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Montana Psychology Licensure Requirements

With a growing psychology industry, Montana has been rising in recognition recently for the quality of its services and the integrity of its practices. The Montana Board of Psychologists is dedicated to ensuring that the highest standards are upheld for the state’s licensed psychologists. If you’re interested in earning your psychology license in Montana, it’s important to thoroughly understand the process. At Psychology Degree 411, we hear a host of questions on a daily basis. These include:

» 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.
» Why does Montana require fingerprinting and criminal background checks to become a licensed Psychologist?
» What are Montana’s Supervised Professional Experience Rules and Regulations?
» What Psychology Exams are required in Montana?

Three Steps to Become a Psychologist in Montana

Whether you’re taking your first steps or are about to submit your application for licensure, Psychology Degree 411 can help you stay on track to get your license. Here’s a brief overview of applying to become a psychologist in the Big Sky Country:

1. Earn a BA or BS in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Psychology. Before you earn a PsyD or PhD in psychology, you must first earn your bachelor’s and master’s degrees. This will not only lay the groundwork for lifelong learning but will also help you determine a specific area of practice and study for when you pursue your doctorate degree.

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in Psychology. Earning your PsyD or PhD can take anywhere from two to six years to complete. During these years, you will focus on a specific area of practice so that you can work as a specialized psychologist in Montana. There are a wide variety of fields that you can study, and focusing on a particular area allows you to boost your credentials and expertise. The more expert knowledge you have in a particular area, the more opportunities you’ll receive as a practicing psychologist. Your educational experience will also include internship and residency opportunities to help you transition from the classroom to the professional world.

Searching for a doctorate program can be an intimidating and time-consuming process because you want to find the program that’s the perfect fit for you. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of doctoral psychology programs in Montana.

3. Get Licensed to Practice Psychology in Montana. After from completing your education, you must qualify for a license in order to practice psychology in Montana. The following sections detail the licensure requirements:

Montana Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Complete a Background Check and Fingerprint Procedures.

Many people trust their emotional and mental health in the hands of a psychologist. Because a psychologist and patient will develop a professional relationship, the state of Montana first wants to ensure that potential psychologists have the background to safely work with the state’s citizens. A basic background check and fingerprint scan will be used to ensure that you don’t have any criminal history that could cause grounds for concern or disqualification as a psychologist.

The Montana Board of Psychologists website details the complete requirements of this procedure.

2. Complete Supervised Professional Experience (SPE) Requirements.

The Montana Board of Psychologists requires all applicants to complete two years of SPE.2 One year must be completed pre-doctorally and the other year postdoctorally. SPE is the best way to ensure that applicants can smoothly implement their classroom knowledge in the working field. There’s a vast difference between learning about a theory in an educational setting and seeing it at work in the field. SPE allows applicants to merge both worlds together.

To ensure this happens, SPE must incorporate scientific principles and theories under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, who will also double as a mentor and role model.

If you’re interested in learning more about the requirements for SPE, review the Board of Psychologists’ rules and statutes here.

Predoctoral Professional Experience Requirements
Before you earn your doctoral degree, you must earn at least one year – 2,000 hours – of SPE.2 This is in accordance with the Statutes and Rules set forth by Montana’s Board of Psychologists. In order for the experience to count towards SPE, it must meet the American Psychological Association’s standards for a formal predoctoral psychology internship.1

Postdoctoral Professional Experience Requirements
After earning your doctorate, an additional year of SPE is required under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Similar to the predoctoral SPE requirement, this experience should be approved by the American Psychological Association.

Verification of Required Experience
To receive credit for your SPE, you must verify your experience by having your supervisor complete and submit the appropriate forms in the application packet. Furthermore, you must also have the dean or registrar of the institution where you received your degree verify the experience so that it can count as qualifying towards to your eventual license.

The American Psychological Association is also a valuable resource should you have any further questions concerning SPE.1

3. Pass The Montana Psychology Licensing Exams.

Before you can practice psychology in the state, you must first prove that you have the expertise and knowledge required to work with the mental hygiene and health of the state’s citizens. Your SPE and education background will provide you with the knowledge and confidence needed to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). This test is composed of 225 multiple-choice questions, which you will be required to answer in 3 hours and 20 minutes or less. You’ll need to score above a scaled score of 500 to pass.

To prepare for the exam, applicants are encouraged to sign up, study for, and take the EPPP practice exam.

4. Submit an Application for Psychologist Licensure in Montana.

After you complete your education, experience, and examination requirements, it’s time to fill out the Application for Psychologist Licensure. Once you’ve filled out the application, be mail it to:

Montana Board of Psychologists
PO Box 200513
301 S Park, 4th Floor – Delivery
Helena, Montana, 59620-0513

Additional Requirements and Information

By following Psychology Degree 411’s roadmap, you should be well on your way to becoming a licensed psychologist in Montana. For further information, visit the Montana Board of Psychology, which covers additional topics including:

  • Specific coursework requirements
  • Acceptable SPE opportunities and internships
  • Coursework focusing on child abuse
  • Cost of associated fees and fines
  • How to apply to licensure renewal

References:
1. American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/apags/resources/internships.aspx
2. State of Montana Board of Psychology: http://www.mtrules.org/gateway/ChapterHome.asp?Chapter=24%2E189