Becoming a Psychologist in Oregon – Education and Licensure Guide [2024 Updated]

Psychology is a fulfilling and essential field, as mental health professionals play a significant part in enhancing the well-being of individuals and communities throughout Oregon. As the need for mental health services continues to rise, the pursuit of a career in psychology in Oregon offers not only professional growth but also a significant contribution to community well-being.

In this guide, we will help you understand the steps you need to take to become a licensed psychologist in Oregon. We will highlight the required educational steps, licensure procedures, potential career paths, and considerations when selecting a psychology program.

Becoming a Psychologist in Oregon

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

Here is an outline for becoming a licensed psychologist in Oregon:

  • Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field
  • Pursuing a master’s degree (Optional)
  • Earning a doctoral degree in psychology
  • Gaining practical experience through internships and practicums
  • Submit initial application to the Oregon Board of Psychology
  • Complete one year of supervised experience
  • Pass the psychology licensing exams

Obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology or a Related Field

Your journey into the field of psychology begins with completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a similar area, such as sociology or human development. This undergraduate degree usually takes four years to finish, and it establishes the foundation for your future studies.

During this time, you will learn about essential principles, theories, and research methods in psychology, as well as develop critical thinking, communication, and analytical skills that will be valuable throughout your education and career.

Pursuing a Master’s Degree (Optional)

While not a requirement for becoming a licensed psychologist in Oregon, some individuals choose to earn a master’s degree in psychology or a related field. This program typically takes an additional 2-3 years to complete and offers the chance to specialize further within a specific area of psychology.

A master’s degree can also enhance your qualifications for certain job opportunities and prepare you for more advanced doctoral studies.

Earning a Doctoral Degree (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in Psychology

To practice as a licensed psychologist in Oregon, you must obtain a doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited program. Generally, doctoral programs take between 4-7 years to complete, depending on the program and your area of focus. There are two primary types of doctoral degrees in psychology: a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.).

A Ph.D. program usually focuses on research and prepares students for careers in academia, research institutions, or specialized clinical settings. Ph.D. programs often require students to complete a dissertation based on original research in their area of interest.

In contrast, a Psy.D. program emphasizes clinical practice and prepares students for careers as practicing psychologists in various settings, such as hospitals, schools, or private practice. Psy.D. programs may require students to complete a clinical internship or practicum instead of a research-based dissertation.

Gaining Practical Experience Through Internships and Practicums

Psychology doctoral programs must include a practicum lasting a minimum of two semesters, involving at least 300 hours, as well as a supervised internship comprising 1,500 hours or more.

A minimum of 25% of internship hours should be dedicated to direct client interactions. For every 40-hour segment, you are required to participate in two hours of in-person supervision related to direct psychological services, as well as two additional hours of supplementary activities, which can include joint therapy sessions with staff, seminars, or case discussions.

Internships and practicums provide invaluable opportunities to develop your clinical skills, build professional relationships, and deepen your understanding of the practical aspects of psychology.

Submit Initial Application to the Oregon Board of Psychology

Several documents, references, and a background check (including fingerprinting) may be submitted to the Board before the actual application. You can start providing these materials up to six months before graduation, but not earlier.

For the application to be deemed complete, the Oregon Board of Psychology needs to receive three professional reference forms from colleagues who can vouch for your professional conduct and competence in the field of psychology; a transcript indicating the dates degrees were awarded; and a University Director of Training Reference form.

For those who completed non-APA accredited programs, additional forms are required, including a University Accreditation form, Education Record in Psychology form, and an Internship Site Director Reference form.

Once all required documents have been submitted along with the application and fee, the evaluation process will commence. You can monitor the status of their applications by logging into the Applicant Portal. The review typically takes around two weeks, after which you will be informed about your approval status.

Upon approval, you can then request to take the necessary exams and seek approval for a residency contract.

Complete One Year of Supervised Experience

A Psychologist Resident Supervision Contract is required for individuals pursuing postdoctoral supervised work experience in Oregon, which must be submitted to and approved by the Board. While the contract can be submitted before receiving application approval, it will not be granted until after approval.

In Oregon, starting residency requirements and practicing psychology without an approved contract is against regulations, and such hours will not be counted. Additionally, you may face sanctions from the Board.

Once approved, the supervised postdoctoral experience must fulfill certain criteria to be considered valid. It should encompass a minimum of 1,500 hours and span no less than 12 full months, while not exceeding two years from the date of contract approval.

Supervisors must be licensed with at least two years of professional experience, and they should meet with trainees for one or more hours of face-to-face individual supervision for every one to twenty hours of work per week. For over 20 hours in a week, two hours of supervision are required, either individually or one hour individual and one hour group supervision.

Throughout your residency, you should maintain an accurate Record of Supervised Hours form and submit it upon completion of the required hours. A Final Resident Evaluation form and Final Supervisor Evaluation form, signed by the respective parties, will also be needed after the residency concludes. These forms must be submitted within 30 days of the contract’s end date.

Pass the Psychology Licensing Exams

In Oregon, two exams are required for psychology licensure: the Board-administered jurisprudence exam and the ASPPB Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).

To take the EPPP, you must send a written request to the Board via mail or email. Upon confirmation of eligibility, an email containing registration information will be provided. A scaled score of 500 is deemed as passing.

The Oregon Jurisprudence Exam can be completed before, during, or after the supervised work experience, and it may be taken either before or after the EPPP. The passing scores fluctuate based on score distribution, and you will receive your results within seven to 10 days after taking the exam.

Get Your License

Licenses will be issued within several days to a week after fulfilling the final requirement, and the Board will dispatch both an electronic copy via email and a physical copy through regular mail.

What are the License Renewal and Continuing Education (CE) Requirements in Oregon?

Psychologists possessing an even-numbered license must renew it in odd years, while those with an odd-numbered license must renew in even years through the license portal. The renewal deadline falls on the last day of the licensee’s birth month, and renewal notifications are sent at least six weeks in advance.

A total of 40 continuing education (CE) credits must be completed within the two years leading up to license renewal, which includes four hours dedicated to ethics and/or laws and regulations pertaining to psychology in Oregon.

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

The time it takes to become a psychologist in Oregon varies based on several factors, such as the duration of your education, internships, and postdoctoral supervised experience. Generally, it takes around 10-12 years to become a licensed psychologist in Oregon.

How Much Do Psychologists Make in Oregon?

Psychologists’ salaries in Oregon can vary based on factors such as experience, specialization, and location. As of March 2024, the average annual salary for psychologists in Oregon is approximately $143,000. Entry-level psychologists can expect to earn around $65,000 to $75,000 per year, while experienced psychologists with specialized training may earn over $180,000 annually.

What is the Job Outlook for Psychologists in Oregon?

The job outlook for psychologists in Oregon seems optimistic, as the need for mental health professionals across the state continues to rise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates a 8.3% growth rate for psychologists in Oregon between 2022 and 2032, outpacing the average for all occupations.

The growth in Oregon’s psychology field is driven by factors such as heightened awareness of mental health issues, an expanding population, and increased access to mental health services. Additionally, the demand for specialized services like substance abuse counseling, geriatric care, and school psychology is expected to grow.

What is the Role of Psychologists in Oregon?

Psychologists in Oregon play a crucial role in enhancing mental health and well-being for individuals, families, and communities. They apply their expertise, training, and abilities to evaluate, diagnose, and address a variety of mental health concerns, emotional disorders, and behavioral issues.

Key roles and responsibilities of psychologists in Oregon include:

  • Evaluation and diagnosis: Psychologists in Oregon conduct psychological evaluations and utilize standardized tests to recognize mental health problems, cognitive functioning, learning disabilities, and personality characteristics.
  • Counseling and therapy: They offer individual, group, or family therapy to assist clients in managing stress, resolving emotional or behavioral difficulties, improving communication, and strengthening relationships.
  • Research and education: Psychologists may be involved in research projects, teaching roles, or administrative positions within universities, contributing to the field’s progression and preparing future psychologists.
  • Consulting and teamwork: They cooperate with other professionals, such as psychiatrists, social workers, and educators, to create comprehensive treatment plans and provide advice on mental health matters.
  • Specialized services: Psychologists in Oregon may concentrate on specific populations or fields, including substance abuse counseling, care for the elderly, school psychology, forensic psychology, or child and adolescent psychology.
  • Community engagement and prevention: They can create and execute prevention programs, conduct workshops or seminars, and participate in advocacy initiatives to raise mental health awareness and diminish the stigma surrounding mental health problems.
  • Supervision and mentoring: Seasoned psychologists often offer supervision, mentorship, and guidance to interns and early-career professionals in the field.

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

As mentioned above, in Oregon, obtaining a licensed psychologist status requires earning a doctoral degree (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in psychology from an accredited program. A master’s degree alone is generally insufficient for becoming a licensed psychologist in the state.

However, holding a master’s degree in psychology or a related field opens up other mental health career opportunities, such as working as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).

These alternative careers still enable you to contribute to the mental health field and offer essential services to clients. However, they come with distinct licensure requirements and practice scopes compared to licensed psychologists.

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