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 Psychologists’ Credentials

A license issued by the state is required to practice psychology.  In Louisiana, the State Board of Examiners of Psychology (LSBEP) located in Baton Rouge is charged with the administration of the psychology licensing law.  LSBEP recognizes various applied specialties within professional psychology.  Statutory requirements for licensure, rules and procedures, application forms, and other information may be obtained from LSBEP by calling 225-763-3935 or by visiting its website, www.LSBEP.org. 

The basic educational requirement for licensure is a doctoral degree in psychology.  The doctoral degree may be earned in a graduate school or in a school of professional psychology.  Typically, graduate schools award the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and professional schools award the degree of Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.).  In either case, the individual has spent 4-6 years after the bachelor’s degree studying psychology and conducting scientific research. 

In addition, professional psychologists complete two (2) years of supervised practice to be eligible for licensure.  The first year is a full-time internship completed in conjunction with the doctoral degree.  During the internship, the psychologist receives supervised experience and training in diagnosing and treating patients with various disorders.  A second, post-doctoral year of supervised experience is also required.  The candidate must also pass the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology www.ASPPB.org and an oral exam administered by the LSBEP.  Hence, psychologists have 6-9 years of education and training after the bachelor’s degree before they are granted a license to practice independently.  It is apparent that the standards for becoming a licensed psychologist are stringent.

The American Psychological Associate accredits educational programs in professional psychology, internships, and postdoctoral residency programs.  A current listing of accredited programs and accreditation standards may be found at www.apa.org/ed/accreditation. 

Specialty certification in psychology is recognized by the American Board of Professional Psychology www.ABPP.org, established in 1947.  Diplomas are currently awarded in 13 specialty areas.  ABPP certification indicates advanced competence in a specific area of professional psychology.

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