The Certification & Examination Process

Procedures for Obtaining Board Certification in Clinical Neuropsychology

The ABCN certification process is designed to assess one’s scientific knowledge and clinical skill in the practice of neuropsychology, and to provide external evidence of competence in this area of specialty practice. All qualified individuals are invited to apply for the examination and participate in the maintenance of quality standards for the profession.


An individual seeking board certification in Clinical Neuropsychology proceeds through the following steps:


1. Review Candidate Manual, Review Online Application Instructions, and Download Applications


Candidate Manual
ABPP Online Application 
ABCN Specialty-Specific Application Form


Applicants should be advised that admission to candidacy through credential review and progression through stages of the ABCN examination process do not constitute any form of credential. Phrases such as ‘board eligible’, ‘ABCN Candidate’, or similar designations must not be used in any written or oral public statement, as this has the potential to mislead the public about certification status.


2. Credential Review


Review of generic credentials, including doctoral degree, internship, and licensure, is performed by the ABPP Central Office. Click here to review the ABPP generic credential requirements.


Once the generic credentials are approved, the applicant's materials are forwarded by ABPP to the ABCN credentials committee to determine eligibility specific to Clinical Neuropsychology. The specialty credential review covers both the content and the process by which the applicant has acquired their foundational knowledge and functional competencies in neuropsychology. As such, candidates are asked to document their didactic and experiential training.


ABCN has endorsed the Houston Conference guidelines for specialty training in Clinical Neuropsychology. We understand, however, that training standards have changed over the relatively short period during which clinical neuropsychology has grown as a specialty. To encourage applications from competent Neuropsychologists trained during all eras (including those prior to the Houston Conference), eligibility is defined in relation to the criteria in place at the time the candidate obtained training in neuropsychology. Please click here for detailed information on specialty credential requirements.


3. Written Examination


Once credentials are approved, candidates are notified by ABPP Central Office of their eligibility to take the ABCN written examination.


The written examination consists of 100 multiple choice items in the areas of Neuropsychological Assessment, Clinical Neuropsychology, Basic and Clinical Neurosciences, Behavioral (Clinical) Neurology, and General Clinical Psychology.


Click here to view more information about the written examination, the upcoming schedule of exams, and registration deadlines.


4. Review of Practice Samples


Once the written examination is passed, the candidate is invited to prepare two practice samples for review. Each practice sample includes a candidate's original clinical report with appropriate confidential and identifying information obscured, a summary sheet of test scores with appropriate normative scores, and scanned copies of the raw data. Optional supplementary materials may also be submitted in the form of a 3 page document (double-spaced, no smaller than 11 point font). This document may be used to provide reviewers with the context of the candidate’s clinical practice or to explain any aspects of test/norm selection, diagnostic considerations, or clinical decision making that may not have been necessary or appropriate to include in the original report. For detailed information regarding the format and content of the Practice Sample submission, please review the guidelines on the ABPP website.


ABCN uses the ScholarOne portal for submission of practice samples. Click here to learn more about the submission process.


Once received, practice samples are forwarded to three ABCN Specialists who evaluate whether the practice sample can be defended at the oral examination. An affirmative decision by two reviewers is required to pass the candidate to the oral examination.


5. Oral Examination


When practice samples are accepted, the candidate is scheduled for oral examination. Oral examinations are typically held twice per year in Chicago, in late spring and late fall. Click here for the schedule of oral examinations.


The oral examination consists of three parts, each of which is designed to allow examiners the opportunity to evaluate the candidate’s scientific knowledge and clinical expertise in assessment, consultation, intervention, and ethical practice. The three portions of the examination include:


  •   Practice sample examination. The candidate is questioned about the practice sample to explore the rationale for assessment and clarity of the candidate's interpretation, report, and conclusions. The practice sample also offers a point of departure for the examiner to query the candidate about related psychometric, diagnostic, scientific, or practice-related issues.

  •   Ethics and professional issues. The candidate is asked to provide an ethical analysis of a presented vignette and to describe the nature of their professional development, current professional activities, and efforts to foster continuing education.

  •   Fact Finding Examination. The candidate is given a brief clinical vignette and instructed to elicit from the examiner all relevant clinical information (history, test results, etc) required to conceptualize the case and formulate conclusions.


Immediately following the examination, the examiners meet to discuss how well each candidate was able to demonstrate his or her scientific knowledge, clinical expertise, ethical practice, social responsibility, and professional commitment. After discussion, the examiners vote to either award or not award board certification based on the candidate’s overall performance across the entire examination. Candidates do not pass or fail individual portions of the examination. A favorable decision of two out of three examiners is required to award certification.


6. Awarding Certification


The decision to award or not award board certification following oral examination is summarized and forwarded to ABPP Central Office. Upon approval by the board, a decision letter is sent to the candidate from both ABPP and ABCN. Specialists who are awarded certification are invited to join the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology and to participate in the ABPP Convocation ceremony held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association. Candidates who are not awarded certification are provided feedback from the ABCN Central Office, including a summary evaluation from their oral examination team and information on how to resume the board examination process.


For Further Information:


Regarding ABPP review of generic credentials (i.e., graduate and internship training programs), fee structure, payments, or early entry student option, please contact:


ABPP Central Office

600 Market Street, Suite 201

Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Phone: (919) 537-8031

Fax: (919) 537-8034



Regarding ABCN specialty specific credential requirements (neuropsychology didactics, postdoctoral training, ABCN specialty-specific online application), registration deadlines, or specific components of the ABCN Examination process, please contact:


Annunciata Porterfield

American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology 
Department of Psychiatry 
The University of Michigan Hospitals 
1500 East Medical Center Drive, SPC 5295 
 Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-5295

   Phone: (734) 936-8269

   FAX: (734) 936-9761


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