I am currently working on a graduate degree in psychology online through XYZ University and would like to find out what the requirements are for licensure. The program in which I am enrolled is not APA accredited. Will I be able to obtain a North Carolina state license to practice psychology with a degree from this institution?
The Board does not have the authority to approve, or disapprove, graduate training programs per se for licensure; it must evaluate each individual applicant’s program after an individual formally applies for licensure. Therefore, no staff member of the Board or the Board itself is able to review your proposed program to determine, prior to submission of an application, whether the program would meet requirements for licensure. While eligibility for licensure can sometimes be a complex question, the Board refers you to the requirements for licensure which are specified in the NC Psychology Practice Act and Board rules. For the doctoral level of licensure (Licensed Psychologist), see G.S. § 90-270.11(a) and 21 NCAC 54 .1803 (also see 21 NCAC 54 .2704 for health services provider requirements). For the master’s level of licensure (Licensed Psychological Associate), see G.S. § 90-270.11(b) and 21 NCAC 54 .1802. For your information, the Board has reviewed applications of graduates who completed graduate programs which primarily provided instruction online. Under Board rules, in situations where individuals have applied for licensure having graduated from programs which provide online instruction as the primary mode of instruction, the North Carolina Psychology Board has denied the applications. Some of the reasons for the denial, based upon Board rule, include, but are not limited to the fact that a program must have “an identifiable body of students in residence at the institution . . .” and “an identifiable full-time psychology faculty in residence at the institution . . . providing instruction at the home campus of the institution”; and that the program include one year’s residency which is defined as 30 semester (45 quarter) hours taken on a full-time or part-time basis at the institution.” The Board has not determined that instruction provided on computer in one's home or another location which is not at the institution is the equivalent of being “at the institution.” In addition to requirements in rule regarding the faculty and students having to be in residence at the institution and requirements related to the provisions for residency, the applicant’s degree program must meet all other provisions set forth in rule. (June 2005)
What is the difference between health services and the practice of psychology?
The definitions of health services and the practice of psychology are found in G.S. § 90-270.2(4) and (8), respectively, and are provided on various supervisor forms produced by the Board. You will note that all health services are encompassed within the practice of psychology, but that all activities which constitute the practice of psychology are not necessarily health services. Health services, by definition, are services provided directly to individuals or groups of individuals whose growth, adjustment, or functioning is actually impaired or is at risk of impairment. These activities may include assessment of individuals, psychological report writing, documentation in progress notes, making collateral contacts with family members and other service providers in the patient’s interest, psychotherapy and counseling, consultation with other professionals to facilitate service delivery, and other activities provided in service to the psychologist’s patient or group of patients. Because health services activities all relate to typical activities in which an individual psychologist may be engaged while engaged in the practice of psychology, the total number of hours in which an individual psychologist practices psychology may be similar to the number of hours the individual engages in health services activities. However, particularly when reporting the number of health services and practice hours on the various supervisor forms, it is not possible for a supervisee to have accrued more health services hours than practice hours. Rule 21 NCAC 54 .2701(b) defines activities that are not included in health services as follows: vocational and educational guidance, teaching of psychology, the conduct of psychological research, or the provision of psychological services or consultations to organizations or institutions, except when such activities involve the delivery of direct psychological services to individuals or groups of individuals who are themselves the intended beneficiaries of such services. (March 2005)
Who may use the title, “psychologist,” in the State of North Carolina?
Under G.S. § 90-270.2(9), anyone who is licensed by the Board, i.e., Licensed Psychologists, Provisional Licensed Psychologists, and Licensed Psychological Associates, may refer to him/herself as a psychologist. Applicants before the Board may also do so. In addition, individuals who hold graduate degrees in psychology and are exempt from licensure, such as university professors teaching psychology, researchers in psychology, industrial/organizational psychologists, and school psychologists employed by boards of education, among others, can properly use the title, “psychologist.” (June 2007)
I am a provisionally licensed psychologist and have reached the end of the post-doctoral year. Am I now considered permanently licensed?
There is a process to move from provisional license to permanent license. Until you have received written confirmation from the Board that you are permanently licensed, you must continue to receive one hour of face-to-face supervision during any week in which you engage in the practice of psychology. When you believe you have completed the post-doctoral year requirement, i.e. 1,500 hours AND 12 months of practice, you may then complete the Application for Licensure: Licensed Psychologist Permanent Level and the Application for Health Services Provider. These application forms are available under the "Provisional to Permanent Licensure" link on the sidebar. (October 2007)
I am the director of a mental health facility that is initiating a postdoctoral fellowship in psychology. If I place a graduate student in the fellowship who is ABD and will finish his program in about six months, is he exempt from licensure?
No. Board rule 21 NCAC 54 .1611 specifically requires that, to be exempt from licensure under G.S. § 90-270.4(d), the person must have completed all doctoral degree requirements from an institution of higher education. (February 2007)
I recently hired a person who graduated from a doctoral program in psychology and found out that she did not apply for a license within the 30 days provided for in the Practice Act. Can I just assign her the title “postdoctoral fellow” so that she can continue to practice and be in compliance with the law?
No. The statute requires that anyone beginning the practice of or offering to practice psychology must apply within 30 days for a license. The exemption for individuals pursuing postdoctoral training or experience in psychology has specific rules associated with it that require the person to be in a formal training experience. (February 2007)
I recently attended an ethics workshop, and the presenter stated that a psychologist should keep records of services for at least 10 years. Is that correct?
It depends. Pursuant to G.S. § 90-270.15(a)(18), it is a violation of the Code of Conduct if a licensee fails to maintain records for at least seven years following the last provision of services. There are caveats to this requirement which can extend the period of time that records must be maintained. For example, in the case of a client who was a minor at the time that services were provided, the statute requires that records be maintained for at least three years past the age of majority (age 18), or seven years, whichever is longer. In addition, if there are outstanding legal or ethical matters, the records must be maintained indefinitely. (February 2007)
I am a Licensed Psychologist, and I am preparing new business cards for my practice. Is it okay for me to list myself as a “Licensed Clinical Psychologist?”
No. The North Carolina Psychology Practice Act provides for generic, but not specialty, licensure. Therefore, under the Act, no licensee holds a license based on his/her specialty, and, as such, it is not appropriate, nor legal, to identify oneself in this manner. A licensee may, however, refer to specialty (clinical, counseling, school, rehabilitation, health, etc.) solely in conjunction with the title, “psychologist,” without using the modifier, “licensed” (e.g., clinical psychologist). Further, the individual may refer to his/her level of licensure–in this case, Licensed Psychologist–and otherwise include the specialty in clinical psychology separately on a business card or in any other public announcement about the person’s practice. (June 2007)
I am a licensed psychologist, and I have been asked to provide supervision to a licensed psychological associate (LPA) who tells me that he is approved to receive level 3 supervision. What is the easiest way to identify my supervisory responsibilities to this individual?
One of the most important responsibilities of being a supervisor is to verify the LPA’s level of required supervision, and the easiest way to do so is by clicking on the “License Verification” link on the sidebar and entering the information required. On the screen with the LPA’s information, you will see a listing of “Supervision Level” with either “1,” “2,” or “3” out to the side. You may click on each of the numbers for an explanation of the different levels of supervision. Please be aware that, in order for an LPA to receive Level 2 or Level 3 supervision, the LPA must have first received written confirmation from the Board that his or her application for reduced supervision was reviewed and approved. If the LPA informs you that he or she has been approved for reduced supervision, but you are unable to confirm this information on the Board’s website, you should contact the Board office. For additional information regarding supervisor and supervisee responsibilities associated with the supervisory relationship, click on the “Supervision” link on the sidebar. You may access a printable list of responsibilities by clicking on the “Supervisor and Supervisee Responsibilities” link, or by viewing page 3 of the Supervision Contract Form. (October 2007)
I recently submitted a Supervision Contract Form, which was returned with the request that I complete the most recently printed version of the form. Why is this necessary, and how do I ensure that I am using the most current versions?
Because updated forms ask for new/additional information, it is imperative that licensees submit current forms to the Board. To ensure that you are using the most current version of a form, look for the date in the bottom, right corner of the page. If the date is several years old, you may want to spot-check the forms available on the web, or contact the Board office. Checking with the Board in advance may save you valuable time and effort. (February 2008)
I am a school psychologist who holds a professional educator’s license to practice school psychology issued by the NC State Board of Education/Department of Public Instruction. I am interested in working for a contract agency as a service provider. The type of services provided are exclusively to public school systems (local education agencies, public charter schools). In this instance, my “regular salaried employer” would not be a state or local board of education, but would instead be the contracting agency. Does this type of practice require a license issued by the NC Psychology Board?
Yes, this type of practice would require that the psychologist be licensed by the North Carolina Psychology Board. Licensure only by the NC State Board of Education/Department of Public Instruction would not be sufficient for this type of practice.
Are LPAs permitted to form professional corporations or professional limited liability companies?
The Board office often receives questions with regard to whether Licensed Psychological Associates (LPAs) are permitted to form professional corporations or professional limited liability companies.
Under the NC Professional Corporations Act (NC Gen. Stat. § 55B-4), LPAs, as licensees of the Board (as defined by N.C. Gen. Stat § 55B-2(2)), may form professional corporations. This also applies to professional limited liability companies under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 57D-2-02. The professional corporation or professional limited liability company must comply with provisions set forth in N.C. Gen. Stat § 55B-4. The licensee that is attempting to form the professional corporation or professional limited liability company shall obtain a certificate of registration from the Board, as set forth N.C. Gen. Stat. § 55B-10.
However, under N.C. Gen. Stat § 55B-14(c), LPAs are not permitted to form professional corporations or professional limited liability companies with individuals licensed by other licensing boards. LPAs may only form professional corporations or professional limited liability companies with other LPAs or with Licensed Psychologists.
The Board cannot advise on the legal or tax issues involved with the formation of professional corporations or professional limited liability companies. A licensee interested in forming a professional corporation or professional limited liability company should consider contacting an attorney and/or accountant regarding those issues. If a licensee has additional questions regarding the process to form a professional corporation or professional limited liability company, you may contact the Board office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (828) 262-2258.
In the case of employment to provide psychological services within an NC private school, is a license issued through the NC Psychology Board required, or is a license issued through the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in the area of school psychology sufficient?
Anyone who engages in the practice of psychology in North Carolina must first become licensed by the NC Psychology Board, unless such person meets a statutory exemption. Pursuant to G.S. 90-270.4(c), individuals licensed by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (“DPI”) or local boards of education as school psychologists and serving as regular salaried employees of DPI or the local board of education are exempt from licensure only to perform the duties for which they serve DPI or the local board of education. The exemption from licensure does not cover school psychologists licensed by DPI or local boards of education who provide psychological services to students in private schools or to students outside of the school psychologist's duties for which they serve DPI or the local board of education.
In order to provide psychological services to students in private schools or to students outside of the school psychologist's duties for which they serve DPI or the local board of education, an individual must be licensed by the NC Psychology Board. In addition, the exemption from licensure does not cover school psychologists in contract positions with DPI or a local board of education, even if the school psychologist is licensed by DPI or a local board of education.