Welcome to the Board of Psychology

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Licensing FAQs
  • 1. How do I obtain a license as a psychologist in California?
    To obtain a license as a psychologist in California, each applicant must:
    • a) Submit an application for licensure. The application can be downloaded from the web site athttp://www.psychboard.ca.gov/licensee/licpsych.shtml
    • b) Have applicant fingerprints scanned for a criminal history clearance through a process called "Live Scan." This process requires applicants to go to a Live Scan site for fingerprint scanning services. Live Scan sites are located throughout the state at various locations within each county. For further information about the fingerprint procedures, please review the Fingerprint Procedure form on the Board's web site at http://www.psychboard.ca.gov/licensee/fingerprint.shtml
    • c) Possess a doctoral degree in psychology, educational psychology, or in education with a field of specialization in counseling psychology or educational psychology from a nationally or regionally accredited (if recognized by the USDOE), or an approved academic institution that meets the provisions of Section 2914 (g) of the Business and Professions Code, as follows.

      An applicant holding a doctoral degree in psychology from an approved institution is deemed to meet the requirements of this section if all of the following are true:
      • (1) The approved institution offered a doctoral degree in psychology designed to prepare students for a license to practice psychology and was approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education on or before July 1, 1999.
      • (2) The approved institution has not, since July 1, 1999, had a new location, as described in Section 94721 of the Education Code.
      • (3) The approved institution is not a franchise institution, as defined in Section 94729.3 of the Education Code.
    • d) Complete 3,000 hours of qualifying supervised professional experience, 1,500 of which must be accrued post-doctorally. For further information about supervised professional experience, please review section 1387 of the California Code of Regulations at http://www.psychboard.ca.gov/lawsregs/
    • e) Take and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the California Psychology Supplemental Examination (CPSE). For further information about the EPPP please visit https://www.asppb.org/publications/pdf/IFC.pdf. For further information about the CPSE, please review the Examinations section of the Board's web site at http://www.psychboard.ca.gov/exams/index.shtml
    • f) Submit evidence of completing coursework in human sexuality, child abuse, substance abuse, spousal abuse, and aging and long-term care. For further information about the specific requirements for each course, please review Sections 1382 through 1382.5 of the California Code of Regulations at http://www.psychboard.ca.gov/lawsregs/index.shtml
  • 2. I understand that before I can get a Psychologist license in CA, I need to take coursework in human sexuality. Is this true? What are the specific requirements and where can I find this in the laws and regulations?
    Yes, this is true. Section 25 of the Business and Professions Code requires all applicants for licensure to take training in human sexuality prior to being issued a Psychologist license. Section 1382 of the California Code of Regulations further defines this requirement by stating that among other things, the training or coursework must be taken after 1/1/70, that it be a minimum length of ten (10) contact hours and that the course include the study of physiological and social-cultural variables associated with sexual identity, sexual behavior or sexual disorders. This training must be completed in a single course.
  • 3. I understand that before I can acquire a Psychologist license in CA, I need to take a course in child abuse assessment and reporting. Is this true? What are the specific requirements and where can I find this in the laws and regulations?
    Yes, this is true. Section 28 of the Business and Professions Code requires all applicants for licensure to take coursework or training in child abuse assessment and reporting prior to being issued a Psychologist license. This law states that the coursework or training must be taken after 1/1/83 and that the course be a minimum of seven (7) contact hours. This law further requires that the course "include the study of the assessment and method of reporting of sexual assault, neglect, severe neglect, general neglect, willful cruelty or unjustifiable punishment, corporal punishment or injury, and abuse in out-of-home. The training shall also include physical and behavioral indicators of abuse, consequences of failure to report, caring for a child's needs after a report is made, sensitivity to previously abused children and adults, and implications and methods of treatment for children and adults." Among other things, section 1382.4 requires that the requirements set forth in section 28 of the B & P Code be completed in a single course.
  • 4. I understand that before I can acquire a license as a psychologist in California, I need to show evidence of having taken a course in substance abuse detection and treatment. Is this true? What are the laws and regulations which address this requirement?
    Yes, this is true. Section 2914 (e) of the Business and Professions Code requires that every applicant for licensure who began graduate training on or after 9/1/85 must show evidence of having completed training in the detection and treatment of alcohol and other chemical substance dependency. Section 1382.3 of the California Code of Regulations further defines this requirement. This regulation requires that this training be completed in a single course, and the course must be a semester or quarter in length (or 15 contact hours). This regulation also lists the content requirements for this course.
  • 5. I understand that before I can acquire a license as a psychologist in California, I need to show evidence of having taken a course in spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection, and intervention. Is this true? What are the laws and regulations which address this requirement?
    Yes, this is true. Section 2914 (f) of the Business and Professions Code requires that all applicants who began graduate training on or after January 1, 1995, take complete coursework in spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection and intervention prior to being issued a Psychologist license. Pursuant to that section and section 1382.5 of the California Code of Regulations, an applicant who began graduate training between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 2003, must have, among other things, taken coursework that consists of not less than two (2) classroom hours, and that it be (a) taken in fulfillment of other educational requirements in the applicant's graduate and/or doctoral training, (b) taken in a separate course approved by the Board's recognized continuing education accrediting agency, or (c) taken in a separate course provided by a sponsor approved by the American Psychological Association. This coursework must be completed in a single course. An applicant who began graduate training on or after January 1, 2004, must complete a minimum of fifteen (15) contact hours of coursework in spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection and intervention strategies. This training must be completed in a single course. Coursework taken outside the regular course of study may fulfill this requirement at the Board's discretion.
  • 6. I understand that before I can acquire a license as a psychologist in California, I need to show evidence of having taken a course in aging and long-term care. Is this true?
    Yes this is true. Pursuant to section 2915.5 of the Business and Professions Code, every applicant for licensure who began graduate study on or after January 1, 2004, must show evidence of having completed a minimum of ten (10) contact hours of training in aging and long-term care.
  • 7. If I have taken the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) in the past in some other state or province, how do I have my scores reported to California?
    The California Board of Psychology does not accept EPPP score reports from any source other than the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). EPPP score reports must be sent directly to the Board from ASPPB. For more information about score transfers, please visit ASPPB's website at http://www.asppb.net/?page=epppfaqsbd&terms=eppp+and+score+and+reports
  • 8. I have a Certificate of Professional Qualification (CPQ) issued by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). What do I need to do to apply for a California license as a psychologist?
    Persons who hold a Certificate of Professional Qualification (CPQ) will find a streamlined process for applying for a California Psychologist license. Applicants who hold a CPQ must submit an application for licensure including the designated fees. Contact ASPPB to send an official credential certification directly to the Board. Once all information is collected by Board staff, the applicant will be scheduled to sit for the California Psychology Laws and Ethics Examination (CPLEE). The Examination for Professional Practice (EPPP) in Psychology and the California Psychology Supplemental Examination (CPSE) are waived. In addition to the application for license, fingerprints, and taking and passing the CPLEE, and submit documentation that he or she has taken the applicable courses described in questions 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 above.
  • 9. I hold a credential as a Health Service Provider from the National Register of Health Services Providers in Psychology. What do I need to do to apply for a California license as a psychologist?
    Persons who are credentialed as a Health Service Provider by the National Register of Health Services Providers in Psychology (NRHSPP) and have been licensed for a minimum of five years in another State, Canadian Province or U.S. territory can apply for California licensure. Applicants must submit an application for licensure, fingerprints, all applicable fees, license certification from the licensing State Board, and an official credential certification from NRHSPP. State License certification and NRHSPP certification must be sent directly to the Board by the respective agencies. Once all pertinent information is received, the applicant will be scheduled to sit for the California Psychology Laws and Ethics Examination. (CPLEE). The EPPP and the CPSE are waived. In addition to the application for license, the applicant must submit documentation that he or she has taken the applicable courses described in questions 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 above. For more information about the NRHSPP please visit http://www.nationalregister.org/
  • 10. I am certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). What do I need to do to apply for a California license as a psychologist?
    Persons who are certified by the ABPP and have been licensed for a minimum of five years in another State, Canadian Province or U.S. territory can apply for California licensure. Applicants must submit an application for licensure, fingerprints, all applicable fees, official license certification from the licensing State Board, and an official certification from ABPP. State License certification and ABPP certification must be sent directly to the Board by the respective agencies. Once all pertinent information is received, the applicant will be scheduled to sit for the California Psychology Laws and Ethics Examination. (CPLEE). The EPPP and the CPSE are waived. In addition to the application for license, the applicant must submit documentation that he or she has taken the applicable courses described in questions 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 above.
  • 11. I have been licensed in another State or Canadian Province or U.S. Territory for more than five years. What do I need to do to apply for a California license as a psychologist?
    Persons who qualify must submit an application for licensure, official doctoral degree transcript, evidence of 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience, State license certification and designated fees. Once all information is collected by Board staff, the applicant will be scheduled to sit for the California Psychology Laws and Ethics Examination (CPLEE). The EPPP and the CPSE are waived. In addition to the application for license, applicant must complete the fingerprint process and submit documentation that he or she has taken the applicable courses described in questions 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 above.
  • 12. What is the California Psychology Laws and Ethics Examination (CPLEE)?
    The CPLEE consists of 40 scored questions, all multiple choice, in laws and ethics. Candidates have one hour to complete the examination. Exam questions are taken from the current versions of the California Board of Psychology Laws and Regulations and the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. For more information about the CPLEE, please review the CPLEE Candidate Information Bulletin on the Board's website at http://www.psychboard.ca.gov/exams/cplee.pdf
  • 13. I have doctoral degree from another country. Are foreign degrees acceptable to the Board?
    Yes, they may be. An applicant for licensure trained in an educational institution outside the United States or Canada shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Board that he or she possesses a doctoral degree in psychology that is equivalent to a degree earned from a regionally accredited university in the United States or Canada. These applicants shall provide the Board with a comprehensive evaluation of the degree performed by a foreign credential evaluation service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). For more information about NACES please visit www.naces.org
  • 14. Can I submit an application through the DCA BreEZe Online Services?
    Applicants, Licensees and Registrants have the option to apply for either a license or renewal a license, or change their address or request duplicate licenses or pocket registrations or request license certification using the DCA BreEZe Online Services.
Other FAQs
  • 15. If a psychologist is licensed in another state or province, can they practice in California prior to obtaining a CA license?
    Section 2946 of the CA Business & Professions Code allows a psychologist licensed in another state or province to practice in CA for up to 180 days after submitting their application to become licensed in CA or from the date they took up residency in CA, whichever came first. Additionally, section 2912 of the Business & Professions Code allows a person licensed as a psychologist in another state or province to provide psychological services in CA without obtaining a license for no more than 30 calendar days per year.
  • 16. Are there any requirements for what needs to be included on the business card of a psychological assistant?
    Keep in mind that psychological assistants are not independent practitioners and are prohibited from having an independent practice. Therefore, psychological assistants must not misrepresent or mislead the public regarding their unlicensed status and lawful scope of practice. If you have a business card, you must clearly indicate your title as "Psychological Assistant." The Board of Psychology would also strongly recommend that you include your psychological assistant registration number and the name and license number of the person to whom you are registered. This should dispel the possible perception that you have an independent practice.
  • 17. Does the public have access to a licensed psychologist's personal information such as a home address?
    The Board of Psychology is required to provide an address of record for all licensed psychologists. If the psychologist has chosen to use his or her home address as their address of record, this is the address that will be given to anyone who calls to verify their license. Therefore, if you do not want your home address disclosed, you may obtain and use an alternate address such as a business address or a post office box as your address of record.
  • 18. I have heard that psychologists are required by law to post in their offices some sort of sign or notice about consumer complaints. Is this true?
    Yes, this is true. Section 2936 of the Business & Professions Code requires such a notice. The law states, "To facilitate consumers in receiving appropriate psychological services, all licensees and registrants shall be required to post, in a conspicuous location in their principal psychological business office, a notice which reads as follows:
    NOTICE: The Department of Consumer Affairs receives questions and complaints regarding the practice of psychology. If you have any questions or complaints, you may contact this department by calling 800-633-2322 or (916) 574-7720, or by writing to the following address: Board of Psychology, 1625 North Market Street, Suite N-215, Sacramento, CA 95834
  • 19. How many hours of continuing education do I need to accrue in order to renew my license?
    Section 2915 of the Business and Professions Code requires that in order to renew a psychology license, the licensee must have accrued at least 36 hours of qualifying continuing education within the two year period immediately preceding the expiration date of the license. If this is the psychologist's first renewal and his or her initial license was in effect for less then 24 months, the continuing education requirements are pro-rated at 1.5 hours per month or partial month. For example, if a license was issued February 15, 1998 and is due to expire on May 31, 1999, the license will be in effect for 16 months or partial months for a total of 24 hours of continuing education required for renewal.
  • 20. Do I have to take any specific courses to meet the board's continuing education requirements?
    Any person applying for renewal who began graduate study prior to January 1, 2004, is required to take a continuing education course in spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection, and intervention strategies during his or her first renewal period after January 1, 2004 and shall provide written evidence to the board of completion of a course in spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection, intervention strategies. Equivalent teaching or practice experience may be submitted and accepted by the board of this requirement.
  • 21. What topics must a laws and ethics continuing education course cover?
    As stated in section 1397.61(b) of the California Code of Regulations, this course shall cover laws and regulations related to the practice of psychology; recent changes/updates in ethics codes and practice; current accepted standards of practice; and application of ethical principles in the independent practice of psychology.
  • 22. Does the Board of Psychology handle complaints involving psychologists who perform child custody evaluations?
    The Board of Psychology is required to review and to make a determination on every consumer complaint received regardless of the subject matter of the complaint. Child custody cases in the Family Court can be very contentious and volatile. Frequently, at least one of the parties involved in such cases is displeased about the outcome of the court's decision regarding custody of children.
    Rule of Court 1257 requires each county in California to establish a grievance process to resolve complaints from involved parties in Family Court cases. Compliance with this rule is not uniform among the courts. This being the case, the dissatisfied parent in a Family Court case often resorts to filing a complaint with the Board of Psychology against the evaluating psychologist. The board has each such complaint reviewed by at least one licensed psychologist who has expertise in Family Court issues.
    Keep in mind that the Board of Psychology has no authority to change the findings and decision of a Family Court judge regarding custody of children. What the board can do is to have each complaint against a psychologist who has provided an evaluation in a child custody case reviewed by an expert to determine whether the evaluation was conducted pursuant to the Code of Conduct and Ethical Principles and to the Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Divorce Proceedings established by the American Psychological Association (APA). These guidelines establish the standard of care for the practice of psychology. Pursuant to section 2936 of the Business and Professions Code, the board must apply APA standards as the accepted standard of care in all enforcement policies and disciplinary case evaluations. Therefore, if a child custody evaluation is determined to have been conducted within this accepted standard of care, the Board of Psychology cannot take administrative action against the psychologist performing the evaluation. If it is determined that an evaluation was performed outside of this standard of care, then the board has the authority to continue with appropriate administrative action. Such action may include an intense educational review with the evaluating psychologist or formal administrative discipline against the psychologist's license depending on how extreme the departure from the standard of care was and on the amount of consumer harm that may have occurred as a result of the departure.
    The board's action will have no effect on the findings and decision of the Family Court judge regarding the custody of the children involved in the case.
  • 23. Q & A on Revocation: If my license is on probation with the Board of Psychology and the disciplinary order which created that probation reads "Revocation Stayed," does that mean I have to report that my license was revoked?
    No. "Revocation Stayed" means that the revocation did not go into effect, but you were placed on probation instead. To insure that there is no miscommunication with the entity inquiring about your license status, we suggest that you answer any questions by providing a copy of the disciplinary order. You should also keep this bulletin to show how the Board of Psychology advises you to report the discipline.