Arizona Psychologist Licensing Guide

The Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners (https://psychboard.az.gov) is responsible for the licensing of psychologists in Arizona. To be eligible for licensure, applicants are required to complete a doctoral degree, pass both state and national examinations, and fulfill a period of supervised professional experience. This guide provides comprehensive details on how to obtain and sustain your licensure in the Grand Canyon State.

Education Requirements

The initial step towards acquiring your psychology license in Arizona involves earning a doctoral degree in psychology. Typically, this educational path begins with an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related discipline, such as neuroscience or social work.

After obtaining your undergraduate degree, the next phase is to secure a master’s in psychology. Armed with these credentials, you are well-positioned to apply to an APA-accredited program to pursue a PhD or PsyD, completing the educational requirements for licensure.

In Arizona, it is also possible to work as a licensed psychology associate with just a master’s degree if you choose to take a break before pursuing your doctorate. This designation can be maintained for up to six years while you complete your doctoral studies.

Arizona also mandates specific coursework as part of the licensing process, which may not be covered in your general education. These courses are required to address particular topics, and each subject has designated contact hours. For Arizona, you must complete:

  • Professional Ethics, 3 contact hours
  • Cultural Diversity, 3 contact hours
  • Domestic Violence or Child Abuse, 3 contact hours

If these subjects are not included in your program, you may need to take additional courses to meet these requirements, which can often be completed online. This section of your educational journey is crucial for meeting the full licensing requirements in Arizona.

Supervised Professional Experience (SPE) Requirement

In Arizona, an essential requirement for licensure as a psychologist involves accumulating a specified number of supervised internship hours. Candidates must complete 1,500 hours of supervised professional experience. These hours can be divided across predoctoral and postdoctoral experiences, with no more than 1,000 hours earned during the predoctoral phase.

Postdoctoral hours can begin to be accrued once candidates have proof of completing their doctoral coursework, even before their graduation ceremony. It is crucial that these hours are completed at a site that meets specific accreditation standards.

For your hours to qualify in Arizona, the internship site should be accredited by the American Psychological Association or be part of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers. Sites not recognized by these bodies may still be acceptable if they meet the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners’ standards and are approved in advance.

If you have previously accrued hours in another state or U.S. territory, they may be credited towards your required total in Arizona if supervised by a licensed psychologist. Additionally, if your internship hours were completed internationally, they might also count toward the requirement, provided you can demonstrate that their quality is equivalent to those completed in Arizona.

Required Examinations

In Arizona, the licensing requirements include passing the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the Arizona Jurisprudence Exam.

The EPPP is a national standardized exam for psychology, and candidates in Arizona are eligible to sit for the test after completing their doctoral degree and accruing at least 1,500 hours of their supervised professional experience. This exam, which is managed by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB), has a fee of $600.

If the EPPP was taken outside of Arizona, candidates must ensure that their scores are sent to the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners.

Upon completing the required 1,500 hours of supervised experience, candidates must then pass the Arizona Jurisprudence Exam, which focuses on state-specific laws and ethical standards in psychology. This exam has a fee of $150 and is conducted at various authorized testing centers throughout the year.

If a candidate fails the Arizona Jurisprudence Exam, they must wait a minimum of three months before they can reattempt it. There is a one-year window from the date of the first exam attempt within which the exam must be passed, urging candidates to manage their time effectively for subsequent attempts.

Background Check

In Arizona, aspiring psychologists are required to undergo a fingerprinting process as part of their background check. To facilitate this, candidates must locate an approved fingerprinting service provider and bring the necessary identification documents to complete the process. The fingerprints collected are used by the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to perform a criminal history record check.

Having a criminal conviction does not automatically preclude individuals from obtaining a license. However, certain offenses are considered disqualifying. These include convictions that necessitate registration as a sex offender, any sexual offenses involving minors, and any convictions for assault or battery against a patient under the candidate’s care. Such convictions will typically prevent a person from being licensed as a psychologist in Arizona.

Arizona’s Psychologist License Application Process

  1. Apply for the EPPP (Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology):
    1. Application Fee: $50.
    2. Fill out the online application or mail in a hard copy application to the Board of Psychology.
    3. Submit official transcripts for your qualifying degree to the Board of Psychology.
    4. Complete and submit a Supervision Agreement and Verification of Experience form, documenting 1500 hours of SPE earned pre-/post-doctorally. (Supervision Agreement and Verification of Experience Forms)
    5. Once approved, schedule and take the EPPP exam. If you do not pass, you may retake the examination within a year​.
  2. Apply for the Arizona Jurisprudence Exam:
    • Application Fee: $150.
    • Fill out the Jurisprudence Exam request form and mail it to the Board with the fee.
    • Complete and submit another Supervision Agreement and Verification of Experience form, documenting a total of 1,500 hours of SPE.
    • Once approved, schedule and take the Jurisprudence Exam. If you do not pass, you may retake the exam after paying the $150 fee again.
  3. Request for Initial Licensure:
    • Application Fee: $300.
    • After passing the Jurisprudence Exam, you’ll receive a Request for Initial Licensure form.
    • Complete the online application form along with the fee payment to the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners. As of January 17th, 2023, ABPE no longer accept paper applications.
    • Once approved, the Board will issue your license and notify you with your license number.

Continuing Education

Once licensed, psychologists in Arizona are required to meet continuing education requirements to maintain and renew their license.

The Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners mandates that licensees complete 40 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years. This requirement is intended to ensure that psychologists stay updated with the latest advancements and maintain competence in their field.

The continuing education activities include a variety of formats such as seminars, workshops, and other structured educational experiences, all of which must be provided by approved CE providers. Of the 40 hours required:

  • At least 4 hours must be in the area of professional ethics or Arizona jurisprudence.
  • A minimum of 4 hours must focus on cultural competency/diversity issues.

Continuing Education (CE) typically refers to formal learning activities such as courses or seminars that are directly related to the practice of psychology and are aimed at enhancing the practitioner’s knowledge and skills.

Arizona has retained this traditional CE model rather than adopting a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) model like some states, such as California, which includes a broader range of learning and professional activities. Arizona’s approach emphasizes structured learning that directly contributes to professional practice, ensuring that psychologists remain effective in their clinical roles.

License Renewal

In Arizona, psychologists are required to renew their licenses every two years. Here is an overview of the license renewal process for psychologists in Arizona:

  1. Continuing Education Requirements: Arizona psychologists must complete 40 hours of continuing education (CE) during each two-year renewal period. This must include:
    • At least 4 hours in professional ethics or Arizona jurisprudence.
    • At least 4 hours focused on cultural competency or diversity issues.
  2. Renewal Application: Psychologists can renew their licenses online through the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners’ website. There is also an option to submit a paper renewal form by mail. It is recommended to initiate the renewal process well before the license expiration date to ensure timely processing.
  3. Renewal Fees:
    • The standard renewal fee for an active psychologist license is $500.
    • For those choosing to place their license in an inactive status, the renewal fee is reduced.
  4. Timely Renewal: It is crucial to renew the license on time to avoid it lapsing into an expired status. Practicing with an expired license is illegal and can result in disciplinary actions, including fines and other penalties.
  5. Delinquency Fees: If the license is renewed after the expiration date, a late fee is assessed in addition to the renewal fee. The specific amounts for these fees can vary, so it is important to check with the Board for the most current information.

By ensuring compliance with these requirements, psychologists in Arizona can maintain their licensure and continue practicing without interruption.

Will My Out-of-State Psychology License Carry Over to Arizona?

Arizona recognizes psychologist licenses from other states through a process known as licensure by endorsement. This process is available to psychologists who are already licensed in another jurisdiction and meet specific criteria set by the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners. To qualify for licensure by endorsement in Arizona, applicants generally need to demonstrate that:

  1. Licensure Requirements: Their current licensure standards were substantially equivalent to Arizona’s requirements at the time of their initial licensure.
  2. Education and Experience: They hold a doctoral degree in psychology from a program that meets Arizona’s standards and have completed the required amount of supervised professional experience.
  3. Examinations: They have passed the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and, if applicable, any state-specific jurisprudence exams required by their current licensing state.
  4. Good Standing: They are in good standing in all jurisdictions where they are or have been licensed, with no disciplinary actions that would disqualify them from practicing in Arizona.

What are Arizona’s Board and Professional Organizations?

In Arizona, the primary regulatory body overseeing practicing psychologists is the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners.

1740 West Adams Street, Suite 3405, Phoenix, AZ 85007 | Email: [email protected] | Phone: (602) 542-8162

The main professional organization for psychologists in Arizona is the Arizona Psychological Association (AzPA). This association provides various professional development opportunities, including training programs, continuing education courses, annual conferences, and networking events for psychologists across the state.

Additionally, the Southern Arizona Psychological Association (SAPA) is another significant organization. It focuses on the interests of psychologists in the southern regions of Arizona, offering resources, local networking opportunities, and community involvement projects tailored to psychologists in areas like Tucson and surrounding communities.