Iowa Psychology Licensure Requirements

Psychology licenses in Iowa are overseen by the Iowa Board of Psychology, 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 finalize all licensing applications. To make the process easier for you, we’ve written this guide. Many questions may arise during this long and detailed process to licensure, such as:

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

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Iowa

There are three high-level steps to becoming a psychologist in the state. Step 1 is obtaining your bachelor’s degree and, if you choose, a master’s degree in psychology. Step 2 is completing your doctoral program with a PsyD or PhD from one of the various psychology schools in Iowa. Step 3 is securing your license, which includes gaining experience, taking exams, and an application process, steps which are outlined in further detail below.

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. While a bachelor’s degree must be from an accredited four-year college or university, the degree itself can be either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS), depending on the course of your studies. 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. As with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree can be either in the arts (a Master of Arts or MA) or the sciences (a Master of Science or MS), and both are acceptable if you want to become a psychologist in Iowa. An MA is typically more rooted in liberal arts while an MS has more of a focus on science and research. Master’s degrees usually take about two full-time years and 30-40 credits to complete.

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in psychology.

Once your bachelor’s degree and, if you chose, your master’s degree, are successfully obtained, 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 the differences between the two are described on the American Psychological Association’s (APA) website in detail. 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 The applicant must be licensed if they hold a specialty diploma by examination from the American Board of Professional Psychology.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Iowa.

There are several milestones that must be completed on the way to becoming a licensed psychologist in Iowa. These milestones include: completing one year of supervised work experience, submitting your application to the Iowa Board of Psychology, and successfully completing the EPPP exam. All are outlined in greater detail below.

Iowa Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Gain one year of supervised professional experience (SPE) in your area of training.

Once you’ve completed your doctoral program, the next step towards obtaining your license in Iowa is to complete one year of supervised professional 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 completed in no less than 10 months. 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 Iowa Board of Psychology Application below. This form may also need to be utilized if you become employed by your SPE location after completing your doctoral program or by another employer while waiting to take your EPPP exam below. Internships or work experience obtained during the course of your doctoral program may not be used towards your SPE requirement. However, if you begin your SPE upon completion of your doctoral program but before your degree is bestowed, this time can be credited towards the required 1,500 hours. In this case, an academic official from your doctoral program will have to provide written verification of your completion of the doctoral program to the Board. 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. Please continue reading for application details.

2. Complete the Application for Psychology Licensure.

You have a choice to complete the application online or by printing and mailing it to the Board. Regardless, a fee of $120 will be due at that time via credit card with online payments or via check with your printed and mailed application. 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 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 EPPP. The ASPPB will notify you of your eligibility via email and will provide instructions on how to schedule the exam.

3. 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 meant to measure your understanding of advanced psychological theories, clinical situations, ethics, and research. The cost of the exam is $687.50 and is due upon registration and scheduling. 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.

4. 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 provide 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 are no ongoing disciplinary issues against your existing license, and you 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 Application for Psychology Licensure and pay the $120 application fee. The Board will award you with a license to practice via mail once your application is approved. The Board can also provide licensure by reciprocal agreement with a practitioner from a foreign country, province, territory, state, or the District of Columbia, provided that location has licensure requirements that are equal or similar to those in the state of Iowa.

Provisional License

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 have already completed the Application for Psychology Licensure, paid the $120 fee, and ensured that the Board is in possession of your official doctoral transcript mailed from your college or university. Once the Board is in possession of these documents you must print and mail the Application for Psychology Provincial Licensure to the Iowa Psychology Board with a separate $120 fee. If your supervision plan has changed since you met your SPE requirement, you will also need to complete a new, notarized Supervision Registration Form and submit that with the application. Within two weeks of processing your application, the Board will award you with a provisional license to practice psychology via mail.

Certified Health Service Provider (HSP) in Psychology

Another psychology license that is available in the state of Iowa is the designation of health service provider. This license is for those practitioners who wish to specialize in evaluating, assessing, and treating mental disorders in a health service 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 highly 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 at that setting.

Upon completing your doctorate program and health services internship, post-doctorate clinical experience and passing your 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 Application for Health Service Provider in Psychology. A $60 fee in the form of a check or money order must be included with the printed application and supportive documents and mailed to the Board. 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.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

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 will receive renewal notification via email from the Iowa Psychology Board at 60, 50, 40, and 30 days prior to when your license expires. The email will provide a printable renewal form that can be completed and mailed back to the Board but renewal applicants are encouraged to renew their license online to expedite the process. Regardless of whether the renewal form is printed and mailed or completed online, a fee of $170 is due at the time of completion. 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.

Iowa Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the average salary for all psychologists, excluding teachers, in the state of Iowa is $83,460.1 The average salary for postsecondary psychology teachers in Iowa is $84,880.1 Projections Central predicts an average long-term growth of 11.8% for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists for the period of 2016-2026, which is higher than that of “all other” psychologists (predicted to see a 4.9% projected growth during that period).2 The psychology field with the highest projected growth for the state is postsecondary psychology teachers, with a rate of 15.1%, which is the same as the average growth projected for postsecondary psychology teachers in the US as a whole.2

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists650$75,070
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN/AN/A
Psychologists, All Other70$91,850
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary410$84,880

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1 Statistics for your locale may vary within this state.

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 the several factors, including where you live and the type of psychology you practice. On average, according to the BLS, psychologists (excluding educators) in the state of Iowa make $83,460, while postsecondary psychology teachers make a slightly higher salary with an average of $84,880.1

Additional Resources

  • Iowa Board of Psychology (IBP) – The Iowa Board of Psychology oversees all psychology license applicants by assessing their qualifications and bestowing licenses upon those who qualify. The Board also upholds the rules and regulations for the state’s psychologists and investigates any allegations of unprofessional conduct .
  • Iowa Psychology Association (IPA) – The goal of the IPA is to promote psychology as both a practice and a science in the state of Iowa. It offers psychologists access to news and information on its website as well as through educational opportunities such as conferences and lectures. The IPA also aims to give the state’s psychologists a setting in which to meet and share ideas.
  • American Psychological Association (APA) – The APA promotes psychology as a practice and science on a national level. It serves as an outlet of news, information, and research to all psychologists in the US and has established standards of ethics, conduct, and education for the field.

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017 State Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, Iowa: https://www.bls.gov/oes/tables.htm
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): https://www.projectionscentral.org/projections/longterm