Imagine these scenarios:
- You are a practicing licensed psychologist, presented with the opportunity of a lifetime across the country.
- You live on the border between two states and want to expand your practice into another state.
- You have to move to a different state for your partner’s new job – or you’re just looking for a change of scenery.
Each of these scenarios requires you to obtain a license in a new jurisdiction.
If you read my previous article about becoming licensed, you know that the process is detailed. I was initially licensed in Virginia, two months before learning that I would soon move to South Carolina. Luckily, I was prepared for this; I knew that this would only be the first of many moves.
Wanting to ensure that my license was mobile, I took steps to meet potential training requirements a state may have (like completing a postdoc) and gathering certain information and “banking” it in one place.
Banking Your Credentials
One of the best things you can do as a newly licensed psychologist is to bank your credentials. This means putting all of your education and training information into one place. Even if you never move your license between jurisdictions, banking your credentials means never tracking down your internship or postdoc supervisor five or even twenty years later to obtain proof of training. Two organizations currently offer credentials banking for psychologists: The National Register of Health Service Psychologists (National Register) and The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB).
The National Register of Health Service Psychologists
I use the National Register to bank my credentials. You can begin the banking process at any point in your career, even as early as your first practicum.
- What credentials are banked? Final transcript, internship, postdoctoral training, and licenses.
- How do I become a registrant? First, contact the National Register to request the appropriate application, which is dependent upon your training status. Second, submit all the required documents. Third, once the National Register verifies your credentials and you are licensed, complete an attestation form and pay the registration fee.
- What are the fees? If you are a student/trainee, it costs $50 for the National Register to verify each of the following: internship, education requirements (transcript), and postdoctoral training. It will cost $150 to register. Fees increase if you are already licensed.The National Register offers scholarships for trainees and early career psychologists to cover these fees. There is a yearly fee to maintain your credentials ($180; $160 during the first three years of licensure) and you also reattest at this time. If you allow your credentials to lapse for less than two years, an additional reinstatement fee applies. After two years, you must reapply. Transferring credential information to another jurisdiction is free.
- Are there any perks? The National Register offers free continuing education through e-psychologist.org. You can also have a profile on FindaPsychologist.org and you gain access to a branding kit which allows you to use the National Register logo on letterhead and business cards. Registration with the National Register means that some licensing application requirements may be waived.
The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards
The ASPPB provides banking services and access to multiple mobility platforms. I do not use this service; the following information is the result of researching their banking options. It all begins with the ASPPB Credentials Bank.
- What credentials are banked? ASPPB recommends banking your transcript, EPPP score, syllabi, course catalogs, oral or jurisprudence exam scores, internship and postdoctoral supervision, licensure information, work experience, and advanced or specialty training.
- How do I apply? Create an account through the ASPPB Psychology License Universal System (PLUS) portal. Complete the required sections for demographics, education (including submission of a transcript), courses, internship, and conduct (personal and professional). The examination section is also required, but will likely be automatically completed since ASPPB administers the EPPP and can upload your score. You may also include information about jurisdictional and board certification examinations.The sections for licensure, practicum, and postdoc are coded as optional, likely because you may not be licensed when banking credentials and not all states require postdoctoral training. The post-licensure work experience section is also optional. You must also declare areas of intended practice including populations served and services provided. Once all required information is completed, you can submit the application and pay the fee.
- What are the fees? Credentials banking is free. Participation in the mobility programs costs $200 ($100 for early career psychologists, defined by ASPPB as first five years of licensure). Additionally, fees ranging from $25-50 apply for transferring information through one of the mobility programs, annual renewals, and certificate replacement.
- Are there any perks? There is a reduced fee for EPPP score transfer. If you have a CPQ (see below), some application requirements are waived.
Once you bank your credentials, you are now eligible to apply for other ASPPB mobility services. PLUS is available to anyone at any point in her/his psychology career. If a state participates in PLUS, you are required to use the system for application submission by forwarding the PLUS application to that state’s board. The board then determines your eligibility for licensure. Eleven jurisdictions in the US and Canada currently participate in this program; five more are slated as “coming soon”.
The ASPPB provides two certificates, available only to licensed psychologists.
- The Interjurisdictional Practice Certificate (IPC) notifies a state psychology board of a psychologist’s intent to practice, allowing the psychologist thirty work days to practice without becoming fully licensed in that state. Currently, only five jurisdictions participate in this program.
- The Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology (CPQ) – available only to psychologists licensed at least five years – documents that you meet specific requirements for licensure, education, examination, and training and that you have never been subject to disciplinary action. The forty-four jurisdictions currently participating in the CPQ program consider your CPQ as your application for licensure.
Practicing in a New Jurisdiction
So how do you start practicing in a new jurisdiction? Much like applying for your initial license, you will need to submit an application to demonstrate that you have met the new jurisdiction’s requirements for education, training, and experience.
Unlike applying for your initial license, you are now applying through the “licensure by endorsement” route; you have met another state’s licensing requirements and that license is active and in good standing (no disciplinary actions, continuing education requirements met). This means that some of the application requirements may be waived.
If you banked your credentials, request that your credential banking organization forward your information to your new state’s board and save yourself the trouble of gathering the original source documents again. Though some of the requirements may be waived, each state may have some extra requirements, such as an oral or jurisprudence exam or letters of reference. Florida, for example, requires completion of a course to prevent medical errors before licensure. California and New York require that you demonstrate knowledge in the identification and reporting of abuse.
I highly recommend applying before you move: boards may take thirty days to review your application, or you may not be able to take an exam until you move to your new state. You do not want any unnecessary delays to keep you from practicing!
There are three other things to consider when it comes to licensure mobility.
Some jurisdictions have an agreement that a license in one jurisdiction is satisfactory for a license in another jurisdiction. If two jurisdictions have reciprocity, the psychologist’s credentials are not individually reviewed. For example, if you hold a license in Nebraska, Texas will grant you a license based upon your license in Nebraska. You may still have to take an oral or jurisprudence exam, but some application requirements are waived. Remember that most states do not offer reciprocity; those that do often require at least five years of licensure.
- Board Certified Specialists
If you choose to become board certified in a specialty area (i.e. Neuropsychology or Child Psychology) by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), many states will waive some requirements. The ABPP does not necessarily bank credentials, but you must provide information about your training and experience as part of earning that certification.
- “Senior” Psychologists
Some states waive requirements for psychologists with 10 or more years of professional experience.There are many things to consider regarding licensure mobility. Depending upon where you are in your training and career, one or more of the above options may be viable for you when you change jurisdictions. I chose to bank my credentials with the National Register because I knew I would need their services before I reached five years of licensure and because of the small number of jurisdictions participating in the ASPPB programs for which I was eligible.
Thankfully, we have one of the most flexible careers and I hope this information helps you take full advantage of that flexibility!
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- Applying for Licensure as a Psychologist? Here’s What You Need to Know - June 10, 2021
- Licensure Mobility as a Psychologist: Bank Your Credentials - February 2, 2016