[2024] How To Become a Psychologist in Arizona – Education & License Requirements

Last Updated: June 29, 2024

In Arizona, becoming a psychologist requires time and commitment. Candidates also need to fulfill a number of other requirements, including a lengthy education.

Numerous psychology degree programs that satisfy state licensure requirements are offered in Arizona. Discover the key steps in this article to become a licensed psychologist in Arizona.

Educational Requirements

Graduate with psychology bachelor’s and master’s degrees

A bachelor’s degree in psychology or a closely related field is required to work as a psychologist in Arizona. Depending on the options offered at the school attended, the program may result in either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology degree. Typically, four years of full-time study and 120 semester credits are needed to earn an undergraduate degree.

Psychology licensure candidates typically pursue a master’s degree after receiving their bachelor’s, either in psychology or a related field. While some universities have a Master of Science (MS) option for psychology, others only offer a Master of Arts (MA) program.

For program admission, people with a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than psychology might need to take additional prerequisites. It typically takes two to three years to complete 30 credits of coursework for a master’s degree. A master’s degree can be earned independently or as a component of the doctoral thesis.

Obtain a psychology PhD or PsyD

A doctoral degree in clinical, counseling, school, or educational psychology – or another closely related field as determined by the Arizona Board of Psychologists – from a regionally accredited institution is required for licensure in the state of Arizona.

A doctor of philosophy (PhD) or a doctor of psychology (PsyD) degree may be offered by schools. Doctoral programs must be run by psychologists and taught by psychologists with expertise in the health services in order to meet Arizona state requirements.

It will be categorized by the educational institution as psychological in nature and with the stated purpose of training psychologists.

It must also have established requirements for program entry and completion, as well as organized and sequential psychology coursework.

The biological, cognitive-affective, and social bases of behavior, as well as the ethics, research, individuality, assessment, and treatment areas, must all be covered in a minimum of three semester or five quarter hours for doctoral programs.

Overall, programs must lead to a doctoral degree after no less than three years of full-time study, with at least two of those years spent at the institution awarding the degree.

Candidates for licensure in Arizona are required to complete a dissertation in addition to a residency at the doctoral-granting institution. The residency must involve at least 300 hours of face-to-face time with the patient over the course of a year and call for 18 semester, 30 quarter, or other hours.

Unlike a PsyD, which is a doctor of psychology, a PhD is a doctor of philosophy.

While PsyD students typically receive training that places a greater emphasis on clinical work than PhD students, PhD students typically receive training that follows the scientist-practitioner model, which places a greater emphasis on research than PsyD students. A PsyD can be obtained in 4-6 years, while a PhD can be obtained in 5-7 years, taking into account the internship year.

License Requirements and Process

Before receiving a psychology license, candidates must complete 3,000 hours of experience, including 1,500 hours of internship and 1,500 hours of any combination of supervised preinternship, additional internship, and postdoctoral work.

The EPPP exam must be passed, and an application must be submitted. The Board might also mandate that candidates pass a state test.

Obtain supervised professional experience (SPE) for two years in your field of study

In order to practice psychology in the state of Arizona, candidates must have 3,000 hours of work experience under the guidance of a licensed professional.

At least 1,500 of these hours must be obtained during a doctoral program internship. A mixture of supervised pre-internship experience, extra internship, or supervised postdoctoral experience can be used to fulfill the remaining 1,500 hours.

A supervised pre-internship must be preceded by suitable educational coursework that gets the student ready for the experience in order for it to count toward the required number of hours.

You may apply for several part-time pre-internships. Each training site will need to have a training plan that details the training’s activities, objectives, and goals. Ethics and the criteria used to evaluate students must be incorporated into all activities.

Twenty hours of the experience must be spent performing service-related tasks, with 25 of those hours involving direct patient contact and two hours devoted to on-site supervision.

A licensed or certified psychologist should provide 75% of the supervision, 50% of which should be conducted in person on an individual basis. Upon completion of the pre-internship, the Board must receive total hour documentation and training plans. Psychologists in training have 72 months to complete pre-internship training.

The American Psychological Association Committee on Accreditation must approve internships before they can be offered, or they must belong to the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers.

Additional Internships

Additional internships that meet the requirements established by the Board may also be approved. A licensed staff psychologist who oversees the quality of the training should be present, as should two or more psychologists, at least one of whom should be qualified to serve in a supervisory capacity.

A psychologist should provide supervision in at least half the cases. Direct client contact must account for at least 25% of work time. A minimum of two additional hours per week on other activities are also necessary, in addition to a minimum of one hour of weekly individual in-person supervision covering the trainee’s services.

Representatives of the program must describe the objectives, goals, and standards that are expected of the trainee. All internships must be finished within 24 months.

After educational institutions confirm in writing that a candidate has finished his or her degree and completed the initial 1,500 hours of internship experience, up to 1,500 hours of postdoctoral professional experience may be applied to license hour requirements.

Pre-internship supervision, additional internships, and post-doctoral work experience are all limited to 40 hours per week. A demonstration of professional practice as a psychologist may occasionally be taken into consideration as a replacement for the necessary hours, as determined by the Board.

Send your application and pass the licensing test for psychologists in Arizona

An Application for Licensure and $350 must be submitted to the Board by those wishing to become licensed psychologists in the state of Arizona. The Arizona Statement of Citizenship and Alien Status, a Mandatory Confidential Information form (included in the application), verification forms for additional certificates and licenses, and all other required supporting documentation are requirements for the Board to approve an application. Additionally, a recent 60-day-old original photo of the applicant must be provided.

Without official transcripts and proof that the applicant met the residency requirements, applications will remain incomplete. In order to prove that their supervised pre-internship experience, internship training programs, and supervised postdoctoral experience met the requirements established by the state of Arizona, applicants must obtain written confirmation from school officials and supervisors.

The computer-based Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) test is administered in Arizona by Pearson VUE Testing Centers. Those taking computer-based exams must receive a scaled score of 500 to pass, while those taking written exams must get 75% of the questions right.

The final requirement is to obtain official confirmation of a passing national exam score. Before approval and initial licensure are granted, applications must be examined for completeness and substance. This needs to happen within a year. However, it might take a lot longer if there are missing documents or if more details are required.

Your psychology license will be sent to you after the Board has reviewed and approved all components of your application.

Applying without completing post-doctoral 1500 hours of supervised professional experience

The Board may authorize candidates to take the national exam even if they have not yet completed their second 1,500 hours of supervised professional experience but have met Arizona’s educational requirements and have completed initial 1,500 hours supervised internship experience.

An application and documents attesting to the initial 1,500 hours of training completion must be turned in. The application will be closed if permission is granted. Applications must be formally reopened for processing within 36 months of their closure.

To obtain initial licenses through this route, you will still need to pass the EPPP exam and complete more supervised hours.

Related Reading: How to Become a School Psychologist in Arizona

Top Psychology Careers in Arizona

It can be confusing for psychology majors to choose from the various psychology careers available. Because they work with very specific populations, each job opportunity in the psychology field offers something special in terms of reward.

Some of the best careers in psychology are also lucrative. Here are few lucrative careers in in the field of psychology in Arizona.

Psychologists Working at Center for Outpatient Care

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists who work in outpatient care facilities earn an average salary of $133,660, making them some of the highest-paid psychologists. When working with patients in an outpatient setting, psychologists may conduct depression screenings, complete psychiatric evaluations and diagnostic tests, develop medication management plans, and provide family counseling.

Occupational and Industrial Psychologists

Industrial-organizational psychologists use their knowledge of psychology and human behavior from their academic and professional backgrounds to analyze workplace productivity and efficiency.

Industrial-organizational psychologists are employed by corporations and businesses to conduct assessments and provide recommendations on best practices for productivity, employee morale, and work styles. Industrial-organizational psychologists earn an average yearly salary of $96,270 and typically require a master’s degree rather than a doctorate.

Forensic Psychologists

In the criminal justice and legal systems, forensic psychologists collaborate with judges, attorneys, crime victims, witnesses, and other legal experts to explain and analyze the psychological aspects of particular cases. They can assist with family, civil, and criminal casework as well as provide expert witness testimony in court. They must hold a psychology doctorate. The typical annual salary for forensic psychologists is about $71,382.

Military Psychologists

In collaboration with other medical professionals, a military psychologist treats service members and their families psychologically and psychiatrically. Military psychologists can collaborate with patient-service teams in military hospitals on bases, in battle, or in any other setting that is related to the military.

Military psychologists typically serve in the military themselves. Due to their academic success, they are ranked as officers. The military provides incentives through its Health Professions Scholarship Program, which pays tuition, books, and fees for the final two years of a doctoral program, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

Health Psychologists

The field of health psychology deals with the behavioral, mental, emotional, and social factors that are related to physical illness. These factors may cause a physical illness or be exacerbated by a physical illness. In this regard, health psychology is concerned less with the actual illness itself, and more with the person and the factors as it pertains to an existing or potential ailment.

For example, a health psychologist might focus on developing a pain management program for a cancer patient in order to promote an improved emotional state.

Services might also be carried out in the form of providing stress-reduction techniques to patients and their families so they can more effectively cope with the stressors of a terminal illness. In fact, many health psychology interventions focus on reducing stress for patients while a host of other interventions take a preventative focus.

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