Idaho's need for more licensed psychologists is both real and significant. A 2015 study published by the American Psychological Association (APA) Center for Workforce Studies evaluated the number of licensed psychologists and their community impact on a county-by-county level.
According to the report, residents of counties with sufficient access to mental health providers are physically and psychologically healthier than those without. Unfortunately, licensed psychologists are underrepresented in states in the upper northwestern Midwest, like Idaho. Rural counties, which make up the majority of Idaho, are in particular need.
With the right training and commitment, students attending psychology schools in Idaho could graduate into a welcoming job market, and with the power to make a meaningful difference in their communities.
Psychologist licensing requirements in Idaho
One important take-away from the APA's 2015 study is that the work of licensed psychologists impact not only their direct patients, but also the lives of everyone around them. This is precisely why Idaho law requires psychologists to obtain what is called a PSY license before practicing. To be licensed, one must:
- Demonstrate acceptable moral character
- Hold a doctoral degree from an accredited psychology school in Idaho or other approved state
- Complete two years of supervised experience deemed acceptable by the Board. One year must be completed in a predoctoral practicum and the other postdoctorally. Candidates must secure Service Extender licenses (detailed below) before they begin
- Successfully pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)
- Submit a completed licensing application to the Board
- Pay all processing fees to the Bureau of Occupational Licensing
The Board of Psychologist Examiners evaluates licensing candidates to determine whether they they meet these standards, which help ensure safe and effective practice. Endorsed candidates must renew their licenses every 12 months, a process that requires the accrual of at least 20 hours of continuing education credits each year.
Special Idaho psychologist licenses
The Board oversees the endorsement of two special psychologist licenses in addition to the standard licensed detailed above:
1. Senior Psychologist License (PSYS)
The Idaho Legislature requires a second set of criteria for licensed psychologists who want to assume the title Senior Psychologist, a distinction that may minimize renewal fees and requirements. Candidates must maintain valid licensure for at least 20 years, meet all continuing education requirements and receive no disciplinary action within the seven years prior to application.
2. Service Extender License (SE)
Students and recent graduates of Idaho psychology schools must obtain service extender licenses prior to beginning supervised practicums in the course of formal licensure. These credentials strictly limit candidates' scope of practice until they secure PSY licenses. Psychology candidates pursue what is called a Category II SE license, which requires a master's degree.
Featured psychology schools in Idaho
Want to learn more about psychology programs in Idaho? The following schools offer accredited psychology degrees of various levels and specialties.
Idaho State University
According to the Idaho Department of Labor, Idaho State University is the only psychology school in Idaho to offer a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. This M.S. to Ph.D. program admits about 30 students, or roughly 10 percent of eligible applicants, each year, though the number and make-up of graduates can vary widely from one year to the next. ISU reports that the goal of its Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program is to graduate empirically-minded generalists with a wide range of conceptual and technical skills. They complete advanced coursework, research, practica and other professional experiences. The school also offers an M.S. to Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology program that follows a similar format, but courses are more research-inclined and cover such subjects as behavioral neuroscience, research methodology, behavioral pharmacology and statistics. U.S. News & World Report ranked both ISU psychology programs among the best in the nation in 2016.
- Department: Department of Psychology
- Location: Pocatello
- Online options: Idaho State University does not currently offer an online psychology degree program. Undergraduate students considering the University's M.S. to Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program may be able to take some general education courses online through ISU or another Idaho Education Network (IEN) school.
Boise State University
Boise State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and two psychology minors: one in psychology and the other in family studies. Students pursuing bachelor's degrees must complete a series of general education and foundational psychology courses like PSYC 101 General Psychology and Introduction to the Psychology Major. They must then complete one elective course from each of six specialty clusters. The clusters: Individual Differences, Quantitative Methods, Basic Experimental Psychology, Applied Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Person in Society. All students must successfully complete a capstone project before graduating. U.S. News & World Report named Boise State one of the top 20 public schools in the country in 2016.
- Department: Department of Psychological Science
- Location: Boise
- Online options: Boise State's growing list of online degrees does not currently include a psychology program, though students may be able to take some general education courses online through either Boise State or another IEN institution.
1. 2015 County-Level Analysis of U.S. Licensed Psychologists and Indicators, Center for Workforce Studies, American Psychological Association, March, 2016, Accessed August 30, 2016, http://www.apa.org/workforce/publications/15-county-analysis/index.aspx
2. Chapter 24: Psychologists, Title 54: Professions, Vocations and Businesses, Idaho Statutes, Idaho Legislature, accessed August 30, https://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title54/T54CH23SECT54-2307.htm; https://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title54/T54CH23SECT54-2312A.htm
3. Idaho Mental Health Professionals, Workforce Overview, Idaho Department of Labor, Accessed August 31, 2016, https://labor.idaho.gov/publications/mental_health.pdf
4. Rankings, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed August 31, 2016: http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/idaho-state-university-142276/overall-rankings;http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/regional-universities-west/top-public