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 (the Board). To become eligible for licensure as a psychologist in the state, you must meet educational requirements, complete supervised practice hours, and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Virginia offers psychologist licenses for clinical, applied, and school psychologists in the state. Below is a comprehensive guide to help you with each step in becoming a licensed psychologist in Virginia.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Licensed Psychologist
- Licensure by Reciprocity
- License Renewal and Continuing Education
- Related Licenses
- Jobs and Salary Information
- Additional Resources
- Frequently Asked Questions
- License Renewal and Continuing Education
How to Become 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. If your bachelor’s degree wasn’t in psychology, however, you may need to complete some prerequisites before beginning a master’s program in psychology. 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. Typical psychology master’s programs require between 30-40 credits for program completion and take about two years of full-time study. In Virginia, you can qualify for a School Psychologist-Limited or Sex Offender Treatment Provider license 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 the study. If you choose to enter a doctoral psychology program that already 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.
2. Earn a doctoral degree 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 our home page. The PhD or PsyD program should be regionally-accredited, be comprised of at least three years of full-time study, and include an internship, practicum, or field training experience, some or all of which can count towards the residency requirement for licensure.
In Virginia, you can apply for a clinical, school, or applied psychology license using the same application. The process is the same for all of them, but the degree requirements vary. You can read about the education requirements for clinical, applied, and school psychologists in the state administrative code. 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. Complete 1,500 hours of supervised professional experience.
In the state of Virginia, all applicants for psychology licensure (clinical, applied, and school) are required to complete 1,500 hours over one to three years of professional experience under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. All or part of these hours may have been completed as part of your doctoral degree program, so long as the hours obtained meet the Board’s requirements, including specific face-to-face client contact stipulations.
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 received approval from the Board. Completion of the minimum of 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. You can find all forms for recording your supervised professional experience on the Board’s website.
4. Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).
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) from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). The EPPP is used across most states in the US as the official psychology licensing exam. It is comprised of 225 multiple choice questions and a score of 500 is required. Once you are approved by the Board to take the EPPP, you have two years to complete the exam. You can find an EPPP practice exam on the Board website.
5. Submit your application to the Board.
After passing the EPPP, you must submit an Application for Clinical Psychology, School Psychology, or Applied Psychology Licensure by Examination, as well as 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).
6. 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 clinical, applied, or school psychology in Virginia.
Virginia Licensure by Endorsement
If you have been licensed as a clinical psychologist in another state for at least five years, or if you are certified with the National Registry, a diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), or hold a Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology (CPQ) from the ASPPB, you may apply for licensure as a clinical psychologist by endorsement. You can also apply if your active out-of-state practice was less than five years, as long as you meet other stipulations defined on the application form. You will need to send the application, all required documentation including verification of licensure in another state, and the $200 application fee to the Board for approval.
License Renewal and Continuing Education
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.
A School Psychologist-Limited license is available to those who 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 application as well as an $85 application fee, an official transcript, a current copy of your Board of Education-issued license with an endorsement in Psychology, proof of employment by a Virginia school system, and any out-of-state licenses. The application and related forms can be found on the Board’s website.
Sex Offender Treatment Provider
Virginia also offers certification as a sex offender treatment provider. You can apply after you have completed a master’s or doctoral degree in social work, psychology, counseling, or nursing, or a degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). 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 an application that can be found on the Board’s website. There is a $90 processing fee associated with the form. Along with your application, you must submit an official graduate transcript with the degree conferral date and copies of other certificates, diplomas, official transcripts, and a Verification of Training form. 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.
Virginia Psychologist Jobs and Salary Information
In Virginia, psychologists, excluding educators, earned an average of $102,793 annually as of May 2021, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1 Postsecondary teachers in psychology earned the lowest average salary, at $83,580.1 Clinical and counseling psychologists earned the highest average salary in Virginia, averaging $108,910 per year, just over industrial-organizational psychologists, who earned an average of $108,700 per year.1 The number of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in Virginia is predicted to increase by 10.8% by 2030 according to data from Projections Central.2 Comparably, the number of postsecondary psychology teacher jobs is predicted to increase by 14.2% by 2030.2 Only industrial-organizational psychologist jobs are expected to decrease–at 12.5% through 2030.2
|Occupation||Number Employed1||Average Annual Salary1|
|Clinical and Counseling Psychologists||1,350||$108,910|
|Psychologists, All Other||470||$104,670|
|Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary||1,050||$83,580|
- Virginia Academy of Clinical Psychologists (VACP): Seeks to advance psychology as a science and profession.
- Virginia Academy of School Psychologists (VASP): Advocates for the development of mental health and education for Virginia’s schools and communities.
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 earned an average annual income of $76,150, postsecondary psychology teachers earned an average of $87,090, and all other psychologists earned an average annual income of $94,570 as of May 2021.1 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.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Virginia: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_va.htm
2. Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm