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Washington Psychology Licensure Requirements

In Washington, the Washington State Department of Health issues psychologist licenses. To become a psychologist in Washington, you will need to complete a doctoral degree in psychology, obtain supervised experience, submit an application to become licensed, and pass national and state exams. Because this process can be complicated and time-consuming, we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide to help you through it.

Table of Contents
How to Become a Licensed Psychologist
Licensure by Endorsement
Related Licenses
License Renewal and Continuing Education
Jobs and Salary Information
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

How to Become a Psychologist in Washington

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

Once you have decided you would like to become a psychologist in Washington, the first step is to complete a bachelor’s degree. This will require that you attend school full-time for approximately four years, or 120 credit hours. You do not have to major in psychology during your bachelor’s degree; in fact, many psychologists studied other areas while they were in college. However, if your undergraduate degree is not in psychology, you will have to take prerequisites before entering a graduate program.

After you have completed your bachelor’s degree, you may choose to also complete a master’s degree in psychology. This is an optional step, as most students earn master’s degrees during their doctoral programs. However, a master’s degree can be helpful if you did not major in psychology for your bachelor’s degree or if you are not sure what types of doctoral programs you would like to apply to. Although requirements for these programs can vary, in general, you can expect a master’s degree in psychology to take about two years (30-40 credit hours) of full-time study.

2. Earn a doctoral degree in psychology.

After you have completed your bachelor’s degree (and a master’s degree if you decide to), you will need to complete a doctoral degree in psychology to be qualified for licensure in Washington. There are two options for these types of degrees: a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). For more information about the differences between these degrees, see our home page..

Most doctoral programs in psychology take between four and seven years to complete, depending on the specific requirements for each program, which can include the amount of research that students must complete, the amount of clinical experience they are required to gain, and the number of classes they are asked to take.

In Washington, applicants for psychology licensure must attend a regionally-accredited 40-credit doctoral program that meets specific educational requirements set forth by the state (, including a practicum of at least 300 hours and an internship of at least 1,500 hours. An optional 1,500 hours of the 3,300 hours of supervised experience may be completed during a pre-internship that would take place between the practicum and internship. Please visit our Psychology Schools in Washington page for more information about doctoral programs in Washington that you may want to consider applying to.

3. Complete postdoctoral supervised experience, if necessary.

Prospective licensees in Washington must complete at least 3,300 hours of supervised experience to be eligible for licensure. At least 300 of these hours must be completed during the doctoral practicum and 1,500 hours must be completed during the doctoral internship. The rest of the required experience (up to 1,500 hours) may be completed either via r an optional pre-internship during the doctoral program, or, if all supervised hours are not completed by the time the doctoral degree is complete, the rest can be completed through postdoctoral supervised experience. The rules for obtaining supervised postdoctoral experience can be found here.

4. Submit your application to the Board.

Once you have completed the required supervised experience, you can submit an application to the Department of Health. The application can be completed online or by mail that you will need to print and mail. During this step, you will need to pay an application fee of $206. As part of your application, you’ll have to answer personal data questions

5. Pass the Washington psychology licensing exams.

After your application has been reviewed by the Department of Health, they will notify you when you are approved to take the licensing examinations required to obtain your license.

The first exam you will need to take is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), a national exam that assesses psychology knowledge across a variety of domains. The EPPP consists of 225 multiple-choice questions, and to pass the exam you will need to obtain a scaled score of at least 500.

The second exam you will need to take is Washington’s jurisprudence exam (JP Exam), which is available online. After you have passed the EPPP, the Department of Health will send you instructions for completing the JP Exam, which is a 25-item, multiple-choice test that assesses knowledge of regulations and laws related to the practice of psychology in Washington. The JP Exam is open-book and completed online, and you will need a score of at least 90% to pass.

6. Wait to receive notification that your license has been issued.

After you have passed the EPPP and the JP Exam, you’re almost ready to begin practicing independently! At this point, you will just need to wait for notification from the Department of Health that your license has been issued.

Washington Licensure by Endorsement

If you are licensed in another state, you may be interested in transferring your license to Washington. To qualify for licensure by endorsement, you must have been licensed in your current state for at least two years. If you qualify, first, you will need to complete an online application and pay an application fee of $206 when you complete these forms. While you are waiting for approval, you may apply for a temporary permit

If your state has already been reviewed by the Department of Health and determined to be equivalent, you are eligible to apply for a temporary permit while you wait for full Washington licensure. The temporary permit is free to apply for and is valid for 90 days within one calendar year. If your state has been determined to be non-equivalent, there are specific additional requirements you will be asked to meet and provide documentation for. Some states have not yet been reviewed by the Department of Health to determine their equivalency status, and also may require additional steps beyond the submission of the application. To check whether the state you are licensed in has been deemed equivalent or not, visit Department of Health’s website.

School Psychologist

In Washington, school psychologists are regulated by the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. To become a school psychologist, you will need to apply for a Educational Staff Associate (ESA) Certificate. For a Residency First Issue Certificate, you will need a master’s degree in school psychology and a state-approved school psychologist preparation program. If you did not complete a school psychologist preparation program, you can still qualify with three years of out-of-state experience as a school psychologist or hold a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). You will also need to pass the Praxis exam for school psychologists and submit fingerprints for a background check. To be eligible for a Professional Certificate, you must meet all of the requirements for the Residency ESA First Issue Certificate, hold a valid NCSP credential, have completed an issue of abuse course, and have completed an approved suicide prevention training course.

License Renewal and Continuing Education

Once you are licensed as a psychologist, you will need to meet certain requirements to keep your license active. First, you will need to complete 60 hours of continuing education (CE) credits every three years. At least four of these hours must be on ethics-related topics. Additionally, every six years, you will need to complete at least six hours of CE on topics related to the assessment and treatment of suicide. Additional information about CE requirements can be found here. If you get more CEs than you need in a three-year period, you cannot transfer any of them over to the next period.

In addition to completing your CEs, you will need to renew your license every year on your birthday. You can renew your license through mail once your renewal form is mailed to you, or you can renew online. The fee for renewing your license is $226 plus a $2.50 convenience fee if you complete it online.

Washington Psychologist Jobs and Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), psychologists in Washington, excluding teachers, earned an average annual salary of $101,537 as of May 2021.1 This varies by specialty: clinical and counseling psychologists have an average salary of $103,190 and psychologists falling into the “all other” category have an average salary of $105,640.1 Postsecondary psychology teachers in Washington earned less than other groups, with an average salary of $74,460 as of May 2021.1 Projections Central projects that the number of psychologist job openings in Washington will increase by 18.5% for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists, and 15.6% for postsecondary psychology teachers.2 No data was available for psychologist jobs in the all other category.2

OccupationNumber Employed1Average Annual Salary1
Clinical and Counseling Psychologists970$103,190
Industrial-Organizational PsychologistsN.Av.N.Av.
Psychologists, All Other400$105,640
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary1,530$74,460
School Psychologists1,260$95,780

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a psychologist in Washington?

Becoming a psychologist in Washington can take many years: you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree, which usually takes four years, as well as a doctoral degree, which can take four to seven years. There are additional steps, such as choosing to get a stand-alone master’s degree, which can extend the process. Although this is not a fast process, it can lead to an extremely rewarding career with many well-paying job options.

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

To become a licensed psychologist in Washington, you will need to complete either a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree.

How much do psychologists in Washington make?

On average, psychologists in Washington, excluding teachers, earned an annual salary of $101,537 as of May 2021.1 However, this varies depending on specialty: the average clinical and counseling psychologist salary in the same year was $103,190 and the average “all other” psychologist salary was $105,640.1 The average postsecondary psychology teacher in Washington earned $74,460 as of May 2021.1

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Washington: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wa.htm
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm