Virginia Psychologist Licensing

If you’re planning to practice psychology in the state of Virginia, you’ll need to go through the state’s licensing process.

Getting your psychology license can be confusing and full of detailed recordkeeping. Here’s a helpful resource to give you an overview of what’s required to obtain your Virginia psychology license.

What are Virginia’s Educational Requirements?

Candidates who are planning to be clinical psychologists will need to get a doctoral degree from a college accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). If they’re interested in a non-APA program, they may request special permission from the Virginia Board of Psychology. The Board reviews these requests on a case-by-case basis.

Students are required to take three semester hours in each of the listed psychology subjects:

  • Biological bases of behavior
  • Cognitive-affective bases of behavior
  • Data analysis techniques
  • Professional and ethical standards
  • Psychological measurement
  • Research methodology
  • Social bases of behavior

Psychology students will also need three semester hours for these clinical topics:

  • Effective intervention and intervention evaluation
  • Human development
  • Individual behavioral differences
  • Intellectual assessment
  • Personality assessment
  • Psychopathology or dysfunctional behavior

Besides this coursework, while they’re working toward their graduate degree, the student will also need to take nine semester hours of a practicum. This will give them a chance to apply the class topics in a real-world setting. Their practicum must cover: psychotherapy, assessment and diagnosis, consultation and supervision.

School psychologists may earn a master’s degree, but some choose to still get a doctorate. Their program must be accredited by the APA, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education/Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Preparation (NCATE), or the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

If the student is enrolling in a master’s program, they will rely on either the NCATE or NASP certification since the APA only gives accreditation for doctoral programs in psychology.

During their education, they are required to learn the following topics:

  • Educational foundations
  • Interventions and problem-solving
  • Professional school psychology
  • Psychological foundations
  • Research methodology and statistics

Students will also complete a practicum that covers assessment for intervention (direct and indirect) and an orientation to the educational process.

What are Virginia’s Requirements for Supervised Internship Hours?

Prospective clinical and school psychologists will need to earn 1,500 hours of supervised work experience before they can apply for their license.

Before they graduate from university, they will need to complete an internship. Their work experience must be accredited by the APA, the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC), or the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards/National Register.

They are also required to complete a residency. This is where most candidates will start accruing hours for their 1,500 total. The Virginia Board allows one to three years for them to earn their work hours.

For their residency, prospective psychologists can choose to either receive two hours of individual supervision per week or one hour of one-on-one supervision and two hours of small group work.

The residency and hour accrual normally starts after the student receives their doctoral degree, but if their internship meets the guidelines outlined in 18VAC125-20-54 D of the Virginia state code, they may get Board permission to add those hours to their total.

Part of the 18VAC125-20-54 D code stipulates that a student needs to receive one hour of supervision per eight hours of client-based work.

Which Standardized Psychology Tests are Mandatory in Virginia?

Virginia requires its prospective psychologists to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Both clinical and school psychologists will need to pass the EPPP to be granted a license. Candidates must first receive their graduate degree before getting permission from the Virginia Board to take it.

They can schedule the EPPP at a Virginia testing site here. The state offers it throughout the year and charges $600 for the exam and a $79.56 registration fee

The EPPP is a national standardized psychology test that was created by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). It’s a computer-based, multiple-choice exam comprised of 225 questions. Test takers are given four hours to complete the EPPP.

A passing score is 500 points, or correctly answering about 70% of the test questions.

For more information about the EPPP and what to expect while taking it, check out the ASPPB website.

How Do I Apply For My License in Virginia?

Prospective psychologists don’t have to wait until they’ve completed all of their requirements before applying for their license to practice in the state of Virginia. They will send in the first part of their application materials after they’ve received their graduate degree.

Initially they are asked to send their educational records and transcripts, documentation of their internship experience, and proof they have a postgraduate supervised work experience set up. This application costs $200 and another $50 to register your supervised postgraduate work.

The Virginia Board of Psychology has all of their application forms on this page.

For school psychologists, they may receive a limited license that allows them to work in a public school system. This license costs $85. While they may work in a school setting, with a limited license, school psychologists aren’t allowed to found their own practice.

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

If you’ve already received a psychology license in another state, you’ll need to give license verification to the Virginia Board. A part of this will include the state checking the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Psychologists who have possessed their license for 10 or more years will only need to send transcripts that prove their credentials.

Licensed psychologists with fewer than 10 years of licensed work will need to provide documentation that proves they were licensed under similar requirements mandated in Virginia. They may send transcripts, their EPPP score, and information about their two most recent years of post-license work.

What are Virginia’s Board and Professional Organizations?

The agency that oversees psychology license requirements is the Virginia Board of Psychology. The most prominent professional organization for psychologists is the Virginia Psychological Association.