Psychology Certifications: Definition, Types and Tips To Earn One

6 Best Psychologist Certifications
  • Certified in Hospital Psychology (CHP) …
  • Board Certified Specialist in School Psychology. …
  • Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) …
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) …
  • Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. …
  • Board Certified Specialist in Clinical Health Psychology.

Whether you’re looking to break into the field of psychology or you’ve been working in the industry for many years, psychology certifications can provide a number of benefits that can help you advance your career. Certifications in psychology can provide you with the knowledge, insights and skills needed to work more effectively with clients and to provide more meaningful and helpful services. They can also help you secure more advanced and specialized positions in the field, and be eligible for higher pay. Certifications can give you the confidence and credibility that employers look for when making hiring decisions. With the right certifications, you can demonstrate your expertise to colleagues, employers and potential clients. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the various psychology certifications available, what they involve and how you can go about getting them in order to improve your career.

The Psychology of Certification – Part 1

Types of specialty psychology certifications

The ABPP offers board certification in various psychological specialties. For each certification, the ABPP has a specialty board. Depending on the specialty board, the application process may vary, but generally it entails:

The prerequisites for application typically include a doctorate in the pertinent specialty from a university accredited by the APA, active licensure, documentation of coursework, and completion of supervised training. For applicants without a doctorate, there might be alternative requirements. Successful candidates have certain fundamental and practical skills, including the ability to assess patients, use interventions, and assess the effectiveness of your treatments, as well as ethical standards, professionalism, and evidence-based practice.

The most typical types of psychology certifications in specialties accepted by both the ABPP and the APA are as follows:

Behavioral and cognitive psychology

Cognitive and behavioral psychology is the study of how people think, perceive, remember, and behave. This field aims to comprehend human behavior better and create strategies for enhancing behavioral and cognitive conditions. Four subfields of behavioral and cognitive psychology are recognized by the American Board of Behavioral and Clinical Psychology, the ABPP specialty board that offers board certification in the field:

Clinical child and adolescent psychology

Clinical child and adolescent psychology places special emphasis on identifying children’s and adolescents’ needs and addressing their psychological problems in the context of their social environment. Child development, diversity, community, and the contexts of society, culture, and nation are just a few of the many elements and areas of study included in this specialty.

Clinical psychology

The field of clinical psychology focuses on diagnosing and treating issues with mental and behavioral health. It also focuses on conducting research, providing advice, and disseminating information about behavioral and mental health. Clinical psychologists dont limit their scope to specific groups. Rather, they treat patients of all ages, backgrounds and experiences. A subspecialty of this field called clinical psychopharmacology investigates psychotropic drugs and their therapeutic applications.

Counseling psychology

Counseling psychology focuses on treating psychological problems that are personal and interpersonal, such as emotional, developmental, social, and occupational problems. Patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly, are seen by counseling psychologists. Psychotherapy, also referred to as talk therapy, is frequently used in practice to assess patients.

Couple and family psychology

Marriage and family therapy, another name for couple and family psychology, focuses on the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of those who are in romantic or familial interpersonal relationships. A wide range of issues are addressed by psychologists in this field, including:


Educational psychology, also referred to as school psychology, aims to investigate and comprehend how people learn and retain information. Among the social, emotional, and cognitive factors that educational psychologists examine are teaching strategies, instructional processes, personal learning preferences, classroom dynamics, and learning environments. They cover psychological aspects of learning across the lifespan and extend the scope of early childhood education.

Forensic psychology

Forensic psychology is the practice of applying psychological concepts and techniques to issues pertaining to the legal system, such as crime reduction, incarceration, and rehabilitation. People who work in forensic psychology frequently have backgrounds in other fields. For instance, a clinical psychologist may assess and treat a patient who experiences trauma related to incarceration. Forensic psychologists may participate in court cases by determining whether defendants are competent, making recommendations for sentences, or testifying.


Geriatric psychology, also known as geropsychology, is concerned with the needs and issues related to mental health of the elderly. Geropsychologists treat and enhance the mental health of geriatric patients in collaboration with their families, caregivers, and care facilities. Additionally, they serve as the needs and rights advocates for the elderly, enabling the patients to live their lives to the fullest. Some conditions that gerospychologists commonly address are:

Organizational and business

Industrial and organizational psychology, another name for organizational and business psychology, studies human behavior in settings like the workplace and looks for solutions to the emotional and behavioral issues that are specific to that environment. This field of psychology employs psychologists who work with both employers and employees in an effort to increase both parties’ productivity and well-being. Some topics of interest in this specialty are:


The term “psychoanalysis” refers to theories and methods based on the supposition that people have unspoken, unrecognized desires, memories, and emotions that affect their behavior. Psychoanalysis aims to bring these unconscious components to consciousness so that the patient can become aware of and deal with them. In order to comprehend the hidden aspects of a patient’s mind, psychoanalysts primarily listen to patients discuss their thoughts, including their dreams and wishes.


Rehabilitation psychology treats people with disabilities resulting from illnesses or injuries by using psychological principles. These include:

These people frequently struggle with mental and emotional issues as a result of their condition. Rehabilitation psychologists work to assist patients in overcoming challenges by adjusting emotionally and physically to their disability.

Why is a certification in psychology important?

Certification in psychology is important for providing proof of specialization. Similar to other health care fields, psychology has seen a rise in specialization, and certification can attest that you have the education and know-how required to work with particular populations or in a particular area of the field. Numerous psychological specialties are acknowledged by organizations like the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) and the American Psychological Association (APA), and certification in any of them can help psychologists market their services to potential clients and help patients find a specialist who can provide the treatment they require.

In addition to confirming your knowledge and abilities, certification can strengthen your application for a job in your target field. It’s an additional certification that demonstrates to potential employers that you’re committed to your profession and know more about your field than others. In the field of psychology, where a postgraduate degree is frequently the minimum requirement, a professional certificate can help you stand out from other candidates.

Psychology certification vs. licensure

Although both a license and a certification in psychology are considered professional credentials, they are separate from one another. To practice psychology, one needs to be licensed by a state licensing body. The prerequisites for obtaining a psychology license vary by state, but typically include a Psy D. or Ph. D. A minimum amount of supervised experience and a passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology are requirements for psychologists.

In contrast, certification is optional. It originates from a professional organization or licensing board, which frequently conducts business on the national level rather than a state authority. While a license is one of the prerequisites for practicing psychology, additional credentials, such as certification, can help you stand out from the competition or increase your chances of landing a job in your field.

Tips for pursuing psychology certification

Here are some tips for pursuing psychology certification:

Pursue early entry

Unlicensed people who are enrolled in or have completed a doctoral psychology program are eligible to apply for the ABPP’s early entry program. Even if you are unsure of the specialty you want to pursue, being a part of this program allows you to get a head start on the certification process. You can submit evidence of your accomplishments, including the awarding of your doctorate or licensing, as they happen through the early entry program. Additionally, you pay $25 rather than $125 for the application, saving you money.

Earn continuing education certificates

To keep your psychology license current, you must participate in continuing education, though the number of hours required varies depending on your state’s requirements. Choose continuing education programs with topics that will enhance your board certification. For instance, a psychologist with a focus on educational psychology might think about taking courses on positive psychology or adolescent anxiety — subjects that can help the professional give their patients better care.

Use the mentoring service

The ABPP offers free mentoring to those aiming to become board certified. The mentors are fellows with board certification who can assist you with the certification process. They could be particularly useful for reviewing your work samples and assisting you to polish them before submission. You can increase your chances of receiving certification by working with a mentor.

Please note that Indeed is not affiliated with any of the businesses mentioned in this article.


Which accreditation is best for psychology?

The APA Commission on Accreditation (APA-CoA) is acknowledged by the U S. As the national accrediting body for professional education and training in psychology, the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation

What is the highest qualification in psychology?

The highest degree you can receive in psychology is a doctoral one. Depending on how many courses are taken and how long it takes to complete the dissertation, a doctorate in psychology typically requires an additional three to seven years.

Which field of psychology is the easiest?

The simplest psychology programs you will find are two-year degrees offered by community colleges and junior colleges. Psychology Studies at the Undergraduate Levels

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