Massachusetts Psychology Licensure Requirements
In Massachusetts, psychology licensure is overseen by the Board of Registration of Psychologists (the Board). To become a practicing psychologist in Massachusetts, you will need to obtain an undergraduate degree, complete a doctoral degree in psychology, submit an application to the Board, complete supervised clinical hours, and pass national and state exams. We’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you through the process of becoming a licensed psychologist.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Licensed Psychologist
- Licensure by Reciprocity
- 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 Massachusetts
1. Earn a bachelor’s degree and (optionally) a master’s degree in psychology.
If you are interested in becoming a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts, the first required step is to complete a bachelor’s degree, which usually takes about four years of full-time attendance (120 credit hours). You are not required to major in psychology for this degree, but if you do not, you will likely need to complete additional prerequisites before entering a graduate program in psychology.
After you complete your bachelor’s degree, you may also choose to complete a stand-alone master’s degree in psychology. The length of master’s degree programs in psychology varies, but they usually take two to three years to complete (30-40 credit hours). Earning a stand-alone master’s degree after your bachelor’s degree is optional, however. You do not need one to apply to most doctoral programs and you may even earn one during your doctoral program.
2. Earn a doctoral degree in psychology.
After you have completed a bachelor’s degree (and a master’s degree, if you opt for one), the next step is to complete a doctoral degree in psychology. There are two different doctoral-level psychology degree options in the field: a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology and a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Although both of these degrees will prepare you to become a licensed psychologist, there are differences between them. For more information on these degrees and how they differ, please visit this page.
To become licensed by the Board, you need to attend a doctoral program that is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), recognized by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB), recognized by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists (NRHSP), or provides training commensurate with programs approved by these organizations. As part of the supervised experience required for licensure, your program must include a one-year (1,600-hour) internship, which can be counted towards the supervised work experience required by the state. For more information on the doctoral programs in Massachusetts, please visit our Psychology Schools in Massachusetts page.
3. Complete two years of supervised experience in health service settings.
If your goal is to practice as an independent, clinical psychologist who serves clients, you will need to apply for licensure as a Health Service Provider (HSP). If you do not wish to provide services to clients, you do not have to apply as an HSP, so you can skip this step and proceed to Step 4. Before submitting your application, you must complete at least two years (3,200 hours) of supervised experience. One of these years (1,600 hours) must be completed in an organized “health service training program,” which the Board defines as a predoctoral internship or postdoctoral training program that is either approved by the APA or meets similar standards. The remaining 1,600 hours can come from any combination of practicum placements during your doctoral program, your predoctoral internship, and postdoctoral training. Of these 3,200 hours, at least 800 must involve direct contact with patients.
For supervised experience hours to be counted towards the requirement, they must be earned in a health service setting (please see the “Is This a Health Service Setting?” form on the licensure application packet if you are unsure). Additionally, you must receive at least one hour of supervision for every 16 hours of work and at least half of your supervision must be received from a licensed psychologist. Each of the clinical placements being used for supervised experience must be at least four months long and consist of at least 16 hours of work per week. Internship and non-internship supervisor forms can be found in the application packet linked above.
Supervised experience hours from practicum placements have some additional stipulations. They can only be counted if you have already completed two full years of graduate school by the time you begin the placement. At least 50% of the hours from these placements must be from health service-related activities and 25% of the hours must be in direct contact with patients. Additionally, a formal training plan must be developed between your doctoral program and your practicum setting to ensure that you are receiving adequate training.
4. Submit an application for licensure to the Board.
After you have completed your supervised experience requirements, you will need to review Massachusetts’s licensure application packet, apply through the ePlace portal, and submit a $150 application fee. On your application, you should specify that you are applying for both “Licensure as Psychologist by Examination” and “Certification as a Health Service Provider.” As part of your application, you must submit a form completed by your academic program director, a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Acknowledgement form, and have official transcripts and a professional and ethical reference form submitted on your behalf. You also must complete Board-approved training in domestic and sexual violence and apply to be a fully participating or non-billing provider with MassHealth. The first pages of the packet consist of a checklist to help you ensure that you do not forget any of the required components of the application.
5. Pass the Massachusetts psychology licensing exams.
After the Board has reviewed your application, they will notify you when you are approved to sign up for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). The EPPP is a 250-item, multiple-choice, national exam administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) that assesses broad knowledge of psychology. To pass the EPPP, you need a scaled score of 500 or higher. There is an EPPP practice exam to help you prepare.
When the Board approves your application, they will also send you information on signing up for Massachusetts’s jurisprudence exam. This is a one-hour test consisting of 20 multiple-choice questions on regulations and legal statutes related to the practice of psychology in Massachusetts. Although the Board does not provide any specific study materials, the information for this exam is contained in the Psychology Jurisprudence Book.
6. Receive your license from the Board.
After you have completed all the steps above, congratulations! You have completed all the necessary steps for licensure in Massachusetts. After the Board is notified that you have passed your exams, they will contact you to let you know that your license has officially been issued.
Massachusetts Licensure by Reciprocity
If you are already licensed as a psychologist in another state, you may be eligible to transfer your license to Massachusetts. To be eligible to transfer your license by reciprocity, you must have been licensed in your current state for at least five years, have a doctoral degree that meets Massachusetts’s educational requirements, and be listed in the National Register of Health Service Psychologists. If you meet these criteria, you will need to review the Board’s licensure application packet, apply through the ePlace portal, and submit a $150 application fee. You do not need to submit the Internship Program Director form, the Post-Internship Supervisor form, or the Advanced Practicum Supervised Experience form from the packet. However, you will need to submit a verification letter from the state where you are licensed, have your EPPP scores submitted, and arrange for official verification of registration with the National Register to be sent to the Board.
If you do not meet the criteria for reciprocity, you will need to complete all of the application steps listed above to apply as a new candidate for licensure. If you have already met some of the requirements (e.g., have already passed the EPPP), you do not need to repeat them, but you will be asked to provide proof of them when you submit your application.
License Renewal and Continuing Education
Once you have been issued a license to practice psychology in Massachusetts, you will need to ensure that you keep it active. Your license will need to be renewed by June 30 of every even-numbered year. License renewals are completed through Massachusetts’s online portal, and cost $270.
To be eligible to renew your license, you must complete 20 hours of continuing education (CE) during each two-year renewal period. CE credits must be earned either through APA-approved CE programs or the publication of scholarly articles, books, or book chapters. Publications can count for only 10 of the required 20 CE hours, and you must be listed as the first or second author for them to qualify. Be aware that if you earn more than 20 CE hours, you cannot transfer any over to the next renewal period.
In addition to the school psychologist certification offered by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions offers an additional certification in educational psychology. In order to qualify for this certification, you must hold at least a master’s degree in school psychology from a state-accredited institution that was at least 60 credit hours in duration and included a 1,200-hour internship.
You must also be currently licensed as a school psychologist by the DESE and have two academic years of post-graduate experience. Finally, you must complete 60 hours of post-graduate supervised experience under a licensed educational psychologist and pass the National School Psychology Examination. You will then submit an application packet and the $117 application fee.
Psychologist without HSP Certification
In Massachusetts, psychology licensure and Health Service Provider (HSP) certification are separate credentials. If you have earned a doctoral degree in psychology but do not plan to provide health services to patients independently, you can still apply for psychology licensure without HSP certification. This license does not require you to earn supervised experience hours and will allow you to perform psychology-related activities such as teaching and research.
To be eligible for this type of license, you will need to review the Massachusetts licensure application packet and submit it through the ePlace portal along with the $150 application fee. You do not need to complete any of the sections related to HSP certification. After your application has been reviewed and approved, you will need to take the EPPP and the Massachusetts jurisprudence exam.
Initial licensure as a school psychologist by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requires that you complete at least a master’s degree in a school psychology program approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). This program must include an advanced practicum of 1,200 hours, 600 of which must be in a school setting. You must also pass the Praxis Communication and Literacy Skills test.
To advance to a professional license, you must complete three academic years of employment as a school psychologist. You must also have achieved a passing score on the National School Psychology Examination, hold a license as an educational psychologist from the Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health Professionals, or hold a NASP school psychologist certificate. To apply for initial certification or to advance your certification, you will use the online portal.
Massachusetts Psychologist Jobs and Salary Information
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2021, the average psychologist salary (across all areas of practice) in Massachusetts is $90,840.1 Psychologists in the “all other” category have the highest annual salaries at an average of $100,070.1 Counseling and clinical psychologists earn an average yearly salary of $92,110; postsecondary psychology teachers earn an average salary of $96,650; school psychologists earn an average of $92,730, and industrial-organizational psychologists earn an average salary of $72,640.1
The total number of psychologist positions available in Massachusetts is expected to increase by an average of 7.6% between 2020 and 2030.2 The highest number of new jobs is expected to be in clinical, counseling, and school psychology, with a predicted growth of 12.8%.2 Postsecondary psychology teacher jobs are expected to increase by 12.7% and psychology positions in the “all other” category are expected to increase by 4.7% over the 10-year period.2. Industrial-organizational psychology positions are not expected to increase.
|Occupation||Number Employed1||Average Annual Salary1|
|Clinical and Counseling Psychologists||3,120||$92,110|
|Psychologists, All Other||480||$100,070|
|Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary||1,630||$96,650|
- Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA): State organization for psychologists providing information on CE and networking opportunities.
- Massachusetts School Psychologists Association (MSPA): State organization for school psychologists that conducts research, advocates for the profession, and provides CE opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to become a psychologist in Massachusetts?
To become a psychologist in Massachusetts, you will need to complete at least a bachelor’s degree, a doctoral degree, and two years of supervised experience. In addition, you’ll also have to allow time for completing the exams and the application process. The length of time this entire process takes can vary, but it is generally about 10 years.
What degree do I need to be a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts?
To obtain a license to practice psychology, you will need to earn either a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree.
How much do psychologists in Massachusetts make?
On average, psychologists in Massachusetts earn $90,840 per year.1 Average salaries for specific types of psychologists range from $72,640 (industrial-organizational psychologists) to $100,070 (“all other” psychologists).1
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Massachusetts: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ma.htm
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm