The Certification & Examination Process

Examination for Board Certification

 
Examination for Board Certification is designed to ensure that the candidate demonstrates specialty level competence in the specialty of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.  Specialty level standing is conceptualized as discriminately higher than the basic level of competence certified by state licensure, but within the reach of most experienced practitioners of professional psychology.  Board Certification is achieved by successful completion of an oral examination conducted by three or more members of an examination committee comprised of Board Certified Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologists.  Candidates should expect the examination to cover core Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology content as well as their own area of practice.  Sensitivity to and knowledge of ethical, professional and legal issues and the ability to translate this awareness effectively into practice is also expected. 
 
Stages of the Examination Process
 
Stage I          
 
Credentials Review:  The Board of Trustees of the ABPP sets and verifies minimum generic standards for candidacy.  The Board of Directors of ABCCAP sets and verifies minimum specialty standards for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.   If the candidate is found to meet both generic and specialty standards, Stage I is passed. 
 
Stage II 
 
Practice Sample Review:  The Candidate’s three member Examination Committee reviews Practice Samples for substantive adequacy.  If they find that the sample is adequate for the oral examination, Stage II is passed.
 
Stage III
 
Oral Examination: Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the same committee of three members who approves the Practice Sample conducts the Oral Examination.  The Oral Examination emphasizes the Candidate's Practice Sample and awareness of current issues in professional psychology, professional experience, awareness of scientific basis of clinical child practice, clinical judgment, awareness of diversity issues and sensitivity to ethical, professional, and legal standards of practice.
 
Domains of Competency
The examination encompasses the following inter-related domains of professional competency.
 
Constructive Assessment and Intervention
A successful Candidate demonstrates knowledge, skill and experience necessary to provide specialty level services in the practice of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology through discussion of a Professional Statement and Practice Samples.  Assessments can range from the administration and interpretation of standardized tests to behavioral observations and interviews.  Interventions may take the form of psychotherapy, consultation or environmental modification.  In some forms of professional practice, assessment and intervention are integral parts of the same process.  Examiners explore the Candidate’s level of sophistication in discussing choice of assessment tools and therapeutic interventions to address diagnostic or therapeutic issues consistent with whatever theoretical foundation is proposed as guiding ordinary clinical child work.
 
Awareness of the Relevance of Research and Theory
A successful Candidate is knowledgeable of scientific and scholarly developments in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and applies them in professional practice.  Examiners explore the Candidate's awareness of and ability to discuss critically the implications and applications of contemporary knowledge in the practice of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. 
 
Sensitivity to Ethical and Legal Implications of Professional Practice for Consumer Protection
A successful Candidate is aware of: (1) current ethical principles and practice standards of the American Psychological Association, (2) current statutory provisions applicable to professional practice, and (3) the implications of these principles and statutory provisions to protect the interests of clients, the profession and society.
 
Supervision and Consultation Competencies
A successful Candidate demonstrates the ability to communicate and apply his/her knowledge in the supervision of others such as psychological technicians, other persons who provide psychological services, health care professionals from other disciplines and psychology trainees in practicum internship and postdoctoral settings.  Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologists also supervise clinical research and carry out administrative activities.  They also provide consultation to other health care professionals, educational personnel, social service agencies, rehabilitation centers, legal systems, public policy makers and other institutions.
 
Professional Development
A successful Candidate identifies with the profession by appropriate memberships and involvement in national, state, or local professional organizations and by awareness of current issues in the development of a creative and responsible profession.  The Candidate pursues continuing education in an effort to improve their skills and knowledge.
 
 The Application Process
 
The Applicant submits the Application Form, fee, and credentials materials to the ABPP Central Office. The Central Office verifies the generic requirements including the degree, the license, and the internship.   The Central Office forwards the materials to ABCCAP for evaluation of specialty requirements.  If no decision can be reached, the Applicant may be asked for additional information.  Final specialty determination is sent to Central Office and the Applicant is so advised of the passage of Stage I.
 
The Candidate then enters Stage II of the Examination Process, submits a fee for Stage II, and begins preparation of Practice Samples.  Three copies of the samples must be received within 12 months.  Upon receipt of Practice Samples and the examination fee, ABCCAP, guided by the Candidate's Professional Statement, selects a Chair for the Candidate's Examination Committee and informs the Candidate.  The Candidate can disapprove for cause the selection within one week and request another selection.  Once appointed, the Chair works directly with the Candidate until the conclusion of the exam process.  The Chair selects two Board Certified Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologists for the Examination Committee and informs the Candidate who can disapprove for cause either or both of the selections within one week.  Once appointed, Practice Samples are submitted to committee members and the committee of three oversees Stage II and Stage III  of the examination.
 
 Practice Samples (Stage II)
 
Professional Statement
 
A Professional Statement (three copies of 3-5 double-spaced, typewritten pages) describes professional training, experience, current work and identity as a psychologist.  This statement provides the Candidate with the opportunity to communicate about him/herself as a Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologist and serves as a basis for discussion in the opening portion of the Oral Examination. The Candidate should describe in detail the theoretical orientation that guides the professional work and should reflect actions congruent with this orientation throughout the examination process.  The Professional Statement should include a description of the full scope of the Candidate's primary employment and professional activities. Very importantly, the Professional Statement should include a description of an ethical quandary that the Candidate has faced professionally.
 
The Videotape Assessment and Intervention Samples
 
The Practice Sample includes two video tape samples of professional work (three copies of a single cassette including both topics) of approximately 50 minutes each depicting an unrehearsed psychological assessment and an unrehearsed intervention drawn from typical clinical practice within approximately six months prior to the submission.  If the Assessment Practice Sample includes test administration, the tape must be of the first hour of the assessment session since that is the portion during which rapport building and any interviewing takes place.  Videotape solely depicting a test administration is not satisfactory.
Candidates should take great care to remove all identifiers from all materials, including test protocols.
 
The Practice Sample is considered to be the integral second stage of the examination process and will be reviewed by the Examination Committee according to specified criteria. Committee members work independently of each other and vote on acceptability according to the criteria.  The Chair also votes.
 
1.         If the Practice Sample meets the pass criterion (a minimum of two passing votes), the Candidate then proceeds to the oral portion (Stage III) of the examination. 
2.         If the Practice Sample does not meet the pass criterion, materials are returned to the Candidate specifically detailing the reasons for the failure and the examination process is terminated.
 
In such an event, the Candidate may re-apply for the examination from the beginning of the second stage (Practice Samples).  A new Examination Committee, including a new Chair, will be assembled to review subsequent Practice Samples.  
 
Both samples must include copies of all source documents and contextual statements containing:  
 
1. The rationale for the procedures used.
2. A reflective comment on the Candidate's own behavior in the    sample.
3. Any relevant events subsequent to the sample. 
 
Candidates are encouraged to submit video samples that reflect their competence and expertise (typical rather than exemplary situations are expected) and which depict their interactive style with clients drawn from their typical practice.
 
Assessment Sample Details
  •  
  • An assessment Practice Sample should include the following contextual and supplementary information (1000-1500 words) in addition to the full written report:
  •  
  • Dates of client contacts
  • Non-identifying descriptive information
  • Presenting problem
  • Brief history
  • Rationale for procedures used
  • Copies of all raw data
  • Formulation and discussion of the problem
  • A reflective comment on the Candidate's own behavior in the sample
  • A copy of the full professional written report with diagnosis and recommendations

Where standardized assessment instruments are used, the Candidate should have a thorough knowledge of the construction, administration, and interpretation of such instruments.   

 
Intervention Sample Details
 
  • An intervention Practice Sample should include the following contextual information (1000-1500 words) including:
  •  
  • Contact dates
  • Current session number in total sequence
  • Non-identifying descriptive information
  • Presenting problem
  • Diagnosis
  • Brief history
  • Formulation and discussion of problem
  • Rationale for interventions utilized
  • Goals for present intervention
  • A reflective comment on the Candidate's own behavior in the sample

Each Candidate will be asked "How did you handle the issue of confidentiality with your client when you decided to submit client material as part of your Practice Samples?" 

 
Format for Stage III: Oral Examination
 
To assure standardization of the examination process, the ABCCAP has established the following Stage III Oral Examination Day Schedule.  The general pace and sequence of topics provide flexible guidelines and may vary somewhat.
 
Within each segment there is room for variation according to the judgment of the examination committee.  Many topics will be inter-woven throughout the examination, related topics may enter into a given subject's time period, and flexibility should be allowed if they are relevant to the discussion.  A topic may receive more cursory exploration in its scheduled time slot if it has been sufficiently covered earlier.   
 
SUMMARY SCHEDULE FOR EXAMINATION - STAGE III
 
This schedule requires that the examiners have viewed the videotapes and reviewed all the written materials in advance
 
        Committee meets and organizes - 10 Minutes
        Committee greets candidate - 10 Minutes
        Exam: Professional statement & practice sample - 105 Minutes
        Break - 15 Minutes
        Exam: Ethical, legal, professional issues; Research awareness - 50 Minutes
        Exam wrap-up discussion; Return practice samples - 15 Minutes
        Committee votes and writes reports -  25 Minutes
 
Ethics Vignettes
 
A file of prepared vignettes is maintained in ABPP Central Office for standardization of the Ethics segment of the Oral Examination.  Two vignettes are selected on a random basis.  Three copies are sent to the Examination Committee Chair to be distributed to Committee members, and one to be given to the Candidate. The Candidate has also submitted, in the Professional Statement, a non-identifying ethics quandary from his or her own professional experience. 
 
During the Ethics segment of the Oral Examination, the Candidate will be given at least one standardized vignette to discuss.  The Examining Committee does not necessarily expect a "right" answer, but anticipates that the Candidate will present relevant options and demonstrate the ability to thoughtfully weigh them in the light of the APA ethics principles, professional practice standards and relevant statutes.  The Candidate will discuss his/her own vignette in the same manner.
At the conclusion of the Oral Examination, all copies of the Ethics vignettes are collected by the Chair and returned to ABPP Central Office.  The use of each vignette will be tracked so that in the case of a Candidate's failure, new vignettes will be used for re-examination.  Examiners and Candidates will treat the vignettes as confidential.
 
The Application Process: Senior Option
 
If the candidate is currently listed in the National Register of Health Service Providers, which will serve as the source for information on education training and experience, the application process is simplified.
 
The Applicant submits the Application Form, fee, and credentials materials to the ABPP Central Office.
 
Credentials: 
 
One copy of Curriculum Vita, including a list of publication.
 
Practice Sample:
 
Three (3) copies of two articles and/or book deemed significant in clinical child and adolescent psychology or description of other contributions that have had a major influence in the area of clinical child psychology.
 
Examination Procedures:
 
The examination process will be the same except for the nature of the professional statement and practice sample.  The examination will cover a broad understanding of clinical child and adolescent
psychology’s theoretical and empirical foundations.
The same standards, rating scales, evaluation procedures and forms will be utilized.
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