Virginia Psychology Licensure Requirements
As part of your journey to start a psychology career, you can begin the process of obtaining a license to practice in Virginia through the Virginia Board of Psychology. As part of your licensure requirements in Virginia, you must meet educational requirements, complete supervised practice hours, and take and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Below is a comprehensive guide to help you with each step in becoming a licensed psychologist in Virginia. Some common questions that come up during the Virginia licensure process include:
» How do I become a psychologist in Virginia?
» I have earned a PhD or PsyD and I am ready to learn how to get a psychologist license in Virginia.
» What are Virginia’s supervised professional experience rules and regulations?
» What psychology exams are required in Virginia?
» I am already a licensed psychologist in another state; how do I become licensed in Virginia by endorsement?
» Can I become licensed in Virginia with only a master’s degree?
» How do I renew my psychology license in Virginia?
» How much do psychologists in Virginia make?
Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in Virginia
Becoming a licensed psychologist in Virginia requires meeting the state standards for educational background, which involves a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and a doctoral degree. There are many psychology schools in Virginia that offer programs that can help you meet this requirement and prepare for the licensure process, which also involves experience and testing requirements. Following are three high-level steps to becoming a psychologist in Virginia.
1. Earn a bachelor’s degree and (optionally) a master’s degree in psychology.
The first step towards becoming a psychologist is to complete a bachelor’s degree. You can obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology or another field. Bachelor’s degrees include Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees. Overall a bachelor’s degree will ordinarily take about four years of full-time study to complete, with about 120 credits required for completion.
Once you complete your bachelor’s degree, you may choose to pursue a master’s degree in psychology or a related field. Master’s degrees can be Master of Science (MS) or Master of Arts (MA) degrees, depending on the university. Typically master’s degree programs will require between 36-54 credits for program completion, and will take about two years of full-time study. If your bachelor’s degree wasn’t in psychology, you may need to complete some prerequisites before beginning a master’s program in psychology. As part of your application for a master’s program, you may be required to submit GRE or GMAT scores. In Virginia, you can apply for a limited license in school psychology with a master’s degree in psychology.
It is important to note that many doctoral programs either do not require a master’s degree for entry or include a master’s degree as part of study. If you choose to enter a doctoral psychology program that includes a master’s degree, you do not need to complete a stand-alone master’s program. Be sure to check out the doctoral programs that interest you to see what they require and how to best prepare for them. Visit our Psychology Schools page for more information about schools for prospective psychologists.
2. Earn a PsyD or PhD in psychology.
The next step towards becoming a licensed psychologist in Virginia is to earn a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in psychology. To learn about the differences between the two doctorate types, read the American Psychological Association’s (APA) article here The PhD or PsyD program should be accredited by the by the APA or meet the Virginia Psychology Board standards. As part of a PhD or PsyD program, you must have completed a minimum of three years of full-time study and provide evidence of practicum experience (an internship) gained during study. Most PhD or PsyD programs may require hands-on practicum hours as well. Overall, doctoral degrees in psychology can take between four to seven years to complete depending on the program and school, if a master’s degree is included, as well as other factors.
For a comprehensive list of the doctoral programs offered in Virginia, see our Psychology Schools in Virginia page.
3. Get licensed to practice psychology in Virginia.
After completing the educational requirements, you can begin the process of licensure in Virginia. The following section outlines the steps towards obtaining licensure in accordance with the Virginia Psychology Board.
Virginia Psychologist Licensing Process
1. Complete 1,500 hours of supervised professional experience.
In the state of Virginia, applicants for psychology licensure are required to complete 1,500 hours of post-doctoral professional experience under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. All or part of these hours may have been completed as part of your PhD or PsyD degree program, so long as the hours obtained during your PhD of PsyD program meet the Virginia Psychology Board requirements, including specific face-to-face client contact stipulations In this case, you will complete and submit a Verification of Pre-Doctoral Supervised Practicum Hours form with your application.
Prior to completing the post-doctoral hours, you are required to submit a Registration of Residency (Post-Graduate Degree Supervised Experience) form. If you change supervisors or add a new one, you must complete a new form every time. You cannot begin to count hours towards licensure until you have submitted your Registration of Residency form and receive approval by the Board. Completion of the minimum 1,500 hours cannot be shorter than 12 months, but must not take longer than three years. At the end of completing the required hours, your supervisor(s) must submit a written evaluation of your performance to the Board.
2. Pass the Virginia psychology licensing exams.
Once the Board approves your residency registration, and you begin completing your required supervised professional experience, you will be eligible to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). The EPPP is used across most states in the US as the official psychology licensing exam. The EPPP is a computerized exam that costs $687.50 and is comprised of 225 multiple choice questions. The Virginia Board sets the acceptable passing score to at 500. Once you are approved by the Board to take the EPPP, you have two years to complete the exam.
You will complete an the transfer request instructions.
3. Submit your application to the Board.
After passing the EPPP, you must submit the Licensure by Examination Application form, along with the required fee of $200. Along with the application, you must also submit a an Internship Verification form , a Verification of Post-Degree Supervision form, a Verification of Pre-Doctoral Supervised Practicum Hours form, an official transcript with graduate degree conferral date, an Areas of Graduate Study form, EPPP clinical scores, and a self-query report through the US Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioners Data Bank (NPDB) . Finally, if your supervised hours did not take place in Virginia, you must submit a Licensure Verification of Out-of-State Supervisor form.
4. Receive your psychology license from the Board.
Once the Board has verified that you’ve met all requirements, you will receive your license to practice psychology in Virginia.
In Virginia, you can obtain a School Psychologist-Limited license if you have a master’s degree in psychology and a Pupil Personnel Services license issued by the Virginia Board of Education with an endorsement in psychology. If you meet these qualifications, you can complete the school psychologist-limited form . There is a required fee of $85 to process the application. Along with your application, you must include an official transcript with degree conferral date, a current copy of your Pupil Personnel Services license, and a completed Employment Verification form. If you currently hold or have ever held licensure as a mental health professional outside of Virginia, you must also complete the Verification of Out-of-State Licensure form.
Sex Offender Treatment Provider
In addition to your psychology license, you can also apply for certification of sex offender treatment in Virginia. You can apply for certification after having completed a master’s or doctoral degree in social work, psychology, counseling, or nursing, or a degree of Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. You must receive 50 hours of sex offender training under a supervisor. You must then complete a total of 2,000 post-degree hours of supervised clinical experience, with at least 200 of these hours specifically dedicated to sex offender treatment face-to-face. After meeting the requirements, you must complete and submit a Certification as a Sex Offender Treatment Provider form. There is a $90 processing fee associated with the form. Along with your application, you must submit an official graduate transcript with degree conferral date and copies of other certificates, diplomas, official transcripts or signature of the supervisor who provided sex offender training. You must also submit a Verification of Supervision form and reference letters from three health care professionals who can speak to your abilities regarding sex offender treatment. If you currently hold or have ever held licensure as a mental health professional outside of Virginia, you must complete the Verification of Out-of-State Licensure form.
Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Education Information
Licensed psychologists in Virginia are required to complete a minimum of 14 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) courses approved by the Board each year to be eligible for renewal. The deadline to submit CPE hours is June 30. Verification of CPE is done through random audit selection, meaning that in a given renewal year, you may or may not be chosen to submit proof of completing CPE hours. If you are audited, you must submit proof of CPE hours through official transcripts or certificates of completion. Renewing your psychology license in Virginia can be done online . There is a $140 fee associated with the renewal of an active psychology license. You can carry over up to seven hours of unused CPE from one renewal year to the following year. Qualifying CPE courses must meet the Virginia Psychology Board requirements.
Virginia Psychology Jobs and Salary Information
In Virginia, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earn an average of $87,090 annually based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1 Postsecondary teachers in psychology earn an average salary of $76,270 annually in Virginia, and all other psychologists earn an average of $94,570.1 Industrial-organizational psychologists earn the highest salaries in Virginia, averaging $123,640 per year.1The number of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Virginia is predicted to increase by 14.2% by 2026 according to data from Projections Central.2 Comparably, the number of psychologists in all other areas (not including those in teaching) is predicted to increase by 15.1% by 2026.2
|Occupation||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||2,550||$87,090|
|Psychologists, All Other||400||$94,570|
|Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary||1,140||$76,270|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1 Statistics for your locale may vary within this state.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to become a psychologist in Virginia?
The length of time it will take to become a licensed psychologist in Virginia depends on many factors that may be different for each individual. A bachelor’s degree can take about four years to complete, if attending full time. You may opt to complete a stand-alone master’s prior to applying to a PsyD or PhD program in psychology, which will take about two more years of education. Then, a PsyD or PhD can range from four to seven years to complete. After graduating, you are required to complete supervised professional experience for one to three years. Finally, you must study for and complete the EPPP and have your application approved by the state. Overall, the process to become a psychologist in Virginia may take about 10 years, although the exact length depends on your circumstances.
What degree do I need to be a licensed psychologist in Virginia?
To become a fully licensed psychologist in Virginia you must have a PhD or PsyD. However, if you want to obtain licensure as a School Psychologist-Limited, you can do so with a master’s degree in psychology.
How much do psychologists in Virginia make?
The BLS reports that clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Virginia earn an average annual income of $76,150, postsecondary psychology teachers earn an average of $87,090, and all other psychologists earn an average annual income of $94,570.1 Your salary as a psychologist in Virginia may be impacted by your experience level, where you work, and whether you live in an urban or rural area.
- Virginia Department of Health Professions: Board of Psychology -The official website of the Virginia Board of Psychology, which obtains guidelines and forms for obtaining a psychology license in Virginia.
- Virginia Law: Board of Psychology – An additional source for information and guidelines required by the Virginia Psychology Board..
- Virginia Academy of Clinical Psychologists (VACP) – Official website of the VACP which seeks to advance psychology as a science and profession.
- American Psychological Association (APA) – Official website of the APA, the leading organization for psychologists in the US.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Virginia: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_va.htm#19-0000
2. Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): https://www.projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm