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Mississippi Psychology Licensure Requirements

There are multiple steps you must take to obtain your license to practice psychology in Mississippi, so we have outlined them below to make the process as clear and concise as possible. In the state of Mississippi all psychology licenses are regulated by the Mississippi Board of Psychology. The steps to take for obtaining your license include meeting specific educational requirements, completing supervised field work, passing three examinations, and finalizing an application. Oftentimes, there are several questions that arise during this process, including:

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

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Mississippi

It may seem challenging to address so many specific steps in the process of obtaining your license. To ease the complexity we have synopsized the process into a series of three high-level steps. Step 1 is obtaining your bachelor’s and, optionally, your master’s degree in psychology. Step 2 is completing your doctorate in psychology (either a PhD or PsyD). Step 3 is acquiring your license, which includes its own series of steps below. Continue reading to learn more.

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

A bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college is typically the first required step in completing your education to obtain your psychology license in Mississippi. Depending on the school and the education program you have chosen, your bachelor’s degree can be either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS). Additionally, to be a psychologist in the state, your bachelor’s degree does not have to be in the subject of psychology, though if it is not you may have to complete specific prerequisite courses if you apply to a master’s program. Both the BA and BS typically take 120 credits and four full-time years to complete.

If you have not previously received a bachelor’s degree in psychology or would like more experience before committing to a doctoral program, you may choose to pursue a stand-alone master’s degree in psychology. Master’s degrees in psychology can be either Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) degrees. They typically take two years, or 30 to 40 credits, to complete. While there are some master’s in psychology programs that are stand-alone, most are offered along with doctoral (PsyD or PhD) degrees in psychology. The process of obtaining your doctorate is described below in Step 2.

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in psychology.

After completing your bachelor’s degree and, if you choose, a master’s degree, you will have to obtain your doctorate in psychology via a PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) or PhD (Doctor of Philosophy in psychology). While both doctoral degree types are acceptable in Mississippi, the American Psychological Association’s (APA) website explains the differences between the PsyD and PhD in psychology degrees. The state of Mississippi mandates that all candidates for licensure complete an APA-accredited doctoral program in order to become licensed. The length of a doctoral program is influenced by whether it includes a master’s degree and if you choose to specialize in a certain area of the field. That being said, a doctoral program can be completed within four to seven years. The state of Mississippi also requires that you undergo supervised professional experience via a 2,000-hour internship during the one full-time year of your doctoral program. For more about Mississippi’s doctoral programs, please visit our Psychology Schools in Mississippi page.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Mississippi.

Once you have completed the above educational requirements, the application process through the Mississippi Board of Psychology can begin. This process includes a series of steps described below, including gaining professional experience, submitting an application, and passing three exams.

Mississippi Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Gain two years of supervised professional experience (SPE) in your area of training.

All licensure candidates must complete two years, or 4,000 hours, of supervised professional experience (SPE). The first 2,000 hours must be via a doctoral internship. All internships must meet the accreditation standards of the APA in order to fulfill this requirement. Generally speaking, the experience should include providing a wide variety of services and interventions with a wide range of clients while also applying multiple diagnostic categories. During this internship, there must be at least four hours per week of supervision, two of which must be provided on an individual basis. Supervisors must be licensed to practice psychology in the state in which the SPE takes place and employed by the SPE facility for at least 12 hours per week.

The second 2,000 hours of SPE must be postdoctoral and specific to the candidate’s preferred area of practice or specialization. Internships that were part of the doctoral course of study are NOT eligible to fulfill this postdoctoral SPE requirement. Similar to the internship requirement, the postdoctoral SPE must be completed within one full-time year or two half-time years and include at least two hours per week of individual supervision. Supervisors must meet the same licensing and employment requirements as those for an internship. APA-accredited programs within the state for both internships and postdoctoral experience can be found on the APA’s website.

2. Complete the initial application and criminal background check.

Mississippi has an initial licensure application that can either be completed online or printed and mailed to the Mississippi Board of Psychology (MSBOP). The fee for processing the application is $300 and must be submitted via check (made payable to MSBOP) with the application or processed via credit card if you apply online. Should you submit the application by mail you will also have to submit a signed and notarized Affidavit confirming your identity that is included with the printable application.

The state also requires that all licensure candidates undergo a criminal background check, so be sure to complete the “Request for Fingerprint Card” along with your application. Once the MSBOP processes the request, a fingerprint card with instructions will be mailed to you. Upon completing the fingerprint process, the card must be mailed back to the MSBOP with a separate processing fee of $50. A passport photo must be included with the fingerprint card or, if you are completing an online application, a passport-type photo can be uploaded.

The MSBOP also requires that you list three licensed psychologists as references. Two of these references may be your pre and postdoctoral supervisors. Once the MSBOP receives the initial application and fees, your information will be passed on to the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). Within one week of receiving notification from the MSBOP, the ASPPB will notify you via email with a password and instructions on how to complete their online application. The ASPPB application fee of $200.00 is due with the completion of the application online. Official transcripts and proof of SPE will also be required with this application. The ASPPB will send forms directly to your pre- and post-doctoral supervisors for documentation of your SPE hours Upon successful review of your application and documents, the ASPPB will notify the MSBOP. The Board will then notify you via email of your eligibility to take the EPPP.

3. Pass the Mississippi psychology licensing exams.

In order to become a licensed psychologist in Mississippi, you must take the standardized national Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) as well as a state oral exam and jurisprudence exam. The EPPP is a timed exam of 225 multiple choice questions designed to measure your understanding of advanced psychological theories and practice situations. The EPPP costs a total of $687.50 and a passing score of 500 or greater is required to be eligible for licensure in Mississippi.

After passing the EPPP, you will also be provided with instructions on how to schedule the state oral examination. When you schedule the oral exam, you will be mailed a copy of the Mississippi Jurisprudence Exam, which is an open-book examination consisting of 20 multiple choice questions pertaining to the rules and regulations of practicing psychology in Mississippi. The completed jurisprudence exam must be turned in upon your arrival to your oral examination. The fee for the oral exam and jurisprudence exam is $150 and is due upon scheduling the oral exam. The oral examination takes place multiple times throughout the year in various locations throughout the state and is administered by the Board via a panel of three psychologists, one of whom is a Board member who will chair the examination. Typically the examination lasts 45 minutes to one hour and consists of practice-based clinical questions and scenarios as well as questions about professional ethics. You must receive a passing score of at least 75% on the jurisprudence exam, while the oral exam is scored on a pass/fail basis.

4. Receive your license from the Board.

The Board will provide notification of your jurisprudence score and oral exam pass/fail status through the mail within 10 days of completing the oral exam. If you have passed and have fulfilled all other requirements needed for licensure in Mississippi, the Board will also include your official state license with this notification.

Mississippi Licensure by Reciprocity

If you have at least five years of licensed experience in another state and are relocating to Mississippi, you will need to transfer your license. To qualify for this type of licensure, the state of Mississippi mandates that you have a current Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology (CPQ) from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). The CPQ officially verifies that all the necessary education, work experience, and examination requirements in your prior state of residence have been completed and your license has no history of unresolved disciplinary action.

To obtain a psychology license in Mississippi via reciprocity you must complete the Initial Application Form either online or by mail and pay the $300 application fee. All supporting documentation of prior and current licensure must be obtained independently and mailed separately or with the printed application. You must also undergo the state’s mandated criminal background check and pay the $50 processing fee. Lastly, you must complete the Mississippi Jurisprudence Exam as well as the state oral examination and pay the $150 exam fee. Your CPQ verification must be sent directly to the MSBOP via the ASPPB.

Upon successful completion of the jurisprudence exam and oral examination, you will be issued an official license to practice in the state of Mississippi.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education (CE) Information

The Board will send out an annual notice for the renewal of your psychology license every April. Upon receipt of this notification each psychologist is responsible for completing the license renewal application and submitting the $275 renewal fee by June 30. When you renew your license in an odd-numbered year, you must also provide documentation of CE hours. Every two years, you must accrue 20 hours of approved CE experience, two of which must involve issues of professional ethics or potential legal issues in the delivery of service. Any educational experiences that are APA-approved or MSBOP-approved automatically receive approval for use as CE hours. Psychological conventions or conferences that are APA- or Board-approved have no limit to the hours that can be applied towards continuing education. Conferences and training programs that are not APA- or Board-approved but relate to the field of psychology will be approved for three hours of CE credit. You may accrue up to 12 hours of CE credit for such conferences and trainings in each two year period.

The MSBOP offers a list of APA- and Board-approved CE programs as well as a CE reporting form that can be used to record CE hours and submit with the renewal form in odd-numbered years. You may also create an online profile through the MSBOP that can be used to update your professional information and post your CE hours.

Mississippi Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

The only salary data available through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for psychologists in the state of Mississippi is for psychologists in the “all other” category and postsecondary psychology teachers. Psychologists in the “all other” category earn an average salary of $80,990 per year, while teachers earn an average of $73,470.1 Projections Central reports that the number of “all other” psychologists in Mississippi (not including teachers) is expected to increase by 4.2% between 2016-2026.2 This is 6.1% less than the growth predicted for the same category across the United States (10.3%).2 Psychology teachers, on the other hand, are expected to see significant growth in Mississippi, at a predicted rate of 15.8% in the state, a little over the 15.1% growth expected in the US as a whole.2

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists390N/A
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN/AN/A
Psychologists, All Other60$80,990
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary310$73,470

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1

Frequently Asked Questions

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

The answer to this question can vary based on your course of study, desire to specialize, or academic program choices. A bachelor’s degree typically takes four full-time years, a stand-alone master’s degree can take two years, and a doctoral program can take another four or more full-time years. In addition, the state requires a year of post-doctoral supervised work experience before you can obtain your license. In total, it can take around a decade to become a psychologist in Mississippi.

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

The state of Mississippi mandates that you hold an APA-approved doctorate in psychology via a PsyD or PhD in order to become licensed.

How much do psychologists in Mississippi make?

There are several variables that factor into the average salary for a psychologist in Mississippi. Your location within the state, years of experience, and the type of psychology you practice all contribute to your salary as a psychologist. That said, the BLS reports that the average salary for psychologists in Mississippi, excluding teachers, is $80,990.1

Additional Resources

  • Mississippi State Board of Psychology (MSBOP) – The Board governs the practice of psychology in Mississippi by regulating practice standards and ethics, setting education and training qualifications, administering competency testing, and maintaining continuing education requirements.
  • Mississippi Psychological Association (MPASSOC) – The purpose of the MPASSOC is to advance the practice of psychology as both a science and profession in Mississippi and provide its members access to professional meetings, discussions, and growth.
  • American Psychological Association (APA) – The American Psychological Association is a nationwide resource to all psychologists in the United States. It provides educational resources through monthly journal articles and web topics and sets the field’s ethical and practice standards.

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