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West Virginia Psychology Licensure Requirements

Though there are several routes to psychologist licensure in West Virginia, all require several years of education and experience to earn a psychologist’s license. The West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists is the main source for information and regulations concerning the licensing and practice of psychology in the state. Common questions about these requirements include:

» How do I become a psychologist in West Virginia?
» Do I need a doctoral degree to practice psychology in West Virginia?
» What exams do I need to take to become a West Virginia psychologist?
» What are the experience requirements for licensure in this state?
» Is there an oral examination for West Virginia?

3 Steps to Become a Psychologist in West Virginia

No matter where you are on your path to becoming a psychologist in West Virginia, Psychology Degree 411 can help you determine the next step:

1. Earn an Undergraduate and a Master’s Degree in Psychology.

All prospective psychologists in West Virginia must have a bachelor’s degree to start their education, which should be in psychology or a related field. After the bachelor’s degree is earned, it is possible to become a psychologist in West Virginia with a master’s degree in psychology. The program through which the master’s degree is earned must be accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies that hold national recognition. At least 80 percent of coursework for the master’s degree must be completed on campus.1 Find out more about on-campus programs in psychology in West Virginia from Psychology Degree 411.

2. Obtain a EdD, PhD, or PsyD in Psychology.

The West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists views the PsyD as equivalent to the PhD assuming that the required curriculum components have been completed. Alternatively, candidates for licensure as a school psychologist may obtain an EdD or EdS. In either case, the degree must be granted by a regionally accredited and nationally recognized program. Distance programs holding such accreditation may be acceptable.

3. Follow the Steps to Become Licensed as a Psychologist in West Virginia.

The steps for psychology licensure for master’s and doctoral candidates may differ slightly, but the sections below will help you find out what to do next:

West Virginia Psychologist Licensing Process

1. Execute a Supervision Contract for Supervised Experience.

Following the award of a master’s or doctoral degree, candidates for psychology licensure in West Virginia must complete supervised experience commensurate with the degree held and past internship experience accumulated. Supervision must be completed under an approved supervisor; the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists provides a list of approved supervisors on its website. Once a supervisor has been contacted and selected, the supervisor and prospective psychologist must execute a supervision contract, which must be approved by the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists. Under the supervision contract, prospective psychologists become Supervised-Psychologists and must be W-2 employees for the organization at which supervision is being completed.

2. Take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

Following approval for supervised practice, the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists will provide candidates with information on registering to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). All Supervised-Psychologists must attempt the EPPP at least once during the first 12 months practicing as a Supervised-Psychologist.1 Candidates are not required to pass the EPPP during the first attempt. However, candidates must receive a passing score within two years of becoming a Supervised-Psychologist or lose the Supervised-Psychologist status.1 Prospective school psychologists do not need to take the EPPP.

3. Take the Praxis Examination (School Psychologists Only).

Candidates for licensure as school psychologists in West Virginia must take and pass the Praxis Examination, or the National School Psychologist Test. Candidates must achieve a score of 165 or higher to pass.1 If the Praxis Examination was not taken prior to achieving the status of Supervised-Psychologist, candidates must take the exam at least once within the first 12 months of supervised practice. Candidates must pass the Praxis Examination within the first two years of supervised practice.

4. Complete the Required Supervised-Psychologist Renewals.

Approved Supervised-Psychologists receive a Gold Card demonstrating their status as a Supervised-Psychologist approved by the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists. The Gold Card expires annually and must be renewed each year. To renew, Supervised-Psychologists must complete continuing education as outlined.

Supervised-Psychologists must also complete quarterly reports accurately reflecting the hours worked and activities undertaken during supervised practice. The quarterly reports may be either mailed or faxed to the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists. Note that different forms are provided for prospective school psychologists.

5. Complete the Required Experience for Psychologists.

The required experience to become licensed as an independent psychologist varies according to the level of degree held and the types of activities undertaken during doctoral study, if applicable. The experience hours required are as follows:

  • Master’s level candidates for psychology licensure must complete five calendar years of supervised practice.1
  • Master’s level or ED.S. candidates for school psychology licensure who completed an internship as a degree component must complete two school calendar years of supervised practice.1
  • Master’s level or ED.S. candidates for school psychology licensure with no internship component to the degree must complete three school calendar years of supervised practice.1
  • Doctoral psychologist candidates, including school psychologist candidates, who have already completed an internship approved by the American Psychological Association or as a component of the approved doctoral program must complete one year of supervised practice.1
  • Doctoral psychologist candidates, including school psychologist candidates, who have not completed an internship as above must complete two years of supervised practice.1

6. Complete the Mid-Term Review (Master’s Candidates Only).

Master’s candidates for psychology licensure must complete a mid-term review halfway through the five year supervision period.1 The review consists of sending the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists three work samples generated from and representative of the activities undertaken during supervised practice. Upon review, the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists will make recommendations to the continuation of or changes to the supervised practice.

7. Request an Application to Become a Psychologist.

Candidates who have met the requirements to become a psychologist in West Virginia must contact the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists to request a psychologist application. As the application will be mailed to the candidate, the candidate must provide a valid mailing address. Requests can be made by phone to (304) 558-3040 or by e-mail to psychbd@wv.gov.

8. Take the West Virginia Oral Examination.

All candidates for licensure as a psychologist in West Virginia must complete an oral examination administered by the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists. The candidate must declare the domains in which they are competent to practice and provide the required materials to the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists at least 30 days prior to the scheduled exam date.1 During the oral exam, candidates will be tested on their competencies to practice within the domains indicated. The West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists will then grant or deny the license to practice in the competencies covered during the exam. Further guidelines and materials are available through the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists.

Additional Requirements and Information

The West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists provides information on most licensing topics for psychologists on its website, such as:

  • Ethics lessons and scenarios for educational purposes
  • Treatment record retention policies and other records processing guidelines
  • Information on adding scope of practice domains following licensure
  • Procedures and applications for supervisors of psychologists
  • Information on ethical and disciplinary issues

References:
1. The West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists: http://psychbd.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx