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Psychologist Licensure Procedures in California

How to become a Psychologist in California...

Click on the link that best describes your current situation.

Explore the information below and begin your journey toward becoming a licensed psychologist in California. The following procedures have been the same for many years; however, they are subject to change and it would be wise to contact the California Board of Psychology at (916) 263-2699 if you have any concerns or questions regarding requirements for earning your California psychologist license.

I'm a High School Graduate...

There's some good and bad news for you. The bad news is that in order to earn your psychologist license in California, you will need many more years of formal education. The good news is that you will have ample opportunity to explore various career opportunities available to pscyhologists prior to committing to any one single profession!

Step One:

The first step to be taken is to get the ball rolling with regard to higher education. Begin requesting information from schools offering undergraduate programs in psychology. One great result of earning an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in Psychology is the degree's versatility. If you decide not to enter the field of psychology, a strong psychology background is highly valued in business, marketing and many other professions.

Click on the links below to browse schools offering programs you are currently qualified to begin!

Step Two:

Aside from continuing down the road to higher education, the only other important step you should be thinking about is career research. Learning more about whether a particular career is a right fit for you can help with your motivation in school and, more importantly, your job satisfaction later in life. Most likely, your university's career counseling services will be able to help you connect with organizations who can offer volunteer or paid positions. However, if you would like to do some research on your own, the following are links that will help you on your way:

  • Hands On Network
  • www.Idealist.org
    • This link points to a form you can use to locate volunteering opportunities near you. www.Idealist.org is also a great place to learn about what other individuals in your situation are becoming involved with career wise and through volunteering efforts.

Finally, regardless of whether a career as a licensed psychologist is in your future or not, a higher education is always a great investment of your time and energy. So, go ahead and get started!

I've already received my Bachelor's or Master's degree...

Once you have your undergraduate or Master's degree you will need to continue on and earn your doctorate degree in psychology, educational psychology or an education degree that specializes in counseling psychology or educational psychology from an accredited college or university.

Step One:

Contact schools offering Master's, PhD or PsyD programs you are interested in.

Step Two:

When choosing a Master's or Doctoral program, you will be narrowing your career focus. Since there are a large variety of areas where you can go within the field of psychology, it would be wise to speak with the career services personnel at your school to learn more about various opportunities you may participate in to boost yourself higher on the list of possible applicants for school and/or for a professional position once you have completed your schooling.

Step Three:

Once you have completed your PhD or PsyD program, you may continue down to:

I have finished my PhD or PsyD...

Follow the steps to learn how to acquire your Psychologist license in California.

Step One:

You will need to complete a background check by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations by having your fingerprints scanned using a "Live Scan" site. Scanning sites are located throughout each county in California. Learn more about this process by clicking on the following link:

Step Two:

Once you have earned a doctorate in one of the approved areas and completed the fingerprinting procedure, you will need to gain professional experience. A total of 3000 hours of supervised professional experience is required. A minimum of 1500 hours will need to be fullfilled post-doctorally. During this time, you can focus on your specialization and learn under the supervision of a professional in the field you wish to pursue. For more information regarding rules and regulations for supervised professional experience, click on the following link:

Step Three:

You must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) with a score of at least 500 and the California Psychology Supplemental Examination (CPSE). You will find more details about both tests through the following link:

Step Four:

Once you have fulfilled all previous requirements, download an application for licensure from the following webpage:

You may also review the licensure requirements and additional information such as transcript evaluation procedures and fees by clicking on the following link:

California Psychology Schools & Colleges
Note: This list also contains online schools that accept students from California.

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