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Massachusetts Psychology Licensure Requirements

The practice of psychology is one of the fastest growing professions in Massachusetts, especially as competitive salaries continue to improve and people discover their passion for helping others. However, becoming a psychologist in the Bay State isn’t as simple as deciding to suddenly start applying for psychology jobs.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration of Psychologists regulates the state’s practicing and licensed psychologists, ensuring the sustained integrity of the profession. Unsure about the requirements of becoming a psychologist in the Bay State? At Psychology Degree 411, we understand the challenges of navigating the licensure process on your own. This is exactly why we’ve created a roadmap for aspiring psychologists to follow at every step of their journey. Below are some of the most common questions people have about becoming a psychologist in Massachusetts.

» How do I become a Psychologist in Massachusetts?
» I have earned a PhD or PsyD and I am ready to learn how to get a Psychologist License in Massachusetts.
» Why does Massachusetts require fingerprinting and criminal background checks to become a licensed Psychologist?
» What are the Massachusetts Supervised Professional Experience Rules and Regulations?
» What Psychology Exams are required in Massachusetts?

Three Steps to Become a Psychologist in Massachusetts

Whether you’re currently in high school and are investigating psychology programs or are in the postdoctoral stage and are in the midst of the licensing process, we can help you take the next step:

1. Earn a BS in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Psychology. Education should be your primary focus during the vast majority of your time as you become a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts. Earning your BS and master’s degree will set the stage for the advanced area of study in your chosen field of psychology. While you’ll certainly want to see the sights and experience many of the offerings the East Coast has to boast of, spend most of your energy building a strong base upon which you can establish your doctorate career.

2. Earn a PhD or PsyD in Psychology. Your doctoral studies will ensure a strong future in your career as a psychologist. Graduating and earning your doctorate degree from an accredited school is absolutely crucial in the credentialing process of earning your license as a psychologist. While your college degree program will allow you to understand a brief overview of the practice of psychology, your doctorate studies are what refine your expertise in a particular field.

At Psychology Degree 411, we’ve compiled a list of all the psychology programs in Massachusetts. With so much advanced and leading research originating from the colleges and universities in the state of Massachusetts, you’ll find yourself in an area where the profession is growing and professionals are eager to play an active role in the industry.

3. Get Licensed to Practice Psychology in Massachusetts. Once you’ve earned your doctorate degree, it’s time to begin the process of becoming a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts. The following section explains how:

Massachusetts Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Complete a Background Check and Fingerprint Procedures.

As a psychologist in the state of Massachusetts, you will be working directly with the mental health and hygiene of the state’s citizens. It’s for this very reason that the Board of Registration of Psychologists requires a simple background check to ensure the safety and welfare of the general public. This basic background check includes digital fingerprinting, which will reference your fingerprint with the state’s databases to ensure that you have no criminal record that could impede your ability to work as a professional psychologist.

Fingerprinting services in Massachusetts are provided by MyFBIReport. We suggest browsing MyFBIReport to find your closest location in Massachusetts. Once you’ve found your closest provider, be sure to call them to learn more about their hours of operations and how you can schedule an appointment to fulfill this requirement.

If you’d like to learn more about the background check and the basic procedures associated with becoming a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts, be sure to check out the Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation webpage.

2. Complete Supervised Professional Experience (SPE) Requirements.

According to the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Psychologists, all applicants must participate in supervised professional experience – or SPE. This educational requirement occurs in a professional setting, ensuring that you gain the on-location experience of working with different types of people in a supervised environment. Through SPE, you’ll have the opportunity to practice the theories and various lessons learned throughout the years of your education.

A minimum of 1,200 of these SPE hours must be part of your master’s practicum, with the remaining hours earned after you receive your doctorate degree.2

If you’re unsure about the SPE requirements in the state of Massachusetts, be sure to review the Board of Registration of Psychologists’ expectations.

Predoctoral Professional Experience Requirements
After 48 semesters or trimesters, a minimum of 1,200 hours must be earned as part of your master’s studies.2 For these hours to count, the internship or professional experience should match the qualifications as described by the American Psychological Association.1 To learn more about all the ways in which you can gain SPE pre-doctorally, review the Instructions for Licensing Application for License to Practice Psychology in Massachusetts to understand the ways to earn predoctoral SPE.2

Postdoctoral Professional Experience Requirements
After you’ve received your doctorate degree, the state of Massachusetts requires an additional two years of SPE. This experience in a professional setting with a qualified supervisor will help you transition from the educational phase into your professional career. This can take form through researching, teaching, or assisting a licensed psychologist.

Regardless of how you acquire your postdoctorate SPE, the experience must revolve around the most current practices in the industry and implement the theories that you studied in your education.

Verification of Required Experience
In order for your SPE requirements to be fulfilled, the state of Massachusetts requires that you verify the experience using the licensing application. Not only must your supervisor fill out the appropriate paperwork, but the Dean and Registrar of the institution where you received your doctoral degree must also validate and confirm that your SPE requirements were satisfied.

To learn more about the process, you may refer to the American Psychological Association to better understand the SPE requirements and why they’re so important to becoming a licensed psychologist.1

3. Pass The Massachusetts Psychology Licensing Exams.

Once you’ve completed your education and the accompanying requirements, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test. All applicants must take and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Otherwise known as the EPPP, this test is administered via computer and consists of 225 multiple-choice questions. A minimum of 70% – a scaled score of 500 – or more is required to pass.

Because this examination is so crucial to the licensing process, it would be wise to register for the EPPP practice exam. By studying and taking the practice examination, you’ll feel more prepared for the actual test. You’ll be surprised how similar the practice test is to the authentic one and how much practicing under the similar parameters in which the test will be administered will help you prepare for the final examination.

4. Submit an Application for Psychologist Licensure in Massachusetts.

Once you’ve passed your EPPP, you’re nearly there. With all your education, experience, and examination requirements under your belt, you’re ready to submit your application to become a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts. This application includes all the necessary documents needed, including the verification of your SPE.

Once you’ve filled out the entire application, be sure to mail it to:

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Division of Professional Licensure
Board of Registration of Psychologists
1000 Washington Street, Suite 710
Boston, MA 02118-6100

Additional Requirements and Information

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the process of becoming a professional psychologist in the state of Massachusetts. It’s a challenging journey, but one that’s well worth it for those who are passionate about helping others. If you’re still confused about the licensure process, the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Psychologists provides information concerning every step of the process. Additional information concerning the following requirements includes:

  • Coursework verification form
  • All the required application paperwork and internship director forms
  • Coursework focusing on child abuse
  • Tips on having your application approved
  • Information for those seeking to have their license renewed

References:
1. American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/apags/resources/internships.aspx
2. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration of Psychologists Division of Professional Licensure: Application Packet Checklist: https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/07/ov/99pyap.pdf