Washington DC Psychology Licensure Requirements

The path to licensure as a psychologist in Washington DC is involved and requires several years of education and training prior to applying for a license. The oversight of psychologists in Washington DC is the charge of the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health, Board of Psychologists. Following are common questions about the steps to licensure in Washington, DC:

» What education do I need to become a psychologist in Washington DC?
» How do I begin supervised experience for licensure?
» Are background checks required for psychologists in Washington DC?
» What exams do I need to take to qualify as a psychologist?
» Does Washington DC perform candidate interviews?

Three Steps to Become a Psychologist in Washington DC

Wherever you are in the process of becoming a licensed psychologist in Washington, DC, Psychology 411 can assist you in finding out the next step:

1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Psychology.

There are two levels of psychologist licensing in Washington, DC: psychology associate and psychologist. Psychology associates are not required to hold a doctoral degree if they hold a master’s degree in psychology acceptable to the Board of Psychology. Psychology associates are only permitted to practice under the supervision of a qualified psychologist. In either case, prospective psychologists or psychology associates must obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology as well as a master’s degree in psychology. Psychology Degree 411 can help you find more information on schools and programs offering psychology degrees in the District of Columbia.

2. Earn Your Doctorate in Psychology.

Although it is possible to practice in the field of psychology as a psychology associate with a master’s degree, a doctoral degree is required to become a fully licensed psychologist in Washington DC. Learn more about earning your doctorate from schools in Washington DC.

3. Complete the Licensing Process for Psychologists in Washington DC.

There are several prerequisites that must be completed before becoming a psychologist or Psychologist Associate in Washington DC. The section below will help you navigate the process:

Washington DC Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Complete the Notification of Supervised Practice of Psychology.

Prior to beginning the required supervised experience for licensure in psychology, the anticipated supervisor(s) of a candidate’s internship or practicum must complete and forward the Notification of Supervised Practice of Psychology In the District of Columbia form to the Board of Psychology. This should be completed at least one week prior to the beginning of supervision.1 Failure to comply may result in fines for the supervisor.

2. Accumulate Supervised Practice Hours.

Prospective psychologists, though not psychology associates, must complete at least 4,000 hours of supervised practice to be eligible for psychology licensure.1 Up to 2,000 hours may be earned during a pre-doctoral internship, but at least 2,000 hours must be earned at the post-doctoral level. If all hours are pursued at the post-doctoral level, the hours should be completed in between two to three years unless there are exceptional circumstances. Candidates who choose to earn 2,000 hours of experience at the post-doctoral level must complete the hours in between one to two years.1

The Department of Health College Student Internship Program may be able to assist graduate students in arranging internships for supervised practice.

3. Complete the Required Background Checks.

Applicants for licensure as health processionals in Washington DC must complete two background checks, the criminal background check and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal background check. Applicants can complete the background checks using MorphoTrust USA’s IdentoGO electronic fingerprint scanning service, which can be scheduled online. Those residing in the District of Columbia who prefer to have fingerprints taken by the Metropolitan Police District may do so by calling 202-442-9004 for additional information and instructions. Those residing out of the district should request a fingerprint package from the Health Professional Licensing Administration.

4. Submit the Application for Licensure.

The application for first-time licensure as a psychologist in Washington DC is the New License Application. Prospective psychology associates complete the Psychology Associate Registration. In addition to the application, the application packet sent to the Board of Psychology must include:

  • Two passport style (2×2 inches) photographs of the applicant, with the applicant’s name as well as license or social security number printed on the back.
  • A clear photocopy of a government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license or state ID.
  • Official transcripts demonstrating award of a doctoral degree in psychology for psychologist candidates, or a master’s degree (at minimum) for psychology associate candidates.
  • A list of three references who are not relatives, instructors, or employers.
  • The Completed Notification of Supervised Practice in Psychology form (PS Form 04), for psychologist candidates only.
  • The Psychology Associate Supervision Form, for psychology associate candidates only.
  • Completed Clean Hands Form.

Know that applications will only be kept on file for 120 days after initial receipt and all documentation must be received within that time frame to avoid the $65 processing fee for closing and new license application fee for reopening an application. The exception is applications that are complete except for pending EPPP scores.

5. Take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

Candidates for licensure as a psychologist, but not those pursuing licensure as a Psychology Associate, must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). As the time that the Board of Psychology will hold an application open is limited (see the above section for further information on timeline restrictions), it is recommended that candidates for licensure take the EPPP and obtain a passing score as soon as the candidate’s application is approved by the Board of Psychology. The recommended score to qualify as passing the exam in Washington DC is 500 or above. The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, which administers the EPPP, also offers practice exams to help candidates prepare for the test.

6. Pass the Washington, DC Local Exam.

The Washington, DC Local Exam may only be taken after passage of the EPPP in the case of psychologists or after approval by the Board of Psychologists in the case of psychology associates, as all other licensing requirements must be met prior to taking the Local Exam. The Local Exam is similar to jurisprudence exams administered in other localities and is sometimes referred to as the Jurisprudence Exam. The materials covered in the exam can be accessed on the Department of Health website.

7. Complete the Board of Psychology Interview, If Applicable.

At its discretion, the Board of Psychology may choose to interview applicants regarding their education and experience prior to approving the issuance of a license. In these circumstances, applicants will be notified of the additional requirement.

Additional Requirements and Information

The Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health, Board of Psychology provides further detailed information on the requirements and regulations for psychology licensure, including:

  • Guidelines for degree requirements when education is completed in foreign jurisdictions
  • Continuing education requirements and license renewal schedules
  • Required experience for renewal of lapsed licenses
  • Guidelines for meaningful use health reporting
  • The periodic Board of Psychology Newsletter

1. The District of Columbia Department of Health Board of Psychology https://doh.dc.gov/service/psychology-licensing