Tennessee Psychology Licensure Requirements

The licensing and practice of psychology in Tennessee is overseen by the Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology. The Board of Examiners in Psychology is charged with ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of people in Tennessee by ensuring that individuals practicing psychology follow appropriate standards and are qualified in the profession. To that end, candidates who wish to become psychologists in Tennessee must complete a rigorous education as well as real-world experience to qualify for licensure. Following are common questions regarding this process:

» What are the different types of licensure for Psychologists in Tennessee?
» What is the process to become a psychologist or Certified Psychological Assistant in Tennessee?
» Do I need to complete criminal background checks to become a psychologist in Tennessee?
» What additional exams are required beyond the EPPP?
» Where can I find additional information on the licensing process?

Three Steps to Become a Psychologist in Tennessee

1. Complete Undergraduate and a Master’s Programs in Psychology.

Tennessee has four distinct levels of licensing for psychologists: Certified Psychological Assistant, Psychologist, Psychological Examiner, and Senior Psychological Examiner.

  • Psychological Examiners must practice select activities under the supervision of a psychologist or senior psychological examiner. As of December 31, 2004, no new psychological examiner licenses are issued.
  • Senior Psychological Examiners must have been licensed to practice psychology prior to July 1, 1991, and must make a request, supported by qualifications, to become a Senior Psychological Examiner.
  • Psychologists may apply psychological principles, methods, and procedures in line with standards of practice without supervision. This level of licensing requires the candidate to hold a doctorate in psychology and have completed an internship/practicum of at least one year consisting of 1,900 hours of practice approved by the American Psychological Association, the Association of Psychological Post-Doctoral and Internship Centers, or the equivalent.4 Candidates must also obtain one year of postdoctoral experience in the delivery of health services.
  • Certified Psychological Assistants may practice under the supervision of a duly licensed psychologist. This level of licensing requires applicants to have two years of graduate training in psychology to include a master’s degree and practicum experience.4

All active levels of licensing require candidates to hold at least a master’s degree in psychology. Learn about school options at our page psychology programs in Tennessee.

2. Earn a Doctoral Degree in Psychology.

Although candidates for licensure in the field of psychology are not required to hold a doctorate to become a Certified Psychological Assistant in Tennessee, a doctoral degree is required to become a psychologist. Numerous schools in Tennessee offer advanced degrees in Psychology to help you achieve your career goals.

3. Follow the Application Process for Becoming a Psychologist in Tennessee.

The application process for becoming a psychologist in Tennessee can be complex, but Psychology Degree 411 is here to help. Read on to find out more about the required forms and activities to obtain a license to practice psychology in Tennessee.

Tennessee Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Complete the Required Hours of Practicum.

The Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology does not distinguish between internships completed at the master’s or doctoral level for licensure as a Certified Psychological Assistant. However, the supervisor(s) for such an internship or practicum must complete an Affidavit of Supervisor and forward the affidavit to the Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology prior to the date on which practicum begins. Note that post-doctoral training requires the candidate to hold provisional licensure.

Once the required practicum is complete, the supervisor(s) of the practicum should sign the Practicum Documentation Form included with the application for Certified Psychological Assistants, or the pre- and post-doctoral supervision forms included with the application for psychologist licensure. The completed form can be returned to the Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology.

2. Execute the Board of Examiners in Psychology Certified Psychological Assistant Application or Psychologist Application.

The levels of licensure in Tennessee require different applications. To become a Certified Psychological Assistant, applicants should complete the Board of Examiners In Psychology Certified Psychological Assistant Application.

To become a psychologist, applicants must complete the Board of Examiners of Psychology Psychologist Application. The licensing application for psychologists requires that an individual known to the applicant who is professionally competent in psychology and has direct knowledge of the candidate’s abilities in the field must complete a Licensure Endorsement Form with an accompanying letter on behalf of the applicant. The form and letter should be sent directly to the Board of Examiners in Psychology.

3. Complete the Declaration of Citizenship.

Tennessee requires that all candidates for licensure or reinstatement of licensure by a Department of Health Board complete a Declaration of Citizenship to identify citizenship status. This form, along with the required supporting and identifying documents, should be notarized and forwarded to:

State of Tennessee
Department of Health
Health Related Boards
227 French Landing, Ste 300
Heritage Place, Metro Center
Nashville, TN 37243

4. Take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

Applicants for licensure as a psychologist must achieve a passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Candidates should obtain a written approval from the Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology prior to scheduling examination.

Applicants for licensure as a Certified Psychological Assistant are not required to take the EPPP, but if the EPPP was taken for licensure in another state that information should be included on the licensure for an application.

5. Complete the Required Background Checks for Licensure.

All candidates applying for licensure with any health-related board in Tennessee for the first time are required to complete criminal background checks with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Candidates living in Tennessee should begin the criminal background check for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation by visiting IdentoGo to schedule fingerprinting. Applicants should identify the agency (Department of Health Licensure and Regulation) and applicant type (Health Licensure) where appropriate on the online form. The completed scanned fingerprints will be forwarded to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for processing. Note that a reprint appointment may be necessary should the initial set of fingerprints contain errors. Applicants living outside of Tennessee should be fingerprinted by the local police or sheriff’s department and follow the instructions on the Tennessee Department of Health website.

All candidates, regardless of their state of residence, should follow the same procedure to obtain the FBI Identity History Summary. The Identity History Summary can only be requested personally by the individual whose record is being solicited. Applicants can request the records directly from the FBI or through an FBI-approved Channeler.

Note that while a criminal background check is required during the licensure process, organizations hiring psychologists who will be providing direct patient care are required by law to perform additional background checks in all states in which a candidate for a psychology position has lived for the past seven years.

6. Apply to Sit for the Ethics and Jurisprudence Examination.

All candidates for a psychologist’s license in Tennessee must complete the Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology Ethics and Jurisprudence Examination. This examination must be completed at the Board of Examiners in Psychology’s Administrative Office, located at:

227 French Landing
Ste 300
Heritage Place MetroCenter
Nashville, TN 37243

Exams are only administered from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, Central Standard Time.1 Applicants must request permission to sit for the exam by completing the Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology Ethics and Jurisprudence Examination Registration. Preferences for dates and times to take the exam can be made known on the form.

7. Submit the Mandatory Tennessee Department of Health Profile Questionnaire.

After a receiving a license but prior to beginning practice, psychologists must submit the Tennessee Department of Health Mandatory Practitioner Profile Questionnaire for Licensed Health Care Providers. The purpose of this form is to make available to the public profiles of health practitioners. As required by law, significant updates to the psychologist’s profile must be made in writing to the appropriate board within thirty days of the event necessitating an update.2

Additional Requirements and Information

The Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology provides further information on the processes and procedures necessary for obtaining licensure in the field of psychology, including:

  • Further information on the differentiation between licensing categories in Tennessee
  • Obtaining Temporary and Provisional Licenses for post-doctoral training
  • Licensure Endorsements for Health Service Practitioners
  • Rules for Postdoctoral Supervision
  • Funding opportunities for primary care professionals

1. Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology: https://www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/health-professional-boards/psychology-board.html
2. Tennessee Department of Health: https://www.tn.gov/health
3. Rules of the Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology Chapter 1180-1: https://publications.tnsosfiles.com/rules/1180/1180-02.20140703.pdf
4. Tennessee Code Annotated Title 63, Chapter 11: https://codes.findlaw.com/tn/title-63-professions-of-the-healing-arts/#!tid=N7327C4F0CCD811DB8F04FB3E68C8F4C5
5. Federal Bureau of Investigation – Identity History Summary Checks: https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks