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Colorado Psychology Licensure Requirements

The Colorado State Board of Psychologist Examiners, under the Division of Professions and Occupations, oversees the practice of psychology in Colorado and is responsible for the licensing and regulation of psychologists. In order to meet the requirements for licensure candidates must dedicate themselves to obtaining the necessary education and experience. Following are common questions that psychologist candidates have about licensure in Colorado:

» What is the licensing process for psychologists in Colorado?
» What pre-doctoral experience must candidates for licensure obtain?
» What are the supervised experience requirements in Colorado?
» Are the required examinations taken prior to or following application for licensure?
» Where do I go for further information about psychologist licensure in Colorado?

Three Steps to Become a Psychologist in Colorado

1. Earn an BS or BA and a Master’s-Level Degree in Psychology.

Since psychologists must complete their education through the doctoral level in Colorado, a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in psychology are necessary parts of the educational process for prospective psychologists. You can find out more about psychology programs in Colorado with Psychology Degree 411’s guide to psychology schools in Colorado.

2. Earn Your Doctorate in Psychology.

A doctoral degree in psychology is a prerequisite to becoming a psychologist in Colorado. Although the Colorado State Board of Psychologist Examiners may approve doctoral degrees that are not approved by the American Psychological Association, it is recommended that candidates pursue the doctoral degree from an institution that is accredited both regionally and by the American Psychological Association.

3. Follow the Steps to Colorado Psychologist Licensure.

The licensing process for prospective Colorado psychologists begins during the doctoral degree program, during which students begin accumulating the necessary experience along with the knowledge of psychology required for successful practice. The section below can help guide you through the process:

Colorado Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Undertake a 400-Hour Practicum.

In order to qualify for licensure as a psychologist in Colorado, candidates must complete a practicum experience as part of the doctoral degree. This practicum must consist of at least 400 hours, 150 hours of which must be direct service experience and 75 hours of which must be formally scheduled supervision.1

2. Complete the Required Pre-Doctoral Internship.

The pre-doctoral internship – which is differentiated from the practicum experience – should be completed prior to the award of the doctoral degree. Colorado requires prospective psychologists to complete an internship of at least 1,500 hours, which may be earned full-time over one calendar year or part-time over two calendar years.1 The internship must be accredited by the American Psychological Association or be substantially equivalent to the American Psychological Association’s standards for internship accreditation.

3. Register as a Psychologist Candidate.

In order to complete post-doctoral supervision, prospective psychologists must register as Psychologist Candidates. The Psychologist Candidate permit is valid for four years after it is issued and allows the candidate to practice psychology under the supervision of a licensed psychologist in order to meet licensing requirements.1 Candidates must have completed a doctoral degree approved by the American Psychological Association or have received the approval of the Colorado State Board of Psychologist Examiners to substitute another degree program as the equivalent. Candidates have one year from the date that the initial application is submitted to complete the registration process, or the candidate file will expire. The application packet must include:

  • The Application for Psychologist Candidate Registration (Temporary Permit);
  • The Affidavit of Eligibility form found within the application packet;
  • The required fee for registration as a Psychologist Candidate;
  • Official, sealed transcripts sent to the Colorado State Board of Psychologist Examiners directly from the degree granting institution;
  • Certification on the letterhead of the institution that granted the doctoral degree that the candidate has completed the required internship and practicum experiences;
  • An Education Equivalency Worksheet, if the doctoral degree completed was not granted by an American Psychological Association-approved institution.

4. Complete Post-Doctoral Supervised Experience.

Psychologist candidates in Colorado are required to obtain supervised experience following the award of the doctoral degree in order to become eligible for licensure. The supervisor of the post-doctoral experience can be a licensed psychologist in Colorado or the equivalent in another state or a psychiatrist licensed as a physician and certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Candidates may have more than one supervisor, provided that all supervised hours are adequately documented.1

Colorado requires a minimum of 1,500 clock hours of post-doctoral experience, which must be accumulated over a period of twelve months or longer.1 Hours should also be “reasonably uniformly” distributed across the time period in which they are earned. Candidates for licensure may count up to 500 hours of teaching experience towards the post-doctoral experience requirements.1 Additionally, up to another 500 hours of experience may be accumulated in research experience.1

Post-doctoral experience must include at least 50 hours of training in racial/ethnic bases of behavior, though it is possible to substitute coursework equivalent to three semester hours of graduate level credit for these hours.1

5. Take the Colorado Mental Health Jurisprudence Examination.

The Colorado Mental Health Jurisprudence Examination is administered online at the IQT Computer Based Testing Network. This is an open-book examination with multiple choice questions based on Colorado statutes, rules, and regulations. Applicants receive their score immediately following completion of the exam. Should an applicant not pass the exam, a mandatory waiting period of ten days must pass prior to re-attempting the exam.1 Preparatory materials can be accessed through the Colorado State Board of Psychologist Examiners.

6. Take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

It is the candidate’s responsibility to contact the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards to arrange to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Candidates are approved to take the exam once the doctoral degree is granted. If the doctoral degree is earned in the state of Colorado, the Office of Licensing will forward the candidate’s information to Professional Examination Services, which will forward information for scheduling the EPPP to the applicant.

7. Apply to Become a Licensed Psychologist.

Once the prerequisites for licensure have been met, prospective psychologists may apply to the Colorado Board of Psychologist Examiners for licensure. The licensure packet must include:

  • The Application for Original License By Examination-Psychologist form, including the Affidavit of Eligibility;
  • The required fees for psychologist licensure;
  • Sealed official transcripts sent directly by the granting institution(s) to the Colorado State Board of Psychologist Examiners;
  • Post-degree experience and supervision forms documenting the completion of the required post-doctoral experience;
  • The printed results of the candidate’s Colorado Mental Health Profession’s Jurisprudence Examination;
  • EPPP scores forwarded to the Colorado State Board of Psychologist Examiners by the test administrator.

Candidates must complete all required experience and examinations within five years of the initial application for licensure. Note that candidates are also required to submit to the Division of Professions and Occupations a complete online Healthcare Professions Profile, which may be done at the Healthcare Professions Profiling Program website.

Additional Requirements and Information

There is much supplementary information about the psychologist licensing process in Colorado about which candidates should be aware. Further information about the process can be accessed from the Colorado State Board of Psychologist Examiners:

  • Compliance with the Healthcare Professions Profiling Program
  • Information on working with domestic violence offenders through the Domestic Violence Offender Management Board
  • Guidelines for the treatment of sex offenders from the Office of Domestic Violence and Sex Offender Management
  • Guidelines and qualifications for the supervision of other psychologists in trainee relationships
  • Military active duty licensing guidelines and renewal exceptions
  • Processes for licensure by endorsement

References:
1. Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Professions and Occupations: State Board of Psychologist Examiners https://www.colorado.gov/dora/boards_programs