What are the qualifications to become licensed as a psychologist in the U.S.?
In the United States, the doctoral degree is generally recognized and accepted as the education credential for license eligibility to practice independently as a clinical psychologist. There are master’s degree programs, however, some of which are preparatory for doctoral training. Additionally, each state has requirements for licensure. A summary of those requirements can be found in the Handbook of Licensing and Certification Requirements for Psychologists in the U.S. and Canada, which is published by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). For more information, visit the ASPPB Web site.
Can I practice psychology in the United States if I earned my degree or professional credential in another country?

In the United States, the legal basis for licensure is determined by the state, province or territory to protect its citizens – in other words, to identify qualified practitioners. The education and training of psychologists around the world varies greatly both in terms of the nomenclature of the university qualification (e.g. Diploma, License, Master's, Candidate, and so on), and also in terms of length and content of university curricula contributing to professional qualification.

At present, there is no international recognition of equivalence of degrees or in professional psychology qualifications. It is important to research and contact the board of psychology in the state where you are interested in practicing for information on education, supervised experience and examinations.

In some states, attendance at an APA-accredited program is required. Most states have a section of the law that applies to individuals who receive their education and training outside the United States. State boards can also provide advice on transcript and credential evaluation.

I disagree with the state psychology board’s assessment of my qualifications. Can APA help?

Unfortunately, no. APA cannot intervene in decisions made by licensing boards.

How can I contact a state board of psychology?

The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) is an alliance of state, provincial and territorial agencies responsible for licensure and certification of psychologists in the United States and Canada. Its website includes contact information for state boards, information for students and licensure candidates, and a Handbook on Licensing and Credentialing. The ASPPB works to facilitate professional mobility for psychologists in the United States and abroad.