FAQs & Benefits

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Specialize?

The practice of American Psychology has become increasingly complex and competitive. There has been a decided trend toward practice focused in delimited areas with a number of such areas emerging as specialties. The ABPP establishes and continually incorporates the current developments in the definition and requirements of specialties in professional psychology. Over the past decade 11 new specialties have joined 3 traditional specialties which have been in the field for the past 55 years. The new specialties have emerged through public needs and professional advancements.


The public is not expected to be knowledgeable about specialty requirements such as accredited doctoral programs, internships, or supervised post-doctoral training. The clearest and most responsible way for a psychologist to represent herself/himself to the public, third-parties, and the profession as a specialist is to be certified through an organized peer process as meeting the standards and demonstrating the competencies required in the specialty. ABPP is the only non-profit professional unitary organization with multiple specialty board quality controls recognized by the profession as certifying specialty practitioners in psychology.


How Do I Become Eligible for a Specialty Certification?

To attain board certification in a specialty, an applicant must meet the general and the specialty eligibility requirements which include:


  • A doctoral degree from a program in professional psychology which at the time the degree was granted was accredited by the APA, CPA, or was listed in the publication Doctoral Psychology Programs Meeting Designation Criteria. Applicants credentialed in the most recent directory of the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, the Canadian Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, or the Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology (CPQ), (ASPPB) typically qualify as meeting the doctoral degree requirements.


  • Applicants must demonstrate Licensure or Certification at the independent practice level as a psychologist in the United States, Canada or a U.S. Territory.  


  • Note: Limited exceptions exist for prior to 1983 doctoral preparation, degrees granted outside the U.S. or Canada, formal retraining, and substantial equivalents to accreditation requirements. Applicants requesting review due to exceptions are completed by ABPP Central Office and the ABPP Standards Committee.


  • Specialty preparation for practice characteristic of the specialty, including appropriate doctoral education as a foundation for the specialty and such post-doctoral preparation as necessary to meet the standards of the specialty.


What are the Different Specialties?

Behavioral & Cognitive Psychology 

Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 

Clinical Health Psychology 

Clinical Neuropsychology 

Clinical Psychology 

Counseling Psychology 

Couple & Family Psychology 

Forensic Psychology

 Group Psychology

Organizational & Business Consulting Psychology

Police & Public Safety Psychology

Psychoanalysis in Psychology

Rehabilitation Psychology

School Psychology




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