How to become a Health Service Psychologist

  • Request an Online Application, complete, and submit the application
  • Request that your doctoral transcript(s) be sent directly from your educational institution(s) to the National Register
  • Print the Internship and Postdoctoral confirmation forms and have your supervisors review the criteria and complete the forms
  • Submit a signed Application Attestation Form, licensure documentation and the non-refundable credential review fee ($225) to the National Register.
  • Once your application is reviewed and approved, you will then need to submit the Registration Attestation form and the Registration fee ($170, or $150 if you are within 3 years of initial licensure) to activate your credential

If you have any questions or comments regarding the National Register's application or application process, contact Kim Haynes.

To qualify for the National Register Health Service Psychologist credential, you must meet the following criteria

To be eligible for the National Register Health Service Psychologist Credential, you must meet or exceed the following criteria:

  1. A doctoral degree in psychology from an APA/CPA accredited or ASPPB/National Register designated doctoral program in psychology.

    Note: Transcripts will be reviewed to ensure that the applicant has completed the required course work in scientific/research foundations and scientific/professional applications (see Guideline 10).

    EXCEPTIONS to APA/CPA Accreditation and ASPPB/National Register Designation: 

    If the applicant earned a doctoral degree in psychology from a program that meets one of the three exceptions listed below, the National Register will individually review the program to determine if it meets criteria contained in Guidelines 2-11:

    • Doctoral programs in psychology that are currently APA/CPA accredited or ASPPB/National Register designated but not when the applicant completed the program (unless that program was specifically denied accreditation or designation during or subsequent to the time the applicant was enrolled).  For this exception, it must be demonstrated that the program completed by the applicant is essentially the same (course content, requirements, faculty, etc.) as the currently accredited/designated program.
    • Doctoral programs in psychology completed prior to 1981 in the U.S. and 1988 in Canada.
    • Doctoral programs in psychology completed outside of the U.S. and Canada.


    Note:
     A graduate of a doctoral program that was denied for ASPPB/National Register designation or APA/CPA accreditation while he/she was enrolled in the program or after he/she completed the program is not eligible for the National Register Health Service Psychologist Credential.


  2. At least two years (3,000 hours) of supervised experience in health service psychology including:
    • One-year (1,500 hours) internship or organized training program meeting National Register Guidelines. If you completed an APA accredited internship, you should meet this criterion.
    • One year (1,500 hours) of postdoctoral supervised experience meeting the National Register's Guidelines.
  3. Applicant must hold an active, unrestricted license/certification/registration by a State, Provincial or Territorial Board of Examiners of Psychology to practice psychology at the independent practice level. If there is a record of disciplinary action against any psychology license, the application will be subject to further review by the Committee on Professional Practice and Ethics (COPPE).

National Register Doctoral Degree Guidelines

The applicant must demonstrate successful completion of a doctoral degree in psychology as defined below:

  1. A doctoral degree in psychology from an APA/CPA accredited or ASPPB/National Register designated doctoral program in psychology.
    Note:
    Transcripts will be reviewed to ensure that the applicant has completed the required course work in scientific/research foundations and scientific/professional applications (see Guideline 10). 


    EXCEPTIONS to APA/CPA Accreditation and ASPPB/National Register Designation: 

    If the applicant earned a doctoral degree in psychology from a program that meets one of the three exceptions listed below, the National Register will individually review the program to determine if it meets criteria contained in Guidelines 2-11:

    • Doctoral programs in psychology that are currently APA/CPA accredited or ASPPB/National Register designated but not when the applicant completed the program (unless that program was specifically denied accreditation or designation during or subsequent to the time the applicant was enrolled).  For this exception, it must be demonstrated that the program completed by the applicant is essentially the same (course content, requirements, faculty, etc.) as the currently accredited/designated program.
    • Doctoral programs in psychology completed prior to 1981 in the U.S. and 1988 in Canada.
    • Doctoral programs in psychology completed outside of the U.S. and Canada.


    Note:
     A graduate of a doctoral program that was denied for ASPPB/National Register designation or APA/CPA accreditation while he/she was enrolled in the program or after he/she completed the program is not eligible for the National Register Health Service Psychologist Credential.


  2. To review Guidelines 2-11, click here.

Guidelines for Defining an Internship or Organized Health Service Training Program in Psychology

The following criteria are used to identify organized health service programs or internships in psychology:

Internships that are accredited by the American Psychological Association ("APA") or the Canadian Psychological Association ("CPA") are recognized as meeting the definition.

Or all of the following criteria, 1 through 12:

1) An organized training program, in contrast to supervised experience or on-the-job training, is designed to provide the intern with a planned, programmed sequence of training experiences. The primary focus and purpose is assuring breadth and quality of training.

2) The internship agency had a clearly designated staff psychologist who was responsible for the integrity and quality of the training program and who was actively licensed/certified by the State/Provincial Board of Examiners in Psychology.

3) The internship agency had two or more psychologists on the staff as supervisors, at least one of whom was actively licensed as a psychologist by the State/Provincial Board of Examiners of Psychology.

4) Internship supervision was provided by a staff member of the internship agency or by an affiliate of that agency who carried clinical responsibility for the cases being supervised. At least one or more psychologists provided half of the internship supervision.

5) The internship provided training in a range of assessment and treatment activities conducted directly with patients seeking health services.

6) At least 25% of trainee's time was in direct patient contact (minimum 375 hours).

7) The internship included a minimum of two hours per week (regardless of whether the internship was completed in one year or two) of regularly scheduled, formal, face-to-face individual supervision with the specific intent of dealing with health services rendered directly by the intern. There must also have been at least two additional hours per week in learning activities such as: case conferences involving a case in which the intern was actively involved; seminars dealing with clinical issues; co-therapy with a staff person including discussion; group supervision; additional individual supervision.

8) Training was post-clerkship, post-practicum and post-externship level.

9) The internship agency had a minimum of two interns at the internship level of training during applicant's training period.

10) Trainee had title such as "intern," "resident," "fellow," or other designation of trainee status.

11) The internship agency had a written statement or brochure which described the goals and content of the internship, stated clear expectations for quantity and quality of trainee's work and was made available to prospective interns.

12) The internship experience (minimum 1500 hours was completed within 24 months).

Print the National Register Internship Confirmation Form.
Print the National Register Internship Guidelines Compliance Worksheet

If you have any questions or comments regarding the criteria to become a Health Service Psychologist, contact kim@nationalregister.org.

Guidelines for Supervised Postdoctoral Experience

The postdoctoral year must consist of a minimum of 1,500 hours of supervised experience and be completed within a four year consecutive period. This experience must occur after all requirements of the doctoral program are completed. The ratio for supervision time to direct service time should be sufficient to ensure adequate learning, namely, at least one hour per week of formal, direct, individual supervision*. Direct, synchronous audio-visual telecommunication technology may be permitted for individual supervision. Examples of acceptable experience include supervised postdoctoral employment and completion of formal accredited postdoctoral experience.

Acceptable postdoctoral supervised experience must meet the following requirements:

1) A minimum of 1,500 hours of documented supervised experience must be satisfactorily completed.

2) It consists of direct, formal contact with a senior psychologist with documented expertise in the subject matter of the experience who is responsible for the educational development and guidance of the supervisee. Classwork or other course-related experiences do not qualify as individual supervision.

3a) The supervision must be for the direct provision of health services in psychology by the applicant to individuals or groups of clients/patients (applicant supervision of others does not qualify as direct service provision).

- Or -

3b) A minimum of 1,500 hours of supervised experience completed in an organized postdoctoral training program accredited by APA, CPA or listed by APPIC.

Supervisors must meet the following qualifications:

1) Supervisors must be doctoral level psychologists who are appropriately trained and possess an unrestricted current license at the time of the applicant’s experience by the state/provincial/territorial board of psychology in the jurisdiction where the supervision occurred (psychologist supervisors practicing in a federal program must maintain at least one active, unrestricted license in any US state or Canadian province.)

2) The professional qualifications of each direct supervisor must be appropriate to the services rendered. Applicants may be requested to provide evidence of the qualifications of direct supervisors identified in the application.

3) A supervisor, at the time of supervision, must not be in a dual relationship with the supervisee (e.g., spouse, other close relative, or therapist).

4) A supervisor’s current credentialing by the National Register is usually considered as successfully satisfying the requirements.

5) Under exceptional circumstances, to be determined on a case-by-case basis (e.g., geographically isolated areas, documented mental health care provider shortage areas, or areas of highly specialized expertise), a portion of the psychologist’s postdoctoral supervised experience may be provided by a qualified healthcare professional working in another field (e.g., a board certified psychiatrist or social worker). Only a minority of total postdoctoral supervised hours may be so supervised, and the rationale for supervision provided by a non-psychologist must be included in the application. Non-psychologist supervised hours are not guaranteed to be accepted as part of the overall 1,500 minimum supervised hours.

* Beginning in calendar year 2020, in accordance with accreditation standards from APA’s CoA, completion of CoA accredited postdoctoral training programs will require a minimum of two hours per week of formal, direct individual supervision. This applies to postdoctoral supervision obtained in calendar year 2020 and beyond.

Click here for a list of all licensing boards and board web sites.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the criteria to become a Health Service Psychologist, contact kim@nationalregister.org.