The Association for State and Provincial Psychology Boards’ (ASPPB) board of directors recently made mandatory a planned second and optional new skills assessment component to the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). The EPPP is the psychology licensing exam used by all licensing boards in the United States and Canada.
The announcement during the ASPPB meetings in October came as a surprise and unexpected change to many of the psychology board attendees. Throughout the development of the skill-based exam, it was presented as an optional exam for licensing boards to use if they chose.
The purpose of the exam, previously titled EPPP-Step 2, now titled EPPP-Part 2, is to standardize the assessment of the functional skills necessary for independent psychology practice and to be a complement to the current knowledge-based EPPP exam. Still under development, the EPPP-Part 2 will be based upon a psychology competency model developed and adopted by ASPPB.
The announced decision, also was communicated to psychology licensing boards in an Oct. 21 email from Stephen DeMers, Ed.D, the ASPPB CEO. He acknowledged that making the skills-based exam mandatory is a major change.
A primary rationale given for requiring the additional skills-based exam in addition to the current EPPP exam is “…that the integrity and legal defensibility of the EPPP depended on treating Part 2 as an essential and integral part of the assessment of competence to practice for all those using the EPPP as a requirement for licensure.” Another reason presented is to minimize potential mobility problems across jurisdictions that could result if the same exams were not given in each jurisdiction.
Some states may need to change licensing laws or regulations to include the new second part of the EPPP exam as a licensure requirement. All licensing boards will be required to use both parts of the EPPP as of Jan. 1, 2020. Part 2 of the exam will not be required of psychologists licensed before then.
Part 2 of the EPPP is expected to be taken after licensing candidates have been granted a degree, accepted for licensure in a jurisdiction and have passed the EPPP-Part 1. After Jan. 1, 2020, the EPPP-Part 1 will be “…available to be taken prior to degree, once all academic coursework, excluding practicum, research, or internship credits, has been completed for the degree for which a candidate wants to be licensed.” The option of taking the knowledge-based part of the EPPP earlier has been strongly supported by both licensing boards and license candidates.
Items for the EPPP Part 2 are being written by more than 120 early career and later career licensed psychologists. Item selection and beta testing of the exam will be done over the next two years. Skill areas included on the exam will be in six competency domains: scientific orientation, assessment and intervention, relational competence, professionalism, ethical practice and collaboration, consultation and supervision.
Initially the launch date for the EPPP-Part 2 was Jan. 1, 2019. But it was delayed a year to give licensing boards and examinees more notice that the skill-based exam will no longer be optional and to announce the costs for the new two-part exam. The costs for each part of the EPPP will be $600, making the total cost $1,200 plus any test site fees. Payment will be required when each part of the exam is scheduled.
Kenneth P. Drude, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice in Dayton, Ohio. He currently serves on the Ohio Board of Psychology and is a past president of the board. He has participated in the development of telemental health standards and guidelines in Ohio and nationally. His email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.