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Colorado Psychology Licensure Requirements

If you are interested in becoming a psychologist in Colorado, you should keep in mind that the process involves a number of different steps. You will need to complete a bachelor’s degree, earn a doctoral degree in psychology, finish a year of professional experience, and pass two exams. You will also need to submit an application to the Colorado State Board of Psychologist Examiners, which is the state agency that issues psychology licenses. The process of becoming a licensed psychologist in Colorado might seem overwhelming, so on this page we provide detailed information on all the steps you will need to take. In addition, we’ve included answers to common questions about psychology licensure in Colorado, such as:

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

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Colorado

There are three main steps to becoming a licensed psychologist in Colorado. First, you will need to complete educational requirements, which include a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree (optional), and a doctoral degree. After completing these programs, you will need to complete a year of supervised experience and will also need to pass two exams. The final step to becoming a licensed psychologist in Colorado is to submit applications to the Board for your license and to register as a psychotherapist.

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

The first step for anyone planning to become a licensed psychologist in Colorado is to complete a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs usually take about four years (120 credit hours) to complete and generally result in either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Because becoming a licensed psychologist involves attending graduate school in psychology (see Step 2 below), it can be helpful to major in psychology at this stage. However, this is not a requirement, and many psychologists studied other subjects while earning their bachelor’s degrees.

If you did not major in psychology for your bachelor’s degree or want more experience before applying to doctoral programs, you may also choose to earn a stand-alone href=”/degrees/masters/”>master’s degree. Most students in psychology doctoral programs earn master’s degrees while completing their studies, so this is not a required step. If you decide you would like to attend a stand-alone master’s degree program, you will likely need to take the Graduate Record Examination before applying. Master’s degrees in psychology usually about take two years (35-45 credit hours) and you will earn either a Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Science (MS) degree when you finish.

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in psychology.

The next required step towards psychology licensure is to complete a doctoral degree in psychology. In the United States, there are two different psychology degrees at this level: a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Both of these degrees usually take between four and seven years to complete and can be applied to the educational requirements for licensure in Colorado. For information about the differences between these two degrees, please visit this page on the American Psychological Association’s (APA) website.

In Colorado, applicants for psychology licensure must earn their doctoral degree from a program that is either APA-accredited or meets equivalent standards. For more information about schools to consider, please see our page on Psychology Programs in Colorado.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Colorado.

After you have completed the educational requirements described above, you will be ready to complete the required steps to become licensed. For this, you will need to apply for a Psychologist Candidate permit, complete the supervised postdoctoral hours requirement, pass state and national exams, and submit an application for full licensure to the Board. Below are more details on each of these steps.

Colorado Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Apply for Psychologist Candidate permit.

To earn a license to practice psychology in Colorado, you will need to complete a year of supervised postdoctoral work and pass two exams (see Step 2 and Step 3 below). Before fulfilling these requirements, however, you will need to obtain a temporary Psychologist Candidate permit. The application for this permit is completed through an online portal. You will also need to have your transcripts sent to the Board and pay a $40 application fee. If you have completed all of your degree requirements but your degree has not yet been conferred, you will also need to submit the Certification of APA (Accredited) Doctorate Education form. The Board provides a helpful checklist of information you will be asked to provide on your application. Once issued, the Psychologist Candidate permit is valid for four years.

2. Gain one year of supervised post-degree experience.

In Colorado, you need to complete 1,500 hours of supervised post-degree experience (over the course of no fewer than 12 months) after completing your degree. The majority of these hours will likely be earned through experience providing services to patients. However, you can also count up to 500 hours of teaching psychology courses and/or 500 hours of conducting research, as long as you were supervised during these activities. At least 50 hours of work and three hours of supervision must be focused on issues of race and ethnicity in psychology, though the Board may approve diversity-related graduate coursework to fulfill this requirement instead.

While you are completing your supervised post-degree hours, you will need to receive at least 75 hours of supervision; at least 50 of these must be spent in individual, face-to-face supervision. The majority of your work must be supervised by a licensed psychologist. However, up to 375 post-degree hours and 17.75 hours of supervision can be with a licensed, Board-certified psychiatrist. Each supervisor you work under will need to complete a Post-Degree Experience and Supervision Form to document your hours. You will submit these forms later along with your application for full licensure.

3. Pass the Colorado psychology licensing exams.

After the Board has issued your Psychologist Candidate permit, they will provide you with instructions on the two exams that you will need to take to earn your full psychology license. The first test is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), a national exam assessing knowledge across a variety of domains of psychology. The EPPP consists of 225 multiple-choice questions and you need to earn a scaled score of 500 or higher to pass. The total fee for the EPPP is $687.50.

In addition to the EPPP, you will also need to take Colorado’s Mental Health Jurisprudence Examination. This is a 45-item, multiple-choice exam that tests knowledge of laws related to mental health practice in Colorado. It is administered online and is open-book, and you need a scaled score of at least 500 to pass. You will need to pay a fee of $20 to take the Jurisprudence Examination.

4. Submit your application for a full license to the Board.

After you have completed your post-degree hours and passed the required exams, you will need to submit an application for a full license to the Board. This application is completed through the online portal and will require a $70 application fee. There is a checklist available to help guide you through the information you will need to provide on this application. After the Board reviews your application and finds it to be complete, you will be notified when your license is issued. However, you cannot begin seeing patients until you register as a psychotherapist (see Step 5 below).

5. Register as a psychotherapist in Colorado.

If you are planning to use your license to work with patients, you will need to register as a psychotherapist. You can do this anytime after you complete the Mental Health Jurisprudence Examination, so you may choose to complete this step before you submit your application for a full psychologist license (or while that application is being reviewed). The application to become a registered psychotherapist can be access through the online portal and requires that you provide information about your theoretical orientation and types of therapy you will provide in your practice. The fee to become a registered psychotherapist is $185.

Colorado Licensure by Endorsement

If you are licensed in another state and are considering moving to Colorado, you may be interested in seeking licensure through endorsement. To be eligible for this, you must hold a license that is in good standing from another state and have earned a doctoral degree in psychology that was approved by the state you are currently licensed in. You will have to show that you completed a year of postdoctoral experience that meets Colorado’s post-degree requirements and that your license required a written exam such as the EPPP. If you do not meet the postdoctoral experience and exam requirements, the Board may still accept your application if you can prove that you have been practicing independently for at least 20 years. To apply for licensure by endorsement, you will need to submit an application through the online portal and complete the Mental Health Jurisprudence Examination (which costs $20).

Provisional Psychologist License

In addition to the standard psychologist license described above, Colorado also issues provisional psychologist licenses. To be eligible for this license, you must have a doctoral degree in psychology from a program that is APA-approved or is deemed equivalent by the Board. This license only allows you to practice under supervision in residential child care facilities. Applications for provisional psychology licenses are completed through the online portal and cost $70.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Development Information

Colorado psychology licenses need to be renewed periodically so that they remain valid the entire time that you are practicing. To be eligible for license renewal, you must engage in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities during each renewal period. The Board requires that all psychologists develop a formal Learning Plan to document your CPD goals. Following the development of this plan, you will need to accrue 40 Professional Development Hours (PDH). 35 of these hours must be from continuing education programs approved by the APA, state medical association, or regionally accredited academic institutions. PDH can also be earned through other activities such as teaching a psychology course, publishing journal articles, or presenting at a conference. If you earn more than the required 40 PDH during a renewal period, you can carry up to 10 PDH to the next period as long as the hours were completed in the three months before renewal.

For more details on Colorado’s CPD rules, see the Continuing Professional Development Manual.

All psychology licenses expire on August 31 of every odd-numbered year. Once you have completed your CPD requirements for a given cycle, you can renew your license through the online portal.

Colorado Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for a psychologist in Colorado is $76,820.1 Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earn an average of $79,950 per year, while postsecondary psychology teachers earn an average of $68,120.1 Psychologists who fall into the “all other” category earn the highest salaries, with an average yearly income of $82,390.1

The number of psychology jobs in Colorado is expected to rise substantially between 2016 and 2026, with an average expected increase of 24.6%.2 Specifically, the number of counseling, clinical, and school psychology jobs is expected to increase by 33.6%, while the number of “all other” psychology jobs is expected to rise by 15.6%.2 These are considerably higher than the national averages, which predict a 14.2% increase in counseling, clinical, and school psychology jobs and a 10.3% increase in “all other” psychology jobs across all states during this same time period.2 These predictions suggest an excellent outlook for anyone seeking a psychology job in Colorado during that 10-year period.

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists2,770$79,950
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN/AN/A
Psychologists, All Other280$82,390
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary790$68,120

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 Colorado?

At the very least, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree, a doctoral degree, and a year of postdoctoral experience to become a licensed psychologist in Colorado. This usually takes about 10 years, but the amount of time can vary based on factors such as the requirements of the schools you attend and whether or not you choose to earn a stand-alone master’s degree.

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

In Colorado, you need to earn either a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree to become a licensed psychologist.

How much do psychologists in Colorado make?

On average, psychologists in Colorado, excluding educators, earn $81,170 per year.1 Salaries vary by area of practice, with counseling, clinical, and school psychologists making an average of $79,950 and “all other” psychologists making an average of $82,390.1 Postsecondary psychology teachers an average of $68,120.1

Additional Resources

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