Colorado Psychology Licensure Requirements
If you are interested in becoming a psychologist in Colorado, you will need to complete a doctoral degree in psychology, complete 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 (the Board), 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 to help guide you through the steps you will need to take.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Licensed Psychologist
- Licensure by Endorsement
- License Renewal and Continuing Education
- Related Licenses
- Jobs and Salary Information
- Additional Resources
- Frequently Asked Questions
- License Renewal and Continuing Education
How to Become a Psychologist in Colorado
1. Earn a bachelor’s degree and (optionally) a 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. Because becoming a licensed psychologist in the state involves attending a doctoral program in psychology, it can be helpful to major in psychology at this stage. Though not a requirement, prerequisite courses will likely have to be completed before entering graduate programs if your bachelor’s degree is not in psychology.
While not required, 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 master’s degree. Some students in psychology doctoral programs earn master’s degrees while completing their studies. Master’s degrees in psychology usually take about two years (30 to 40 credit hours).
2. Earn a doctoral degree in psychology.
The next required step towards psychology licensure is to complete a doctoral degree in psychology. There are two different types of psychology degrees at this level: a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology and 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 our home page. 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. Apply for a Psychologist Candidate permit.
After completing your doctoral studies, you will need to obtain a temporary Psychologist Candidate (PSYC) permit, which will allow you to gain supervised experience and take the exams. 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.
4. Gain one year of supervised post-degree experience.
In Colorado, you need to complete 1,500 hours of supervised post-doctoral experience and supervision (over the course of no fewer than 12 months), and at least 75 hours of supervision (at least 50 of these must be spent in individual, face-to-face supervision). 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. 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. 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. 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.
5. 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 administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). The EPPP consists of 225 multiple-choice questions and you need to earn a scaled score of 500 or higher to pass. There is a EPPP practice exam to assist in preparing for the EPPP.
In addition to the EPPP, you will 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.
6. 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.
7. Receive your psychology license from the Board.
After the Board reviews your application and finds it to be complete, you will be notified when your license is issued.
Colorado Licensure by Endorsement
Licensure by reciprocity is not available in Colorado; however, 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 submit transcripts for a doctoral degree in psychology that was APA- approved or equivalent. You will have to show that you completed a year of postdoctoral experience that meets Colorado’s post-degree requirements or two years of practice in psychotherapy or professional counseling, as well as proof of passing 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, pay the $40 application fee, and take the Mental Health Jurisprudence Examination, which costs $20. The Board provides a checklist to help guide you through the application.
License Renewal and Continuing Education
All Colorado psychology licenses expire every two years (on August 31 of odd-numbered years), unless you have received your license within the 120 days preceding the universal expiration date. 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 over up to 10 PDH to the next period as long as the hours were completed in the three months before renewal.
Once you have completed your CPD requirements for a given cycle, you can renew your license through the online portal. For more details on Colorado’s CPD rules, see the Continuing Professional Development Manual.
In addition to the standard psychologist license described above, Colorado also issues a provisional psychologist license, which allows you to practice under supervision solely in a residential child care facility (RCF). 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.. Applications for provisional psychology licenses are completed through the online portal and cost $70. You must also submit a Verification of Practice form.
The Colorado Department of Education regulates the profession of school psychologists in the state. In order to become a school psychologist, you must first complete an approved specialist-level or doctoral program with a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours for the preparation of school psychologists at an accepted, regionally accredited institution. You then must pass the National Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) or Praxis 5402 exam. Finally, you must complete a practicum and 1,200-hour internship, 600 hours of which must take place in a school setting.
Colorado Psychologist Jobs and Salary Information
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2021, the average salary for psychologists in Colorado (excluding educators) was $95,000.1 Postsecondary psychology teachers earned an average of $74,040.1
The number of psychology jobs in Colorado is expected to rise substantially between 2020 and 2030, with an average expected increase of 18.1%.2 Specifically, the number of counseling, clinical, and school psychology jobs is expected to increase by 20.7% and the number of postsecondary psychology teacher jobs is expected to increase by 26.9%, while the number of “all other” psychologist jobs is expected to rise by 6.8%.2 These are considerably higher than the national averages, which predict a 10.4% increase in counseling, clinical, and school psychology jobs, a 2.0% increase in “all other” psychology jobs, and a 10.2% increase in postsecondary psychology teacher jobs across all states during this same time period.2
|Occupation||Number Employed1||Average Annual Salary1|
|Clinical and Counseling Psychologists||980||$86,760|
|Psychologists, All Other||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary||810||$74,040|
- Colorado Psychological Association (CPA): State organization for psychologists; includes information on continuing education opportunities.
- Colorado Society of School Psychologists (CSSP): State organization with resources for school psychologists.
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. School psychologists can become licensed with an Education Specialist (EdS) degree.
How much do psychologists in Colorado make?
On average, psychologists in Colorado, excluding educators, earned $95,000 per year as of May 2021.1 Salaries vary by area of practice, with counseling and clinical psychologists making an average of $86,760 and school psychologists making an average of $103,240.1 Postsecondary psychology teachers earned an average of $74,040.1
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Colorado: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_co.htm
2. Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm