Becoming a Psychologist in Missouri – Education & Licensure Requirements [2024 Guide]

Last Updated: June 30, 2024

If you are considering a career in psychology in Missouri, you might be curious about the steps required to become a licensed psychologist in the state.

To become a licensed psychologist in Missouri, you must fulfill specific educational and supervised experience requirements, pass a licensure exam, and complete continuing education and background checks.

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the steps to becoming a licensed psychologist in Missouri, including the educational prerequisites, licensure process, and job outlook for psychologists in the state.

Becoming a Psychologist in Missouri

What are the Requirements to Become a Licensed Psychologist in Missouri?

To become a licensed psychologist in Missouri, you must follow these steps:

  • Obtain a bachelor’s Degree
  • Obtain a master’s degree (Optional)
  • Obtain a doctoral degree in psychology
  • Submit your application for a Provisional License
  • Complete the required hours of supervised work experience
  • Pass the Missouri psychology licensing exams

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

To become a licensed psychologist in Missouri, the first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree, which usually takes around four years to complete. While a psychology degree is preferred, you can also choose related fields like sociology or social work, which offer courses relevant to understanding human behavior and social dynamics.

During a bachelor’s degree program, you can expect to take foundational courses in psychology that cover research methods, statistics, developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, and social psychology. These courses provide you with a strong grasp of essential psychological concepts and develop critical thinking skills, which are crucial in the field of psychology. You will also learn how to analyze research data, design experiments, and interpret findings.

Additionally, many bachelor’s degree programs provide opportunities for practical experience through internships or research projects. This allows you to apply your knowledge in real-world situations, interact with professionals and clients, and develop crucial skills like communication, empathy, and problem-solving. Networking with professionals in the field may also provide potential job opportunities after graduation.

Obtain a Master’s Degree (Optional)

Although not required for licensure in Missouri, earning a master’s degree in psychology or a related field may significantly enhance your professional development. These programs typically span over two years and offer advanced coursework in a specialized area of psychology, with common subjects including cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychopathology, advanced research methods, and theories of personality.

Supervised clinical experience is also a mandatory component of master’s degree programs. This practical training provides you with hands-on experience in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, schools, or community mental health centers, under the guidance of licensed psychologists. These experiences enable you to develop crucial skills in counseling, therapy, and assessments.

Clinical experience also exposes you to diverse populations, builds professional networks, and reinforces knowledge of ethical and legal guidelines governing the psychology profession. Consequently, you will better equipped to enter the psychology field with confidence, skills, and knowledge to succeed.

Obtain a Doctoral Degree in Psychology

A doctoral degree in psychology is a necessary requirement to become a licensed psychologist in Missouri. Doctoral programs in psychology usually take five to seven years to complete and encompass both coursework and supervised clinical experience.

Admission to doctoral programs in psychology is highly competitive. During the program, you will study advanced coursework in subjects such as cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and psychopathology. You will also gain practical experience through supervised clinical work in different settings such as hospitals, clinics, or private practices.

For a doctoral program to be recognized for licensure in Missouri, it must be accredited by either the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS).

Submit your Application for a Provisional License to the State Committee of Psychologists (SCOP)

In Missouri, you must submit an application for provisional licensure in order to complete your supervised experience hours. The application process involves submitting following:

  • Signed and notarized application
  • Application fee
  • One passport-style photo
  • Supervision Agreement
  • Post-Degree Supervision Plan
  • Social Security Number Disclosure Notice
  • Three mental health professional references
  • Proof of submission of fingerprints for a background check
  • Attestation of completing two hours of training in suicide assessment, referral, treatment, and management.

Additionally, the State Committee of Psychologists (SCOP) requires official final transcripts from the universities where the graduate degrees were earned.

Once the provisional license is granted, you can begin their supervised experience. However, the provisional license expires after one year and cannot be renewed.

Complete the Required Hours of Supervised Work Experience

In Missouri, a total of 3,500 hours of supervised professional experience is required for psychology licensure. Of these, at least 1,500 hours must be obtained during a doctoral internship lasting between one and two years.

The remaining 2,000 hours can be completed through pre-internship, internship, pre-doctoral post-internship, or postdoctoral training. Pre-internship and pre-doctoral pos-tinternship experience must occur after the initial year of a doctoral program, unless you have successfully completed a psychology (or closely related) master’s degree.

Up to 750 internship hours may also be applied to the 2,000-hour requirement, provided the initial 1,500 hours of the internship have already been met.

Postdoctoral supervised experience must be completed within 24 months, occur at a maximum of 50 hours per week, and relate to the applicant’s area of focus.

After completing postdoctoral experience, an Attestation of Post-Degree Professional Experience form must be sent to SCOP in order to complete the application for full licensure and become eligible to take the exam.

Pass the Missouri Psychology Licensing Exams

You will receive an authorization-to-test (ATT) document containing registration information for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) after your application and accompanying documents have been reviewed. The document will be sent via email and you should schedule the test within 60 days of receiving it, either by calling Prometric’s testing center or through the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) website. The testing agency will send scores to SCOP twice monthly, and a minimum score of 500 is required to pass. The ASPPB website provides an EPPP practice exam for candidates to prepare.

In addition to the EPPP, you must complete a written jurisprudence examination that covers ethical conduct and rules for psychology practice in the state. The written exam consists of 100 questions that must be completed within three hours, and a passing score of 70% is required. The written exam is given once a month. You must also complete an oral examination, which is given every few months.

Get Your Psychologist License

After your application is received and reviewed, you will need to wait for the SCOP to approve and grant you the license to practice psychology in Missouri.

What are the Requirements for Psychology Licensure Renewal and Continuing Education in Missouri?

Licensed psychologists in Missouri will receive renewal notices for their registration by mail and are required to renew before or on the given date.

To complete the renewal process, applicants must submit documentation of 40 hours of continuing education (CE) within the preceding two years, with a minimum of two hours of training in suicide assessment, referral, treatment, and management. Effective January 2024, three hours of ethics training will also be required.

Acceptable CE hours include educational seminars, graduate-level coursework, independent studies, and presentation of educational seminars or graduate-level courses.

What are the Requirements for Psychology Licensure by Endorsement in Missouri?

Individuals seeking licensure in Missouri through reciprocity or endorsement of EPPP scores must submit an application to SCOP, along with:

  • Social Security Number Disclosure Notice
  • Three mental health professional references
  • Verification of Licensure form
  • Proof of fingerprint submission for a background check
  • Final official transcript directly from their school

In addition, applicants who are not practicing in a state with ASPPB reciprocity or are not listed as a provider by the National Register of Health must submit a Post-Degree Supervision Plan and Attestation of Post Doctoral Supervised Experience.

While waiting for their license, applicants may receive a temporary license with certain restrictions. The same application is used to obtain a temporary license.

Out-of-state applicants must have no violations, suspensions, or revocations of their licenses and must pass a written jurisprudence examination on Missouri’s psychology regulations. Applicants may also be required to take an oral examination. Those seeking certification as a health service provider must be an American Board of Professional Psychology diplomate in an approved specialty area, or have completed satisfactory academic, training, or professional experience.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in Missouri?

Here is a general overview of the estimated timeline to become a licensed psychologist in Missouri:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree (4 years)
  • Earn a doctoral degree in psychology (5-7 years)
  • Complete 3,500 hours of supervised professional experience (1-3 years)
  • Pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the Missouri jurisprudence exam (timeline varies)
  • Apply for and receive provisional licensure to complete supervised experience (timeline varies)
  • Apply for and receive full licensure to practice as a psychologist in Missouri (timeline varies)

Overall, it can take around 10-14 years of education and supervised experience to become a licensed psychologist in Missouri.

Where Do Psychologists Work in Missouri?

Psychologists in Missouri work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Private practice: Many psychologists in Missouri work in private practice, providing therapy and counseling services to clients.
  • Mental health clinics: Psychologists can work in mental health clinics, providing counseling and therapy to individuals, couples, and families.
  • Hospitals: Psychologists work in hospitals, providing assessment and treatment for patients with mental health concerns.
  • Schools and universities: Psychologists work in schools and universities, providing counseling and support services to students and faculty.
  • Government agencies: Psychologists work in government agencies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Corrections, providing mental health services to clients.
  • Non-profit organizations: Psychologists work in non-profit organizations, such as community mental health centers, providing mental health services to underserved populations.
  • Research institutions: Psychologists work in research institutions, conducting research on various topics related to psychology.

Overall, psychologists in Missouri have a range of options when it comes to where they can work and the type of work they can do.

What is the Job Outlook for Psychologists in Missouri?

A favorable job outlook in the field of psychology in Missouri suggests an optimistic chance for job opportunities and career advancement. The projected growth rate of 2% between 2022 and 2032 indicates an average rise in demand for psychologists during this period.

The growth in psychology can be attributed to an increasing need for mental health services, particularly in schools and healthcare facilities, as well as the aging population requiring more mental health services. Overall, the positive job outlook for psychologists in Missouri indicates many potential opportunities for those pursuing a career in this field.

How Much Does a Psychologist Make in Missouri?

As of March 2024, the average annual salary for psychologists in Missouri is $109,733. However, this figure may vary based on factors such as the psychologist’s level of education, experience, specialty, and location within the state. Top earning licensed psychologists in Missouri earn well over $200,000 per year.

Psychologists in Missouri who work in the Kansas City area and St. Louis area tend to earn higher salaries than those in other parts of the state. Additionally, psychologists who work in specialized fields, such as industrial-organizational psychology, may also command higher salaries.

Can I Become a Psychologist in Missouri With a Master’s Degree in Psychology?

In Missouri, to become a licensed psychologist, you need to have a doctoral degree in psychology, such as a Ph.D. or Psy.D., from an accredited program. A master’s degree in psychology alone is not sufficient to become a licensed psychologist in the state.

However, with a master’s degree in psychology, you may qualify for other positions in the field of mental health, such as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). You can also become a school counselor in Missouri with a master’s degree in school counseling/psychology.

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