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Georgia Psychology Licensure Requirements

In order to practice as a clinical psychologist in the state of Georgia, you need to first obtain a license from the Georgia State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (the “Board”). The Board requires applicants to have a doctoral degree (PsyD or PhD). They must also have completed an internship and 1,500 hours of postdoctoral supervised work experience (SWE). The Board further requires candidates to pass three examinations: the national Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), the state Jurisprudence Examination, and an oral examination before the Board. Though the process of obtaining a license to practice psychology in Georgia can seem complicated, this step-by-step guide should make it more straightforward. Some important questions that often arise during the process include:

» How do I become a psychologist in Georgia?
» Now that I have earned a PhD or PsyD, how do I become licensed as a psychologist in Georgia?
» What are Georgia’s requirements in regard to supervised work experience?
» What examinations must I pass in order to become licensed in Georgia?
» I am already a licensed psychologist in another state; how do I become licensed in Georgia by endorsement?
» How do I renew my psychology license in Georgia?
» How much do psychologists in Georgia make?

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Georgia

There are three high-level steps to becoming a psychologist in the state of Georgia. First, you should obtain a bachelor’s degree. This is followed by master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology, together with supervised clinical work experience. Finally, you should pursue licensure with the Georgia Board of Psychology.

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

A bachelor’s degree is the first step toward becoming a licensed psychologist in Georgia. A bachelor’s degree in psychology may be a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. Students with the goal of becoming clinical psychologists someday may choose to major in fields other than psychology without affecting their eventual chances of obtaining licenses. However, something to keep in mind is that some graduate programs require applicants who didn’t major in psychology as undergraduates to take additional prerequisite courses before they can be considered for admission. A bachelor’s degree typically takes around four years of full-time study to complete and usually comprises about 120 semester hours.

Some people pursue a master’s degree in psychology or a related field after earning their bachelor’s in psychology. Some doctoral programs require a master’s degree prior to application, while others include earning a master’s in the process of earning a doctorate. Still others incorporate master’s-level achievement milestones but do not confer a master’s degree. If you do earn a master’s degree before deciding to pursue a doctorate, the degree may be in psychology or a related field. A master’s degree may be a Master of Science (MS) or a Master of Arts (MA). Master’s degrees in psychology typically take around two years of full-time study to complete and require around 36-54 semester credits.

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in psychology.

For licensure in Georgia, you need to complete graduate studies culminating in either a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology. For information on the differences between the two degrees, read more on the American Psychological Association (APA) website. In Georgia, the doctorate must be earned at a professional training program that is regionally accredited and the program must be in applied psychology and accredited by the APA or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). There are many accredited psychology programs in Georgia. Most psychology doctoral programs require four to seven years to complete.

For an applicant’s PsyD or PhD to meet state licensure requirements, it must have included three full-time years of academic study and a supervised predoctoral practicum experience (internship) of at least 2,000 hours. Georgia has an academic residency requirement, as well, meaning that degrees obtained via videoconferencing or from online programs will not be accepted by the licensing board. Bear in mind that somewhat different requirements apply to degrees earned outside the US, degrees in industrial/organizational psychology, and degrees from mental retardation/developmental disability training programs. Most doctorate in psychology programs take between four and seven years to complete.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Georgia.

Before anything else, it’s a good idea to confirm that Georgia requires a license for the particular psychology profession that you have in mind. Someone planning to work as a school psychologist, for example, may not require licensure in Georgia. See the Georgia Code, section 43, chapter 39-7 for more information on this. For those who do require a license, in the following sections we detail the steps (and accompanying fees) you must accomplish, in order to obtain a psychology license from the Board.

Georgia Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Gain the required postdoctoral supervised work experience.

As part of earning the doctorate, a licensure candidate will have completed a supervised internship, or predoctoral practicum, of at least 2,000 hours. Following completion of the doctoral program, a further internship is required. This is the postdoctoral supervised work experience (SWE). The SWE consists of 1,500 hours of work and must include at least 500 hours of client contact. The SWE must be individually supervised by a qualified professional, a current board-licensed psychologist. If the supervisor’s license is not in Georgia, it must be in another state whose licensure standards meet or exceed those of Georgia. Note that different internship requirements apply to specialty areas such as industrial/organizational psychology, mental retardation/developmental disability, and others. For the requirements for both pre- and postdoctoral internships, refer to Chapter 510-2 of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, where they are spelled out in complete detail. Note that, for the duration of the SWE, you will be required to have a provisional license to practice. The Board issues provisional licenses to candidates for permanent licensure who have passed all the written examinations and need only to complete their SWE and oral examination.

2. Initiate an application with the Board.

When you have completed your SWE or you have less than one year to go on it, you may initiate a license application with the Board. The Application Initiation Form begins with general instructions for the process of applying for state licensure. The fee for filing is $100. Application initiation requires that you provide personal background information and details about your education and training as a psychologist. The form includes an Affidavit Regarding Citizenship that you will need to fill out and have notarized.

After you have submitted your initial application, the Association of State & Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) will send you instructions for how to complete the PLUS online application. There is an additional fee of $200 for this application, to be submitted directly to ASPPB. After the ASPPB has reviewed and verified your application, they will confirm it with the Board, who will notify you that you may sit for the EPPP exam.

3. Pass the three licensing examinations required by the State of Georgia.

The first examination is the national Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), administered by Professional Examination Services (PES). Multiple choice in format, the examination covers a range of competencies, such as: bases of behavior (biological, cognitive-affective, social, and multicultural), life-span development, assessment and diagnosis, treatment, research methods and statistics, and issues of ethics, the law, and functioning as a professional. The fee to take the EPPP is $600, plus a test site appointment fee of $87.50, and is paid to Pearson VUE.

The second examination is the Georgia Psychology Jurisprudence (Laws & Rules) Examination, administered by PSI Services LLC. After passing the EPPP, you will receive information with instructions for registering for the Jurisprudence exam. This exam takes one hour and covers matters such as competence, professional relationships, licensing and regulations, privacy, recordkeeping, and fees. The fee to take the exam is $85 and is paid to PSI.

The third examination is the Oral Examination before the Board. Once you have achieved passing scores on the EPPP and Jurisprudence exams, you will contact the Board to schedule your Oral Examination. This exam is approximately 30 minutes long. It covers diagnostic skills, intervention skills, awareness of limitations, professional ethical principles and practices, and knowledge of Georgia law. It will include discussion of a Quality of Work Sample that you provide.

4. Get licensed by the Board.

When you have achieved passing scores on all three examinations and have submitted all required supporting documentation for your application, you may check online for verification of your licensure status.

Georgia Licensure by Endorsement

Licensure by endorsement in Georgia is similar to what is called “licensure by reciprocity” in many other states and allows a professionally credentialed psychologist from another jurisdiction to obtain permission to practice as a psychologist in Georgia. The process of applying for licensure by endorsement is very similar to applying for licensure by examination, described above. If you hold a currently valid license in a state other than Georgia, you may apply for licensure in Georgia. For details, see Section 510-3-.02 of the Georgia Rules. As is the case for application by examination, outlined above, you begin by filling out an Application Initiation Form and submitting it to the Board together with a secure and verifiable document (SVD), an affidavit of citizenship, and a fee of $100. The ASPPB will contact you with instructions for completing the PLUS online application. You will then submit an additional fee of $200 directly to ASPPB.

The Board reviews these applications on a case-by-case basis. As with licensure by examination, you will need to earn passing scores on both the Georgia Psychology Jurisprudence Examination (for a fee of $85) and the Oral Examination administered by the Board. With regard to the EPPP examination, the Board may waive this requirement for applicants who have already passed the exam or who have been a licensed, practicing psychologist since a time before the EPPP was required for state licensure.

When you have passed the required examinations and completed your application, you can check online for verification confirmation of your licensure.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Education Information

In Georgia, the license renewal period is two years (from January 1 of odd-numbered years through December 31 of even-numbered years). A minimum of 40 credits of continuing professional education (CPE) must be completed during these two years. Your choice of education activities must be relevant to your professional activities. Six of the credits must be in professional ethics and these must be earned at workshops that you attend in person. For details on the topics and types of activities that fulfill the remaining credit requirements, as well as a list of approved sponsors of continuing education, see Section 510-8 of the Georgia Rules. The license renewal fee is $250, payable to the Board.

Georgia Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Georgia earn an average salary of $83,500 per year, “all other” psychologists earn an average of $94,660, and postsecondary psychology teachers earn an average of $76,170.1 Projections Central predicts significant growth of employment in the field of psychology, especially in Georgia. The number of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Georgia is predicted to increase by an average of 17.6% by the year 2026 and the number of all other psychologists by 11% in the same interval, both higher than the national average for those job categories2

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists2,050$83,500
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN/AN/A
Psychologists, All Other310$94,660
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary470$76,170

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 Georgia?

You can expect it to take about a decade to become a licensed psychologist in Georgia. It depends partly on how quickly you complete the bachelor’s degree, which is typically four years of full-time study. The graduate degrees then typically take four to seven years to complete. In addition to these years of schooling, Georgia requires 1,500 hours of postdoctoral supervised work experience. This may be carried out over an interval of from 11 to 24 months and cannot commence until all requirements for the doctoral degree are completed.

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

The Georgia State Board of Examiners of Psychologists requires that candidates have a doctoral degree in psychology in order to be licensed. This may be either a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology. Though a master’s degree is often earned along the way to earning a doctorate, a master’s in addition to the doctorate is not a requirement for licensure in Georgia.

Where can I find out more about APA and CPA accredited psychology doctoral programs in Georgia?

The APA provides a searchable database of accredited programs, along with helpful suggestions for how to choose a program and guidance on many other topics of import for psychology students and license-seekers. The CPA lists accredited programs on their website. You can also visit our Georgia Schools in Psychology page for more information.

How much do psychologists in Georgia make?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Georgia earn an average salary of $83,500 per year, psychologists of other types earn $94,660, and postsecondary psychology teachers earn $76,170.1

In Georgia, does everyone working in the field of psychology require a license?

No. See the Georgia Code, section 43, chapter 39-7 for information on this. School psychologists and social workers, among others, may not need to obtain a license from the Georgia Board of Examiners of Psychologists.

Additional Resources

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