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Missouri Psychology Licensure Requirements

To become a psychologist in Missouri, you must apply for licensure through the State Committee of Psychologists (SCOP). Applications will not be approved unless candidates meet a series of requirements including a high-level education, 3,500 hours of supervised experience, passing exam scores, and a background check. This guide will help you understand all the steps necessary for licensure as well as provide answers to the most commonly asked questions about becoming a psychologist in Missouri.

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

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Missouri

Becoming a licensed psychologist in Missouri will take time and hard work. Candidates must gain specialized knowledge through an education that reaches the doctoral level as well as complete many additional requirements. Find out more information below about the three high-level steps necessary for those seeking psychology licenses in Missouri state.

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

Those hoping to practice psychology in Missouri as licensed professionals should first earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. This can be done by completing either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) program or a Bachelor of Science (BS) program, depending on the options that are available at various educational institutions. On average, bachelors’ take approximately four years of full-time study and around 120 credit hours for completion.

After earning a bachelor’s, many psychology candidates then complete a master’s degree in psychology or a similar area. Programs can be either a Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Science (MS) based on what the school attended has available. Stand-alone masters’ often take around two years and from 30 to over 40 credit hours to finish. Those who earned a bachelor’s degree in an area other than psychology may be required to complete additional prerequisites before they can begin coursework at the graduate level. Some master’s degrees are offered within doctoral programs and earned along with either a PsyD or PhD in psychology. This is described more in the following step.

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in psychology.

To become a licensed psychologist in Missouri, individuals must complete a doctoral program in psychology which includes a year of related supervised professional experience. Acceptable programs may result in either a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology degree. You can read about the differences between these two psychology degree types on the American Psychological Association’s (APA’s) website. They will need to be either fully or provisionally accredited by the APA, the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), or the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) as well as include supervised training, or else be provisionally or fully designated or approved by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards or the Council for the National Register of Health Services Providers in Psychology. The Board may approve programs without such accreditation if they meet a long list of additional state-specific standards. Doctoral programs are often completed in around five years to over seven, depending on the school and the rate at which it is pursued. To meet the professional experience requirements for licensure, students will need to have accrued a minimum of 1,500 internship hours during this time.

Those who hope to be certified or register as a psychological health service provider must have a graduate degree in psychology in an approved American Psychological Association area related to health service delivery or have finished a respecialization program in such an area in addition to completing a minimum of a year of post-degree supervised experience. Postdoctoral supervised experience hours can begin as soon as educational requirements for the doctoral degree have been complete as verified by an educational institution or upon conferral of a degree.

Find psychology schools in Missouri that offer programs to help you meet education requirements for licensure.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Missouri.

In addition to completing an extensive education, there are several more steps necessary to become licensed as a psychologist in Missouri. These include completing fingerprinting procedures, submitting an application to SCOP, finishing supervised experience requirements, and successfully passing three examinations.

Missouri Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Complete fingerprinting procedures.

There are two ways to be fingerprinted for a background check as required by SCOP for psychology licensure in the state of Missouri. The first method is for those near or within the state who can have their fingerprints taken electronically. This is the faster of the two options and results will be provided to the board within seven to 10 days. To begin, you must first register with the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS) using the State Committee of Psychologists registration number of 5420 and then schedule an appointment with IdentoGO/Idemia for fingerprinting.

The second method is to have fingerprints taken manually, which may take as many as eight weeks before SCOP will have access to results. To begin, an applicant must obtain two FBI-258 fingerprint cards which can be mailed to them by the Committee upon request. Applicants must then register with Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS) using 5420 as the Registration Number for the State Committee of Psychologists followed by registration with IdentoGO/Idemia. Fingerprint cards should not be mailed to the Board but to the IdentoGo MO Cardscan Department for processing along with a printout of the final page during registration.

2. Submit your application to the Board.

Psychology licensure candidates in Missouri must complete an application that is both signed and notarized in addition to providing a $150 fee. The application includes 42 questions; if applicants answer “no” to 39a or 39b they must include a Description of Course Work form with their application. SCOP will require universities where graduate degrees were earned to send in official transcripts. Applicants will also need to provide the names and information of primary and secondary supervisors for post-degree supervised experience and forward attestation forms for these individuals to complete and send directly to SCOP. Information on three additional individuals who can serve as references and vouch for the moral character of the applicant will also be necessary. Reference forms must be sent directly from these recommenders. A Social Security Number Disclosure Notice and proof of submission of fingerprints for the purpose of a criminal background check should be included with applications as well.

3. Complete remaining supervised professional experience (SPE) in your area of training.

Missouri requires a total of 3,500 hours of supervised professional experience. This can be completed as a combination of preinternship, internship, predoctoral postinternship, or postdoctoral training. The director or supervisor in charge of the experience must confirm all hours for them to count. At least 1,500 of the 3,500 hours must come from a doctoral program internship that lasted between 12 to 24 months. The additional 2,000 hours can be gained through preinternship or predoctoral postinternship hours, further internship hours, or postdoctoral professional experience. Preinternship and predoctoral postinternship experience must take place after the initial year of a doctoral program unless an individual has successfully completed a psychology or closely related master’s degree. As many as 750 internship hours may also be applied to the second 2,000-hour requirement as long as the initial 1,500 hours of internship has already been met.

Postinternship and postdoctoral experience must take place under the supervision of a primary or secondary supervisor who takes full professional responsibility for work and who will have one-on-one in-person meetings with applicants for at least one hour a month. Those who wish to provide health services must be supervised by a licensed psychologist and health service provider. For post-degree experience, a Post-degree Supervision Plan should be sent to SCOP before the training begins and a supervisor will need to fill out and send SCOP an Attestation of Post-degree Professional Experience form after it has been completed. Postdoctoral supervised experience must be completed within 24 months, occur at a maximum of 50 hours per week, and be in areas related to the applicant’s area of focus.

4. Pass the Missouri psychology licensing exams.

Psychology licensure candidates in Missouri must complete a written jurisprudence examination on ethical conduct and the rules for psychology practice in the state. There are 100 questions that should be completed within three hours and a score of 70% is required to pass. This written examination is given monthly. An oral examination, given every couple of months, will also be required for Missouri psychology licensure candidates. The third test an applicant must pass is the computer-based and nationally administered Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology examination, or EPPP exam.

After the application from Step 2 and accompanying documentation are reviewed, a document with registration information for the EPPP will be sent out. The EPPP will require payment of $687.50. Following registration, the Board will approve candidates to test and they will be emailed an authorization-to-test (ATT). A test should be scheduled within 60 days of getting an ATT letter, either by calling Prometric’s testing center or through the ASPPB website. Scores will be sent from the testing agency to SCOP twice monthly and then will be sent out to licensure candidates as soon as possible. A minimum score of 500 is required to pass.

5. Receive your license from SCOP.

Once your application has been received and accepted, you will wait until the Board grants you your license to practice psychology in Missouri.

Missouri Licensure by Endorsement

To gain a license by reciprocity or endorsement of EPPP scores, individuals must send SCOP an application along with a $150 fee, a Social Security Number Disclosure Notice, three mental health professional references, a Verification of Licensure form, and proof of submission of fingerprints for a background check. Individuals may also be required to provide official transcripts, a Post-Degree Supervision Plan, and Attestation of Post Doctoral Supervised Experience if they are not practicing in a state with ASPPB reciprocity, are not listed as a provider by the National Register of Health, are not a diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), do not hold CPQ qualification, and have not taken an accredited program and completed more than five years of professional experience. While you are waiting for your license, you may receive a temporary license allowing you to practice under some restrictions. You will use the same application to receive your temporary license.

Out-of-state applicants cannot have violations, suspensions, or revocations of their licenses and must pass a written jurisprudence examination on psychology regulations in Missouri. Applicants may be required to take an oral examination as well. Those wishing to obtain certification as a health service provider must be an American Board of Professional Psychology diplomate in an area of approved specialty, a national Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology member, or have completed satisfactory academic, training, or professional experience as determined by the Committee.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Education Information

Registration renewal notices will be mailed to licensed psychologists and registration must occur before or upon the given date. For renewal, applicants must provide documentation of 40 hours of CPE within the prior two years. Acceptable hours include the completion of educational seminars, graduate-level coursework, or independent studies and the presentation of educational seminars or graduate level courses.

Missouri Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for all psychologists (including teachers) in Missouri is $76,260.1 Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earn an average yearly salary of $64,510.1 Postsecondary psychology teachers make on average $80,410 per year and all other psychologists earn $83,860 yearly on average.1 Long term occupational projections predict that the largest growth will be among clinical, counseling, and school psychologists with an increase of 16.6% by the year 2026 2. All other psychologists (not including teachers) have a predicted growth of 5.1% by 2026.2

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists1,580$64,510
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists40N/A
Psychologists, All Other210$83,860
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary700$80,410

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 Missouri?

Undergraduate degrees are often four-year-long programs of full-time study. Master’s may be pursued alone (and require from two to three years for completion) or be included within a doctoral program. Doctoral programs vary in length from around five to as many as seven years. Post-degree experience will lengthen the process further. It will take many licensure candidates at least, if not more than, a decade to become psychologists in Missouri.

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

Candidates for psychology licensure in Missouri will need to earn a doctoral degree in psychology or a related area that meets certain accreditation standards as determined by the Committee or else a series of additional requirements.

How much do psychologists in Missouri make?

In Missouri, the average psychologist, excluding psychology educators, earns a salary of $74,185 per year.1

Additional Resources

  • Missouri Psychological Association (MOPA) – The Missouri Psychological Association has the mission of advancing psychology as a profession, science, and means to benefit society and to improve the qualifications of those entering the field.
  • American Psychological Association (APA) – The APA promotes research, increases psychological knowledge, encourages psychological application, and improves the qualifications of psychologists. It is the leading organization concerning the scientific and professional practice of psychology in the United States.
  • Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri (MHA) – This nonprofit has the goal of improving the mental health of the general public and offers educational and supportive programs for those within the field seeking to improve their skills.

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