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American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP): Board Certification Culture in Academic and Training Settings. Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD, ABPP Past-President, ABPP Greg Lee, PhD, ABPP President, ABPP ???.

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American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP):Board Certification Culture in Academic and Training Settings

Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD, ABPP

Past-President, ABPP

Greg Lee, PhD, ABPP

President, ABPP


If your primary care doc said “You need to see a Cardiologist,” would you want to see a Board Certified Cardiologist or a Non-Board Certified Cardiologist?


X Board Certified Cardiologist

____ Non-Board Certified Cardiologist


If your primary care doc said “You need to see a Psychologist,” would you want to see a Board Certified Psychologist or a Non-Board Certified Psychologist?


X Board Certified Psychologist

____ Non-Board Certified Psychologist

the credentialing continuum

Accredited Doctoral Program

Accredited Internship

Post-doctoral Residency


Licensed by State or Province

Identified as Health Service Provider


Board Certified in Area of Specialty Practice

The Credentialing Continuum

specialty certification in psychology

Specialty Certification in Psychology

A specialty is a defined area in the practice of psychology that connotes specialty competency acquired through an organized sequence of formal education, training, and experience

The practice activities in any specialty seldom are exclusive to the specialty and most practice activities are shared with the general practice of professional psychology

specialty certification in psychology1

Specialty Certification in Psychology

The pattern of practice activities, including limiting the scope of practice, and focusing upon more complex or unique problems or technologies is more relevant in defining a specialty together with advanced education, training, and experience

why is certification necessary and essential in psychology

Why is Certification Necessary and Essential in Psychology?

The exponential growth of psychological knowledge leaves no alternative but specialization

Our work environments impel us to specialize

Our professional context reinforces the need for specialization

why is certification necessary and essential in psychology1

Why is Certification Necessary and Essential in Psychology?

The generic nature of psychology licensing in North America presumes additional professional self-regulation of specialty practice

Most important, protecting the public from charlatans and the ill-prepared requires personal and professional self-regulation

what is abpp
A non-profit, unitary governing body

Coordinates 14 affiliated psychology specialty examining boards

Certifies psychologists competent to deliver high quality services in specialty areas of psychology

Recognizes new specialties and subspecialties

Requires self-study and comprehensive periodic site review of its member boards

Conducts exams and certifies specialists in accordance with established professional standards, policies, and procedures

Lists and verifies board certified specialists in its public directory

What is ABPP
abpp mission statement

ABPP Mission Statement

The mission of ABPP is to increase consumer protection through the examination and certification of psychologists who demonstrate competence in approved specialty areas in professional psychology

value of abpp

Value of ABPP

Board Certification by ABPP provides peer and public recognition of demonstrated competence in an approved specialty area in professional psychology

In addition, ABPP board certification provides the professional with increased opportunities for career growth, including employability, mobility, and financial compensation

Clinical Child and Adolescent


Clinical Health

Clinical Neuropsychology

Cognitive and Behavioral


Couples and Family



Organization and Business

Police and Public Safety




Recognized Specialties in ABPP - 2012

benefits of board certification
Benefits of Board Certification

What’s in it for you as a psychologist?

benefits of board certification1
Benefits of Board Certification
  • Practitioner
    • Increase pay potential
    • Enhance job satisfaction
    • Distinguish you from other psychologists in the job market
    • Improve job security and employability
    • Renew emphasis on life-long learning and professional development
    • Affirm your professional identity
benefits of board certification2
Benefits of Board Certification
  • Practitioner
    • Increase interaction with outstanding and distinguished psychologists
    • Experience greater credibility in eye of colleagues and referral sources
    • Gain more prestige in the profession
    • Strengthen potential for meaningful contributions to the profession
benefits of board certification3
Benefits of Board Certification
  • Practitioner
    • Streamline credentialing process at state licensing boards, insurance companies, professional practice networks, and medical staff
    • Facilitate inter-jurisdictional license and practice mobility
benefits of board certification4
Benefits of Board Certification
  • Profession
    • Set standards for competence
    • Guide uniform training models for competence
    • Increase breadth and depth of knowledge base, skills, and attitudes of practitioners
    • Ensure intra-professional regulation
    • Allow for public recognition of a brand name
benefits of board certification5
Benefits of Board Certification
  • Public
    • Protect consumers
    • Assure quality
    • Reduce confusion
    • Increase likelihood of being viewed by consumers, professionals, employers, insurers, credentialing organizations, legal systems, and licensing boards as the most competent
10 reasons to specialize in the current healthcare climate
10 Reasons to Specialize in the Current Healthcare Climate
  • Consumers want it
  • Healthcare systems expect it
  • Policy calls for it
  • Quality improvement programs demand it
  • Pay is linked to quality
10 reasons to specialize in the current healthcare climate1
10 Reasons to Specialize in the Current Healthcare Climate
  • The workforce needs us
  • Integrated health care teams respect us
  • Health care homes have a place for us
  • Parity is in our favor
  • Access for all in need for all of services
competency based approach

Competency-Based Approach

The competencies are categorized into foundational and functional competencies that are applicable to ALL specialties and specialty practice

competency based approach1
Competency-Based Approach
  • The foundational and functional competencies constructs are applicable to all specialties and specialty practice
  • They run throughout the ABPP board certification process
which board do i get certified in
Which Board Do I Get Certified In?
  • What is your primary self-identification
  • How do you want others to see you
application process
Application Process
  • Generic application
  • Specialty application
  • CV, Professional Statement
  • Work Sample
  • Written Exam (Forensics, Clinical Neuropsychology)
  • Oral Exam
senior psychologist option
Senior Psychologist Option
  • Many, but not all, of the specialty boards have a senior option for individuals who have met the degree, internship, and postdoctoral criterion, AND have 15 years or more of postdoctoral experience following licensure
  • Senior option typically does not require the work sample, but requires all other elements of the application process
early entry program
Early Entry Program
  • ABPP Early Entry Option Value Statement
    • In addition to saving $100 on the application fee, participation in the Early Entry Program demonstrates an early commitment to lifelong professional development and identification with a specialized area of practice in professional psychology
  • Graduate students, interns, and residents are eligible to start the board certification process through the ABPP Early Entry Program
early entry program1
Early Entry Program
  • Here’s how it works
    • Complete an application and submit the $25 fee
    • Option about whether or not to identify a specialty
    • Access mentoring early on to facilitate progress
    • Submit credentials as complete each phase of training
  • Training programs can pay the application fee for their students
  • Recommend seminars on

board certification that include

individuals who are board


quote from a recent candidate

Quote From a Recent Candidate

“I can unequivocally state that it was a very enriching process...The process provides you with a sense of validation by your peers and helps the public clearly identify who has met the requirements of certification...When I finished I did not feel like I had passed one test—I felt I had completed a comprehensive process designed to assess my competence. There were anxieties along the way– “what if I fail”—but then I decided I would just take what I learned and build on it to improve myself. I highly suggest going for the boards.”

... Dominic A. Carone, Ph.D, ABPP

(recent ABCN board-certified specialist)

the take home message
The “Take Home” Message
  • As specialization becomes more defined and as the field continues to expand, board certification may not only be necessary but may be imperative as a way to defined advanced qualifications and standards of excellence
  • Board Certification is important to protect the public and promote the profession of psychology
  • In this evolving health care climate, specialization has considerable value and may increasingly become an expectation
the take home message1
The “Take Home” Message
  • ABPP is a gold standard for board certification in psychology
  • ABPP will continue to be at the forefront of specialty competency board certification in professional psychology
the take home message2
The “Take Home” Message
  • ABPP is a large umbrella for psychology specialty
  • ABPP subspecialties offer exciting new opportunities for current ABPP Boards
the expected not the exceptional
The Expected…not the Exceptional

It is not the exceptional specialist who should be board certified, but the specialist who is not board certified who should be the exception

Russ Bent, PhD, ABPP

abpp resources
ABPP Resources
  • American Board of Professional Psychology
    • Nezu, Finch, and Simon (Eds.) (2009), Becoming board certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology. New York: Oxford.
    • Nezu and Nezu Oxford book series


American Board of Professional Psychology

600 Market Street

Suite 300

Chapel Hill, NC 27516

(919) 537-8031 Voice

(919) 537-8034 Fax


Nadine Kaslow, Ph.D., ABPP

( with questions

Good luck and enjoy the process!!!