Rhode Island Psychology Licensure Requirements

In Rhode Island, psychologists are licensed through the Board of Psychology (the Board). In any state, there are a number of steps involved in earning a license to practice psychology, and Rhode Island is no exception. You must complete a doctoral degree in psychology, earn postdoctoral supervised experience, and pass a national exam. This page is a step-by-step guide to each stage of this process for anyone considering becoming a licensed psychologist in Rhode Island.

Table of Contents

How to Become a Psychologist in Rhode Island

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. 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 require 30 to 40 credit hours and take around two years to complete.

2. Earn a doctoral degree 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. 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 experience during the licensure process.

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

3. Submit an application to the Board for a temporary psychologist 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. All additional forms needed are included in the main application document. 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 school or university send the Board a copy of your transcript. If you attended a doctoral program that was not APA-approved, you will need to include the Curriculum Summary form. When you submit your application to the Board, you will need to include a $230 application fee, plus $120 for a temporary permit.

4. Complete two years of supervised experience in your area of training.

Before receiving a psychology license in Rhode Island, you must first complete two years (3,000 hours) of supervised experience. 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 supervised experience hours, ask your supervisor to complete the Post-Doctoral Supervised Practice form from the application and send it to the Board to document that you have met the supervised experience requirements.

5. Pass the Rhode Island psychology licensing exams.

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. A passing score is needed of 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 supervised experience hours.

6. Receive your license from the Board.

After your test score and postdoctoral supervised experience hours have been documented and sent to the Board, 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 (ABPP).

To apply for licensure by endorsement, complete the same application and indicate that you are applying by endorsement. Include an application fee of $230 when you send the completed application to the Board. After the Board has 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.

License Renewal and Continuing Education

To keep your psychology license in Rhode Island active, you will need to renew it by July 1 of every even-numbered year. Renewal notices are sent 60 days before the expiration date, and licenses can be renewed online. 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, activities 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. Renewal fees are $230 every two years.

School Psychologist

School psychologists are regulated by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). To obtain the state education agency (SEA) credential from RIDE as a school psychologist, you must hold an advanced degree in school psychology from a regionally-accredited institution, have completed a school psychologist support professionals preparation program, and be able to demonstrate that you meet the content competencies listed by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and complete the Praxis school psychologist exam.

Rhode Island Psychologist Jobs and Salary Information

As of May 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for psychologists in Rhode Island (with the exception of postsecondary psychology teachers) was $94,563, while the average salary for postsecondary psychology teachers was $93,600.1 The number of psychologist positions in Rhode Island for clinical, counseling, school, and all other psychologists is projected to grow excluding educators, the number of positions in Rhode Island is projected to increase by an average of 6.25% between 2020 and 2030.2 Postsecondary psychologist positions are expected to grow 6.7% during the same time period.2

OccupationNumber Employed1Average Annual Salary1
Clinical and Counseling Psychologists410$107,060
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN.Av.N.Av.
Psychologists, All Other110$92,400
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary140$93,600
School Psychologists170$84,230

Additional Resources

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 was $94,563 as of May 2021, while the average salary for postsecondary psychology teachers was $93,600.1. 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.

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