Iowa Psychology Licensure Requirements

Psychology licenses in Iowa are overseen by the Iowa Board of Psychology (the Board), which is under the umbrella of the state’s Bureau of Professional Licensure and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). In order to fulfill all the steps required to obtain a license, you must complete specific educational requirements, fulfill necessary supervised work experience, successfully complete the state’s examination requirements, and submit all licensing applications and fees. To make the Iowa licensing process easier for you, we have written this guide.

Table of Contents

How to Become a Psychologist in Iowa

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

Earning a bachelor’s degree is usually the first step that must be taken towards pursuing a license in psychology. Your bachelor’s degree does not have to be in the field of psychology, though if it is not, you will likely have to complete certain prerequisites before applying to a master’s or doctoral program. A typical course of full-time study for a bachelor’s degree should take four years and 120 course credits to complete.

Most doctoral programs either do not require a master’s degree or offer a master’s degree as part of the PsyD or PhD degree. However, if your bachelor’s degree was in a field other than psychology or if you wish to gain additional educational experience before dedicating yourself to a doctoral program, you may choose to pursue a stand-alone master’s degree. Master’s degrees in psychology usually take about two full-time years and 30-40 credits to complete.

2. Earn a doctoral degree in psychology.

Once your bachelor’s degree and, if you chose, your master’s degree, are complete, you will need to complete a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology . The state of Iowa accepts both of these doctoral degrees but there are distinct differences between the two. The length of your doctoral program will vary, depending on factors such as whether it includes a master’s degree and if you have chosen an area of specialization. Generally speaking, you can obtain your doctorate within four to seven years.

The state of Iowa’s only requirement for licensure is that your doctorate degree be from an institution that is accredited by the APA, Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), or designated by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)/National Register Designation Project. Applicants can also be licensed if they hold a specialty diploma by examination from the American Board of Professional Psychology.

For a comprehensive list of the doctoral programs offered in Iowa, see our Psychology Schools in Iowa page.

3. Gain 10 months of supervised experience in your area of training.

Once you’ve completed your doctoral program, the next step towards obtaining your license in Iowa is to complete at least 10 months of supervised experience. This experience must take place in an APA-approved setting and be accomplished through a minimum of 1,500 hours on a full- or part-time basis and completed in no less than 10 months. Some employers may require a provisional license for you to practice under supervision. Throughout the course of your SPE, you are required to meet with your supervisor weekly on an individual basis for no less than 45 total hours during the total experience. Upon beginning your SPE, your supervisor is required to complete and notarize a Supervision Registration Form that will be submitted with your application.

Internships or work experience obtained during the course of your doctoral program may not be used towards your SPE requirement. Upon completion of your 1,500 hours of SPE, your supervisor must complete and notarize the Supervision Report that will also be submitted with your application.

4. Submit your application for licensure to the Board.

You must complete the application online and pay the $120 application fee. In addition to the application form, your doctoral program will need to send an official transcript signifying the completion of your studies directly to the Board. You will also need to submit your Supervision Registration and Supervision Report forms with the application. Upon approval of your completed application, the Board will notify the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) of your qualification to take the national exam. The ASPPB will notify you of your eligibility via email and will provide instructions on how to schedule the exam.

5. Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).

To become licensed as a psychologist in the state of Iowa, you must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). This is a standardized, national exam of 225 multiple choice questions developed by the ASPPB meant to measure your understanding of advanced psychological theories, clinical situations, ethics, and research. Once you are approved to take the EPPP you have one year in which to schedule and take the exam. A score of at least 500 is considered passing by both the EPPP standards and those of the state of Iowa. You can find an EPPP practice exam on the ASPPB website.

6. Receive your license from the Board.

The Iowa Board of Psychology will notify you of your EPPP score by mail within two weeks of your completion of the exam. Should you receive a passing score, your license to practice psychology will be included with this notification.

Iowa Licensure by Endorsement

The state of Iowa does offer licensure by endorsement for out-of-state applicants who are looking to relocate from their prior state of practice. The state will accept a current Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology (CPQ) as official proof that you have met all the educational, SPE, and testing requirements in your prior state of practice. There must also be no ongoing disciplinary issues against your existing license and you must have at least five years of licensed experience. If you do not have a CPQ, the Iowa Psychology Board requires an official copy of your EPPP score mailed directly from the ASPBB or your prior state of licensure. Your official doctoral transcript will also need to be sent to the Board directly from the college or university where you obtained your degree. In addition, you are responsible for submitting verification of your prior state’s license as well as documentation that verifies you completed the SPE requirements in your prior state.

Out-of-state applicants must also complete the online application and pay the $120 application fee. The Board will award you with a license to practice via mail once your application is approved.

License Renewal and Continuing Education

In the state of Iowa, psychology licenses are valid for a two-year period from July 1 of even-numbered years until June 30 of the next even-numbered year. You may begin the renewal process on May 2 of even-numbered years. You will receive renewal notification via email from the Iowa Psychology Board 60, 50, 40, and 30 days prior to when your license expires. Failure of the licensee to receive notice from the Board does not relieve the licensee of the responsibility for renewing the license. Renewal applicants should renew their license online and submit the $170 fee. Upon processing your form and payment, the Board will issue you a new two-year license via mail.

During the two-year period for which your psychology license is valid, you are responsible for gaining 40 hours of continuing education (CE). You are exempt from this CE requirement for your first license renewal period. Any CE credits you have obtained from when you were first licensed to the second renewal period may be carried over at that time, but this is the only instance in which the carrying over of CE hours will be permitted.

For the second license renewal, you are required to have at least six CE hours devoted to the subjects of Iowa mental health laws and regulations and risk management. For all renewal periods following the second renewal, the six hours of required CE topics can be selected from the following areas: ethical issues, federal mental health laws and regulations, Iowa mental health laws and regulations, or risk management. All remaining CE hours must be educational experiences that are APA-approved or approved by the Board. While the Board does not require a record of CE hours to be submitted with each license renewal, it reserves the right to spontaneously audit your CE hours at any renewal time.

Conditional Prescribing Psychologist

A conditional prescribing psychologist certificate shall authorize a psychologist to prescribe medications to patients. To apply for a conditional prescribing psychologist certificate you will need to hold an active license to practice psychology in Iowa and an active health service provider (HSP) certification issued by the board, complete specific educational requirements, submit a supervision plan, possess malpractice insurance, and submit the application and $270 fee. A conditional prescribing psychologist certificate is valid for a period of four years from the issue date.

Health Service Provider (HSP)

The state of Iowa offers a designation of health service provider (HSP) to qualifying psychologist candidates. This license is for those practitioners who wish to specialize in evaluating, assessing, and treating mental disorders in a clinical setting. To be eligible for licensure as a health service provider you must have been licensed as a psychologist and providing clinical health services for at least two years. The first year of training must be as an internship or organized health services training program during your doctoral studies. This internship must have a planned, sequential curriculum in which you learn the range of assessment and treatment options for mental health disorders. A minimum of 375 hours must be spent in direct patient contact and four hours of supervision per week is required. Two of these hours must be spent in individual supervision while the other two hours can be devoted to group supervision, case conferences, or seminars. In total, the organized health service training program must encompass at least 1,500 hours and be accomplished in no less than 12 months within a consecutive 24-month time frame. The second year of health service provider supervised training is post-doctoral and must take place in a recognized health service setting under direct supervision from a doctorate-level supervisor who is employed in that setting.

Upon completing your doctorate program, health services internship, post-doctorate clinical experience, passing the EPPP exam, and becoming licensed, you have the option of becoming registered with the National Register of Health Service Providers. A notarized copy of your registration will suffice as proof of your required two years of clinical experience when applying for a health service provider license in Iowa. If you choose not to become a member of the National Register, you will need to submit proof of your supervised clinical experience via a Organized Health Service Training Program Confirmation Form and a Supervision Confirmation Form with your online Application for Health Service Provider in Psychology and the $60 fee. Your health services provider license will be mailed to you when your application is reviewed and determined to have met all of the above qualifications.

Provisional Psychologist

In the state of Iowa, your employer may require you to obtain a provisional license if you will be employed as a non-licensed psychologist while waiting to take your EPPP exam. A provisional license enables you to practice psychology as long as you are under the supervision of a supervisor who meets all the qualifications of the supervisory role as set out by the Board. This license is valid for two years but can only be renewed one additional time with the submission of a new provisional application, fee, and supervision plan. In order to obtain your provisional license, you must complete the Application for Psychology Provisional Licensure, pay the $120 fee, and ensure that the Board receives your official doctoral transcript mailed from your college or university. You will also need to complete the Supervision Registration Form and submit that with the application.

School Psychologist

School psychologists in Iowa are regulated by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE). In order to become a school psychologist in the state, you will need to have completed a master’s degree and a school psychology program. You will first need an Initial Professional Service License, which is good for two years and can be renewed up to two times. You can apply online. Once you have completed two years of successful service in an Iowa public school or three years in an accredited private or out-of-state school, you will be able to convert your initial license to a full Professional Service License, which is good for a term of five years. In order to renew you will need to complete training for child and dependent adult abuse.

Iowa Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that, as of May 2021, the average salary for clinical and counseling psychologists in the state of Iowa was $103,070, the average salary for school psychologists was $67,710, and the average salary for all other psychologists was $106,200.1 The average salary for postsecondary psychology teachers in Iowa is $90,930.1 Projections Central predicts an average long-term growth of 12% for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Iowa for the period of 2020 through 2030 (higher than the 10.4% expected nationwide), while no growth is expected for “all other” psychologists during that time period.2 Postsecondary psychology teachers are expected to see growth of 12.5% through 2030, equating to 40 average annual job openings.2

OccupationNumber Employed1Average Annual Salary1
Clinical and Counseling Psychologists330$103,070
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN.Av.N.Av.
Psychologists, All Other90$106,200
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary330$90,930
School Psychologists360$67,710

Additional Resources

  • Iowa Psychology Association (IPA): Promotes psychology as both a practice and a science in the state, offering psychologists access to news and information on its website as well as through educational opportunities such as conferences and lectures.
  • Iowa School Psychologists Association (ISPA): Aims to increase student achievement and promote behavioral, social, and emotional well-being by providing professional development to and advocating for school psychologists.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a psychologist in Iowa?

There is some variation in the length of time it takes to become a licensed psychologist in Iowa due to the different choices you may make in the course of your study. While a bachelor’s degree usually takes four full-time years to complete, you may choose to pursue a separate master’s degree after your bachelor’s, requiring another two years of study. The last step in your education, obtaining a doctorate, typically includes a master’s degree and takes four to seven years to complete. On average, it can take roughly 10 years to become a licensed psychologist in Iowa.

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

The state of Iowa requires that you have a doctorate in psychology (a PsyD or PhD) in order to become a licensed psychologist.

How much do psychologists in Iowa make?

Your psychology salary in Iowa will depend on several factors, including where you live and the type of psychology you practice. On average, according to the BLS, psychologists in the state of Iowa, excluding educators, make $92,327 per year. Postsecondary psychology teachers make an average of $90,930.1

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