How to Become a Licensed Psychologist in Oregon

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Updated on July 12, 2023
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Are you fascinated by the complexities of human behavior and passionate about helping others? If so, a career as a psychologist might be the perfect fit for you. Psychologists play a vital role in understanding and improving mental health, promoting well-being, and contributing to the overall quality of life for countless individuals. As a psychologist, you’ll have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of your clients, helping them navigate various challenges and reach their full potential.

If you are considering pursuing a career as a psychologist in Oregon, this article is designed to guide you through the process. From educational requirements to licensure steps, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the essential steps to help you achieve your goal of becoming a licensed psychologist in the state.

Becoming a Psychologist in OR

Step 1: Research the Psychology Profession in Oregon

In this initial stage, it is crucial to gather information about the psychology profession in Oregon to gain a clear understanding of the various fields, job opportunities, and career growth. Delve into the different specializations, such as clinical, counseling, or school psychology, as well as the roles and responsibilities of psychologists in the state. Explore potential work settings, including hospitals, private practices, schools, or government agencies.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of psychologists in Oregon is projected to grow 14% between 2016 and 2026, faster than the national average for all occupations. This growth indicates strong job prospects for aspiring psychologists in the state. Understanding these trends will help you plan your educational and career path more effectively.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with the regulations and licensing requirements set forth by the Oregon Board of Psychology (OBOP). Researching the profession will also provide valuable insights into salary expectations and employment trends within the state. In Oregon, the average annual wage for psychologists was $90,520 in 2020, according to the BLS.

Step 2: Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology or a Related Field

A bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field is the first step toward becoming a psychologist. Choose an accredited university or college offering a strong psychology program. Your coursework should include foundational classes in psychology, research methods, and statistics, as these will provide you with the essential knowledge needed for graduate studies.

Apart from the coursework, it is important to gain practical experience through internships or volunteer work in mental health settings. This will not only build your resume but also give you a better understanding of the profession and help you develop essential skills. Networking with professionals in the field can also provide valuable insights and connections that could benefit you in the future.

Recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveals that there are over 30 accredited institutions in Oregon offering bachelor’s degree programs in psychology or related fields. As you research and compare programs, consider factors such as faculty expertise, available resources, and opportunities for hands-on experience to make an informed decision about your education.

Step 3: Earn a Doctoral Degree in Psychology

To become a licensed psychologist in Oregon, you must obtain a Master’s degree first and then a doctoral degree in psychology. This degree can be either a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology. Each type of degree has its unique focus and features, which you can learn more about on our home page.

To be eligible for licensure in Oregon, make sure to enroll in a doctoral program that has accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). Alternatively, the program can be regionally accredited or provincially/territorially chartered.

A qualifying doctoral program should include at least three full years of study. During this time, students must spend one 12-month period or two consecutive semesters physically attending the institution that grants the degree. This in-residence requirement ensures that students receive hands-on experience and face-to-face interaction with faculty and peers.

Additionally, the program must cover clinical psychology coursework and provide a minimum of 18 semester hours in specific areas. These areas include personality and intellectual assessment, diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and evaluation of the intervention. By completing this coursework, you will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to practice psychology effectively in Oregon.

Here are some universities that offer accredited doctoral programs in psychology, which can help you meet the licensure requirements in Oregon:

  1. University of Oregon (Eugene, OR)
  2. Pacific University (Forest Grove, OR)
  3. Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR)
  4. George Fox University (Newberg, OR)

These universities offer APA-accredited doctoral programs in various areas of psychology. Keep in mind that the availability of specific programs and their details may change over time. It is crucial to research each program thoroughly and visit their respective websites to get the most up-to-date information on admission requirements, curricula, and financial aid options.

It is important to note that the programs offered by universities may change over time. Changes can include the addition or removal of programs, updates to admission requirements, alterations to curricula, or changes in accreditation status. As you explore your options for pursuing a doctoral degree in psychology, always ensure that you research each program thoroughly and visit their respective websites to get the most current and accurate information.

Click here for Masters in Clinical Psychology programs in the state of Oregon.

Step 4: Gain Supervised Clinical Experience

To become a licensed psychologist in Oregon, you must complete a certain amount of supervised clinical experience. This typically begins with a practicum or internship as part of your graduate program. These experiences allow you to apply your knowledge and skills in real-world settings under the guidance of licensed psychologists.

After completing your graduate program, additional supervised experience may be required by the Oregon Board of Psychology. This postgraduate experience helps you further develop your professional skills and build a network of contacts in the field. Be sure to document your supervised hours carefully, as they will be submitted to the Oregon Board of Psychology as part of your licensure application.

Completing both graduate and postgraduate supervised experiences will not only help you meet the licensing requirements but also prepare you for the challenges and responsibilities of working as a psychologist. Use this time to refine your clinical skills, develop your professional identity, and establish relationships with mentors and colleagues in the field.

Step 5: Obtain Licensure as a Psychologist in Oregon

As you get closer to graduating, within six months or less, you can start sending documents and references to the Oregon Board of Psychology. The board will keep any documents that arrive before your application, such as your background check, for up to six months. If you’re planning to complete a residency in Oregon, submit a proposed resident supervision contract with your application. You need to receive written approval from the Board before you can offer psychological services or use the title “psychologist resident.” Practicing without a Board-approved contract could cause your work not to count towards the necessary post-doctoral supervised work experience for licensure and might result in penalties for unlicensed practice.

After finishing your education and supervised experience, you must pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) to become a licensed psychologist in Oregon. The EPPP is a national test that measures your knowledge and skills in psychology. In 2020, 78.6% of first-time test-takers passed the EPPP, according to the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). You also need to pass the Oregon Jurisprudence Exam (OJE), which checks your understanding of the state’s laws and regulations for practicing psychology.

Once you pass both exams, submit your application and documents, such as proof of education and supervised experience, to the Oregon Board of Psychology. The Board might ask you to attend an interview to evaluate your knowledge of ethical and professional standards and confirm your readiness to practice as a psychologist in Oregon.

You can apply online through the Applicant Portal using the Standard Application method or Licensure by Endorsement method. The required forms and steps differ based on your licensing status in other jurisdictions. Be aware that some states, like Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, and Virginia, don’t transfer files or complete licensure verification forms, requiring you to transfer a credentialing body file (ASPPB, ABPP, or National Register) or use the Standard Application Method.

Step 6: Maintain Your Psychology License

Once licensed, it is essential to maintain your psychology license in Oregon by fulfilling the continuing education requirements set by the Oregon Board of Psychology. Continuing education helps you stay up-to-date with new research, developments, and best practices in the field of psychology.

The Oregon Board of Psychology requires licensed psychologists to complete a minimum of 40 continuing education credits every two years, with at least 4 credits in professional ethics or Oregon statutes and administrative rules. Additionally, psychologists must renew their licenses biennially by submitting a renewal application and fee to the board.

Engaging in professional development activities, such as attending conferences and workshops, can also help you expand your knowledge, network with other professionals, and maintain your competence in the ever-evolving field of psychology.

Step 7: Develop Your Career in Oregon

To establish a successful career as a licensed psychologist in Oregon, it is essential to engage with professional organizations and actively participate in the psychology community. These organizations play a crucial role in supporting psychologists and fostering career development.

Becoming a member of professional associations like the Oregon Psychological Association (OPA) or the American Psychological Association (APA) offers numerous benefits. These organizations provide access to resources, educational materials, and networking opportunities that can aid in your career development. They also advocate for the profession at the state and national levels, ensuring that the interests of psychologists are represented in public policy and legislation.

Participating in conferences and workshops organized by professional associations or other psychology-related organizations allows you to expand your knowledge, share your expertise, and connect with professionals who share your interests. These events provide valuable learning experiences, help you stay up-to-date with the latest research and trends in the field, and can lead to collaborative projects, referrals, and potential job opportunities.

Furthermore, involvement in advocacy efforts and community outreach initiatives is another way to strengthen your professional network and contribute to the well-being of your community. Work with organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or Mental Health America (MHA) to raise awareness about mental health issues, promote access to psychological services, and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health disorders.

You may also seek out opportunities to take on leadership roles within professional organizations or your workplace. Leadership positions can help you develop new skills, showcase your expertise, and expand your professional network. Serving on committees, task forces, or boards of directors also allows you to actively shape the future of the psychology profession and contribute to its growth.

Lastly, collaborating with other professionals in the mental health field, such as psychiatrists, social workers, and counselors, can enhance the services you provide to clients and contribute to a more comprehensive approach to mental health care. Engaging with professionals from different disciplines can also lead to interdisciplinary research projects, shared resources, and a more extensive referral network.

By actively participating in the psychology community and engaging with professional organizations, you can establish a successful career as a psychologist in Oregon. These opportunities allow you to grow professionally, stay current with new developments in the field, and make a difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

Benefits of Being a Licensed Psychologist

Being a licensed psychologist comes with a range of personal and professional benefits that can lead to a fulfilling and rewarding career. Some of the key benefits include:

Professional Recognition and Credibility

Becoming a licensed psychologist demonstrates that you have met the rigorous educational, experiential, and examination requirements set forth by the state licensing board. This achievement grants you professional recognition and credibility within the field of psychology. Clients, colleagues, and employers can trust that you possess the necessary knowledge, skills, and ethical standards to provide high-quality psychological services.

Access to a Wide Range of Career Opportunities

As a licensed psychologist, you can access a broad spectrum of career opportunities in various settings, such as hospitals, schools, private practices, research institutions, and government agencies. Your licensure allows you to work with diverse populations, from children and families to adults and the elderly, addressing a range of mental health issues, developmental concerns, and life challenges.

Ability to Open a Private Practice

With a license, you have the option to open your private practice or partner with other professionals to provide psychological services. Running a private practice allows you to have more control over your work environment, schedule, and the types of clients you serve. It also provides the potential for increased financial rewards and the satisfaction of directly impacting the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

Contribution to Research and Knowledge Advancement

Licensed psychologists can contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field by conducting research and publishing their findings. Engaging in research helps you stay current with new developments, inform your practice with evidence-based approaches, and contribute to the broader understanding of human behavior and mental health.

Opportunities for Professional Growth

Being a licensed psychologist opens doors for continued professional growth and development. You can pursue further education, obtain certifications in specialized areas, and engage in ongoing professional development activities, such as attending conferences and workshops. These opportunities help you stay at the forefront of the field, enhance your skills, and expand your professional network.

Personal Fulfillment and Job Satisfaction

Helping clients overcome challenges, improve their mental health, and achieve personal growth can be immensely satisfying. As a licensed psychologist, you have the privilege of supporting individuals, families, and communities in their journey toward better mental health and overall well-being. This sense of purpose and the knowledge that you are making a positive impact on the lives of others can lead to a high level of personal fulfillment and job satisfaction.

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