Massachusetts Psychology Licensure Requirements

In Massachusetts, psychology licensure is overseen by the Board of Registration of Psychologists. 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, obtain a certain number of supervised clinical hours, and pass national and state exams. If this sounds complicated, don’t worry! We’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you through the process of becoming a licensed psychologist. Our guide includes answers to common questions about the process, such as:

» 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.
» What are Massachusetts’ supervised professional experience rules and regulations?
» What psychology exams are required in Massachusetts?
» I am already a licensed psychologist in another state; how do I become licensed in Massachusetts by endorsement?
» What are other options for psychology licensure in Massachusetts?
» How do I renew my psychology license in Massachusetts?
» How much do psychologists in Massachusetts make?

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Massachusetts

To become a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts, there are three broad steps you will need to take. First, you will need to complete the educational requirements, which include a bachelor’s degree, an optional master’s degree, and a doctoral degree in psychology. There are many psychology schools in Massachusetts offering programs for each step in this process. After that, you will need to obtain a certain amount of supervised professional experience. When you have completed these requirements, then you will be ready to begin the application process 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. Depending on your school and your area of study, you may be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Both of these degrees are acceptable if you are planning to apply later to graduate programs in psychology.

After you complete your bachelor’s degree, you may also choose to complete a stand-alone master’s degree in psychology. These programs offer either Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Science (MS) degrees and may focus on general psychology or one of its specialty areas. The length of different master’s degree programs varies, but they usually take two to three years to complete (35-45 credit hours). To be accepted into a master’s degree program, you will likely be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and may need to meet certain educational requirements. 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 will likely earn one when you are working on your PhD or PsyD (see Step 2).

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD 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 degrees: 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 the American Psychological Association’s (APA) page describing psychology doctoral options.

To become a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts, you need to attend a doctoral program that is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), is recognized by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) or the National Register of Health Service Psychologists (NRHSP), or provides training commensurate with programs approved by these organizations. For more information on the doctoral programs in Massachusetts, please visit our Psychology Schools in Massachusetts page.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Massachusetts.

After you have completed your educational requirements, you are ready to begin preparing for licensure in Massachusetts. If you are planning to provide health services such as therapy and assessment to patients, you will need to apply for psychology licensure with Health Service Provider (HSP) certification. For this, you will need to complete a certain number of supervised hours, submit an application, and pass national and state exams. Below are detailed instructions for each of these steps.

Massachusetts Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Gain two years of supervised professional experience (SPE) in health service settings.

If you are becoming licensed to provide health services to clients, you will need to apply for licensure as a Health Service Provider (HSP). Before submitting your application, you will need to 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 an 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 SPE 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 SPE must be at least four months long and consist of at least 16 hours of work per week.

SPE 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 direct contact with patients. Additionally, there must be a formal training plan developed between your doctoral program and your practicum setting to ensure that you are receiving adequate training.

2. Submit an application for licensure to the Board.

After you have completed your SPE hour requirements, you will need to complete Massachusetts’s Licensure Application Packet and submit it along with a $150 application fee. On the first page of this form, be sure to specify that you are applying for both “Licensure as Psychologist by Examination” and “Certification as a Health Service Provider.” Some of the forms in this packet will need to be completed by your supervisors and returned to you. The first page of this packet consists of a checklist to help you ensure that you do not forget any of the required components of the application.

3. Pass the Massachusetts psychology licensing exams.

After the Board has reviewed the application that you completed in Step 2, 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 that assess broad knowledge of psychology. To pass the EPPP, you need a scaled score of 500 or higher. It costs $687.50 to register for this exam.

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.

4. Wait for your license to be issued.

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 when 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 submit the Board’s Licensure Application Packet along with with a $150 application fee. You do not need to submit the Internship Director Form or the Supervisor Form for Post-Internship Supervised Experience from this packet. However, you will need to submit a verification letter from the state in which you are licensed and have your EPPP scores and a certification letter from the National Register sent to the Board.

If you do not meet the criteria for reciprocity, you will need to complete all of the 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 will be asked to provide proof of them when you submit your application.

Psychologist License without HSP Certification

If you have earned a doctoral degree in psychology but do not plan to provide health services to patients, you can apply for psychology licensure without HSP certification. This license does not require you to earn SPE hours and will allow you to independently perform psychology-related activities such as teaching and research.

To be eligible for this type of license, you will need to you will need to complete the Massachusetts Licensure Application Packet and submit it along with a $150 application fee. You do not need to complete any of the sections that indicate they are for psychologists seeking HSP certification. After your application has been reviewed and approved, you will need to take the EPPP and the Massachusetts jurisprudence exam.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Education Information

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.

Massachusetts Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average psychologist salary (across all areas of practice) in Massachusetts is $84,448.1 Postsecondary psychology teachers have the highest annual salaries at an average of $96,590 (the fifth-highest in the United States).1,2 Counseling, clinical, and school psychologists earn an average yearly salary of $83,660; psychologists in the “all other” category earn an average salary of $82,440 (the third-highest of any state); and industrial-organizational psychologists earn an average salary of $75,100.1,3

The total number of psychologist positions available in Massachusetts is expected to increase by an average of 12.6% between 2016 and 2026.4 The highest number of new jobs is expected to be in industrial-organizational psychology, with a predicted growth of 14.3%.4 Counseling, clinical, and school psychology positions and psychology positions in the “all other” category are both expected to increase by 11.8% over the 10-year period.4

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists3,970$83,660
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists120$75,100
Psychologists, All Other810$82,440
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary1,510$96,590

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 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 $84,448 per year.1 Average salaries for specific types of psychologists range from $75,100 (industrial-organizational psychologists) to $96,590 (postsecondary psychology teachers).1

Additional Resources

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Massachusetts: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ma.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, 19-3039 Psychologists, All Other: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193039.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, 25-1066 Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251066.htm
4. Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): https://www.projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm