The Certification & Examination Process





The board encourages qualified individuals with disabilites to appy for Specialty Board status and will consider individual requests for accommodations. The Board recognizes that individuals with disabilites may encounter difficulties with the process and will make efforts to provide reasonable accommodations. An eligible candidate with disabilities must formalize the request for resonable accommodations with the Board and provide documentation confirming the basis of the need and the type of reasonable accommodations required. At the request of the Board, the Applicant should be ready to assist the Board in developing reasonable accommodations, as necessary. In its sole discretion, the Board will either grant to deny the request based on applicable guidelines. General procedures and individual case-by-case guidelines will also be developed.




The Applicant submits the Application for Specialty Certification in Clinical Psychology (Form B, which is available online) fee, and credentials materials to the ABPP Central Office (CO).  ABPP verifies the degree, the license, professional standing (disciplinary status), the internship and the generic post-doctoral requirements.  If the Applicant is from an APA or CPA accredited program in psychology, the Applicant qualifies as a Candidate and receives a letter from the ABPP CO to this effect, as does the National Exam Coordinator for ABCP. If the Applicant is not from an APA/CPA accredited program, the materials are forwarded by the ABPP CO to the ABCP Credentials Reviewer for evaluation of specialty requirements.  If no decision can be reached, the Applicant may be asked for additional information.  Final determination is faxed to ABPP CO and the Applicant is advised. 


The Candidate then enters the Practice Sample Review component of the Examination Process and begins preparation of Practice Samples, three copies of which must be received by the National Exam Coordinator (NEC) within 12 months of acceptance into candidacy.  If the NEC does not receive a complete packet of materials within 12 months of acceptance into candidacy, the Applicant and ABPP CO will be notified by the NEC and the Applicant must reapply for candidacy. The Practice Sample Review fee is submitted directly to the ABPP CO by the Candidate.


Upon confirmation of receipt of the Practice Sample fee, the NEC is sent the Practice Sample and reviews it for completeness.  If technical inadequacy or deficiency is detected, the Candidate will be asked for typed verbatim transcripts or an entirely new Practice Sample.  Once the Practice Sample is deemed complete, the NEC sends it to the ABCP Director/Regional Coordinator (hereafter referred to as Director/Regional Coordinator), who, guided by the Candidate’s Professional Statement, selects a Chair for the Candidate’s Examination Committee.  The Chair and Director/Regional Coordinator select two Board Certified Psychologists for the Examination Committee and inform the Candidate. Once appointed, Practice Samples are sent to Examination Committee members. The three team members independently review and score the Practice Sample. Two of the three team members must score the Practice Sample as a pass for the Candidate to move on to the Oral Examination.  If the Practice Sample is found unacceptable by at least two members of the Examination Committee, the Candidate is notified about the reasons and the process is halted.  All committee members then return the materials to the Chair, who returns them to the Candidate. The Candidate may submit a new examination fee to ABPP CO and a new Practice Sample to the ABCP National Exam Coordinator within six months for the examination process to continue.


If the Candidate passes this Practice Sample stage, the Chair notifies ABPP CO and the Candidate. The Candidate must send the Oral Examination fee to the ABPP CO before an Oral Examination date can be finalized. The Oral Examination typically takes about three hours and is held in person at a time and place that is mutually convenient for the Candidate and the Examination Committee.


Candidates are typically notified of the Oral Examination outcome within approximately two weeks of taking the examination.  If they pass, they can immediately use the title of Board Certified Clinical Psychologist. The newly Board Certified Clinical Psychologist is encouraged to participate in the administration of the ABCP examination process and in the various projects of the American Academy of Clinical Psychology (AACP) to which he or she may become a Fellow.


Please review the information in the following files regarding the various stages of the ABCP Examination Process:


Practice Samples Information ABCP (pdf)


Oral Examination Info ABCP (pdf)


Senior Psychologist Option ABCP (pdf)

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