Specialty Specific Requirements



Applicants submit the following education and training activities to the ABPP Central Office in order to establish completion of the following professional accomplishments:


Academic Program Requirements

• A doctoral degree from a program in professional psychology, which at the time the degree was granted, was accredited by the APA or the Canadian Psychological

Association (CPA), OR

• A doctoral degree, which at the time the degree was granted, was from a program listed in the publication Doctoral Psychology Programs Meeting Designated Criteria OR, the

Degree Requirement can be met if:

• Applicant holds current ABPP Board Certification in another specialty, OR

• Applicant holds a current Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology (CPQ) from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB), OR

• Applicant is credentialed as a health service provider in the current Directory of the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology (NRHSPP), or the current Canadian Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology (CRHSPP), OR

• Applicant holds a doctoral degree in psychology and has subsequently been certified as completing the requirements of a formal, doctoral level, professional program that meets the APA accreditation requirements.

Individual exception reviews are available for degrees granted outside the U.S. or Canada, doctoral degrees granted prior to 1983, or for applicants claiming equivalent doctoral degree and program requirements. Such exceptions are coordinated through the ABPP Executive Office and the appropriate Specialty Board.


Internship Requirements


A one-year full-time or two-year half-time internship program is required. The internship requirement can be met in one of four ways. The internship requirement is met if the internship is:

• Accredited by the APA or CPA, or

• Listed in the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC)

Directory for the year in which the internship was completed, or,

• Met APPIC equivalency guidelines, or

• Applicants are listed in the NRHSPP or CRHSPP Directories or hold the CPQ.


Licensure/Certification Requirement


All ABPP candidates in the U.S., its territories or Canada must be licensed as psychologists for independent practice at the doctoral level in a jurisdiction in the U.S., its territories or Canada.  Exceptions to the residency requirement are made for active duty federal uniformed service psychologists when practicing in those roles.


Post-Licensure Practice Experience


The specialty of Group Psychology denotes a level of practice requiring preparation beyond doctoral requirements. The post-doctoral requirement includes:

  • Three years of group experience
    • One of these may be pre-doctoral (internship level)
    • Two or three years may be Post-Doctoral Experience. (Details Page 5). 

Early-Entry Option


Graduate students and entry level professionals are encouraged to apply for the Early Entry option, where Central Office assists them in accumulating and tracking documents towards eventual candidacy.


Early Entry Psychologists

Required Materials To Be Submitted To Complete The Early Entry Application


1)   Official Graduate/Doctoral Transcripts: must be sent directly to ABPP from the Institution

2)   Documentation of Completion of Internship: A copy of your internship completion certificate or a letter from the internship director indication completion.

3)   Documentation of Post-Doctoral Experience: A copy of your post-doc completion certificate or a letter from the post-doc director indicating completion; if it is not a formal post-doc then a letter from your supervisor(s) indicating the extent and nature of your supervised experience.

4)   Licensure at the Independent Doctoral Level of Practice: Your license number and state in which you are licensed and/or a copy of your license.


The above items, when received, will be reviewed for generic eligibility. ABGP’s additional requirement is two letters of endorsement.


Senior Option


The “senior” is defined as a specialist applicant/candidate with 15 or more years of experience following licensure.  The ABPP has approved a policy allowing a continuing special option for “senior” specialists considered for certification.  The essential rationale is to encourage experienced, often distinguished practitioners to take the examination, while recognizing longevity of experience and a more developed portfolio of practice in the specialty.  There is no “senior examination” as such, but an option to flexibly apply past educational requirements and to modify practice sample submissions and some oral examination procedures.  All of the ABPP boards, with the exception of Clinical Neuropsychology and Forensic Psychology, offer a “senior” option.  See each board's information on the corresponding pages of this website for details, as the specifics vary from board to board.

There is one level of certification resulting from one examination, not a certified “distinguished” or “senior” descriptor.  The criteria for a pass are the same for all candidates, allowing for individual differences of strengths and limitations expected of all candidates. Go to the Specialty Board page in which you are interested for details on the Senior Option.

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