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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 the Montana Board of Psychologists (the Board), 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 this page is a guide to help you through it.

Table of Contents
How to Become a Licensed Psychologist
Licensure by Seniority
License Renewal and Continuing Education
Related Licenses
Jobs and Salary Information
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

How to Become a Psychologist in Montana

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 programs in psychology. Without an undergraduate degree in the subject, you will likely have to take prerequisites before being admitted to a psychology graduate program. It usually takes four years to complete a bachelor’s degree if you are attending school full-time.

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 may earn master’s degrees during 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, consist of 30 to 40 credit hours, and may focus on general psychology or a specialty area.

2. Earn a doctoral degree in psychology.

The next step toward 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 clinical 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. Request a temporary permit and gain two years of supervised experience in your area of training.

In Montana, you must complete two years (3,200 hours) of supervised experience 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 supervision requirements. However, at least 1,600 hours must be completed after you have earned your doctoral degree. The Board offers a temporary permit, which you can request while working under supervision if you only lack the examination needed for licensure. This form must include the name and signature of your supervisor, as well as a report of initiation of the supervision.

During your postdoctoral supervised experience 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 supervised experience (800 hours) must be earned from direct work with patients or clients. If your postdoctoral work involves conducting research or teaching courses, you cannot count more than 800 of these hours towards SPE requirements.

4. 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 Citizen 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 supervised experience hours from your supervisors, and a self-query from the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Once you have all of the materials needed for a complete application, submit them to the Board along with $450 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.

5. 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. 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 jurisdictional course. Applicants are permitted to retake the course as many times as needed until they pass.

6. Receive your license from the Board.

After you have 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 Seniority

Montana allows applicants from other states to apply for licensure by seniority 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 clinically for at least 10 of the past 15 years, and have never had any disciplinary actions against you. To apply for licensure by seniority, mail a completed Application for Licensure to the Board or complete it through the Citizen Portal. You will need to pay $450 in fees; include an employer’s statement or verification by two licensed psychologists, or a combination of both, and pass the Board’s oral examination before the Board will issue your license.

License Renewal and Continuing Education

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.

Behavior Analyst

The Board also offers two licenses for behavior analysts: assistant behavior analyst (must be supervised by a licensed behavior analyst) and behavior analyst (may practice without supervision). You can find a checklist of licensing requirements for assistant behavior analysts and behavior analysts on the Board’s website. To be eligible for both, you must hold a bachelor’s degree, pass a background check, hold a current certification from the behavior analyst certification board, submit the fee ($250 for assistant and $600 for full), and complete the assistant or full behavior analyst application.

School Psychologist

The Montana Office of Public Instruction regulates the profession of school psychologist and offers a (provisional) Class 5 school psychology endorsement as well as a (full) Class 6 specialist endorsement. To be eligible for a Class 5 provisional endorsement, you will need a regionally-accredited master’s degree or higher in school psychology or a related field and a plan of study from a professional school psychologist preparation program verifying that you only have four courses left before completing the full requirements. Class 5 endorsements are not renewable. A Class 6 specialist endorsement requires current credentials as a nationally certified school psychologist (NCSP) from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), the completion of a specialist level degree from a NASP-accredited program including a 1,200-hour internship (600 of which were in a school setting). If you did not attend a NASP-accredited program, you can still be eligible with a regionally-accredited master’s degree in school psychology or higher and the completion of a NASP-accredited specialist program with a recommendation attesting to your qualifications being NASP-equivalent.

Montana Psychologist Jobs and Salary Information

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for practicing psychologists in Montana (excluding postsecondary psychology teachers) was $76,075 as of May 2021, while postsecondary psychology teachers earned $80,980 per year.1

Only psychology positions in the “all other” category are expected to increase in Montana over the 10-year period between 2020 and 2030, with a projected growth of 11.1%.2 Clinical, counseling, and school psychologist positions are expected to remain the same, while “all other” psychologist jobs are expected to decrease in the state, by 8.3%.2

OccupationNumber Employed1Average Annual Salary1
Clinical and Counseling Psychologists180$87,310
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN.Av.N.Av.
Psychologists, All OtherN.Av.N.Av.
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary10080,980
School Psychologists220$68,840

Additional Resources

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 was $76,075 as of May 2021.1. However, the amount of money a psychologist makes can be affected by a number of factors, including the setting they are employed in and the type of psychology they practice.

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Montana: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mt.htm
2. Long Term Occupational Projections: https://www.projectionscentral.org/projections/longterm