West Virginia Psychology Licensure Requirements
In West Virginia, psychology licensure is overseen by the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists. To obtain a license to practice psychology in West Virginia, you will need to complete a doctoral degree in psychology, submit an application to the Board, complete a certain number of supervised hours, and pass national and state psychology exams. This process can take many years, but this page is a guide to help you navigate it as smoothly as possible. Below you’ll find instructions for each step of the licensure process as well as answers to questions you may have, such as:
» How do I become a psychologist in West Virginia?
» I have earned a PhD or PsyD and I am ready to learn how to get a psychologist license in West Virginia.
» What are West Virginia’s supervised professional experience rules and regulations?
» What psychology exams are required in West Virginia?
» What other psychology licenses are available in West Virginia?
» I am already a licensed psychologist in another state; how do I become licensed in West Virginia by reciprocity?
» How do I renew my psychology license in West Virginia?
» How much do psychologists in West Virginia make?
Three Steps to Becoming a Psychologist in West Virginia
It can be helpful to think of the process of becoming a licensed psychologist in West Virginia as consisting of three major steps. The first step is to complete a bachelor’s degree, and you may choose to complete an optional stand-alone master’s degree in psychology after that. The second step is to complete a doctoral degree in psychology. There are many psychology schools in West Virginia that offer programs that meet these requirements. The third and final step to becoming a psychologist in West Virginia is to submit an application to the Board and complete the specific requirements for licensure.
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, you will likely have to complete certain prerequisites before being accepted into a graduate program. When you complete your program you will be awarded either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree, depending on what your major is.
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. Depending on the area of psychology you study and the school you attend, you may earn a Master of Arts (MA) degree or a Master of Science (MS) degree when you finish. Earning a stand-alone master’s degree is not required for entry into doctoral programs (see Step 2 below), but can be helpful if you did not study psychology as an undergraduate or 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 master’s-level psychology licenses (see “Other Licenses” section below for more information about this option).
2. Earn a PsyD, PhD, or EdD in psychology.
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) predoctoral internship. However, if the program you attend does not include this or 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.
For more information about programs to consider, please visit our Psychology Schools in West Virginia page.
3. Get licensed to practice psychology in West Virginia.
After you have finished your doctoral degree, there are still more steps to take to become a licensed psychologist in West Virginia. You will need to submit an application to the Board, complete a certain number of supervised work hours, and pass written and oral exams. Below are instructions for each of these steps towards licensure.
West Virginia Psychologist Licensing Process
1. Submit your application to the Board.
The first step towards licensure is to submit an application to the Board. There are two types of applications at this stage, and they reflect how much supervised experience (see Step 2) you will need to earn before becoming licensed:
- Doctoral Level Licensure – Without Supervision is for applicants who have completed a year-long APA-approved or equivalent predoctoral internship
- Doctoral Level Licensure – With Supervision is 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 $133 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 also grant you designation as a supervised-psychologist. Those applicants who applied for licensure without supervision can skip to Step 3.
2. Complete the required amount of supervised professional experience (for supervised-psychologists only).
Applicants for licensure who did not complete an APA-accredited (or equivalent) predoctoral internship must complete additional supervised professional experience (SPE) before becoming licensed. You can begin earning this experience as soon as you receive notification of your supervised-psychologist status. Supervised-psychologists who completed an internship that was not APA-accredited must complete one full-time year of SPE, while supervised-psychologists who did not complete any 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. These include the Supervision Part I, Supervision Part II, Supervision Contract, Demonstrable Competency, and Quarterly Report forms. 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.
3. 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, and it will cost $687.50 to register for the exam (plus an additional $75 fee to the Board). 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. This exam assesses knowledge of legal, ethical, and professional issues in the practice of psychology. The Board provides a checklist of documents you will need to submit prior to the exam, which includes an updated curriculum vitae (CV), the Oral Examination Form, the Demonstrable Competency Form, at least three deidentified work samples, and a $450 exam fee. Following acceptance of these materials, you will need to complete an oral exam in front of the Board members. For you to successfully complete this, at least 60% of the Board members present will need to vote to pass you on this exam. During your oral exam, you will also discuss your intended scope of practice with the Board, as they will need to approve this prior to issuing your license.
4. 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 a $133 application fee. If your application is approved, you will need to take the state oral exam (which costs $450) before you can receive your West Virginia psychology license.
Other Psychology Licenses
School Psychologist – Level 1 and Level 2
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. The application fee is $133, the state oral exam costs $450, and the PRAXIS exam costs $120.
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. You must also complete five years of SPE and pass the EPPP and state oral exam before becoming licensed.
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. The application costs $133 and total exam fees will be $1212.50.
Licensing Renewal and Continuing Professional Education Information
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. At least 10 of these hours must be from CE activities approved by the American Psychological Association (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. The Board also maintains a list of recent Board-approved CE seminars.
West Virginia Psychology 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) is $72,570.1 The average salary for postsecondary psychology teachers in the state is $59,050.1
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 will increase by an average of 12.2% between 2016 and 2026.2 The field of clinical, counseling, and school psychology is expected to see the most growth during this time period, with an estimated increase of 13.0%.2 However, psychology jobs in the “all other” category are not far behind, with a projected growth of 11.4%.2
|Occupation||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists||520||$60,370|
|Psychologists, All Other||130||$84,770|
|Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary||210||$59,050|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1 Statistics for your locale may vary within this state.
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, while applicants who completed an internship that did not meet APA standards must complete one year.
How much do psychologists in West Virginia make?
The average salary for practicing psychologists in West Virginia is $72,570, and postsecondary psychology teachers make an average of $59,050.1 However, salaries can vary based on your specific area of practice, location within the state, and type of employer.
- West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists – State department that oversees psychology licensure.
- West Virginia Association of Practicing Psychologists (WVAPP) – Organization that 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).
- American Psychological Association (APA) – National organization dedicated to advocacy for and advancement of the field of psychology.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, West Virginia: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wv.htm
2. Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): http://www.projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm