The Certification & Examination Process


Stage I: Application/Candidacy:

The Application Form (with fee of $125) must be completed in full. Do not reference a vita, but complete all items on the application. The required endorsements must be part of (submitted with) the application. Membership in professional organizations that have identifiable purposes and policies that are congruent with those of ABRP is highly desirable. The application form can be obtained (as well as other fee/registration forms as the candidate moves forward in the process) from the ABPP Web site


The applicant should request that a copy of his/her doctoral program transcript be sent directly from the educational institution to the ABPP Central Office. ABPP shall verify your licensure and professional standing (disciplinary data base status).

For Rehabilitation Psychology, a total of 4 individual endorsements must be submitted.  These include two supervisory endorsements and two other professional endorsements.

Stage II: Practice Sample Overview/Requirements:

When an applicant is notified that his/her credentials are complete and satisfactory, he/she is advanced to the status of Candidate and a Practice Sample is required. A period of one year from the date of such notification is allowed for the candidate to submit an acceptable Practice Sample. Should the candidate fail to submit a satisfactory Practice Sample within the one year period, the application will be considered to have lapsed. After an application has lapsed, any further action requires that an entirely new set of application materials be submitted, including additional fees based on the fee structure in effect at that time. Thus, it is important that an application be made with consideration of the time frame within which the Practice Sample is due.

The Senior Candidate: Practice Sample Option:

An applicant with 15 years or more experience following licensure qualifies as a “senior candidate”. The senior candidate may elect to not submit a clinical case report for either of the two required practice samples, but may submit practice samples representing his/her extended experience in research, administration, teaching/supervision, program administration or evaluation, and so on, related to rehabilitation psychology. These samples should be clearly labeled “Senior Option” to distinguish them as such

Stage III: Oral Examination:

The Oral Examination can be scheduled following acceptance of the practice samples. The notification letter of acceptance explains the necessary steps to register for the oral examination and includes the fee/registration form (with $450 fee), which must be sent to the ABPP Central Office before the oral examination can be scheduled.

The candidate typically sits for the next available oral examination. Oral exams are conducted 1 or 2 times per year, in various locations. The previously described competencies are the focus throughout the oral examination. The oral exam in rehabilitation psychology consists of 4 parts. For the first two parts of the exam, the candidate reviews a number of clinical vignettes that have been selected by the board, and selects two for examination. After reading the case materials, the candidate meets with the first examiner and is examined on the vignette. The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the candidate’s ability to investigate the areas relevant to the vignette, draw reasonable conclusions based upon the information available and develop appropriate treatment interventions or planning. It is not crucial that the candidate reaches the same conclusions as the preparer of the vignette; it is only crucial that the candidate’s conclusions be reasonable and defensible on the basis of the data available in the vignette record. The candidate then proceeds to the second examiner for examination on the second vignette. With the third examiner, candidates are examined on their practice sample. The practice sample serves as a base from which to review the candidate’s pattern of practice as a rehabilitation psychologist, including theoretical, empirical, and practical foundations. Finally, the Candidate is examined on ethical and legal issues related to rehabilitation. This is accomplished primarily through the discussion of several vignettes, each of which presents various ethical considerations. In addition, the Candidate’s knowledge and ability to apply the requirements of Americans with Disabilities Act is examined.

Following the oral examination the examination team returns the practice materials to the candidates. The candidate is then dismissed and the team discusses the candidate’s response and ratings to the examination and votes to confer or not confer certification. If the vote is negative the candidate may appeal the decision based upon procedural grounds only by notifying the Board within 30 days of his/her intent to appeal. The Board forwards appeals procedures to the candidate. If the vote is to confer certification, the certified specialist is notified of the pass by the ABPP Executive Officer immediately upon notification of the recommendation (via Fax) to Central Office from the Oral Examination Chair.

The Diploma is forwarded to the newly board certified specialist within 45 days following notification.


Recommended Statement:


A. The Board encourages qualified individuals with disabilities to apply for Specialty Board status. The board recognizes that these individuals may encounter unusual difficulties and will make efforts to provide reasonable accommodations for these applicants. The board will consider individual request for accommodations by qualified individuals with disabilities.

A qualified individual with disabilities can request reasonable accommodation, must formalize the request with the board, and support the request with documentation confirming a need for reasonable accommodation and the basis of the need.

At the request of the board, applicants with special needs should be ready to document the need consistent with the applicable guidelines, and assist the board in developing reasonable accommodations, as applicable. In its sole discretion, the board will either grant or deny the request based on applicable guidelines.

B. General procedures and individual case-by-case guidelines will also be developed.

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

Practice Samples Information ABRP (pdf)

Oral Examination Info ABRP (pdf)

Senior Psychologist Option ABRP (pdf)



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