South Carolina Psychology Licensure Requirements

Those who wish to become licensed psychologists in the state of South Carolina will need to submit a formal application to the South Carolina Board of Examiners in Psychology (the Board). For approval, candidates will need a doctoral degree in psychology or a related field in addition to supervised experience and a passing score on the national exam and Board-administered oral examination. This guide will outline the steps necessary to gain your psychology licensure process in South Carolina.

Table of Contents

How to Become a Psychologist in South Carolina

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

Those hoping to practice psychology in South Carolina will first need to earn a bachelor’s in psychology or in another related area. Typically, bachelor’s degrees require four years of study on a full-time basis and include around 120 credit hours. If your bachelor’s degree is not in psychology, you will likely have to take some prerequisite coursework before entering a graduate program.

Following a bachelor’s, some psychology candidates will complete a master’s degree in psychology or another similar field. Generally, a stand-alone master’s in psychology takes around two years and can range from approximately 30 to over 40 credit hours. If individuals completed their undergraduate degrees in an area other than psychology they may first be required to meet additional prerequisites before beginning a graduate-level program. Masters’ degrees can also be completed as part of a doctoral program and earned with a PsyD or PhD, which the following step describes further.

2. Earn a doctoral degree in psychology.

Psychology licensure candidates in South Carolina must have a combined minimum of four years of academic training and experience. This includes a doctoral degree, either a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology or a related area, which may take from four to seven years to complete. More information about these two degree options is available on our home page. Degrees must be earned from an institution with regional accreditation and through a program with national accreditation. If doctoral degrees are not in psychology but in a related area, they must be approved by the Board as equivalent to training provided by psychology degree programs. Without a degree that meets these requirements, candidates must adhere to guidelines set forth by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).

Up to one year (1,500 hours) of the supervised professional experience needed for licensure may be completed during your doctoral program. If you will be counting your doctoral internship or residency towards this experience, your supervisor will need to complete a Predoctoral Supervision form that will be submitted later.

Find out more information about schools that can help you meet South Carolina’s educational guidelines for psychology.

3. Submit your preliminary application to the Board.

Those seeking licensure as psychologists in South Carolina will need to complete all sections of a Preliminary Application for Licensure, including the enclosed Affidavit of Eligibility. Additional papers or photocopied materials should be attached in case further information is required. Applications must be sent along with a Curriculum Vitae and a $500 fee as a money order, cashier’s check, or personal check to the Board’s office in Columbia, South Carolina. Official transcripts documenting all graduate-level coursework will also need to be provided to the office and originate from the educational institution attended. If your program was not approved by the American Psychological Association (APA), you will also need to include supporting materials including course descriptions of your program. Before the final review, educational standards must be met, which include earning a doctoral degree and completing an internship or supervised pre-doctoral experience. Candidates are expected to finish all requirements for licensure within three years following Board approval of a preliminary application. Once the Board approves your preliminary application, they will send you the forms needed to complete your formal application.

4. Gain two years of supervised professional experience in your area of training.

Two total years of supervised professional experience, or 3,000 hours, are required for licensure. Up to 1,500 hours can be accrued through a predoctoral internship or residency and supervisors of the experience must submit a Predoctoral Supervision form (mailed to you once the Board has approved your preliminary application). The second 1,500 hours of experience must be completed postdoctorally. To count towards this requirement, all post-doctoral experience must occur while under an active Supervision Contract (also mailed to you after your preliminary application has been accepted).

Supervisors must be licensed professionals in good standing who are qualified within the area they are supervising. There should be at least one hour a week of face-to-face supervision during the entire experience. Once it has ended, supervisors must complete a Supervisor’s Report form (mailed following the approval of your preliminary application) and submit it to the Board. Note that in some cases as determined by the Board, the requirements of supervised experience can be waived for certain individuals.

5. Pass the EPPP psychology licensing exam.

All psychology licensure candidates in South Carolina must take the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP). To reserve a spot to test, candidates must contact the Professional Examination Service in writing. The test is administered daily at Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, and Myrtle Beach locations and if taken within the state of South Carolina, the Board will automatically have access to scores. Those who test from out of state will need to contact the ASPPB to ensure the Board will receive results. Computerized test scores of 500 or above are required to pass.

6. Submit your formal application to the Board.

The preliminary application must be approved before materials for the Formal Application will be sent to applicants. Formal Application documentation includes the Predoctoral Supervision Form, Supervision Contract, Supervisor’s Report Form, three professional references, and proof of passing the EPPP, as well as documentation of the completion of two years (one postdoctoral), or 3,000 hours, of supervised experience.

7. Pass the South Carolina oral examination.

After candidates have submitted their formal application and met all requirements above, they will be notified and are asked to contact the board member assigned to them in order to schedule the oral exam.

8. Receive your psychologist license from the Board.

When all the above steps have been completed and approved by the Board, you will receive your license to practice psychology in South Carolina.

South Carolina Licensure by Reciprocity

South Carolina holds no agreements with other states that guarantee the option of licensure by reciprocity. The Board will consider licensure by reciprocity candidates on a case-by-case basis only when the state they were previously licensed by has standards that are at least as strict as those of South Carolina. Prospective out-of-state candidates will apply for a South Carolina license using the same preliminary application used by other candidates.

Out-of-state residents who want to offer limited psychological services in South Carolina can apply for a temporary permit. This permit covers up to 60 days of practice within a 12-month period. Longer practice will require the completion of a Preliminary Application.

License Renewal and Continuing Education

Psychology licenses are renewed biennially and require a fee of $395. Psychologists must complete a minimum of 24 continuing education credits within the two-year period before a renewal deadline. 12 or more of these may be what the Board considers formal Category A experiences and 12 or fewer can be what are considered informal Category B experiences. Extra continuing education credits cannot be carried over or counted towards another renewal period.

School Psychologist

School psychologists in the state are governed by the South Carolina Department of Education. To qualify for the School Psychologist I certificate, a master’s degree is required, as well as the completion of an advanced school counselor preparation program approved by the Board. A passing score on the Praxis exam is also required. The School Psychologist II certificate requires a specialist-level degree in addition to the advanced preparation program and Praxis exam, and the School Psychologist III certificate requires a doctoral degree.

South Carolina Psychologist Jobs and Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), psychologists in South Carolina, excluding teachers, earned an annual mean wage of $84,457 as of May 2021.1 Postsecondary psychology teachers earned $76,120 on average per year.1 Projections Central predicts job growth of 11.8% for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists through 2030, and a 12% increase in postsecondary psychology teaching jobs.2

OccupationNumber Employed1Average Annual Salary1
Clinical and Counseling Psychologists240$84,760
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN.Av.N.Av.
Psychologists, All Other150$103,530
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary260$76,120
School Psychologists550$65,080

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a psychologist in South Carolina?

A bachelor’s degree generally takes four years of full-time study and a stand-alone master’s can take around two. A doctoral program may take an individual anywhere from four to seven years. Beyond this, at least one year of experience must be earned post-doctorally. To become licensed as a psychologist in South Carolina will likely require a decade or more.

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

Becoming a licensed psychologist in South Carolina will require a doctorate, either in psychology or a related area from a regionally accredited educational institution. Programs must also be accredited or else meet a series of Board-specified requirements.

How much do psychologists in South Carolina make?

On average, psychologists in South Carolina, excluding psychology educators, made $84,457 yearly, as of May 2021.1 Factors that may affect salary include location and years of experience.

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, South Carolina: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sc.htm
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm