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Texas Psychology Licensure Requirements

As you consider a career in psychology, the most important place for you to begin is with the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists. Their site provides an explanation of the process to obtain your license–including information on required education, experience, examination, and application for licensure. In Texas, there are four different license options, each with its own path and requirements. Deciding which option is right for you, and how to navigate the path to licensure, can be tricky. This guide will help clarify that process, and answer the following questions:

» How do I become a psychologist in Texas?
» I have earned a PhD or PsyD and I am ready to learn how to get a psychologist license in Texas.
» What are Texas’s supervised professional experience rules and regulations?
» What psychology exams are required in Texas?
» Can I become licensed in Texas with only a master’s degree?
» How do I become licensed in Texas by endorsement or reciprocity?
» How much do psychologists in Texas make?

Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Texas

The path to licensure in the state of Texas can be challenging, but you do not have to face it alone. In the following section, we’ll describe the three major steps to becoming a psychologist in the state.

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

The first step on the road to becoming a licensed psychologist in the state of Texas is to complete your education. This will begin with a bachelor’s degree, followed by a master’s degree. Typically, the process to obtain a bachelor’s degree takes about four years and consists of around 120 credit hours. Obtaining a master’s in psychology is significantly shorter–only about 60-70 hours, depending on the university and specialization.

Choosing your major in your bachelor’s program is important. While not all master’s programs require you to have majored in psychology, earning your bachelor’s in psychology from an accredited university is the best way to set yourself up for success in a master’s program if you already know that you want to be a psychologist. This may be a BS (Bachelor of Science) or BA (Bachelor of Arts) in Psychology, depending on the university you attend; either will be acceptable when applying for your master’s program.

If you did major in something other than psychology for your bachelor’s, you may need to fulfill some prerequisite courses before applying to a master’s program. For example, some may require that you complete one or two statistics courses before admission.

For licensure purposes, the state of Texas requires that your graduate program consist of at least 60 credit hours, no more than 12 of which can be internship or practicum-related; so, it’s important to review program details carefully as you apply for your master’s. If you attend your graduate program full-time, you may finish in as little as two years.

It’s worth noting that some universities offer not only stand-alone master’s programs, but also programs in which you can complete both a master’s and doctoral degree (PhD or PsyD) in the same program, rather than completing them individually; this option is described more in the next step.

2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in Psychology.

Next, you will need to obtain a doctorate degree, which may be a PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) or PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) in Psychology. The time it takes to earn a doctorate is a highly variable process, depending on other life commitments as well as specialization options and pre-doctoral experience, but most can be completed in four to six years. Note aspiring school psychologists in Texas must complete a school psychology program approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

Again, review program details carefully when applying for a doctoral program. For licensure, the state of Texas requires that you not only earn a doctorate consisting of at least 60 credit hours, but that you complete at least 1,750 hours of work in a supervised internship before earning your degree.

As discussed, some universities offer the option to obtain your master’s and doctoral degrees as part of the same program. This option has many advantages; among them, most useful may be cutting out the application process between degrees. If master’s programs are competitive, doctoral programs can be doubly so. In fact, the application process, itself, may take a year or more, as often schools have interviewing processes similar to workplaces on top of the actual application itself. In short, finding a single program where you can complete both degrees is an option worth considerable thought.

For more information on pursuing a doctoral degree in psychology, see our Psychology Schools in Texas page.

3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Texas.

Earning that final degree may feel like a mountain of work; enrolling in school full-time for what could be a decade or more is certainly a weighty decision. However, once complete, the licensure process can finally begin, and, soon, the rewarding career you’ve worked toward.

Texas Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Pass the Texas psychology licensing exams.

There are two mandatory exams to pass in order to obtain licensure in psychology: the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the Jurisprudence Examination. The Jurisprudence Exam costs $243, while the EPPP costs $600. You must pass both exams in order to be considered for licensure in Texas. Note school psychologists must pass the National School Psychology Examination rather than the EPPP.

2. Apply to become a provisionally licensed psychologist.

In Texas, before you can be a licensed psychologist, you must apply to be a provisionally licensed psychologist. Provisionally licensed psychologists must practice under the supervision of a psychologist, so during this time, you can complete the supervised professional experience required by the Board to become a full psychologist. The application is $340, plus a one-time fee of $75 to use PLUS, and you will need to submit two passport photos, official transcripts, and a criminal history record check along with your application.

3. Gain two years of supervised professional experience (SPE) in your area of training.

To obtain licensure in Texas, you must first complete at least 3,500 work hours in a supervised internship setting. Half of these hours (1,750) can be completed as part of a formal internship while earning your doctorate, while at least the other half must be completed after you’ve obtained your doctoral degree. This training is called Supervised Professional Experience (SPE). It usually takes two years to complete this experience if you work full-time. Note school psychologists in Texas must complete a formal internship of 1,200 hours or more, and 600 of those must be in a public school.

4. Submit your licensed psychologist application to the Board.

Once you’ve completed the above steps, you’re ready to apply to become a full licensed psychologist. In Texas, you apply for licensure online using a program called PLUS: Psychology Licensure Universal System. First, you’ll complete the PLUS application. Once you’ve completed the application, you will register on the PSYPRO website and submit your application, along with required fees. The application fee is $180. It takes about six weeks to process applications, but you can check on progress at any time through the PLUS system.

Licensed Psychological Associate

If you are not ready to become a fully-licensed psychologist in Texas, another option is to become a licensed psychological associate ($190 application fee). Only a master’s degree in psychology is required to become an associate, but you must still pass the EPPP and the Jurisprudence Exam. In addition, you must have at least six semester credit hours of supervised practicum experience or an internship. As a licensed psychological associate, you can also apply for independent practice once you have obtained 3,000 hours of post-graduate supervised experience (within a 24-48-month period). There is no fee to apply for independent practice.

Texas Licensure by Endorsement

If you’ve already obtained your licensure in another state, don’t worry–there’s no need to start over. There is a shorter path to obtaining licensure in Texas for those who have it in another state. However, there are a few rules. To obtain licensure in Texas through reciprocity, you must have proof that you’re “actively licensed and in good standing” in another state. On a related note, you’ll need proof that you have no past or pending disciplinary action against you in any other state. Finally, the licensure you obtained in another state has to have included 3,000 hours of SPE. Half of this experience should have been earned before graduation, and the other half can be completed after graduating with your doctoral degree. You still must become a provisionally licensed psychologist first and follow the same steps above, aside from the different requirement of SPE hours.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Education Information

Once you’ve obtained your license, retaining it requires some maintenance. Each year, you will need to complete a minimum of 20 hours of professional development or CPE that are directly related to psychology practice. In addition, three out of the 20 required hours must be in ethics, Board Rules of Conduct, or professional responsibility and three hours must be in cultural diversity. At least 10 of the 20 hours must be obtained from or endorsed by a Board-approved provider. Hours over 20 cannot be rolled over to the next year. To renew, you can either register an account with the online renewal system or by mailing the paper Renewal Form before the expiration date of your license.

Texas Psychology Jobs and Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), excluding educators, psychologists in Texas (clinical, counseling, and school psychologists and “all other” psychologists) earn an average of $80,705 per year, while postsecondary psychology teachers earn an average of $74,700 per year.1 In terms of the number of psychologists in the state, there are 6,250 clinical, counseling, and school psychologists, 3,190 postsecondary psychology teachers, and 670 in the “all other” psychologist category.1 No employment projections are available for the state of Texas, but nationwide, positive growth is expected in all psychology jobs, with the fastest growth over the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026 being for postsecondary psychology teachers (15.1% growth) with clinical, counseling, and school psychologists following closely behind at 14.2% growth over the same period.2 The average growth expected for all psychologists in the United States (including the “all other” category and industrial-organizational psychologists) is 11.4% through 2026.

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists6,250$70,060
Psychologists, All Other670$91,350
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary3,190$74,700

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 Texas?

Becoming a psychologist in Texas can take a long time, but with high salaries and fast growth expected for the field, devoting the time to pursue your psychology license in Texas can pay off. If you are interested in being a psychologist, expect to go to school for a total of six to eight years until you obtain your doctoral degree, if you go full-time without taking much time off between degree programs. Then, once you’ve completed your schooling, you will begin the actual licensing process, which includes gaining experience, taking tests, and waiting for your application to go through. All in all, you should expect it to take a total of eight to 10 years to become a psychologist in Texas.

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

For Texas licensure as a psychologist, you will need a doctoral degree. If you want to become a licensed psychological associate, you can get licensed with a master’s degree.

How much do psychologists in Texas make?

Psychologists in Texas earn a good average salary. According to the BLS, the highest paid psychologists in the state are in the “all other” category, and they earn $91,350 per year.1 The second-highest paid psychologists work as postsecondary psychology teachers earning $74,700.1 Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists follow close behind, earning an average of $70,060 per year.1

Additional Resources

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