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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. For approval, candidates will need a doctoral degree in psychology or a related field in addition to 3,000 hours of supervised experience and a passing score on the EPPP and Board-administered oral examination. This guide will outline the steps necessary to gain your psychology licensure and answer the most common questions about the process in South Carolina.

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

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in South Carolina

Getting your psychology license in South Carolina will not be a quick or easy process. All candidates must gain extensive knowledge through years of academic training and thousands of hours of professional experience. Several additional requirements must also be met. Discover more about the four high-level steps that must be taken to earn psychology licensure 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. The degree received can be either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) and different program options will be available depending on the educational institution attended. Typically, bachelors’ will require four years of study on a full-time basis and include around 120 credit hours.

Following a bachelor’s, some psychology candidates will complete a master’s degree in psychology or another similar field. Degree programs may result in either a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) and either option is acceptable. Generally, a stand-alone master’s 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 PsyD or PhD 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 the American Psychological Association’s (APA) website. 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 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).

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

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in South Carolina.

Once your educational experience is complete, there are still several further steps that are necessary to earn psychology licensure in South Carolina. These include 3,000 hours of supervised training experience, submitting a preliminary and final application, and passing the EPPP and oral jurisprudence examination.

South Carolina Psychologist Licensing Process

1. 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 the case that further information is required. Applications must be sent along with a Curriculum Vitae and $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. Before 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.

2. Gain two years of supervised professional experience (SPE) 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 pre-doctoral 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 post-doctorally. To count towards this requirement, all post-doctoral experience must occur while under an active Supervision Contract.

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 (which will be sent via mail 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.

3. 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 Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) to ensure the Board will receive results. This examination may be taken two times within 12 months; 60 days must pass before it can be retaken. Computerized test scores of 500 or above are required to pass.

4. Submit your formal application to the Board.

A Preliminary Application for Licensure must be approved before materials for a Formal Application will be sent to applicants. Formal Application documentation includes a Pre-doctoral Supervision Form, Supervisor’s Report Form, Supervision Contract, character references, professional references, and proof of passing the EPPP, as well as documentation of the completion of two years (one post-doctoral), or 3,000 hours, of supervised experience.

5. Pass the South Carolina oral examination.

After candidates have submitted their formal application and met all requirements above, they will be notified and given the information of the board member in charge to contact and determine a test date to take the South Carolina oral jurisprudence examination administered by the Board. This test must be taken after passing the EPPP and only after submission of a Formal Application described in the previous step.

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 a Preliminary Application for Licensure.

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.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Education Information

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. Lists of these different experience types can be found on the Board’s website. Extra credits cannot be counted towards another renewal period.

South Carolina Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists make an annual mean wage of $64,090.1 Postsecondary psychology teachers earn $80,740 on average per year.1 All other psychologists make an average of $90,400 yearly.1 Projections Central predicts the most job growth for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists with a change of 14.2% by the year 2026.2 All other psychologists (not including teachers) have an expected growth of 10.3% within the same timeframe.2

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists1,260$64,090
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN/AN/A
Psychologists, All Other130$90,400
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary310$80,740

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1

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?

To become 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, make $77,245 yearly.1

Additional Resources

  • South Carolina Psychological Association (SCPA) This association has goals to advance the science of psychology for the benefit of the general public and to create high standards among those who teach, conduct research, and practice as professionals within the field.
  • South Carolina Department of Labor and Licensing, and Regulation (LLR) – This South Carolina based agency seeks to protect the public health, financial well-being, and safety of residents through regulatory and licensing standards in addition to education and training requirements. Its overall goal is to improve the lives of South Carolina residents.
  • American Psychological Association (APA) – The APA strives to further psychological knowledge and research to benefit society as a whole. It works to ensure the quality of those in the field through setting high standards for conduct, education, ethics, and accomplishments.

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, South Carolina: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sc.htm
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm