West Virginia Psychology Licensure Requirements
In order to obtain a license to practice psychology in West Virginia, you will need to complete a doctoral degree in psychology, complete a certain number of supervised hours, and pass national and state psychology exams. The West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists (the Board) regulates the profession of psychologists in the state. This process can take many years, but this guide is intended to make it easier for you. Below you’ll find instructions for each step of the licensure process in the state.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Licensed Psychologist
- Licensure by Reciprocity
- Related Licenses
- License Renewal and Continuing Education
- Jobs and Salary Information
- Additional Resources
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Related Licenses
How to Become a Psychologist in West Virginia
1. Earn a bachelor’s degree and (optionally) a master’s degree in psychology.
If you have decided that you would like to become a licensed psychologist in West Virginia, you will need to begin the process by completing a bachelor’s degree. This will take about four years (or 120 credit hours) to finish, and you can major in any subject, but keep in mind if your bachelor’s is not in psychology or a closely related field, you will likely have to complete certain prerequisites before being accepted into a graduate program.
After your bachelor’s degree, you can choose to attend a stand-alone master’s degree program in psychology, which usually takes about two years to complete. Earning a stand-alone master’s degree is not required for entry into a doctoral program, but can be helpful if you did not study psychology as an undergraduate or if you want additional experience to make you more competitive for admission into doctoral programs. Additionally, if you decide at any point that you do not want to complete a doctoral degree but are still interested in working in the field of psychology, West Virginia issues some master’s-level psychology licenses.
2. Earn a doctoral degree in psychology or education.
The next step towards psychology licensure in West Virginia is to earn a doctoral degree in psychology. These degrees generally take between four and seven years to complete, depending on the specific requirements of your program. To be eligible for licensure as a psychologist in West Virginia, you must earn a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), or Doctor of Education (EdD) degree in a clinical form of psychology (i.e., one that is oriented towards working directly with patients or clients) from a regionally-accredited graduate school.
Most programs that meet these criteria will include a year-long (1,800-hour) pre-doctoral internship. However, if the program you attend does not include one or if you do not attend an internship that is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), you will need to complete additional supervised work experience before you are able to earn your license. Even if it is not 1,800 hours, all doctoral programs must include a pre-doctoral or post-doctoral APA-approved internship.
For more information about programs to consider, please visit our Psychology Schools in West Virginia page.
3. Submit your application to the Board.
There are two types of applications for licensure, and they reflect how much supervised experience you will need to earn before becoming licensed:
- Doctoral Level Licensure Without Supervision: for applicants who have completed a year-long APA-approved or equivalent predoctoral internship
- Doctoral Level Licensure With Supervision: for applicants who completed a predoctoral internship that was not APA-approved or equivalent, or did not complete one at all
These application forms are not available online and must be requested by emailing the Board. If you are not sure which application applies to you, contact the Board for assistance.
When the Board sends you the application packet, complete and return all required forms and supplemental materials along with a $120 application fee. After your application has been reviewed and approved, you will be granted permission to take the national exam required for licensure. If you applied for licensure with supervision, the Board will issue you a “gold card” denoting you as a Board-approved supervised psychologist.
4. Complete the required supervised professional experience.
Applicants for licensure who did not complete an APA-accredited (or equivalent) pre-doctoral internship of 1,800 hours must complete at least 1,800 hours of post-doctoral supervised professional experience (SPE) before becoming licensed. You can begin earning this experience as soon as you receive notification of your supervised-psychologist status. Those who completed an internship that was not APA-accredited must complete one full-time year of SPE, while supervised-psychologists who did not complete an internship must complete two full-time years of SPE.
While you are earning your SPE, you must be supervised by a licensed psychologist who has been approved by the Board to provide supervision (non-approved psychologists can apply for approval once they meet the Board’s criteria). You must receive at least one hour of individual supervision for every 20 hours of work (with a minimum of one hour of supervision per week). The Board’s supervision pages have all of the forms that are required during this time to document your SPE. All of these forms need to be submitted during different times of your SPE, so be sure to consult the Board’s website for all of the relevant information and instructions.
5. Pass the West Virginia psychology licensing exams.
To earn your psychology license in West Virginia, you will need to pass two exams. One is the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). The Board will grant you permission to take the EPPP after they approve your initial application. The EPPP is a national exam assessing broad knowledge of psychology and consists of 225 multiple-choice questions. A scaled score of 500 or higher is required to pass the EPPP and your scores will automatically be sent to the Board after you take the test.
After you have passed the EPPP and completed all of your SPE hours, you must also complete the Board’s state oral exam, during which you will discuss your intended scope of practice, as they will need to approve this prior to issuing your license. This exam assesses applicants’ knowledge of legal, ethical, and professional issues in the practice of psychology. To pass, at least 60% of the Board members present will need to vote in your favor.
6. Receive your license from the Board.
After you have successfully completed your oral exam, the Board will notify you that your license has been issued. You cannot begin practicing independently until you have been granted a license number. After this point, you can provide independent services within your Board-approved scope of practice. If you want to expand your services at any point, you will need to contact the Board for approval.
West Virginia Licensure by Reciprocity
If you are already licensed as a psychologist in another jurisdiction, you can apply for licensure in West Virginia by reciprocity if the state you are currently licensed in has licensure standards equivalent to West Virginia’s. If you believe that you meet these criteria, you can apply for licensure by reciprocity by emailing the Board and requesting an application. Once it is complete, you can mail the application back to the Board along with the application fee. If your application is approved, you will need to take the state oral exam before you can receive your West Virginia psychology license.
Master’s Level Psychologist
West Virginia also issues a master’s level psychology license. To be eligible for this license, you must complete a master’s degree from a regionally accredited program in psychology that required at least 50 credit hours of study and provided adequate training in clinical issues. If your degree qualifies you, the Board will issue you a “gold card” denoting you as a board-approved supervised psychologist. Before becoming fully licensed, you must then complete five years of SPE and pass the EPPP before becoming fully licensed. The EPPP must be taken at least once during the first 12 months of being issued your gold card. It must be passed within five years, be taken no more than each year for five years, and may only be taken a maximum of five times in five years. If it cannot be passed within those parameters, the applicant will not be eligible for licensure. After five years of full-time supervised work are complete, you can sit for the oral examination and receive full licensure.
The scope of practice of a master’s level psychologist is dependent on their training and must be agreed upon by the Board during the psychologist’s oral exam. Once licensed, master’s level psychologists can work independently within their Board-approved area of practice. To obtain an application for a master’s level psychology license, email the Board.
In West Virginia, there are separate psychology licenses specifically for school psychologists. A school psychologist (level 1) can only work for a school, while a school psychologist (level 2) can provide independent services outside of school settings. The links provided above describe the specific qualifications for each of these licenses, but both require a master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree in school psychology; a certain amount of SPE (which varies depending on your past training); successful completion of the PRAXIS Exam; and passing an oral examination through the Board. You can request an application for a school psychologist license by emailing the Board.
License Renewal and Continuing Education
After earning a license to practice psychology in West Virginia, you must renew it to keep it active. The specific expiration date of your license is dependent on the date it is issued, but it will expire every two years at the beginning of January, April, July, or October. Prior to this date, the Board will mail you the paperwork you need to complete for license renewal.
During each two-year renewal period, you must complete 20 hours of continuing education (CE) activities (school psychologists must complete 30 hours of CE during each three-year renewal period). Three of these hours must be in ethics. At least 10 of these hours must be from CE activities approved by the APA or the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Additionally, three hours must be related to ethics and two must be related to clinical topics relevant to veterans. Acceptable types of CE activities include workshops, seminars, graduate coursework, and academic publications. Activities affiliated with national or state psychology organizations and some other bodies are automatically approved by the Board. If you wish to attend an activity that is not pre-approved, you will need to request approval from the Board via email.
For more details about the Board’s CE requirements, including approved organizations and activities as well as CE rules for the Board’s other licenses, please see their Guidelines for Continuing Education document.
West Virginia Psychologist Jobs and Salary Information
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average yearly income for psychologists in West Virginia (with the exception of postsecondary psychology teachers) was $60,203 as of May 2021.1 The average salary for postsecondary psychology teachers in the state was $54,450.1 The outlook is good for anyone seeking a job as a practicing psychologist in West Virginia, as it is expected that the number of jobs for clinical, counseling, school, and all other psychologists will increase by an average of 10% between 2020 and 2030.2 The field of clinical, counseling, and school psychology is expected to see the most growth during this time period, with an estimated increase of 18.1%.2
|Occupation||Number Employed1||Average Annual Salary1|
|Clinical and Counseling Psychologists||390||$64,310|
|Psychologists, All Other||320||$55,990|
|Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary||200||$54,450|
- West Virginia Association of Practicing Psychologists (WVAPP): Advocates for effective licensure laws and supports professional psychology practitioners in the state.
- West Virginia Psychological Association (WVPA): State organization with a variety of resources for psychologists (including CE activities).
- West Virginia School Psychologists Association (WVSPA): Gives members access to helpful resources, events, and free webinars.
Frequently Asked Questions
What degree do I need to be a licensed psychologist in West Virginia?
To become a licensed psychologist in West Virginia, you will need to complete a doctoral-level psychology degree. It must be in a clinical form of psychology and can be a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), or Doctor of Education (EdD) degree.
Does West Virginia require supervised postdoctoral hours before earning a license?
If you complete an APA-accredited (or equivalent) internship during your doctoral program, you do not need to earn any supervised postdoctoral hours before earning a psychology license. However, applicants who did not complete an internship must complete two years of supervised postdoctoral experience (SPE), while applicants who completed an internship that did not meet APA standards must complete one year of SPE.
How much do psychologists in West Virginia make?
The average salary for practicing psychologists in West Virginia was $60,203 as of May 2021, and $54,450 for postsecondary psychology teachers.1 However, salaries can vary based on your specific area of practice, location within the state, and type of employer.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, West Virginia: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wv.htm
2. Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm