What Education is Required to be a Psychologist?

Wondering what type of education is necessary to become a psychologist? Check out this blog post to learn about the different types of programs and requirements.

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In order to become a psychologist, you will need to obtain a Doctoral degree in Psychology. This is the highest level of education required for this profession. During your doctoral program, you will take classes such as Abnormal Psychology, Social Psychology, and Psychopathology.


Most states require that psychologists complete an undergraduate degree in psychology, as well as a graduate degree in the field. Some states require licensure, which generally requires the completion of a specific number of graduate-level credits and passing scores on exams. Some states also require that psychologists complete continuing education credits on a regular basis in order to maintain their license.


To become a practicing psychologist, you will need to complete a graduate level education. This typically takes the form of a 4-year doctoral degree, although some psychologists may choose to pursue a 2- or 3-year master’s degree instead. In most cases, you will need to complete an internship or residency as part of your graduate training.

Areas of Specialization

Psychologists are required to have a Doctoral Degree in order to practice.

Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychologists are mental health professionals who work with patients to assess, diagnose, and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They use a variety of techniques, including psychological testing, counseling, and psychotherapy, to help their patients.

A clinical psychologist must have a doctorate in psychology, as well as a license to practice in their state. Most states require that clinical psychologists complete an internship and pass a state-recognized exam. Clinical psychologists must also complete continuing education credits on a regular basis to maintain their license.

Counseling Psychology

Counseling psychology is a psychological specialty that encompasses research and applied work in several broad domains: counseling process and outcome; supervision and training; career development and counseling; psychological assessment; and counseling for special populations. Counseling psychologists help people examine their lives, identify goals, make important decisions, cope with stress, understand relationships, and explore new ways of dealing with difficult situations.

School Psychology

School psychology focuses on the psychological support of students in academic settings from early childhood through high school graduation. School psychologists are highly trained in psychological principles and research methods, as well as education principles and instructional methods. They use this knowledge to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. School psychologists may work with individual students, groups of students, teachers, families, or school administrators to improve academic achievement and social and emotional functioning.

Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Industrial and organizational psychologists apply their knowledge of psychology to the workplace. They use psychological principles to help organizations select and train employees, improve morale and motivation, and increase work productivity. Many industrial and organizational psychologists work in human resources departments, consulting firms, or government agencies. Others teach at universities or conduct research.

Certification and Licensure

In order to be a practicing psychologist, certification and licensure is required in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. The requirements for licensure generally include the completion of an accredited doctoral degree in psychology, internship, and the passing of a state-licensed examination.

State licensure

All states require psychologists to be licensed. Licensing laws vary from state to state. Most states require a doctorate in psychology, an internship, and a passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). The EPPP is a national examination administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

Continuing education is also required to maintain your license. Most states require 40 hours or more of continuing education every two years. Some states have reciprocity agreements with other states, which allows psychologists to obtain a license in another state without having to meet all the requirements of that state. States also have different requirements for psychologists who want to prescribe medication.

The American Board of Professional Psychology

The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) is a professional organization that provides psychologist certification in fifteen different specialty areas. To be eligible for ABPP certification, a psychologist must have earned a doctoral degree from an accredited program and have completed an approved internship and postdoctoral residency. The ABPP also requires that psychologists who are seeking certification maintain their competence by completing continuing education credits on a regular basis.

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