an average of $75,050, school psychologists earned $75,510 on average, and “all other” psychologists earned an average of $92,470.1 The average salary for postsecondary psychology teachers was $79,020 per year.1 Projections Central predicts that Arkansas can expect 11.4% growth in the clinical, counseling and school psychology professions, no growth in “all other” psychology professions, and 13% growth in the postsecondary psychology teachers profession between 2020 and 2030.2

OccupationNumber Employed1Average Annual Salary1
Clinical and Counseling Psychologists420$75,050
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN.Av.N.Av.
Psychologists, All Other90$92,470
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary260$79,020
School Psychologists250$75,510

Additional Resources

  • Arkansas Psychological Association (ARPA): A statewide, not-for-profit, professional organization whose purpose is to advance psychology as a science, a profession, and a means of promoting human welfare in a challenging and changing world.
  • Arkansas School Psychology Association (ASPA): Offers resources for parents, families, students, and practitioners, in order to advance the professional standards of school psychology and promote the mental health needs of children.

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 your master’s degree is in psychology or is part of a doctoral degree, the time required should be less 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 degree not accredited by APA or CPA, 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.

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Arkansas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ar.htm
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm