Licensure requirements for foreign-trained practitioners

The standards for being trained and registered as a psychologist in a foreign country and being licensed/registered as a psychologist in the United States are often very different. For example, in most United States jurisdictions, a doctorate in clinical, counseling or school psychology is the entry level degree required for licensure and licensure is determined by each state. In order to become licensed as a psychologist, an applicant would apply to a jurisdiction in which he or she intends to practice.

Since each jurisdiction has the ultimate authority to decide what is required in their jurisdiction, it is best to first contact the jurisdiction directly to determine what the exact requirements are for licensure.  Contact information for each jurisdiction can be found HERE.

A foreign trained applicant must demonstrate that their education, degree and experience is the equivalent to the requirements established in that jurisdiction. A master’s degree and/or doctorate from another country might be the equivalent to a doctoral degree in the United States. Since most licensing boards do not have the resources to compare education and degrees from a foreign country to their own requirements, most rely on a NACES program to do that for them. NACES stand for the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services. NACES is an association of US-based, independent, nongovernmental organizations that provide credential evaluation services for individuals who have completed education outside the United States. A NACES evaluation would be able to “translate” education and degree into a United States format or a Canadian format that jurisdictions could then evaluate. More information on NACES can be found HERE.

If a foreign trained applicant’s education and degree meet the regulations of the jurisdiction in which they are seeking licensure, then they must also demonstrate that their supervised experience is the equivalent to what is required by that jurisdiction. Assuming an applicant’s education, degree and experience is the equivalent and meets the requirements then an applicant would be eligible to sit for the Examination of Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP). The EPPP is developed and owned by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) and is provided to state and provincial boards of psychology to assist them in their evaluation of the qualifications of applicants for licensure and certification. This standardized knowledge-based examination covers eight content areas: biological bases of behavior; cognitive-affective bases of behavior; social and cultural bases of behavior; growth and lifespan development; assessment and diagnosis; treatment, intervention, prevention and supervision; research methods and statistics; and ethical, legal, and professional issues. An applicant can only take the EPPP if they are a candidate for licensure in one of the jurisdictions in the United States or Canada. The applicant would not be eligible to sign up to take the EPPP until that jurisdiction approves their application and authorizes them to take the EPPP. More information on the EPPP can be found HERE.

In addition to passing the EPPP, most U.S. jurisdictions require the applicant to pass an examination that covers local mental health laws and rules.