Certification Process

This page is intended to give a general overview of the ABPP board certification process, and you may also access an Early Entry Application here (see below).  Specialty-specific applications are located on their respective Member Specialty Board pages (see the navigation link above right); please visit the specialty in which you are interested in order to get specific details about that board certification process as well as the specialty application.


Early Entry Program


This program permits qualified students and other pre-licensure individuals to begin the steps toward board certification in professional psychology early in one’s career, and starts the process of mentoring and progression toward board certification through ABPP at a reduced fee.  Submission of the early entry application will start the process and ABPP will “bank” your credentials as you complete your training and experience.  No need to try and gather together all your materials at one time years from now – submit them as they are completed and ABPP will update your application file. Early Entry Application

The Senior Option in Examinations


The “senior” is defined as a specialist applicant/candidate with 15 or more years of experience following licensure.  The ABPP has approved a policy allowing a continuing special option for “senior” specialists considered for certification.  The essential rationale is to encourage experienced, often distinguished practitioners to take the examination, while recognizing longevity of experience and a more developed portfolio of practice in the specialty.  There is no “senior examination” as such, but an option to flexibly apply past educational requirements and to modify practice sample submissions and some oral examination procedures.  All of the ABPP boards, with the exception of Clinical Neuropsychology and Forensic Psychology, offer a “senior” option.  See each board's information on the corresponding pages of this website for details, as the specifics vary from board to board.

There is one level of certification resulting from one examination, not a certified “distinguished” or “senior” descriptor.  The criteria for a pass are the same for all candidates, allowing for individual differences of strengths and limitations expected of all candidates. Go to the Specialty Board page in which you are interested for details on the Senior Option.



The ABPP board certification process includes 1) Credentials Review, 2) Peer-reviewed Practice Samples and 3) Oral Examination conducted by board certified psychologists.  Some ABPP boards (Clinical Neuropsychology and Forensic Psychology) also include a Written Examination.


The Application form is the primary information base upon which eligibility for candidacy is determined. In effect, you are establishing the necessary academic, training, supervised experience, and professional standing required by the specialty board.  The Executive Officer (EO) and Central Office (CO) staff shall verify the license to practice psychology, the doctoral degree and program; the specialty board may also review your application for specialty-specific requirements. You must request that a copy of your doctoral transcript be sent to CO directly from the educational institution. The request should be initiated as soon as possible in order to not have any delay in processing your application. Any documentation (endorsements, certification of appropriate institute or continuing education) must be submitted with the application.


The application is a single form with two sections: the first part is essentially related to the generic requirements and the second part is related to the specialty’s requirements. The CO shall review the submitted application for completeness. The EO shall review the application for the determination of meeting the ABPP common, generic criteria of doctoral degree and program, licensure, and professional standing. Upon meeting the generic criteria the application materials are sent to the Specialty Board for determination in meeting the specific criteria for eligibility as a candidate.


Following review, applicants are notified of the results. Applicants meeting generic and specialty requirements become candidates, eligible to move on to the specialty examination process.


It is after being admitted to Candidacy, that one becomes eligible to sit for the written examination, if any, and submit Practice Samples for review.  The Oral Examination is the final aspect of the process. To better understand the application and candidacy determination it is best to review the generic and specialty criteria of the specialty board in which you are interested.  Go to the APPLICANTS section and/or select the Specialty Board in which you are interested....




Fees are paid online, non-refundable and subject to change without notice. Application fee $125.00 ($25 for Early Entry Applicants).  Written exam fee (only applicable for Clinical Neuropsychology $300.00 and Forensic Psychology $300.00).  Practice sample fee $250.00.  Oral exam fee $450.00.



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