Rhode Island Psychology Licensure Requirements

In Rhode Island, psychologists are licensed through the Board of Psychology. In any state, here are a number of steps involved in earning a license to practice psychology, and Rhode Island is no exception. You must complete a certain amount of education (including a doctoral degree in psychology), earn postdoctoral supervised experience, pass a national exam, and apply for licensure through the Board. On this page is a step-by-step guide to each stage of this process for anyone considering becoming a licensed psychologist in Rhode Island. We’ve also provided answers about questions you may have regarding psychology licensure in Rhode Island, including:

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

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Rhode Island

Although there are many details involved in the process of becoming a licensed psychologist in Rhode Island, there are three broad steps to the process. First, you must complete a bachelor’s degree and may choose to earn an optional master’s degree in psychology after that. Next, you will need to earn a doctoral degree in psychology from one of the psychology schools in Rhode Island or from a school in another state with similar requirements. The final broad step is to begin the process of applying for licensure through the Board.

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

The first step for anyone hoping to become a licensed psychologist in Rhode Island is to complete a bachelor’s degree, which usually takes four years (120 credits) if you are attending school full-time. After completing your program, you will earn either a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, depending on the school you attend and the subject you major in. Note that you are not required to major in psychology as an undergraduate, but taking at least some psychology courses can help you meet educational prerequisites when you are applying to graduate programs.

After you have earned your bachelor’s degree, you may choose to earn a stand-alone master’s degree in general psychology or one of its specialty areas. Because most students in doctoral psychology programs earn master’s degrees during their studies, this step is optional. However, it can help you earn more experience and increase your chances of acceptance into a doctoral program, particularly if you have limited or no coursework in psychology from your undergraduate school. If you choose to pursue a stand-alone master’s degree in psychology, know that programs typically take two to three years to complete and award either Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) degrees. You may also need to meet educational prerequisites and take the Graduate Record Examination to be admitted into a master’s degree program.

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in psychology.

After you have earned a bachelor’s degree (and, optionally, a master’s degree in psychology), your next step will be to earn a doctoral degree in psychology. In the United States, there are two main types of doctoral degrees in psychology: the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology. Before applying to doctoral programs in psychology, it will be helpful to learn about the differences between PhD and PsyD programs so you can decide which one is the best fit for you. Although the time to completion varies based on program requirements, doctoral-level psychology programs usually take between four and seven years to finish.

To become licensed as a psychologist in Rhode Island, you will need to earn your doctoral degree from a program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or one that provides training commensurate with APA’s standards. Among other requirements, a program must include a year-long (1,500-hour) predoctoral internship to meet these standards. The hours earned during this internship are necessary to meet the Board’s requirements for supervised professional experience during the licensure process.

For more information about psychology programs, please visit our page about Psychology Schools in Rhode Island.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Rhode Island.

Earning a doctoral degree in psychology will bring you one step closer to becoming a practicing psychologist in Rhode Island, but there is one final stage to the process: becoming licensed through the Board. For this, you will need to complete supervised experience requirements, pass a national psychology exam, and apply for licensure through the Board. Below are more details about each of these components to licensure.

Rhode Island Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Submit an application to the Board for a temporary psychology permit.

After you have finished your doctoral degree but before you begin earning your required supervised postdoctoral experience, you must apply for a temporary psychology permit. Once issued, this permit will allow you to work under supervision while you are completing the remainder of the licensure requirements. To apply, complete the Application for License as a Psychologist, checking the relevant boxes to indicate that you are applying for a temporary permit. Note that you will not be able to submit a completed Post-Doctoral Supervised Practice Form (this will be submitted at a later date). For a complete application at this stage, you will need to have your internship supervisor complete the Pre-Doctoral Supervised Practice Form and you will also need to request that your doctoral program send the Board a copy of your transcript. When you submit your application to the Board, you will need to include a $350 application fee.

2. Complete two years of supervised professional experience (SPE) in your area of training.

Before receiving a psychology license in Rhode Island, you must first complete two years (3,000 hours) of supervised professional experience (SPE). The first year (1,500 hours) will come from the predoctoral internship that is required as part of all Board-approved doctoral programs. The second year (1,500) must be earned after your doctoral degree has been granted and you have been granted a temporary psychology permit. All of these hours must be earned in an APA-approved placement (such as an approved internship or postdoctoral program), a regionally accredited school, or in a location that the Board feels is an appropriate setting for these hours. While you are completing your predoctoral and postdoctoral SPE, you must receive at least one hour of individual supervision per week, though the setting you work in may require more.

After you have completed your postdoctoral SPE hours, ask your supervisor to complete the Post-Doctoral Supervised Practice Form from the Application for License as a Psychologist and send it to the Board to document that you have met the SPE requirements.

3. Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

After the Board has approved your application for a temporary psychology permit, they will grant you permission to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), which is the national exam used for psychology licensure. The EPPP consists of 225 multiple-choice items measuring broad knowledge of psychology. It costs $687.50 to register for the EPPP, and a passing score is 500 or higher. After you take the EPPP, the scores will automatically be transferred to the Board. You can take the EPPP while you are still working on your postdoctoral SPE hours.

4. Receive your license from the Board.

After you have completed your postdoctoral SPE hours and passed the EPPP, you should be eligible to receive your license from the Board. The Board will mail you a wallet card when they have received all required materials and issued your license. Note that you cannot begin practicing independently until your license is issued, even if you have met all of the requirements for licensure.

Rhode Island Licensure by Endorsement

If you are licensed in another state but interested in practicing in Rhode Island, you can apply for psychology licensure by endorsement. To grant a license by endorsement, the Board must determine that the jurisdiction you are licensed in has equivalent requirements to those in Rhode Island. You may also be eligible for licensure by endorsement if you are certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology.

To apply for licensure by endorsement, complete the Application for License as a Psychologist and indicate you are applying by endorsement. Include an application fee of $230 when you send the completed application to the Board. After they have reviewed your application, they will either notify you that your license has been granted or inform you that you are not eligible for licensure by endorsement.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Education Information

To keep your psychology license in Rhode Island active, you will need to renew it by June 1 of every even-numbered year. Before renewing your license, you must first complete 24 hours of continuing education (CE) within each two-year renewal period. All CE activities must be seminars, workshops, or other educational experiences related to psychology. Additionally, they must be approved by the APA, a regional psychology organization, the Rhode Island State Nurses Association, a regionally accredited university, or a similar body approved by the Board.

About a month before you are due to renew your license, the Board will mail your renewal paperwork. You can complete and return this paperwork or renew your license online at the Department of Health Online Services page. Renewal fees are $230 every two years.

Rhode Island Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for psychologists in Rhode Island (with the exception of postsecondary psychology teachers) is $75,332.1 The average salary for postsecondary psychology teachers in Rhode Island is $90,050.1

Across multiple fields of practicing psychology, the number of positions in Rhode Island is projected to increase by an average of 7.05% between 2016 and 2026.2 Although this indicates that there will likely be growth in psychology jobs in Rhode Island, this is less than the 12.25% increase that is expected nationally during this same time period.2 In Rhode Island, it is projected that the highest rate of growth—8.9%—will be among psychology positions in the “all other” category.2

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists670$75,910
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN/AN/A
Psychologists, All OtherN/A75,330
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary150$90,050

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1 Statistics for your locale may vary within this state.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a psychologist in Rhode Island?

To become a licensed psychologist in Rhode Island, you must complete a doctoral degree in psychology, earn a year of postdoctoral supervised experience, and pass a national psychology exam. The amount of time this takes depends on factors such as whether you choose to earn a stand-alone master’s degree and the requirements of your doctoral program, but it usually takes about 10 years.

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

You must earn a doctoral degree in psychology to become licensed as a psychologist in Rhode Island. This can be a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree, and it must be from an APA-accredited or equivalent program.

How much do psychologists in Rhode Island make?

The average salary for practicing psychologists in Rhode Island is $75,332, while the average salary for postsecondary psychology teachers is $90,050.1. However, salaries for psychologists are also dependent on factors such as proximity to large cities as well as the types of settings they are working in.

Additional Resources

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