A program initiated by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) in 2011 is showing great promise of standardizing licensing requirements for psychologists to make it easier to practice in other jurisdictions either on a short-term basis or to relocate permanently.
“It’s exciting, and it could really solve the mobility problem,” Stephen T. DeMers, Ed.D., ASPPB’s executive director, said.
The Psychology Licensure Universal System (PLUS) is an online system that allows a psychologist in a participating jurisdiction to apply for licensure, certification or registration (after first contacting the local licensing board) through ASPPB and to have their licensure-related information verified, stored and then recognized in all participating jurisdictions.
The program is envisioned to help move the profession toward more uniform licensing requirements and information applicable in any state, province or territory in the United States or Canada. DeMers said PLUS currently is being used in seven participating states on either a voluntary or a required basis depending on the jurisdiction. Local boards continue to collect applicable fees in all cases.
States where boards now participate are: Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas.
The two other boards that have agreed to the PLUS standards and will be online soon are the Utah Psychology Licensing Board and the Washington State Examining Board of Psychology.
After being licensed through PLUS for five years, psychologists meeting eligibility requirements will be issued ASPPB’s Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology (CPQ) and the ASPPB Interjurisdictional Practice Certificate (IPC).
The CPQ is currently accepted as meeting the educational, training, supervised experience and examination requirements in 44 of 64 ASPPB member jurisdictions throughout the United States and Canada. Another seven jurisdictions recognize the CPQ as meeting most of the major requirements for licensure in that state or province.
According to DeMers “The CPQ offers the greatest amount of licensure portability and professional mobility that psychology has ever experienced.” The IPC is a program designed to “standardize” the requirements and rules related to temporary practice in a state or province. Most licensing laws have some provision for temporary practice without a local license but the number of days allowed each year or the requirements for registering with the licensing board vary widely. The IPC sets a uniform standard for temporary practice that will make it much easier for licensed psychologists to understand and comply with the law.
DeMers said individuals applying for a license in a PLUS participating jurisdiction will be directed to the ASPPB website to use the universal application form. ASPPB forwards the verified and electronically stored information to the jurisdiction where the licensing board/college determines ultimate eligibility. ASPPB does not determine eligibility for licensure but serves as a repository for the records required for licensing.
That service – acting as a repository for information on education, internships and other information required for licensing – can be valuable for psychologists of all jurisdictions, DeMers said, adding that many times psychologists who have practiced for years want to move to another jurisdiction and find it difficult to verify matters such as internships or supervised training completed decades ago. Once the information is on file with ASPPB it can be forwarded to any jurisdiction on request, he said.
Licensed psychologists or graduate students in psychology who may not be in a participating PLUS jurisdiction or who are not ready to apply for licensure in a PLUS jurisdiction can also start a PLUS application by opening a Credentials Bank record with ASPPB.
Graduate students, interns and post doctoral fellows (basically anyone pre-licensure) can open an ASPPB Credentials Bank record for no charge. DeMers also noted that “It is a service not only to the student and early career psychologist but also any licensed psychologist and our member jurisdictions to have a stored and verified Credentials Bank record on file when one applies for their first or any subsequent license.”
Already licensed psychologists can also open a free Credentials Bank record by completing a survey designed to collect a minimum data set (MDS) of information about the psychology workforce. Check the ASPPB website at www.asppb.net for a link to this online survey or call ASPPB at 1-800-448-4069 to receive a paper survey plus a promotion code to get the Credentials Bank free.
All personal information collected in the Credentials Bank, PLUS application or MDS survey will be held in the strictest confidence and the results will be shared with other organizations only in aggregate form for workforce analysis purposes.