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Virginia Psychology Licensure Requirements

Prospective psychologists in Virginia must dedicate themselves to completing a thorough education in psychology followed by at least one year of experience before becoming eligible for licensure. The Virginia Board of Psychology and the laws and regulations governing the practice of psychology in the state ensure that licensed psychologists are qualified and eligible to practice. This page can help you answer common questions about psychologist licensure in Virginia, such as:

» How do I become a psychologist in Virginia?
» What do I do after earning a doctoral degree in psychology to become licensed to practice?
» What do I need to do to obtain approval for residency hours?
» What are the residency hour requirements in Virginia?
» What exams are required for licensure as a psychologist in Virginia?

Three Steps to Become a Psychologist in Virginia

Whether you are only beginning the process of becoming a licensed psychologist in Virginia or have already completed the first steps, Psychology Degree 411 can help you find out what comes next:

1. Obtain a BA or BS and a Master’s Degree in Psychology.

School psychologists must have at least a master’s degree in school psychology. Other types of psychology licensure in Virginia require a doctoral degree. In either case, a bachelor’s degree in psychology is a necessary first step. Find more information about planning your education and Virginia psychology degree programs.

2. Complete a Doctoral Program in Psychology.

Virginia requires all prospective psychologists who intend to practice clinical psychology or applied psychology to hold a doctoral degree in the appropriate field(s). Although it is not necessary to hold a doctoral degree to become a school psychologist, many school psychologists choose to pursue a doctoral degree as well.

3. Follow Virginia’s Steps for Psychologist Licensing.

Once candidates for licensure in psychology in Virginia have completed the educational requirements, the post-doctoral licensing process begins. Find out the next steps:

Virginia Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Begin Pre-Doctoral Supervised Practicum or Internship.

Prospective psychologists should begin supervised practicum hours prior to graduating from a doctoral program; hours accumulated in pre-doctoral supervised practicum may be counted towards the residency hours requirements. Clinical psychologist candidates must complete an internship accredited by the American Psychological Association, the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, or the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers. School psychologist candidates must complete an internship accredited by the American Psychological Association, the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Standards, or the National Association of School Psychologists. In either case should an internship not be so accredited, a program that follows substantially equivalent standards may be acceptable.

2. Register as a Resident in Psychology.

Prior to completing the required experience hours under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, psychology trainees are required to register with the Virginia Board of Psychology as a resident in psychology. This is done by completing the Post-Degree Supervision Registration form (Form 2).

Note that a Post-Degree Supervision Registration form must be submitted each time that a new supervisor is added to the psychology trainee’s work hours and each time that a supervisor is changed. If the former supervisor is no longer working with the psychology trainee, the former supervisor should complete the Verification of Supervision Form.

Candidates pursuing Virginia licensure who completed supervised experience outside of the state of Virginia should work with their supervisor to complete the Licensure Verification of Out-of-State Supervisor form.

3. Complete Supervised Experience.

The residency requirement in Virginia is 1,500 hours of supervised resident experience taking place over at least 12 months.1 In order to count towards the residency requirement the Virginia Board of Psychology must pre-approve the candidate’s request to begin residency. The supervisor of the residency must be licensed in the same specialty as the candidate for licensure intends to practice. In no case may the date of the residency begin prior to the date that the Virginia Board of Psychologists received the completed registration of residency forms and official transcripts.

Be aware that candidates who intend to seek certification as sex offender treatment providers must complete supervision under a certified sex offender treatment provider who is appropriately licensed, and must also obtain fifty clock hours of specialized training in sex offender treatment.1

4. Take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

Candidates for licensure as a psychologist are permitted to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) while registered as a resident in psychology in Virginia and prior to completing supervised experience. However, whether the EPPP is taken before or following completion of the residency requirements, candidates must receive the approval of the Virginia Board of Psychology to register for and take the exam.

Students who have already taken the EPPP may request scores to be forwarded to the Virginia Board of Psychologists by completing the Request for Score Transfer form, which should be sent to:

The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)
P.O. Box 3079
Peachtree City, GA 30269

Alternatively, the form can be faxed to (678) 216-1176. Students who take the EPPP in Virginia do not need to request a score transfer as the ASPBB will automatically report scores on exams taken within the state to the Virginia Board of Psychologists. Preparatory materials, including practice exams, are available on the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards website.

5. Complete the Application for Licensure by Examination.

The Application for Licensure by Examination should be completed by all prospective psychologists who are not transferring a license from another state or requesting licensure by endorsement. At a minimum, the completed application should include:

Applicants with exceptional circumstances may need to complete additional documentation. For example, applicants who completed the required residency hours outside of the state of Virginia must complete the Licensure Verification of Out-of-State Supervisor form (Form 7). Other forms that may be required include:

Additional Requirements and Information

The Virginia Board of Psychologists has a multitude of resources on its website that can help you find answers and information on common questions and issues, including:

  • Procedures for applying for a psychologist’s license by endorsement
  • Restrictions and guidelines for practice according to endorsement area
  • Annual licensure renewal requirements and continuing education guidelines
  • Public participation guidelines for rulemaking
  • Duties to report

References:
1. Virginia Board of Psychology: http://www.dhp.virginia.gov/Psychology/
2. The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards – EPPP Exam Information: http://www.asppb.net/?page=CandHandbook