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Психология Australia
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United States and Canada

Professional licensing and regulation

Read about professional licensing and regulation in different countries. Compare with the same in our country.

Lesson 14 Psychology in action

The American Psychological Association has issued a guideline that only those who hold a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree in psychology or a closely related field should call themselves psychologists. This of course applies to both research psychology and applied psychology. Licensed psychologists, in virtually every jurisdiction and state in Canada and the U.S., are required to have obtained academic doctoral degrees (typically a Ph.D. or Psy.D.). These academic programs typically take four to six years of postgraduate work to complete and offer some combination of rigorous training in scientific research and clinical practice. As part of this training, students contribute to the body of scientific knowledge in the form of a dissertation. In this sense, the Ph.D. in professional psychology is a hybrid academic/professional degree (with a greater focus on academics related to clinical practice), and university programs in professional psychology are not only academic but are also training programs typically characterized by rigor and intensity. A Ph.D. psychologist is trained to be both a scientist and practitioner of the profession. Some psychologists have a professional degree in psychology (Psy.D.), which focuses more on clinical practice, and includes similarly rigorous coursework, supervised professional training, internship, and developing the ability to conduct and interpret academic research. The majority of Psy.D. programs also require a dissertation, which can include quantitative or qualitative research, theoretical scholarship, program evaluation or development, critical literature analysis, or clinical application and analysis.

The title 'psychologist' is also restricted by law. Use of the title is reserved for individuals registered with government regulated Psychologist's Registration Board in each state of Australia. Minimum requirements for registration is an approved four year bachelors degree majoring in psychology and either two years of further accredited study or two years of work supervised by a registered psychologist. In Western Australia, specialist title registration distinguishes between registered psychologists (four year trained), and specialist psychologists (with an approved Masters degree). Membership requirements with the Australian Psychological Society is higher than the individual state boards. Restrictions apply to all who want to use the title 'psychologist' in any of its forms. However, the terms 'psychotherapist', 'social worker', and 'counselor' is currently self-regulated with several organizations campaigning for government regulation.

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