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Montana Psychology Licensure Requirements

Anyone planning to work as a psychologist in Montana will need to be granted a license through Montana’s Board of Psychologists, which involves a number of steps. You must earn a doctoral degree in psychology, complete a certain amount of supervised experience, pass two exams, and file an application with the Board. This process can take a lot of time and energy, but on this page is a guide to help you through it. We’ve included step-by-step instructions for every part of the process of earning a Montana psychology license as well as answers to common questions about licensure, such as:

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

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Montana

Although the process can seem complicated at first, there are three general steps to becoming a licensed psychologist in Montana. First, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree (and may choose to earn an optional master’s degree in psychology). Next, you must complete a doctoral degree in psychology. After that, the final step is to complete the Board’s requirements for licensure. Below are more details about each of these steps.

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

Anyone who would like to become a licensed psychologist in Montana should start by earning a bachelor’s degree. This degree can be in any subject, but taking at least some psychology courses can help you meet educational prerequisites for doctoral programsin psychology. It usually takes four years to complete a bachelor’s degree if you are attending school full time, and you will earn either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree when you have finished.

An optional step after completing your bachelor’s degree is to pursue a stand-alone master’s degree. Although this is not required for entry into doctoral programs (and students earning doctoral degrees typically also earn master’s degrees in their programs), it can be helpful for aspiring psychologists who have limited experience with psychology from their undergraduate studies. Stand-alone master’s degree programs generally take two to three years to finish. They may focus on general psychology or a specialty area, and they award either Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) degrees. To be accepted into a master’s degree program, you may need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and meet psychology coursework prerequisites.

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in psychology.

The next step towards becoming a psychologist in Montana is to earn a doctoral degree in psychology. The two most common doctoral-level psychology degrees are Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology degrees. There are many similarities between these, but also some important differences you should become familiar with before applying to doctoral programs in psychology. It usually takes between four and seven years to complete a PsyD or a PhD in psychology, depending on the requirements of the program you attend.

To be eligible for a psychology license in Montana, you must earn your doctoral degree in an applied area of psychology (such as counseling, clinical, or school psychology) from a graduate program that is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) or provides equivalent training. If you do not attend an APA-approved program, you will need to provide additional documentation in your licensure application so the Board can determine if your training met their requirements.

For more information about programs where you can earn your degrees, please see our Psychology Schools in Montana page.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Montana.

After you have earned your doctoral degree in psychology, you will be ready to work on the third and final step of becoming a psychologist in Montana: meeting the Board’s requirements for licensure and submitting an application. There are several components to this step; below is detailed information on each of them.

Montana Psychologist Licensing Process

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

In Montana, you must complete two years (3,200 hours) of supervised professional experience (SPE) to earn a psychology license. If you attended an APA-approved internship (or one with equivalent training) during your doctoral program, you can count up to 1,600 hours of that experience towards the SPE requirements. However, at least 1,600 hours must be completed after you have earned your doctoral degree. During your postdoctoral SPE work, you must receive at least one hour per week of supervision from a psychologist who has been licensed for at least three years and has completed some training in supervision. At least 25% of your SPE experience (800 hours) must be earned from direct work with patients or clients. If your postdoctoral work involves conducting research or teaching course, you cannot count more than 800 of these hours towards SPE requirements.

2. Submit your application to the Board.

After you have completed your SPE requirements, the next step is to complete the Board’s Application for Licensure. You can download the application and mail it to the Board or you can complete it through the Department of Labor and Industry’s online portal. On this application, you will be required to provide information about your past training and qualifications for licensure. You will also need to gather a number of supplemental materials, which are listed on the Board’s Licensing Requirements and Application Checklist document. These include transcripts from your doctoral program, documents verifying your SPE hours from your supervisors, a self-query from the National Practitioner Data Bank, and three deidentified work samples.

Once you have all of the materials needed for a complete application, submit them to the Board along with $275 in application and exam fees. Be sure to complete your application at least 90 days before the date you plan to take your oral examination.

3. Pass the Montana psychology licensing exams.

After the Board has approved your application, they will provide instructions for taking the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), a national examination used for psychology licensure. There are 225 multiple-choice questions on the EPPP covering a variety of topics in psychology, and you must earn a score of 500 or higher to pass. It costs $687.50 to register for the EPPP and your scores will automatically be sent to the Board when you complete the exam.

After you successfully complete the EPPP, you will need to take the Board’s oral examination. This exam is offered on specific dates throughout the year; a schedule of these is always posted on the Board’s website. Questions on this exam may cover psychological topics, knowledge of ethical and legal standards, and the work samples you submitted with your application. You will be rated by all examiners on a scale of one to five and must earn an average score of at least three to pass the oral exam.

4. Receive your license from the Board.

After you have successfully passed the EPPP and the oral examination, you should be eligible to receive your license from the Board. The Board will contact you when your license has been issued. Although you may have completed all of the requirements for licensure prior to notification from the Board, you cannot begin practicing independently until you have been informed that your license has been granted.

Montana Licensure by Endorsement or Experience

If you are licensed in another state, you may be eligible for licensure by endorsement in Montana. For this, you must hold a license in another state and provide documentation to the Board that you were licensed under rules equivalent to Montana’s. If you believe that you meet these criteria, download and mail in the Board’s Application for Licensure or complete and submit it electronically through the Department of Labor and Industry’s online portal. With either of these methods, you will need to pay $375 in fees. If the Board reviews your application and determines you meet their criteria for licensure by endorsement, you will need to pass the Board’s oral examination before receiving your license.

You can also apply for licensure by experience if you have held a psychologist license (based on a doctoral psychology degree) in the United States or Canada for at least 20 years, have been practicing for at least 10 of the past 15 years, and have never had any disciplinary actions against you. To apply for licensure by experience, mail a completed Application for Licensure to the Board or complete it through the online portal. You will need to pay $375 in fees and pass the Board’s oral examination before the Board will issue your license.

For both of these methods, you can also apply for a temporary permit that allows you to practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist while you are waiting for your full license to be issued. This application is not available on the Board’s website, so you will need to contact them to request paperwork if you would like to apply for a temporary permit. After they send it to you, include the temporary permit application, supervisory agreement forms, and an additional $25 fee along with your application for licensure.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Education Information

After you are issued a license to practice psychology in Montana, you will need to renew it periodically to ensure that it stays active. Your license must be renewed by December 31 each year or it will expire and you will not be able to practice. The Board will mail you a renewal reminder prior to this date, but you can renew through the online portal. Renewal fees are $600 each year.

In addition to submitting renewal forms each year, you will also need to fulfill the Board’s continuing education (CE) requirements. Every two years, all licensed psychologists must complete 40 hours of CE activities that involve education in psychological topics. CE activities affiliated with APA, the Montana Psychological Association, or PESI are automatically accepted by the Board. Some other activities, such as presentations at conferences and personal psychotherapy can also be used for a limited number of CE hours. See the Board’s rules regarding CE programs for more information. Depending on your license number, you will be required to submit the Continuing Education Reporting Form on either even- or odd-numbered years when you complete your renewal paperwork.

Montana Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for a practicing psychologist in Montana (excluding postsecondary psychology teachers) is $64,720.1 Although there are postsecondary psychology teachers employed in Montana, salary data is not available for these positions.

The number of psychology jobs available in Montana is expected to increase by an average of 11.4% between 2016 and 2026.2 Psychology positions in the “all other” category are expected to increase the most, with a projected growth of 12.1%.2 However, clinical, counseling, and school psychology positions are not far behind, with a projected growth of 10.7%.2

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists420$64,370
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN/AN/A
Psychologists, All Other60$65,070
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary360N/A

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 Montana?

From start to finish, becoming a licensed psychologist takes about 10 years. To earn a psychology license in Montana, you will need to complete a doctoral degree in psychology, earn at least one year of postdoctoral supervised experience, and pass two exams.

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

To be eligible for psychology licensure in Montana, you must earn a doctoral degree in an applied area of psychology from an APA-accredited program (or one that provides equivalent training). These programs typically award either Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degrees.

How much do psychologists in Montana make?

The average salary for practicing psychologists in Montana is $64,720.1. However, the amount of money a psychologist makes can depend on a number of factors, including the setting they are employed in and the type of psychology they practice.

Additional Resources

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